I just completed an hour long interview on WHYY's "Radio Times" discussing the appointment of Archbishop Charles Chaput to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I was joined on the program by Professor Matthew Schmalz of Holy Cross in Worcester and Barbara Blaine of SNAP. You can catch the audio here.
I try to check in with Fox News every night while surfing the channels. Last night I watched Sean Hannity preside over a discuss of the impending default crisis. Two of his panelists, unable to cite a single reputable economist, simply repeated the Tea Party talking point that a failure to raise the debt ceiling need not cause economic catastrophe or a government default. Mr. Hannity egged them on. None of the three had the honesty to point out that even Cong. Paul Ryan's budget, already passed by the House, would require Congress to raise the debt ceiling. None of the three engaged the warnings issued by the credit rating agencies. All they offered was a complete and thorough denial of reality. Hannity is unhinged from reality.
Next thing you know, Mr. Hannity and his acolytes will deny the reality of climate change.
Next thing you know, Mr. Hannity and his viewers will deny that President Obama was born in the U.S.
As I wrote last week, we should all pray for whoever was picked to take over the Archdiocese of Philadelphia which has been in meltdown since February when a second Grand Jury Report indicated that archdiocesan officials had failed to follow their own guidelines regarding the protection of children. In addition, Philadelphia has had few priestly vocations in recent years compared to comparably sized dioceses. And, still worse, the archdiocese is due for a reconfiguration, and closure, of many parishes, a process that is painful even if it is done well.
Danmiel Maguire of Marquette University has an article up at Religion Dispatches in which he shows how Congressman Paul Ryan's attempts to invoke Catholic social teaching in defense of his budget proposals are mere window dressing, and, in the event, window dressing that is directly at odds with any truthful account of Catholic social teaching.
The New York Times has a look at "reparative therapy" in which some Christian psychologists try to turn gay people straight, and how it is or is not practised at the clinic run by Michelle Bachmann's husband.
Normally, a spouse's work is way down on the list of things with which the voters, and the media, should concern themselves. But, Congresswoman Bachmann has been touting the fact that this clinic is a small business and listing it among her credentials for the office of the presidency. Mind, friends of mine who work at clinics do not usually refer to them as small businesses. They seem them primarily as aiming at goal other than profit. Be that as it may, reparative therapy is to psychology what climate change denial is to geology. This is kookie stuff. And, it is another indication of how far off the tracks the far right has gone.
Dear Mr. President,
I was thrilled to vote for you in 2008. I admired your intelligence and your self-confidence. I thought your calls for a post-partisan future were naïve, but well-meant. And, you spoke in a language, a morally driven language, that evoked the strong words of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, language about the common good and the least of our brethren. I thought in voting for you not only that my vote – and millions of others – would help free our nation from the idolatry of laissez-faire economic theory, but that you stood with FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson, in their commitment to keeping the Democratic Party as the champion of the working class.
The news reports about your desire for a “grand bargain” now fill me and others like me with dread. So, let me start by saying what I was not voting for when I voted for you in 2008.
Somehow, Herman Cain thinks building a mosque in Tennessee is an infringement on his freedom.
I use the verb "thinks" loosely. Can this man explain how he understands the nature of freedom of worship? Can he explain anything? How is this idiot still polling higher than serious candidates like Newt Gingrich or Tim Pawlenty?
Sr. Mary Ann Walsh uses the occasion of Bill Keller's now controversial review in the New York Times to look at the phenomenon of lapsed Catholics. It is a moving post, well worth reading, especially because it articulates the hold the Church has upon the imaginations even of those who leave her.
This article in the Huffington Post looks at the controversy surrounding Michele Bachmann's church - which she apparently only quit last month - and their beliefs about the papacy.
The spokesoman for the Evangelical Lutheran Church said Bachmann's pastor had explained what he thought was the critical distinction, namely that their church "primarily views the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ, not the individual popes themselves." Not sure about you, but that does not really satisfy does it?
Opponents of the Maryland DREAM Act have garnered a sufficient number of signatures to delay implementation of the law and to put the measure to a referendum of voters in 2012. This has ugly implications not only for immigrants, but for the very health of our political life, which is not exactly flourishing to begin with. On the other hand, there is, as almost always, a silver lining.