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The Fourteenth Amendment

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The Fourteenth Amendment is one of the crown jewels of the Constitution. Adopted in 1868, it was literally paid for with the spilt blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Its guarantees of equal protection and due process have embedded themselves in the culture, giving voice to one of the most admirable qualities of the American national character, our sense of fair play. Its text should be approached with reverence, even awe, but lately, from two distinct quarters, the Fourteenth Amendment has fallen victim to the culture wars.

A group of Republican Senators have decided to question the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment to the children of undocumented immigrants. Why, they ask, should women be allowed to come to the U.S. to deliver their children solely for the purpose of extending the rights of citizenship to their children? There is no proof – at least none any one has produced – that this is a common phenomenon. I suspect it is like the charge that Phoenix is the #2 kidnapping capital in the world behind Mexico City, a charge with no basis in fact. Or the cries about increasing violent crime along the border, another claim that has been disproved decisively.

Blast From the Past: Archbishop John Ireland

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Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, was known as the “Consecrated Blizzard of the Northwest” because of his fiery commitment to his views and his strong personality. He was profoundly committed to seeing Catholics become full partners in the building up of the American nation as this episode from Gerald Fogarty’s “The Vatican and the American Hierarchy from 1870 to 1965” demonstrates.

Yahoo Watch: Catholic Key

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Over at the Catholic Key Blog, editor Jack Smith is so ecstatic at the passage of Proposition C in yesterday’s primary election in Missouri, that he didn’t even have a chance to spell check his article: He writes “annectdotally” with an extra “n” and an extra “t.”

But, while he gives a bunch of reference point so show that the 667,680 people who voted for Prop C is really an overwhelming rejection of the health care reforms mandates, he fails to note one salient point. The population of Missouri is 5,987,580, so a little more than 10 percent of Missourians voted against the mandates. This result came in a special election in which those in favor of the health care bill saw little motivation to vote, knowing that the issue of the mandates will be resolved in the courts, not by primary voters in Missouri. That is some “annectdote.”

Q & A: Bishop Ricardo Ramirez

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Continuing our series on the episcopacy, today we hear from Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, the bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The question: What is the best thing about being a bishop in 2010?
Bishop Ramirez:
For me, the greatest joy as a bishop lies in making sure that catechesis, the handing on of faith, continues in the diocese. Preaching of the Word of God is one of the principal ways through which the faith is handed on. Today we do so through both traditional and new means. I get excited when I see how new technologies make it possible for so many more people to be involved and participate at the events, programs and discussions going on in our diocese.

As a bishop, it brings me joy to see the influx of so many newcomers and its impact on the multicultural make-up of the Church in the United States today. Nearly every race, ethnic and cultural group on earth is represented in our population and in our Church. What a gift!

The Politicization of Tragedy

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The politicization of a tragedy is as predictable as it is unseemly. The tragedy is that Sister Denise Mosier was killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who was in the country illegally and was facing deportation for earlier drunk driving charges. Two other sisters remain in the hospital. The event is fraught with just the kind of emotional content that appeals to the hate-mongers in our culture.

Blast From the Past: Archbishop Edward Hanna

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At the conclusion of World War I, the nation was beset by labor strife. Few bishops were as engaged in the debates over social justice in the industrial age as was Archbishop Edward Hanna of San Francisco. An active collaborator with Father John A. Ryan at the National Catholic Welfare Conference, predecessor of the USCCB, Archbishop Hanna was frequently called upon to arbitrate labor disputes. This episode, recorded in his biography “An Archbishop for the People,” by Richard Gribble, CSC, details the force of his opinions and the foundation of Catholic social teaching. His remarks should earn him a spot on Glenn Beck’s chalkboard.

“In a sermon delivered at St. Mary’s Cathedral Archbishop Hanna also voiced disappointment in the local labor situation. Referencing Rerum Novarum, Hanna said, ‘The industrial question in the opinion of some is merely an economic question, whereas in point of fact it is, first of all, a moral and religious matter and for that reason its settlement is to be sought mainly in the moral law and in the pronouncement of religion.’”

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August 1-14, 2014

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