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Brouhaha Over House Chaplain

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One of the reasons the Catholic bishops and the Holy See need to stick to the Dallas norms, and remove from office those bishops who do not comply with the norms, is that until the Church really has the sex abuse crisis behind us, it will haunt even the most unrelated activities of Catholic priests.
So, the newly nominated House chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy, S.J., has found himself at the center of a dust-up because he is a member of the Northwest Province of the Society of Jesus which recently entered into a multi-million dollar settlement with victims of clergy sex abuse. There is no indication that Father Conroy had anything to do with the abuse, with the settlement, certainly not with any cover-up, but the mere fact of his association with the Northwest Jesuits has evidently caused people to take a second look at his nomination.
This is crazy, and the craziness will continue as long as there is any sense that the Vatican and the U.S. bishops are not doing all they can to guarantee that children will be safe when they come to Church.

Tea Party Wimps

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The Tea Party was going to "take our country back," remember? And their followers (they are not really leaders, are they) got to Congress and tried to change the political landscape in fundamental ways. And, they got to Congress, many of them, by warning about the dangers of "socialized medicine" which was never a very accurate way to describe the Health Care reform law President Obama passed but which sure sounded ominous.
So, it was not surprising that when they had the chance, they went after one of the biggest targets in the budget, Medicare, and sought to change it into a voucher program. After all, Medicare actually is socialized medicine. What evidently did surprise them was the discovery that older Americans - indeed, all Americans - actually like socialized medicine and don't want the GOP messing with Medicare.

Graduaton Wars Continue (& That's A Good Thing!)

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I wonder: What is it about us Catholics that we seem to be the only ones arguing about graduation speakers this time of year? There are two answers to this question and both speak well of Catholicism.

First, a secular university can live by its own lights, but a Catholic university must conform to both the methods and norms of a modern university and to the life and faith of the Catholic Church. This makes Catholic institutions of higher learning far more interesting than their secular counterparts, more resistant to fads, the kind of place where a reductionist or a megalomaniac or a poseur will fund a bump in his road and be exposed or frustrated in his ambitions. The interplay between faith and reason, and I would add, the access to truths that are only available within a committed faith life, these enrich Catholic universities immeasurably. They also breed controversy, in the best sense of the word.

Abp Gomez Responds to Obama's Speech on Immigration

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Archbishop Jose Gomez, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration issued a statement yesterday in response to President Obama's speech calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
It is difficult to see how the political landscape will permit much movement on this vital issue until after the 2012 election, but progress can be made if the Democrats make immigration reform an issue, run on it, and win.

Initial Thoughts on Letter to Boehner

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A couple of things are especially striking about the letter a group of prominent academics will deliver to Speaker John Boehner tomorrow morning regarding his upcoming comencement address at Catholic University.

As I noted in my post where I printed the text of the letter, the academics do not call on CUA to rescind its invitation to Speaker Boehner. There are times and places where it is appropriate to be censorious, but a university setting is not one of those places and a commencement address is not one of those times. Apart from Holocaust deniers, any university community benefits from having a range of voices on its campus.

Catholic Academics Challenge Boehner

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Breaking News.
UPDATE: More names have been added to the list of signatories below.

A group of prominent Catholic academics have signed a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, on the occasion of his forthcoming commencement address at the Catholic University of America. I will provide commentary later today, but the letter really speaks for itself, respectfully, clearly and in a way to challenge the Speaker to consider his policies. The letter will be delivered to Boehner's office personally by some of the signatories tomorrow morning.

The Hermeneutic of Reform & the American Hierarchy

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Pope Benedict XVI employed the phrase “hermeneutic of reform” in his famous 2005 address to the curia, in which he faulted some of the early histories of the Second Vatican Council. Those histories tended to focus almost exclusively on the discontinuities brought on by the Council and Benedict reminded his listeners that a true hermeneutic of reform entails elements of both continuity and discontinuity.

Gerson Takes on Ron Paul

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In this morning's Washington Post, Michael Gerson takes on Ron Paul, specifically his comments about legalizing drugs made during last week's GOP presidential debate. Gerson exposes the principal fault line in today's GOP, between its libertarian instincts and its social conservatism. There is no obvious way to reconcile these two positions. Alas, the Enlightenment freedoms celebrated by Congressman Paul have little in common with the freedom of the children of God celebrated by St. Paul.

RealClearReligion Not So Clear

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The website, RealClearReligion, is a kind of clearinghouse for links, but they display a disturbing bias to mostly highlight articles that lean right and hard right. As Reagan used to joke, the problem with his administration was that the right hand never knew what the far right hand was doing.
Of course, a bit of ideological leaning one way or another is fine, indeed, I am nervous most among those who claim not to lean at all. But, yesterday, RCR put up a link to an article at Catholic Vote, by Brad Birzer, that focused on the multiple ways truth is devalued in our contemporary media culture. The essay had a college paper quality to it, but it made some fine points and even took aim at Rush Limbaugh. But, the headline to the link at RCR was "Obama and a Post-Modern World of Untruth" even though Obama himself played almost no role in the essay.
I have long been skeptical of RealClearReligion. But, it is appalling to find that it is not only unclear, in this instance, it is not even very real.

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April 11-24, 2014

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