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Obama's Wise Caution on Libya

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Watching TV night, there were criticisms from across the political spectrum that President Obama failed to speak out more forcefully on behalf of the people in Libya who have taken to the streets in an effort to overthrow their tyrant.

There is no argument but that Gadhafi is one of the most evil people on the planet. There is no argument but that the people of Libya should be free from that evil regime. But, Gadhafi has helicopter gunships and the people do not. The last time I heard about helicopter gunships shooting on innocent civilians, the evil tyrant was Saddam Hussein. You will recall that in the first Gulf War, the U.S. encouraged both the Shia in the south and the Kurds in the north to rise up against the regime. They did so, believing that American encouragement would come with some degree of American protection. To their everlasting misery and to America’s eternal shame, they were deceived in that belief. When Saddam unleashed his gunships, the protesters the U.S. had encouraged were slaughtered en masse. The United States did nothing.

Obama Admin Drops DOMA Defense

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The Obama Administration has determined that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, is unconstitutional and they will no lobger defend the law in court proceedings.
This puts the administration on a collision course with the USCCB to be sure, and just so, I fail to see the political benefit in this move for the administration. The USCCB has declined to join the effort to repeal the health care reform law and it gave a mixed verdict on the new conscience regulations. Of course, the move will help with fundraising in liberal circles, which is a prime concern. And, in the strange world of liberal jurisprudence these days, I suppose the determination that DOMA is unconstitutional makes sense. But, why not wait until the courts sort it out?

Cardinal Turkson's Address: Update

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NCR has been given a corrected version of the text of Cardinal Peter Turkson's magnificent address to the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, held in Washington last week. We reprint it here and hope it will receive the wide distribution it deserves, and that its insights will make tehir way into sermons throughout the land, and especially in Wisconsin!

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in the United States:
“Protecting Human Life and Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy”

Washington, D.C., 13-16 February 2011

The Legacy of Rerum Novarum:
The Current Challenges of Catholic Social Teaching

I. Introduction

People in Glass Bordellos Should Not Throw Stones

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Former House Speaker and potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was asked to address the, ehem, disconnect between his defense of marriage and his personal conduct. Every sinner has a saint inside waiting to come out, but it is hard to see how Gingrich could survive a presidential run if questions like this are going to be asked, and they will be asked. If Mr. Gingrich was a little less convinced he was right about everything, he might not be such a target for the charge of hypocrisy. But a Newt without the certainty would not be Newt. The rest of us just have to be careful to walk around the broken glass everywhere.

Zuhlsdorf Disses the Pope Again

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In an article in which Father Zuhlsdorf comments on the negotiations between the Holy See and the Lefebvre crowd (and which contains the evidently required reference to this newspaper as the "fishwrap," - an honor, given the source), he writes:

"It is no surprise that the SSPX would object to the beatification of John Paul II. But then, so do a lot of liberals. The first Assisi confab was so dreadful that anyone would hope and pray that it not be repeated."

Well, of course, Pope Benedict XVI is repeating the Assisi confab. I guess he did not get Zuhlsdorf's memo that we should not hope nor pray about it happening again.

And, does it strike anyone else as a bit absurd that he is so generous in his estimation of the Lefebvre crowd and so damning towards those of us who have not left the Church and gone into schism?

RIP: Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P.

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Here is a statement from Catholic University President John Garvey on the death of Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P.
I was fortunate to meet Father Pritzl when he was a layman teaching at CUA in the early 1980s. I remember him leaving the faculty to become a Dominican novice and admiring his courage in abandoning his career to follow God's call. That courage never left him. He had been through three years of hell battling cancer, but in that battle his faith shone through as clear as day. When I would run into him on campus, he never once uttered a word of self-pity or despair, indeed he turned the conversation to the events of the day and to my own activities. He was a truly lovely man in every regard, with a stellar intellect, a gift for teaching, and a kindness that was extended to all. It breaks my heart to think of him taken from us so young.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

CHA Weighs In On Conscience Rgs

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The Catholic Health Association has issued the following statement on the new conscience protection regulations issued by the Obama Administration:

The Catholic Health Association (CHA) is pleased to see the clarity of the new Federal Health Care Conscience Protections issued by the Department of Health and Human Services especially in regard to the protection of conscience rights of institutions and individual health care workers, most particularly in regard to abortion. The explicit citing of the legislative protections is appreciated. Also, CHA is gratified to see a commitment to education and a pathway for enforcement. We look forward to the implementation of these regulations.

The CHA again demonstrates how Catholics need not reflexively reject anything that comes from the Obama White House. Kudos to Sister Carol and the rest of the good people at CHA.

Irish Bishops on the Economy

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Our friends at Vox Nova highlight a recent statement by the Irish bishops on that nation's economic woes. I think the headline, "The Irish Church is Back" may be a bit premature. The Irish Bishops remain horribly compromised by the sex abuse scandal that they are only just beginning to wrap their hearts and minds around. But, their statement on the economy is a prophetic witness to Christian belief in the face of economic hardships. What a shame that they are so morally compromised at this moment that this statement may not get the hearing it deserves.

Entitlement Reform & Solidarity

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The past few days, I have been looking at the on-coming debate about entitltement reform through the lens of Catholic social teaching, specifically applying two of that teaching’s fundamental principles, the common good and subsidiarity, to the issue. Today, we look at the third leg of the Catholic social teaching stool, solidarity.

If subsidiarity argues for the resolution of social problems at the lowest level of social organization, that is because at such lower levels, relationships are more human, familial and neighborly, and the solution will be more interpersonal than impersonal. Consequently, the type of human solidarity that one can find at the familial and local levels barely needs to be pointed out, it is almost taken for granted, if your cousin or your neighbor needs a helping hand, you lend it.

Paranoia Hits Nat'l Review

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The National Review is the kind of magazine one assumes follows basic standards of journalism. You know, get informed reporters and commentators to write about topics intelligently. Obviously I do not usually agree with their editorial stance, but neither do I expect them to indulge in the kind of paranoid fantasies we associate with, say, Glenn Beck.

But, Michael New has an analysis of the new conscience protection regulations that offers not a scintilla of evidence for his speculation that the new regulations were released at this time to coincide with the vote to defund Planned Parenthood. If Mr. New had bothered to pick up the phone, he would have learned that the new conscience regulations had been in the works for some time, that a notice they would be issued by the end of February had gone up long before the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood was offered, and that there was, in fact, no political effort on the administration's part to release the regs as any kind of a reply to the vote on Planned Parenthood.

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