National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Distinctly Catholic

Frum Calls Out Conservatives

 | 

Last time I checked, David Frum was not a Democrat, not a leftie, not a friend of the administration. So his calling out conservative Republicans for their attacks on Obama's economic policies is especially significant. He writes:

My conservative friends argue that the policies of Barack Obama are responsible for the horrifying length and depth of the economic crisis.

Question: Which policies?

Obama’s only tax increases – those contained in the Affordable Care Act – do not go into effect until 2014. Personal income tax rates and corporate tax rates are no higher today than they have been for the past decade. The payroll tax has actually been cut by 2 points. Total federal tax collections have dropped by 4 points of GDP since 2007, from 18+% to 14+%, the lowest rate since the Truman administration.

If so minded, you could describe Barack Obama as the biggest tax cutter in American history.

Funny, I have not heard the president called "the biggest tax cutter in history" on Fox News.

Jobs Report Better Than Expected

 | 

The economy added 117,000 new jobs in July, reducing the unemployment rate to a still horrendous 9.1 percent. The figures exceeded analysts' expectations, which may be the needed tonic to the fear of a second recession that has caused the stock market to plummet in the past few days.
It should be noted that the private sector accounted for 154,000 new jobs last month, across a broad range of economc sectors, but these gains were hampered by a loss of 37,000 government jobs. Remember that fact the next time you hear someone say that cutting government spending is the way to promote job growth.

The USCCB Report on the Budget Deal

 | 

The USCCB has issued its report on the recently concluded debt ceiling and budget negotiations. The document does not mince words, opening with this verdict: “This debate demonstrated the partisan, ideological, and dysfunctional polarization that dominates Washington. It wasn’t pretty, and it isn’t over. While the crisis of default was averted, for advocates of poor and vulnerable people, this debate was disappointing, ominous, and just a beginning.”

Why I Just Love Pope Benedict

 | 

The Holy Father met with a group of pilgrims from Traunstein, Bavaria last week and he offered these words:

Joy, kindness and goodness grow only if the heavens above us are opened. The days aren’t always sunny... sometimes, we must cross through dark valleys.
Even then, though, we can remain joyous and human -- but only if heaven is open for us, only if we can be strengthened in the certainty that God loves us in full, that God is good and, through this, in the certainty that it’s good to be human....

So that people might be able to continue to say yes to life, to the future, it’s important that we don’t lose the splendor of the faith -- that we remain believers, Christians, Catholics, in the sense that Catholic always means “open to the world” -- the world of life and faith together -- something that means being tolerant and open, one to the other, in heartfelt brotherhood to everyone who belongs to our one Father and who are all loved by the one Lord.”

Meyerson on Obama & the Left

 | 

Harold Meyerson in this morning's Washington Post examines the reasons why President Obama will not get a primary challenger from his base, something that doomed previous re-election efforts by Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. He left one thing out, and it is something liberals need to ponder before they carp about the President: health care reform. Here is a signature achievement, one that had eluded previous presidents including Truman, Johnson, Nixon and Clinton. By 2014, unless the Democrats lose the White House, health care will be a right in this country. That is no small achievement. I wish Obama had been better at negotiating with the republicans. I wish he had pushed through immigration reform. I wish he had been able to get card check through Congress. But, he succeeded in making health care a right, and the complainers from the leftwing bleachers should remember that.

Mubarak on Trial

 | 

There is something undeniably satisfying, and something very worrisome, about the photo of Hosni Mubarak, the recently deposed Egyptian dictator, in a prisoner's cage in a Cairo courtroom. This is a man who has kept his entire country in a cage of corruption, medieval justice and oppression for many years.
But, the troubling thing is that this image will not be lost on Qaddafi or Assad or any of the other remaining tyrants in the Mideast. It is an invitation to dig in and hold on, at all costs. On the other hand, those surrounding these evil men may take note of the image, too, and conclude that if the evil of the regime is personalized, they can escape with their skins if they bolt now.

Faith in Public Life's \"Washington Word\"

 | 

Our friends at Faith in Public Life have a new feature, Washington Word, a weekly email that addresses key issues of the day in the context of religious values.
You can sign up for this free email service by sending an email to: washingtonword@fplaction.org. I just got my first edition and it is very well done.
I will also note that this is the second time the name "Washington Word" has been used for a DC publication. In the late 80's or early 90's, there was an attempt, uncsuccessful in the event, to launch a newspaper of that name to rival the Washington Post's commentary. Let's hope this new incarnation fares better.

Conscience & Casuistry

 | 

Regular readers of this column will know that I am a huge fan of casuistry, which got a bad name during the Protestant Reformation, but remains a quintessentially Christian way of applying legal remedies. Casuistry aims to find a way not to penalize those who, technically but not viciously and with no harm to their conscience, mess up. Casuistry is an expression of sympathy with the human condition. Casuistry is opposed to Pharisaic postures. It is a good thing.

As the debate over the new mandates regarding health insurance policies heats up, I would like to recall a similar debate that happened in my home state of Connecticut in 2007. The bishops there fought a proposal in the state legislature that required all licensed hospitals to deliver Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, to those who had been raped. The legislature passed the law over the bishops' objections and the Republican governor at the time signed it into law.

Abp Aymond on Conscience

 | 

Here is a short audio commentary by Archbishop Gregory Aymond on the issue of conscience protections for Catholic institutions. Archbishop Aymond was one of the finest of Archbishop Sambi's promotions. Balanced, measured, but always incisive, Aymond's commentary on this, or any issue, are always worth consulting. Note to new nuncio: If you are looking for a coadjutor for Chicago, Aymond could make up for Cody, the last time a prelate from New Orleans went to Chicago.

Pages

Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

07-04-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.