National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Distinctly Catholic

Graduaton Wars Continue (& That's A Good Thing!)


I wonder: What is it about us Catholics that we seem to be the only ones arguing about graduation speakers this time of year? There are two answers to this question and both speak well of Catholicism.

First, a secular university can live by its own lights, but a Catholic university must conform to both the methods and norms of a modern university and to the life and faith of the Catholic Church. This makes Catholic institutions of higher learning far more interesting than their secular counterparts, more resistant to fads, the kind of place where a reductionist or a megalomaniac or a poseur will fund a bump in his road and be exposed or frustrated in his ambitions. The interplay between faith and reason, and I would add, the access to truths that are only available within a committed faith life, these enrich Catholic universities immeasurably. They also breed controversy, in the best sense of the word.

Abp Gomez Responds to Obama's Speech on Immigration


Archbishop Jose Gomez, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration issued a statement yesterday in response to President Obama's speech calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
It is difficult to see how the political landscape will permit much movement on this vital issue until after the 2012 election, but progress can be made if the Democrats make immigration reform an issue, run on it, and win.

Initial Thoughts on Letter to Boehner


A couple of things are especially striking about the letter a group of prominent academics will deliver to Speaker John Boehner tomorrow morning regarding his upcoming comencement address at Catholic University.

As I noted in my post where I printed the text of the letter, the academics do not call on CUA to rescind its invitation to Speaker Boehner. There are times and places where it is appropriate to be censorious, but a university setting is not one of those places and a commencement address is not one of those times. Apart from Holocaust deniers, any university community benefits from having a range of voices on its campus.

Catholic Academics Challenge Boehner


Breaking News.
UPDATE: More names have been added to the list of signatories below.

A group of prominent Catholic academics have signed a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, on the occasion of his forthcoming commencement address at the Catholic University of America. I will provide commentary later today, but the letter really speaks for itself, respectfully, clearly and in a way to challenge the Speaker to consider his policies. The letter will be delivered to Boehner's office personally by some of the signatories tomorrow morning.

The Hermeneutic of Reform & the American Hierarchy


Pope Benedict XVI employed the phrase “hermeneutic of reform” in his famous 2005 address to the curia, in which he faulted some of the early histories of the Second Vatican Council. Those histories tended to focus almost exclusively on the discontinuities brought on by the Council and Benedict reminded his listeners that a true hermeneutic of reform entails elements of both continuity and discontinuity.

Gerson Takes on Ron Paul


In this morning's Washington Post, Michael Gerson takes on Ron Paul, specifically his comments about legalizing drugs made during last week's GOP presidential debate. Gerson exposes the principal fault line in today's GOP, between its libertarian instincts and its social conservatism. There is no obvious way to reconcile these two positions. Alas, the Enlightenment freedoms celebrated by Congressman Paul have little in common with the freedom of the children of God celebrated by St. Paul.

RealClearReligion Not So Clear


The website, RealClearReligion, is a kind of clearinghouse for links, but they display a disturbing bias to mostly highlight articles that lean right and hard right. As Reagan used to joke, the problem with his administration was that the right hand never knew what the far right hand was doing.
Of course, a bit of ideological leaning one way or another is fine, indeed, I am nervous most among those who claim not to lean at all. But, yesterday, RCR put up a link to an article at Catholic Vote, by Brad Birzer, that focused on the multiple ways truth is devalued in our contemporary media culture. The essay had a college paper quality to it, but it made some fine points and even took aim at Rush Limbaugh. But, the headline to the link at RCR was "Obama and a Post-Modern World of Untruth" even though Obama himself played almost no role in the essay.
I have long been skeptical of RealClearReligion. But, it is appalling to find that it is not only unclear, in this instance, it is not even very real.

Political Accountability


In this morning's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne points to the screams that came from the right when President Obama proposed a bailout of the auto industry. But, those critics have been strangely silent now that the bailout has demonstrably worked, with, for example, GM posting increased revenue and profits when it was facing bankruptcy just two short years ago.
The idea that government can only make things worse is a false idea, but the conservative anti-government idolatry is impervious to a little thing like facts.


Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic


NCR Email Alerts