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Reactions to the Synod

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The reactions to the synod’s midway relatio continue to pour in. You would think someone denied the divinity of Christ. But, the emotions are strong because people are aware that something big is going on in Rome, they have seen it now for a little more than a year and one half, a new way of evangelizing, one based on accompaniment and encounter as the method, and they want to know if the bishops will stand with the pope or not.

Voter Suppression & the Culture of Exclusion

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Last week, a series of court decisions were handed down regarding new voting laws in several states. The Supreme Court tossed out new Voter ID requirements in Wisconsin, but upheld other restrictions on voting in North Carolina. A lower court threw out parts of Texas’ voting restriction laws, and that state’s Attorney General threatened to appeal. Earlier, new voting restrictions in Ohio were upheld.

Will Marshall's Inadequate Rx for Dems

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Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute, has a Politico Magazine article up in which he suggests how the Democratic Party can capture the center and redefine U.S. politics. But, nowhere in his piece does he really address the need for Democrats to discuss values and, when he focuses on the need for Democrats to embrace "pragmatism," he seems unaware that pragmatism is either a means or a value itself, albeit a thin one.

Halftime at the Synod

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We are halfway through the Synod on the Family. After a week of interventions, prepared speeches delivered to the full body, now the synod fathers break into small discussion groups to burrow into the themes discussed. Very little has leaked out of the synod, and the new method of the Vatican press office leaves much to be desired.

Attn: DC NCR Fans

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Next Thursday, October 16, Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought in Public Life will be hosting a discussion: "Seeking the Common Good in an Age of Polarization." The event begins at 7 p.m. in Gaston Hall and features, among others, NCR's own Caitlin Hendel. The Initiative is the brainchild of John Carr who has sponsored many wonderful conversations since the Initiative began last year. Don't miss this one!

"Facilitate" is Back

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Last year, at the conclusion of the annual USCCB plenary in November, the statement from the bishops regarding the HHS contraception mandate dropped the language about the accommodation for religious institutions requiring those institutions to "fund and/or facilitate" the objectionable coverage. This "fund and/or facilitate" language is the language of illicit material cooperation, which is why it was dropped. Most bishops, at least the sane ones, have no intention of closing down ministries if they are required to comply with the accommodation.

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