This summer, having completed several projects, I permitted myself a literary pleasure of the highest order: Taking up Churchill’s memoirs of World War II for my bedtime reading. I have read all six volumes twice previously, and in seeking certain quotes have taken up a volume, located the quote, but then found it impossible to put down without re-reading the entire volume. Why do these tomes have such a fascination for me? After all, we know how the story ends. But, do yourself a favor. Next time you are in a used bookstore, see if you can't find these volumes and add them to your library. They are a treasure.
John Gehring, at Faith in Public Life, offers his take on the debate about religious liberty and the HHS decision to not renew a contract with the USCCB for their human trafficking efforts.
I put more of the blame for this mess on the people at HHS, but I agree that everyone needs to take a step back and not engage in heated rhetoric that only enflames the situation. The object here, after all, is to care for the survivors of human trafficking. For starters, the Administration has proved willing to correct errors, as witnessed by the decision to reinstate much of the funding for the Catholic Volunteer Network through Americorps. We call the pope Pontiff because he is called to build bridges, not burn them, and we would all do well to follow his example.
My colleague here at NCR, and fellow Nutmegger, Rev. Richard McBrien has beat me to the punch with a fine commentary in Saint Charles Borromeo, and the profound influence he had on Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, who edited the "acta" of Borromeo's apostolic visitations of his archdiocese. The great reformer of Trent directly influenced the great reformer of Vatican II - heaven forfend. Do I discern a hermeneutic of reform?!!!
The USCCB Media Blog has a post up aboput a recent talk by Bishop Danuel Flores of Brownsville. Bishop Flores discusses the way immigration patterns are changing due to the endemic violence in Mexico. Before, a father would come over first to make money to bring over the family. Now, the wife and kids are sent first to escape the violence and the father often stays in Mexico working to pay for himself and his family. Given the differences in wages on either side of the border, you can imagine the increase in poverty such arrangements occasion.
When will we finally get a humane immigration policy in this country? And why are Cubans the only Latinos allowed to get virtually automatic documents when the violence in Mexico has far outstripped the violence in Cuba?
Our culture is drowning in rights. Everyone thinks they have a right to everything and some take rights they do enjoy to excuse truly abhorrent behavior. Women have a right to free contraception. Bar customers claim a right to drink one too many. Wall Street sharks, take the right to private property that is justly theirs, and turn it into an excuse to rig the game and rip off the economy and the taxpayer. A customer spills his coffee on himself and thinks he has a right to sue McDonald's for producing too-hot coffee. And, of course, once the Supreme Court went mucking around in the penumbra of the Constitution, they found constitutional rights that, for some reason, had never occurred to the authors of that document.
Greg Erlandson, editor of Our Sunday Visitor, as a very clarifying post up about conservative reactions to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace's "Note" on the financial crisis. "Snarky" is the word he uses to describe them.
What is good for the liberal goose is good for the conservative gander, Erlandson suggests, and conservatives have shown the limits of their loyalty to Rome by their dismissive and often rude comments about the Pontifical Council and the document it issued.
In his latest blog posting, Archbishop Timothy Dolan invites us to consider what we used to call "the last things," you recall, death, judgment, heaven and hell. And, quite rightly, Dolan points out that there is nothing morbid or even depressing about thinking about death and dying for the Christian.
I think we need more of this ole time religion in our pulpits. Yes, we have work to do on this earth, but we remain destined for a better world than this one, and that vision of that better world helps to keep both perspective on our travails and encouragement towards the goal. Keep it coming Archbishop Dolan!
My interview with Sally Steenland at the Center for American Progress has been posted. It can be found here.
Molly Redden, at the New Republic, looks at the short-lived prospect that evangelicals would start caring about the environment.
Yesterday, I noted that I am not much of a fan of the cast of mind which warns darkly about “cultural elites” out to attack the Catholic Church, but that there were two exceptions. Yesterday, I looked at the world of legal scholarship which I believe really has adopted an attitude towards freedom and justice that is antithetical to the Catholic Church, even though I think most of the legal scholars who adopt this attitude do not think of themselves as hostile to the Church. It is more the case that they view the Church as some weird historical leftover, the Easter Bunny with real estate, certainly not an institution possessed of a coherent worldview.