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Abp Dolan on Subsidiarity and Solidarity


Last week, after Congressman Paul Ryan released his correspondence with Archbishop Timothy Dolan, some conservatives claimed the President of the USCCB was, in effect, endorsing the Ryan plan. This was obviously not true, but sometimes only a headline gets read and some headlines had more spin than others.

Now, Archbishop Dolan, having ginned up some broader interest in Catholic social teaching, follows his letter to Ryan with a column at his blog on the website of the Archdiocese of New York. Here he reiterates what he wrote to Ryan, namely, that one of the Catholic principles Ryan cited, subsidiarity, must always be linked to another such principle, solidarity.

Dolan also goes on to examine how the Church and her pastors interact with the political realm. He writes:

Newt's Getting Desperate


When you look to a hack like Zell Miller for help, you're in trouble. Sarah Posner has the story at Religion Dispatches.
Mr. Gingrich: You are better than this. You are a Catholic now and you should consult what the Holy Father has had to say about Islam before jumping into bed with these neo-Crusaders.
I acknowledge the difficulties in Christian relations with Islam. I am aware of the violence that often accompanies the relationship in Africa and Indonesia and elsewhere. I hope that Islam will find, and find fast, some ways of accomodating itself to those parts of modernity that are worthy of accomodation, such as religious tolerance. But, this hate-filled nonsense is profoundly un-Christian.

NY-26 and the End of the Ryan Budget


Kathy Hochul won big last night in the special election in NY-26. In such a rock-ribbed Republican district, winning by one vote is big, but winning 48 percent to the GOP candidate's 42 percent is very big. Yes, there was a third party candidate, Jack Davis, but it is unclear which party his votes would have gone to had he not been in the race. (Note to GOP strategists: Tea Partyers get Medicare too.) And before the voting began, the GOP tried to deflect blame for a loss by arguing that if Davis was in double digits, there was no way for the GOP to win. Alas, Davis did not get double digits and the GOP candidate still lost. This despite spending gobs of money.
As I mentioned yesterday, Medicare was the issue that drove the race. Medicare is not just an important issue in its own terms, but it is a kind of shorthand for "government we like." Americans love Medicare. So, while Republicans can often appeal to Independent voters by opposing "big government spending" in the abstract, when the issue is made not abstract, and budgets have a way of doing that, voters discover that they actually like government when it does certain things.

The GOP Presidential Field


The GOP presidential field is beginning to take shape, and it has all the warmth and attraction of a jello-mold. This sad fact tells us nothing about President Obama’s political vulnerability: He is incredibly vulnerable. Like all presidents, Obama’s re-election chances hinge largely on the economy and even as the recovery gains steam, most economists are not predicting the kind of increase in employment in the next year that would turn Obama’s campaign in 2012 into a repeat of Reagan’s 1984 “It’s morning in America” campaign.

Furthermore, Obama does not have until November 2012 to bring down the unemployment rate. People’s sense of the economy has a lag time, as George H.W. Bush found out in 1992. Even though the economy really was rebounding by election day, people’s views of the state of the economy start hardening in February and by the end of March, barring a catastrophe, those views are set. Certainly, filing income taxes is always a cold shower for every family, inviting them to take off any rose-colored glasses when assessing their economic status.

Christian Ethics Meets Peter Singer


Professor Charles Camosy has a post up at the Catholic Moral Theology blog about a recent meeting at Oxford at which a group of Christian moral theologians dialogued with Peter Singer. There was, it appears, no profound meeting of the minds, but Singer admitted some common ground on issues of global poverty and the like. Such encounters are necessary if we Catholics are to do more than preach to the choir.

Crisis Responds to Academics Who Criticized Boehner


The newly reborn Crsis Magazine has an article up by Stephen Krason who responds to the letter sent to Speaker John Boehner by more than 80 prominent Catholic academics in advance of his commencement address at Catholic University.
The central theme of Krason's article is that there are many different ways to help the poor, and Boehner and Ryan et al., are simply trying new means to that shared objective. The problem with this is that Boehner and Ryan have not been claiming their policies will help the poor - at least not until Cong. Ryan decided to write a letter to Archbishop Dolan, a letter that was filled with assertions but no facts. Ryan has been having his staff read Ayn Rand who was not known for her commitment to the poor. No, the argument put forth by Boehner and Ryan has been that we face a massive mudget crisis, not so massive that we need to raise taxes on the super-rich, mind you, but big enough to end programs upon which people have come to rely.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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