So long as our nation suffers under the idolatry of the market, and the superstition that higher taxes on the rich will harm the economy, we are destined to see cuts in government programs that help the poor. Over at the Tablet, Terry Philpot looks at how the Church in England and Wales is dealing with their government's budget cuts to such programs.
The University of Notre Dame has announced that this year's Laetare Medal, arguably the most prestigious award in the U.S., will be given jointly to Sister of Mercy Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon for their ground-breaking work as the founders of Project H.O.M.E. ministries in Philadelphia. H.O.M.E. stands for "Housing. Opportunities for Employment. Medical Care. Education." In short, this ministry stands for Matthew 25.
At a time when many are casting unfounded aspersions on the work of religious women, and when the church in Philadelphia has been wracked with controversy because of the misdeeds of its hierarchs, how wonderful it is to see Notre Dame hold up the great work of Sr. Mary and Ms. McConnon.
Over at The Atlantic, they have an interview with former Congressman Bart Stupak, the pro-life Democrat who was at the heart of the negotiations over the final language on abortion in last year’s health care reform bill. It shows why it is mistaken for some Catholics, and some bishops, to say that abortion is the most important issue in politics: The people they are addressing, the legislators on both sides of the aisle, certainly do not see abortion as the most or the only important issue.
I had seen reports that Donald Trump was dabbling in Birtherism, but I had missed the fact that he recently linked that particular conspiratorial zaniness with Islamophobia, another psycho-political affliction of today's right wing nuts. But, according the the Center for American Progress, Trump recently suggested that the reason Obama does not want his birth certificate to be seen is that it might indicate his religion as Muslim.
As they say, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has posted an update of its basic "white paper" on church-state issues in the courts, noting the Supreme Court's decision to grant cert in Hosanna Tabor Church v. EEOC, about which I blogged earlier this week.
The Pew paper offers a concise overview of the legal and constitutional issues involved and is a good starting point for anyone trying to get their heads around these very complicated issues.
Father John Zuhlsdorf has a little post entitled "A study in contrasts, or why we need Summorum Pontificum and the Corrected Translation." Blissfully, and uncharacteristically, Zuhlsdorf provides little commentary in the post, he just puts up two photographs, one showing a woman carrying a bowl of incense at the recent Los Angeles Catholic Education Conference and the other an old painting of a traditional Latin Mass. The contrast is, indeed, jarring, but not for the reason Zuhlsdorf thinks. The woman with the incense is participating at a Mass where thousands of people joined in; the celebration was, by all accounts, very faith-filled for all. Newly installed Archbishop Gomez said "I have been amazed" by the gathering. In contrast, the print of the old Mass shows a few lonely souls gathered around the altar.
Michael Kazin, at The New Republic, writes about how a small union organizing effort at Georgetown University is succeeding in large part because it has made an explicitly moral case for its efforts. This moral argument has attracted many allies who might otherwise be uninterested were the union's case built solely around an argument for advancing the interests of its members. There is a lesson here for the broader progressive community: They need a moral argument, a narrative, if they want to win in the court of public opinion and, in the event, they have a good moral argument to make.
Wisconsin voters have collected more than enough signatures to mount a recall effort against one of several GOP state senators being targetted for a recll election because they supported the effort of Gov. Scott Walker to attack collective bargaining rights.
Reaction, in both senses of the word, produces a counter-reaction.
The GOP over-reach in Wisconsin is proving to be just that, an over-reach. Elected because of a dreary economic climate, the GOP mis-interpreted its mandate to mount a full-scale attack on fundamental rights. Americans don't like that. And, in a democracy, the people have the power to make the GOP pay for its over-reach. On Wisconsin!
In reading about the decision of the U.S. bishops' doctrine committee to condemn a 2007 book by Sr. Elizabeth Johnson of Fordham University, my thoughts turned back to another story of ecclesiastic condemnation in the late 19th-century regarding the writings of Henry George. Back then, some U.S. prelates argued that condemnations were ill-suited to the American temperament and were likely to produce more harm than good.
Bless their hearts, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that puts the Green Mountain state on the path to a single-payer health care system. At a time when many states are looking for ways to frustrate the health care reform law, how welcoming to find a state that is moving the ball further than the White House could move it last year. A single-payer health care system is the best solution, and always has been, and ,yes, it is socialized medicine and I am all for it.
(H/T- Ben Smith at Politico)