Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics looks at the latest Gallup figures on the God Gap. As usual, more religiously observant American tend to the Republicans, moderately religious Americans tend towards the Democrats, and non-religious Americans overwhelmingly support the Dems.
NCR pulled in a big haul of awards from the Catholic Press Association. But, I also wish to call attention to another one of the award winners. Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham won second place in the category Social Concerns category for his book "Too Expensive To Treat? Finitude, Tragedy and the Nenatal ICU" which can be found, and purchased, at Amazon by clicking here.
Camosy is one of the movers and shakers behind the Catholic Conversation Project, a group of young, untenured theologians who meet to discuss issues of concern to the Church. His commentaries have appeared in these pages before and I reviewed his book here.
Congrats to Camosy for his fine book and his well-earned award.
Yesterday, Michelle Bachmann was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos. He asked her about her claim that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery, a claim that does not pass the historical sniff test.
Bachmann not only stood by her remarks but brought an example. She cited the anti-slavery efforts of John Quincy Adams. To be sure, John Quincy was a great hero in the cause of abolition, but he was also nine years old when his dad signed the Declaration of Independence. What can we conclude from this? Bachmann saw the movie "Amistad."
If Pentecost is known, properly, as the “birthday” of the Christian Church, today is the Catholic Church’s “name day.” Unity in faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit, so Pentecost bespeaks a decidedly ecumenical flavor and agenda, but the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is a distinctly Roman day. This is why the Ecumenical Patriarch comes to Rome, or sends a legate, on this day as the Pope sends a legate to Istanbul on the Feast of St. Andrew.
The fact that the feast day is shared by the two greatest apostles tells us something about the nature of the Church. Peter is the rock, the foundation on which the Church is built. Paul is the great missionary, called to bring the Good News to the gentiles. The Catholic Church must always embody both vocations. It must be solid, rock solid, able to withstand the fads and threats that beset every age. It must also constantly be looking beyond itself, bringing the Gospels to the gentiles of our day. And not only to the gentiles, but the Church must bring the Gospel to those parts of our hearts and minds that remain hidden from the light of Christ.
The following Action Alert from the USCCB was issued today. (I apologize if links do not work - my cursor is beyond skittish and, as soon as I return to DC next week, will be getting a new computer. Bear with me.)
Protect our Poor and Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops urges Congress and the Administration to protect programs for poor and vulnerable persons during deficit reduction negotiations that are happening this week.
What you can do:
Urge the Administration and Congress to give priority to poor and vulnerable persons in the negotiations to reduce the deficit.
Fiscal responsibility is important and our current budget deficit must be addressed; however, a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons. A balanced approach requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.
Urge Congress and the Administration to consider these moral criteria to guide their budgetary decisions:
Chris Cillizza, the very bright political reporter at the Washington Post, looks at Michelle Bachmann's explicit efforts to become the, make that THE, Tea Party candidate of choice. And, he compares that effort to the 2008 effort of Gov, Mike Huckabee to become THE candidate of the religious right.
But, as Mark Silk points out, there is more than a little overlap between the Tea Party and the religious right. And, I would add that while Huckabee built his lightly financed campaign on the social network of home schoolers, in Bachmann, those home schoolers see not only a champion as they did with Huckabee, but one of their own. After all, most of the parents who actually do the home schooling are women.
There is no more important appointment a Pope makes than picking an Archbishop of Milan. One of the five largest dioceses in the world, with an illustrious history and its own Ambrosian Rite, Milan has given two of its sons to the papacy in the past century, Pope Pius XI and Pope Paul VI. So, the news that the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, is headed to Milan is very big news. There is an irony here too: Scola was considered too close to the ecclesial group Communione e Liberazione as a young man and, so, was denied admission to the Milanese seminary!
My review of a new book "Mrs. Mattingly's Miracle" is posted this morning over at the New Republic. I highly recommend both the review and the book!
It is not with a sense of schadenfreude that I heard the news that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had been convicted on multiple charges of corruption, most but not all relating to his attempt to “sell” the Senate seat President Obama vacated upon his election and which Blagojevich had the legal right to fill. I take no delight in the prospect of any man going to prison for 300 years, which is what Blagojevich is facing. But, I do take delight in the verdict as a vindication for the idea that no man is above the law and that, in the realm of politics, no crime is more grave than manipulating our constitutional system.
Peter Berkowitz is one of the three smartest people I have ever met. Our politics differ widely, but his commentaries are always thoughtful and profoundly intelligent, informed by his habit of devouring literature and articles and an almost super-human ability to recall everything he has ever read.
In the current Weekly Standard, Berkowitz reviews a new book by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, "Religion and Politics In a New Era." I do quibble with Berkowitz's line about "our universities." Our? My alma mater, Catholic University, taught me very well how to resist intellectual fads of the kind Berkowitz finds unsatisfying. But, the review - and the book - are the kinds of conservative contributions our national political debate needs. There is no Ayn Rand foolishness here, no ahistorical renderings of the founding, no Tea Party hatefulness.