The reaction at LifeSiteNews to the release of a report from the synod, summing up the first week's discussions, is breathtaking. Dissent, a failed project of the fringe left, now moves squarely to the fringe right, where it will become a different kind of failed project. Me? I am sticking with Holy Mother Church and Papa Francesco.
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.
Okay - so Pope Francis did not mention Cardinal Burke by name in the homily he delivered this morning at Mass. Still, it is hard not to see his words as an obvious rebuttal of the line Cardinal Burke has been touting the past few weeks. The money quote: "Holy law is not an end in itself."
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.
I know, I know. No one should look to the Huffington Post to understand a Vatican document.
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.
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!
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.
Anyone with ears to hear knows that the "intrinsically disordered" language regarding homosexual relations has failed to achieve anything except make the Church look foolish and mean-spirited. The synod fathers apparently have discussed the need to find better language with which to convey the Church's teachings in this area. But Cardinal Burke still thinks he is being pastoral when he deploys this language.
On Monday mornings, the staff and faculty associated with Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) gather in a small chapel on the ground floor of Visitation Hall for Mass. This past Monday, Father Timothy Scully, CSC, who started ACE in 1993, was the celebrant when I joined the group for the Mass. The service is simple: guests, including myself, are welcomed, an introductory hymn (2 verses, very RC), a short homily, a song at communion. The passing of the peace takes awhile as these colleagues embrace each other at the beginning of their work week.