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Madness in Rome

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John Allen reports on the possibility of a beatification ceremony for Pope John Paul II as early as next year. This is madness. After years of being frustrated at the slow pace with which the Vatican embraces change, in this one instance where haste could spell disaster, they appear to be rushing.
As Jason Berry has demonstrated time and again, it remains an open question as to how Pope John Paul II dealt with the clergy sex abuse crisis and while no one has raised charges of personal corruption against him, those charges have been leveled against his top aides. Documents pertaining to such corruption as may exist could be in a courtroom near you any day if the Vatican continues to lose its law suits. It would be a shock to the very idea of beatification if, shortly after Pope John Paul II was beatified, especially damning evidence of corruption close to the papal throne emerged.
Last year, Pope Benedict beatified John Henry Newman, who had as profound an impact on the Church as John Paul II and was able to wait for a hundred years to receive his due.

Off on the Wrong Feet

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The incoming House Republican Majority is getting off on the wrong foot. They wrong feet actually. Already, the tug-of-war has begun between the Tea Party extremists and the need to actually govern, as seen in the debate about extending the debt ceiling. And, another tug-of-war is already manifesting itself between rival interpretations of the November election results: Did voters send the signal that they wanted Democrats and Republicans to work together, or did they simply reject the Obama program? And, as ever, there is the equivalent of hazing as newcomers get used to the ways of Washington.

Anglican Bishops To Be Ordained RC Priests

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Three Anglican bishops who have decided to join the new ordinariate for former Anglicans will be ordained deacons on January 13 and priests two days later at Westminster Cathedral in London.
This is huge to my mind. The news accounts do not mention it, but these will presumably be "conditional ordinations" akin to a church baptism when the baby was already baptized at the hospital. We call it "supplying the rite" because, of course, you can't be baptized twice. You also can't be ordained twice. So, these bishops, who have been bishops for some time, are acknowledging that they actually are not bishops, or not fully bishops.

Memo To Cong. Issa: Think Narrative

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For the past two years, the Republicans in Congress have suffered acutely from subpoena envy and when they took the House in the midterms, the biggest immediate effect they can have on the government is to exercise their new power to investigate.
Congressman Darrell Issa is the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he will be leading the charge. According to Politico, he is beginning to indicate the areas he will be examining. A word to the wise: If Issa does not create a narrative to justify his investigations, those investigations will backfire. If the common theme is "Finding ways to save money," that sounds like a winner. But, if it looks more like "Everything but the Kitchen Sink to Tarnish Obama" Cong. Issa risks alienating the very people who gave him the chairman's gavel, centrist voters who want both parties to work together for the good of the country.
Stay tuned.

Dear Readers

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A Happy (or Prosperous, if you prefer) New Year to all my readers.
Distinctly Catholic is six months old. I am grateful too all my readers but especially to those of you like "Southern Catholic" and Michael Bindner who leave thoughtful, challenging comments. I encourage everyone to comment and I also encourage everyone to post your name. I make it a point to ignore comments from anonymous posters and recommend that everyone do the same. I do not respond to comments, believing that it is my job to say what I have to say in my original post and that the comments' section belongs to you, the readers, but I always read the comments by the end of the week and many of them provoke me to think twice about what I originally wrote. Thank you.

Exit Interviews for Fallen RCs?

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Over at her "Faith and Reason" blog at USAToday, Cathy Grossman highlights a suggestion by Father William Byron: As the Catholic Church continues to lose members, turning "former Catholics" into one of the largest self-designations in the country, why not conduct the equivalent of exit interviews with those who are leaving. Indeed, if you look aqt the comments' section, you will find people already listing their reasons for leaving.
If the bishops are going to take the New Evangelization seriously, this is a good place to start.

A 2011 Political Prediction

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I am not a fan of the “top ten” lists that come around this time of year. Do we really need to recall the top celebrity break-ups? As for looking into the future, if you think that is such a simple task, remember the commentary shortly after the 2008 election about the Republican Party being dead. There is one story from last year, however, that is on-going and which both dominated last year’s political news and will continue to dominate the news this coming year – the Tea Party – that warrants some attention because the way the story plays out is about to change.

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