Two American cardinals are absent from the USCCB meeting. cardinal Sean O'Malley is in Dublin, where he is beginning his apostolic visitation of that archdiocese. He celebrated Mass yesterday at St. Mary's pro-Cathedral in Dublin.
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio, addressed the assembly of bishops this morning. He said a nuncio arrives in a new country the way a new priest arrives at a parish.
I have long admired Rep. Charlie Rangel. But, his decision to walk out of the Ethics Committee meeting today reeks of theater not governance.
He should keep walking. After an election, the results of which were hardly to my liking, people have a right to believe that they have turned a page and directed their legislators to move in a new direction.
Rangel's shenanigans suggest that nothing has changed. What a shame that such a storied career ends in such follish stagecraft.
In his presidential address, Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, recalled that three years ago, when he began his tenure as head of the USCCB, the Church in America was preparing for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. George also recalled the election of President Barack Obama. Irrespective of one’s political affiliation, Cardinal George noted that the election of the first African-American citizen to the presidency was a unique historical accomplishment.
I will be in Baltimore attending the plenary meeting of the USCCB the next few days and will be blogging live from the Marriott hotel where the bishops are gathered.
So, the posting schedule here at Distinctly Catholic, and the content, may be different this week.
The agenda is a bit think for this year's meeting but the most important item on the agenda is election of new officers, which takes place tomorrow morning.
This, from Dana Milbank in yesterday's Washington Post:
The internal dynamics of the Democratic caucus - and the egos of the principals - seem to dictate this ridiculous outcome. The external politics is screaming - Young Blood!
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the anti-poverty program sponsored by the U.S. bishops, released a report Oct. 26 to assure critics that “No CCHD funds will go to groups whose actions conflict with fundamental Catholic social teaching.” Now CCHD critics are up in arms, charging that the same report that contains the pledge extols the work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), which, critics claim, “participates in promotion of abortion, homosexual ‘rights’, and other issues in conflict with Catholic social and moral teaching.”
You will need to subscribe to read the whole story, but an article I wrote about Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner and the two ways American Catholics express themselves politically, and how both fall short of the vision presented by Pope Benedict in Caritas in Veritate, is this week's cover story at the Tablet.
Yesterday, the National Catholic Register ran a post repeating charges that Bishop Kicanas of Tuscon, expected to be elected the head of the USCCB next week, looked the other way while rector of the seminary at Mundelein, approving for ordination a man who went on to be a sexual abuser of children.
All the news reports indicate that incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski has garnered 98 percent of the write-in ballots cast last week in that state's election. The election observers from the campaign of Tea Party favorite Joe Miller are questioning the validity of about ten percent of those ballots, but even that appears to be an insufficient number to narrow Murkowshki's margin.
It should not surprise that Mr. Miller is insisting that only those ballots that spell Ms. Murkowski's name correctly be counted. He insists that the law demands nothing less. But, the law is actually silent on the issue os proper spelling as it is silent on the issue of voter intent. Nonetheless, there is something creepy about the desire to disenfranchise voters who do not dot their "I's."
Alas, Mr. Miller, whose goons "arrested" a reporter whose questions the candidate found nettlesome, is not exactly the kind of man to be overly concerned about niceties where democratic processes are concerned. I have no great love for Sen. Murkowski, but of all the Tea Party candidates this year, Miller was the most frightening. His defeat is a good thing for democracy and a good thing for Alaska.