You won’t read these words from my pen – or I suppose better to say from my laptop – often, so listen up. Bill Donohue is right. He wants the owner of the Empire State Building to allow the structure to be lit in blue and white to honor Mother Teresa’s centenary.
Welcome to Distinctly Catholic, a blog by Michael Sean Winters that examines politics, religion and the estuary where the two meet, all from a distinctively Catholic point of view. The blog is small "c" catholic as well as big "C" Catholic, examining a wide range of issues but always from the perspective of Catholic history and theology.
Last week, I called attention to the fact that there is no “confusion” about whether or not Obama is a Muslim, because confusion comes from an inability to process information. The misinformation at the root of the “Obama is a Muslim” story produces not confusion but manipulation.
The Second Vatican Council was the central event in the life of the Church in the past 100 years and remains the central point from which all theological discussion flows. But, it was also like watching a dam break as decades, even a couple of centuries, of pent up concerns, insights, and desires came rushing over the wall. Vatican II was a good thing, a very necessary thing, but if the refusal to engage modernity that preceded it was destructive to the Church, some of the floodwaters unleashed at Vatican too were also destructive.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, one of the most frequent blogger at National Review Online, must be gunning for an audition on Fox News. Part of the blogging art is to be a little “forward leaning” as we say in the trade, but her post yesterday “The Obama Muslim Confusion,” is precisely the kind of slimy manipulation that has resulted in 31 percent of Republicans, and 18 percent of all Americans, believing the President is a Muslim.
There is no “confusion” about whether or not Obama is a Muslim. When Rush Limbaugh refers to President Obama as “Imam Obama,” he knows Obama is not a Muslim. A person may be “confused” about information, but people are manipulated by misinformation. Lopez's manipulation of a story from Obama’s memoir is appalling.
We close out our week looking at the contributions children of immigrants have made to the nation by examining the most prominent child of an immigrant in America today, President Barack Obama.
Eamon Duffy is a great scholar of the History of Christianity, and he brings a historian’s care to his discussion of Pope Benedict XVI’s views on liturgical reform.
The power of the press is such that they have a professional responsibility to be careful in their word choice, indeed, a moral responsibility.
Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith have a very important article up today at Politico entitled, “The new battle: What it means to be an American.” They argue that Obama’s push for various reform efforts in health care, financial regulations, the size and scope of government, his support for the Bush-sponsored bailouts of Wall Street and his own decision to bailout Detroit, all have shifted the focus away from the “social issues” that used to drive the GOP to a different, and in a sense, deeper issue of what it means to be an American.
The worst thing about reaching fifty is the recognition that I must write out a will. I am not wealthy but I have collected a few nice things. I would like my library to go to a graduating seminarian at Catholic University to be chosen by the rector of the seminary and the Dean of the School of Religion. I hope someone wonderful is around to take my wonderful dogs. I wish one of my nieces had taken up the piano so I would have someone to give my extraordinary 1920 Mason & Hamlin piano. Ezra, a friend with whom I used to work at Kramer’s and is the only person I will permit in the kitchen when I am working there, gets the copper pots I lugged back from Paris, one per trip. Etc. Whatever money and property is left will be split between my family and the Church. There will be no, repeat no, restrictions on the money left to the church. The reason: The O’Neill legacy.
Leave it the hate-filled Father John Zuhlsford to suggest that instead of a mosque and community center near Ground Zero, there be erected a chapel dedicated to Sts. Nunilo and Adolia, two 9th century Christian martyrs who were executed as apostates under an Islamic regime. I do not know many people who look to the 9th century for inspiration on the inter-religious dialogue front, but Zuhlsdorf is happy to stoke the flames of religious hatred. This is beyond Yahoo. This is evil. And for someone who fancies himself as uber-orthodox, his Muslim-bashing could not be more different from Pope Benedict’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim world and build relationships founded on common respect and common concern for the human dignity of all. Zuhlsdorf is moving into terrain that is as dangerous as it is looney, Father Coughlin territory. The harm that Coughlin did the Church was real, and he only had the radio.