Ross Douthat, in yesterday's Times, has a soul-searching article about the convuluted ways, all of which are designed to deny the reality of pre-natal life, our culture treats pregnancy and abortion.
For the past two years, the Republicans in Congress have suffered acutely from subpoena envy and when they took the House in the midterms, the biggest immediate effect they can have on the government is to exercise their new power to investigate.
Congressman Darrell Issa is the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he will be leading the charge. According to Politico, he is beginning to indicate the areas he will be examining. A word to the wise: If Issa does not create a narrative to justify his investigations, those investigations will backfire. If the common theme is "Finding ways to save money," that sounds like a winner. But, if it looks more like "Everything but the Kitchen Sink to Tarnish Obama" Cong. Issa risks alienating the very people who gave him the chairman's gavel, centrist voters who want both parties to work together for the good of the country.
Dear Mr. Boehner,
I write to congratulate you on becoming Speaker of the House on Wednesday, only the second Catholic Republican to hold the gavel. It is a source of pride for you, for your family and for all Catholics in the Great Republic. Please be assured of my prayers and apostolic blessing.
A Happy (or Prosperous, if you prefer) New Year to all my readers.
Distinctly Catholic is six months old. I am grateful too all my readers but especially to those of you like "Southern Catholic" and Michael Bindner who leave thoughtful, challenging comments. I encourage everyone to comment and I also encourage everyone to post your name. I make it a point to ignore comments from anonymous posters and recommend that everyone do the same. I do not respond to comments, believing that it is my job to say what I have to say in my original post and that the comments' section belongs to you, the readers, but I always read the comments by the end of the week and many of them provoke me to think twice about what I originally wrote. Thank you.
Over at her "Faith and Reason" blog at USAToday, Cathy Grossman highlights a suggestion by Father William Byron: As the Catholic Church continues to lose members, turning "former Catholics" into one of the largest self-designations in the country, why not conduct the equivalent of exit interviews with those who are leaving. Indeed, if you look aqt the comments' section, you will find people already listing their reasons for leaving.
If the bishops are going to take the New Evangelization seriously, this is a good place to start.
I am not a fan of the “top ten” lists that come around this time of year. Do we really need to recall the top celebrity break-ups? As for looking into the future, if you think that is such a simple task, remember the commentary shortly after the 2008 election about the Republican Party being dead. There is one story from last year, however, that is on-going and which both dominated last year’s political news and will continue to dominate the news this coming year – the Tea Party – that warrants some attention because the way the story plays out is about to change.
I know, I know. I always try to be respectful of bishops, even when I am critical of them, even when I am highly critical of them. Ex opere operato and all that ... they are successors of the apostles. And, of course, in the Gospels, the apostles are often clueless yet they went on to be heroic.
But, the comments of Archbishop Leonard of Brussels before a parliamentary committee are so offensive and so, well, stupid, they leave one speechless.
The Washington Post this morning has a profile of an incoming GOP freshman, Rep.-elect Mike Kelly, who beat Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District. The owner of a car dealership, Kelly’s public service resume included only part-time service on a town council, so it should not surprise that he is suspicious of Washington’s ways.
Kelly tells the Post that he has not met anyone in Washington who impresses him. Now, I confess, when I look at the GOP House caucus, I can understand the sentiment. (Sadly, the same can be said for many in the Democratic caucus too.) But, I invite the Congressman to come and meet some of my friends who are very impressive. He should go over to the Library of Congress and meet some very impressive scholars and librarians there. He should visit either of the two parishes on Capitol Hill and meet the impressive priests who live and work there.
At his weekly blog, Cardinal Sean O'Malley writes about visiting a women's prison in the days leading up to Christmas. He spent time with each of the women in solitary confinement. I can scarcely think of someone who is in greater need of the Christmas message that God wants to come close to us than a prisoner in solitary confinement. I do not know I would have the emotional strength to make such a visit, but Cardinal Sean surely does.
Fifty-eight years ago, my parents were married at Our Lady of Lourdes church here in Hampton, Connecticut. I can just see the steeple beyond the pine trees as I write this morning.
They were married two days after Christmas because he was home for Christmas from his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. She had wanted to get married before he went off to basic training, but he refused, worried he would be sent to Korea and she would be a young widow. But, in early December 1952, he found out he was being sent to Puerto Rico to teach English to Puerto Rican recruits. My parents would spend the first two years of their married life on that blessed island.