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Obama to Campaign for Perriello


According to the Daily Progress, President Obama will go to Charlottesville Friday to campaign for Cong. Tom Perriello at the University of Virginia.

Perriello is in a tough fight and a visit from Obama cuts both ways. It may help motivate young voters to turnout next Tuesday but it may also motivate GOP-leaning Independents to do the same. Perriello must have made the calculation that with GOP already fired up, motivating his base was the best way to punch back.

The decision to dispatch the President also shows something the public polls do not: This race must be close enough that the strategists at the White House think they can win it.

Q & A: Father Andrew Small


We continue the discussion about the distinctiveness of Catholic charitable work with a commentary from Fr. Andrew Small, who is the Director of the Committee for the Church in Latin America at the USCCB.

Small looks at the issue of Catholic identity, which is so integral to the new report issued this morning by the USCCB regarding the work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The question: What is distinctive about Catholic charitable work?

Fr. Small: Without action, nothing changes. But without identity, the action is not Catholic, regardless of who performs it.

How do activity and identity combine to express the virtue of Christian charity? When the external change of activity carries with it the internal change of religious conversion.

The Happy Return of Nuance


Two statements on the upcoming midterm elections, one from the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, and one from Communion and Liberation, exhibit a welcome nuance in their estimation of the good achievable by participation in the electoral process.

I defy anyone to read either statement and conclude, "Aha! I must vote for this party!"

Instead, both statements do something really wonderful and essential: they invite voters to serious reflection of the choices they face, unlike so many political ads that merely try and excite the basest of human emotions.

The statements focus the Church's social and moral teachings on the issues of the day, and remind Catholics of the fact that our tradition is far different from the rampant individualism that characterizes so much of contemporary political wrangling.

The statements inform the consciences of Catholics, they do not dictate the consciences of Catholics. Finally, neither statement has any foolishness about Canon 915, denying communion to politicians.

WaPo & Benedict on Immigration


Serendipity. I am sure that the editors of the Washington Post had no idea that their publication of a news story about the rise of anti-immigrant political parties in Europe would coincide with the release of Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for the World Day of Migrants. The Post’s article did not mention the Pope’s statement. But, I hope the voters of Europe who support these anti-immigrant parties, as well as their American counterparts, consult the Pope’s text. His vision is humane and hopeful. It is the perfect anecdote to the fear-mongering that characterizes so much of the anti-immigrant fervor.

Breaking News: U.S. District Court Rules Against Susan B. Anthony List


We are waiting for the newswire to pick up this story, but a source tells me that a U.S. District Court has denied the request of the Susan B. Anthony list to place a restraining order on the decision of the Ohio Elections Board that cited the SBA List for running false ads. The ads maintained that Congressman Steve Driehaus had voted for federal funding of abortion when he voted in favor of the health care bill.
I have written about this story previously, and if I were a judge (we can all thank God I am not!), I would have ruled differently. But, it is telling that a court found the ads sufficiently misleading to allow the Ohio Elections Board case to proceed.

Deal Hudson is Right (Not Just Ideologically!)


It is not every day that I find myself in agreement with Deal Hudson, but he has an essay up at that makes some fine points.

Yes, too often, the sharge of "incivility" is used to quash debate and avoid underlying, and important issues. Yes, most social movements, be they good or bad, stem from a certain anger in the population.

Where Hudson is wrong is when he thinks that those who warn against incivility are mostly concerned about not hurting their own cause, that the extremists damage the reputation of more thoughtful social critics. I think there is a genuine, and somewhat misplaced, concern for "tone" in the blogosphere.

Sharp elbows have their place. There are limits of course, but generally, a democracy functions better when debates are sharp.

Any student of history will know that for all the rantings from the Tea Party, our own times have nothing on, say, the election of 1800 in terms of incivility. Ditto the election of 1860. Ditto the election of 1932. The Republic survived those contentious times and even flourished.

Yahoo Watch: Taliban Catholics


My colleague John Allen coined the phrase "Taliban Catholics" to describe a certain type of paleo-conservative Catholic whose understanding of the faith is fundamentalist, and not in a good way. John was quoted in this article about certain right-wing Catholic groups that ran on AP.
I am keeping an eye on the "RealCatholicTV" crowd and wondering where they get their funding. Father Coughlin was from Detroit too so maybe there is something in the water in those parts. Then again, so was Cardinal Dearden.


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