Later this week, Pope Benedict XVI will visit the United Kingdom. The highlight of the trip will be the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman. This week at Q & A we will explore what Newman's life and legacy mean for the Church of the 21st Century and we will ask several Newman scholars what Newman would say to the church today. But we begin with some thoughts about what Newman's beatification means for the church in the UK from the Archbishop of Westminster and Primate of England, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
Yesterday’s New York Times had a story about how some members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are trying to “fix” a provision of the health care bill that requires businesses to report purchases from vendors that exceed $600. The article said the provision “imposes a huge information-reporting burden on small business.”
UPDATE (10/25): Congressman Steve Boccieri is facing an uphill battle to retain this seat he won two years ago. His district tilts towards the GOP and his vote in favor of health care has come back to haunt him, not least because he initially voted against the reofrm bill that passed the House in the fall, and supporting the Senate-passed bill in the springtime.
Still, his opponent, Jim Renacci, is ethically challenged and the race has not blown open: The most recent polls actually showed a bit of tightening. In a state that is always a bellweather, it is clear that Democrats Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus are unlikely to win re-election. Boccieri could be the only happy surprise for the Dems in Ohio this year.
ORIGINAL POST: Few races appear as tailor made for a GOP pick-up as Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. The Democratic incumbent John Boccieri is completing his first term in Congress, having won the Republican leaning district in 2008 with 55% of the vote. This year, he is challenged by a businessman, Jim Renacci.
We finish our week of interviews with editors of the British Catholic weekly The Tablet here at Q & A with the comments of James Roberts, assistant editor.
The question: What is the most important thing Pope Benedict must say or do when he is in the UK next week?
James Roberts: The Pope has one job, ultimately, and that is to save souls by spreading the Gospel message. On a pastoral visit, it is in order to focus primarily on strengthening the faith of the flock, but a state visit is to the whole country, and the focus must be different. Large swathes of Britain have forgotten the Gospel message, or have never heard it. The Pope’s viisit must therefore be a missionary one.
Leo XIII was an outstanding Pope and Benedict XVI was right to commemorate his birth last weekend. But, there was a blemish on his record and it directly involved the Church in the United States. In early 1899, Leo dispatched an apostolic letter to Cardinal Gibbons entitled "Testem benevolentiae" in which he condemned the heresy of "Americanism."
America was not the first country to be singled out for papal condemnation, although as far as I can tell, we were the first to have a heresy named for us. Gallicanism had long haunted the Vatican's efforts to influence the Church in France, but it was never condemned as a heresy.
Not every day you see a public official meltdown so thoroughly in their own passion. But, Phil Davison, a Republican in Ohio, had such a meltdown the other day and, thanks to the good folks at Youtube, it has gone viral.
It brought to mind Gov. Howard Dean's famous speech the night he lost the Iowa caucus in 2004. Dean lost the caucus, but his meltdown afterwards cost him any chance at a recovery in the subsequent nomination battle. I post both videos below.
The less said about Pastor Terry Jones the better. I knew they grew fruit in Florida but now we know they grow nuts too.
Michael Gerson’s critique of Obama’s skills as communicator since the election. The President has not done a very good job tying together the disparate parts of his political program into a coherent argument about the role of government.
Michigan was the last state in the nation, along with North Dakota, to hold a referendum on liberalizing state abortion laws before Roe v. Wade. In November 1972, Michigan voters roundly defeated a proposal to that would have permitted abortions for any reason in the first twenty weeks of pregnancy by a whopping margin of 61% to 36%. According to Catholic historian John McGreevy, Catholic union workers constituted the largest part of the majority voting against the effort to legalize abortion.
As mentioned yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the bicentennial of Pope Leo XIII's birth last weekend, going to Leo's birthplace in Carpineto Romano.
One of Leo's most seminal accomplishments was to renew Catholic scholarship which, understandably, had not flourished during the reign of his predeccesor Pius IX, author of the Index of Forbidden Books. Leo's method was very conservative, in its way. In an 1879 encyclical Aeterni Patris, Leo called for renewed focus on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. It was, you will pardon the expression, a distinctly Catholic way of inaugurating renewal. Leo encouraged Catholic scholars to return to the great medieval theologian who was much more adventurous a thinker than some of his followers. After all, Thomas had tried to introduce Aristotle to Christian philosophy, a revolutionary different way of approaching philosophy from what went before. Thomists may have grown timid in the nineteenth century, but Thomas had not been timid.