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NCR has learned that John Carr, the executive director of the USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development will be leaving his job after more than twenty years. Carr's resignation letter gave two reasons for leaving:

"First, I have been offered a Fellowship this fall at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, focusing on the important links between faith and public life. Second, I want to focus my remaining energies on efforts to help form, support and encourage Catholic lay men and women to be more effective leaders in bringing Catholic principles to public life and all of society. This has long been a priority for me and now is the right time to act on my conviction that new efforts are needed to help Catholic laity act on Catholic principles on human life and dignity, economic and social justice, religious freedom and solidarity, care for creation and peace."

Weigel & the Cristeros


So, George Weigel went to the movies to see "For Greater Glory" and it gave him the warm fuzzies. Still, the title of his latest example of agitprop "The Cristeros & us" is a little too precious in the use of that pronoun. I am reminded of a book of poems about the Holocaust: a publicity blurb written by Maya Angelou stated (I do not recal the exact quote), "This book reminds everyone that none of us survived the Holocaust without scars" to which Leon Wielseltier replied "Us?"

Remembering D-Day


Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day. I had a flurry of meetings and then was unable to find the citation I wanted to recall that dread and fateful day. I could not find the story in any of the three biographies of Churchill I have in my library, nor in his war memoirs. But, this morning I was rewarded when I consulted Jon Meacham’s “Franklin and Winston.”

Churchill plunged himself into the planning of “Overlord,” the code name for the Normandy invasion. Meacham relates the story of an after-midnight meeting held at Downing Street to discuss the precise timing of the invasion. Generals Eisenhower and Ismay were present among others. According to Admiral Alan Kirk, “They were arguing back and forth, back and forth, what should be done. Finally Mr. Churchill lost patience, and he smote the table and said, ‘Well, what I would like to know is, when did William cross?’ The accused stood mute. No one could remember. He was obviously talking about William the Conqueror. Finally Pug Ismay, standing behind Mr. Churchill, coughed into his hand and said, ‘Sir, I think it was 1066.’”

The Boston Celtics


There were two things about last night's victory by the Boston Celtics over the Miami Heat that struck a nerve. One was in the last minute when Paul Pearce had the ball and he was being guarded by Lebron James. James is arguably the most incredibly athletic phenom in the league, perhaps in any league. Pearce, like the rest of the Celtics, is considerably older than James and he lacks James' natural athletic prowess. But, he stared James down, took a step back and launched a three-point shot that caught nothing but net. The ball came off of his fingers but the shot originated in his heart.

The second thing that stood out was what transpired at every time out. As a team, the Celtics went to their bench. On the other side of the court, five individuals walked to their bench. The Celtics are a team, they play as a team, they have some extraordinary talent but their greatest talent is that they play as a team. The Heat, on the other hand, seem like five separate sub-contractors, brought together to work on a common project but never quite functioning as a team.

Grim, Grim, Grim in Wisconsin


To say that last night’s results in the Wisconsin recall election were disheartening is a bit like saying oyster sorbet is a bad idea. (Yes, in a fit of inventiveness, the chefs at New York’s River Café once created such a concoction and it was as bad as you would imagine.) It is not only that Gov. Scott Walker will be emboldened to pursue his divisive brand of politics in the Badger State, it is that voters in all fifty states must wake to the realization that GOP fundraisers across the country have new evidence to bring to fat cat donors: Give us enough money and we can win.

Dear CDF: Please Condemn My Book


Yesterday morning, I went to Amazon to see how Sr. Margaret Farley's book was performing in sales. It was #96 in the "sub-category" of "gender and sexuality" within the broader category of religion and spirituality. This morning, it is #1. It also is now the #1 book in the sub-category "theology."

So, I have a request of the CDF. Could you please find something to condemn in my recent biography of Jerry Falwell? I could use the extra sales.

On Wisconsin


Voters in Wisconsin today are deciding whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker. I am not a fan of recall elections although they were designed precisely for this kind of situation: a candidate runs on one message, gets into office, and governs in ways that the voters clearly did not endorse. Walker did not put much if any emphasis on the need to deny the collective bargaining rights of state employees when he ran two years ago, but that was the centerpiece of his efforts to bring the state's finances under control, and effort made more difficult by Walker's insistence on cutting taxes first.


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In This Issue

January 29-February 11, 2016


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