One of the problems with national story lines about primary elections is that primary turnout is so low, it is difficult to generalize about trends that might or might hold true in the autumn.
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.
Glad to see that our tireless – and fearless – friends at Faith in Public Life are leading the charge in organizing opposition to the Muslim-bashing that has become the modus operandi in some political circles. They organized a group of religious leaders to speak out against this new wave of religious intolerance, an intolerance that is little different in essence from that which torched the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1834 or stoked the flames of French anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus Affair. The text of their press release is here.
The other evening at a cookout here in Connecticut, I was speaking with some very smart, very liberal women about the importance of small women’s colleges in shaping a cadre of women with the education and the self-confidence to break the glass ceilings of earlier times. The women were all agreed that while young women can now gain access to Harvard or Yale too, there will always be a place for the women’s schools such as Wellesley or Smith or Mount Holyoke, not only because their own traditions are worth preserving, but because some percentage of young women will want that experience of a mostly all-female school, the freedom it confers from the non-stop pressure imposed by a hyper-sexualized culture, and that the women there are capable of bringing something different, and something important, to their subsequent careers because of their time at a women’s college. I am sure that much the same argument could be made for historically black colleges.
Okay, so I have held off criticizing LeBron James for abandoning Cleveland for South Beach. Lord knows he is not the first to leave Cleveland for warmer climes, although South Beach is all glitz and little else and I wish he had picked almost any place else. But, it is his life, and he can work and play where he wants.
But, after weeks of not responding to the ciriticism, Mr. James could have come forward with something magnanimous, something gracious, something about how much he loved his time in Cleveland. Instead, he sent out a 'tweet' that read: "Don't think for one minute that I haven't been keeping mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone." Nice. A dark, threatening tweet. Add me to your list LeBron. When will these guys realize that they are role models for our youth and they need to behave like grow-ups?
Today, we continue our focus on Ex Corde Ecclesiae in advance of its twentieth anniversary on Sunday. Our interviewee today is Fr. Robert Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York who teaches theology at Boston College.
The question: What have we learned from the implementation of Ex Corde?
Father Imbelli: (The following observations do not pretend to generalize beyond one person’s limited experience, though that experience represents 25 years of involvement with Catholic higher education in various colleges and universities.)
I think Ex Corde has significantly altered the conversation regarding Catholic higher education. Most importantly in that it has reintroduced into the discussion the crucial issue of what is the distinctive identity of the school in question. How does it differ from its competitors in the higher education field (and, inevitably, “market”).
I am up in Vermont today, checking out a law school. I had heard the city of Burlington referred to as a center of socialism, and indeed their longtime mayor, and one of the Green Mountain state’s current U.S. Senators, Bernie Sanders, is a self-described, not a Fox-described, socialist.
Here in Connecticut, the most significant development was that despite spending previously unheard of amounts of cash on advertising, turnout was exceedingly low in both parties for yesterday's primary, but especially for the GOP.
All this week, we are looking at Ex corde Ecclesiae, the encyclical of Pope John Paul II on Catholic higher education that celebrates its twentieth birthday this Sunday. I had originally thought only to do a couple of posts on the subject. Perhaps it is my being on vacation in Connecticut where I can take long walks, it seems we will be focusing on the subject in these pages all week.
Perhaps no issue is more central to the debate over Catholic identity, more contentious in terms of the relationship between ecclesiastical authority and the academy, and more given to ideological posturing than that of the mandates required to teach theology. “It is necessary that those who teach theological disciplines in any institute of higher studies have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority,” states the text, unambiguously enough. Is this right?
As mentioned, all this week, and probably next, this Blast From the Past section will be revisiting the 1970s edition of the Compton Encyclopedia, with which I grew up and which are still in my old bedroom. Some of the differences are stylistic, such as yesterday’s fulsome, almost devotional, entry for Christmas. Some other differences are demographic, such as the following entry.
“Baltimore, Md. The sixth largest city in the United States is Baltimore. Its location near Mason and Dixon’s line makes it a ‘border city.’ Along the waterfront is a busy area of factories, warehouses, railroads and docks. Here it is easy to realize that this is one of the nation’s leading ports and industrial centers. A few blocks north, in the quiet dignity of Mount Vernon Place, one becomes aware pf Baltimore’s historic past and its deeply rooted ties to the ‘old South.’”
I am not a fan of religious bigots whether they be the anti-Catholic Nativists of the nineteenth century or the anti-Muslim bigots of our own time. But, the way that these bigots are so thoroughly inalert to the anti-American impulses they are giving voice to, their denial of religious freedom, their stupidity about the history of Christian-Muslim relations, and the broad sweeping generalities they make about the Muslim world, all are profoundly anti-American as well as profoundly bigoted.
The good folks at the Center for American Progress have compiled a set of links to the latest ridiculousness being peddled by the anti-Muslim bigots. Read it and weep.