As many of you know, I am working on a biography of the Rev. Jerry Falwell. One of the themes of his sermons, before, during and after the Moral Majority period of his career, was that America was losing its soul, changing in ways that were inimical to the Christian faith. To give you an idea of how much things have, in fact, changed, all this week I am taking advantage of my sojourn in Connecticut to peruse the encyclopedias I was given as a boy. They are the Compton’s Encyclopedia, 1970 edition, and they were designed for students so they are a little undemanding, but they clearly show how different the world looked back then, and it was that world which Rev. Falwell wanted to hang on to. By way of example, the following entry for “Christmas” might not survive in later, more politically correct editions.
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.
Ya know, one of the things they should teach in Blogging 101 is never, ever make analogies to Nazi Germany, because they say more about the intellectual desperation of the person making the analogy than they do about the situation being described.
I knew there would be something histrionic in store when I went to InsideCatholic.com, saw a picture of two hands intertwined, each with a rainbow ring on it, and the caption, “This Just In: Civilization Ends.” But, even I was surprised to see a reference to Weimar in the opening graph.
To be sure, I, like many, was disappointed in the scope and logic of the California court decision regarding gay marriage. But, Weimar?
All this week, we will be asking Catholic educators about the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Today, we hear from Barbara McCrabb, assistant director for higher education of the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The question: What have we learned from the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae?
Barbara McCrabb: When Pope John Paul II launched a conversation on the nature and purpose of the Catholic university in 1990, he said each stakeholder played an integral part in the conversation. He looked to faculty, students, administrators, trustees, sponsoring religious congregations, the bishop, and his collaborators in the local Church to examine four essential characteristics of Catholic universities:
- Christian inspiration;
- On-going reflection, in the light of faith, upon human knowledge and the contribution to that knowledge through research;
- Fidelity to the Christian message, and;
- Institutional commitment to the service of others.
He affirmed Catholic higher education’s irreplaceable task and indispensable mission.
Greetings from Tea Party country. Most people think of Connecticut and they think of the wealthy suburbs of New York City, where David Letterman and Joanne Woodward live. Or they think of the old shore towns, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Groton, Mystic and Stonington, where “old money” homes are elegant and understated, a far cry from the mansions of the Hamptons on Long Island.
Next Sunday, the Feast of the Assumption, will mark the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter on Catholic colleges and universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The document is most remembered, and was most controversial, on account of its emphasis on Catholic identity, a subject we will consider at greater length tomorrow. Today, I want to look at a separate issue that Ex Corde deals with, namely, the role of theology in modern intellectual life. Additionally, all this week, in our Q & A segment, we will be discussing Ex Corde and its implementation with a host of prominent Catholic educators.
Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, from whom we quoted yesterday on Cardinal Gibbons, also provided a fine account of America’s first bishop, John Carroll, and specifically his aversion to political involvement. Ellis’s prose-style is unequalled and happy is the bishop who warrants comparison to John Carroll.
Georgia Congressman Phil Gingrey was on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last night, supporting the idea of obliterating the Fourteenth Amendment to deny the constitutional guarantee of citizenship to those born here if their parents are illegal immigrants.
I remember the day well. It was August 6, 1978, feast of the Transfiguration and my Uncle Bob’s birthday. I was driving down Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, Connecticut on my way to work.
We conclude our week of examining the episcopacy with comments from Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez, the Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Archbishop Gonzalez previously served as the Bishop of Corpus Christi, Texas and as an auxiliary in Boston.
The question: What is the best thing about being a bishop in 2010?
Kudos to the Republican voters in the Volunteer State who last night nominated Bill Haslam as their candidate for Governor. Haslam fended off challenges from two more conservative candidates who challenged him on a host of issues, including raising taxes while Mayor of Knoxville.