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Ex Corde Ecclesiae Turns Twenty

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Next Sunday, the Feast of the Assumption, will mark the 20th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter on Catholic colleges and universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The document is most remembered, and was most controversial, on account of its emphasis on Catholic identity, a subject we will consider at greater length tomorrow. Today, I want to look at a separate issue that Ex Corde deals with, namely, the role of theology in modern intellectual life. Additionally, all this week, in our Q & A segment, we will be discussing Ex Corde and its implementation with a host of prominent Catholic educators.

More on the Gay Marriage Ruling

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Thanks to Cathy Grossman at USAToday for working her way through the court decision on gay marriage in California and pulling out the parts that are most relevant to the religious conversation.

Grossman notes that Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision at one point spells out in all CAPs what is the essential rationale for his decision. He writes, “A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION.” Judge Walker is absolutely correct. No “private” moral view should be the basis of any legislation, on same-sex couples or otherwise. But, there is nothing “private” about Catholic moral views.

Blast From the Past: James Cardinal Gibbons

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When labor unions were first organized, they needed to remain secretive because the leading industrialists were intent on destroying them in their crib. The Church had a long dread of secret societies stemming from the role of the Free Masons and other European groups that peddled in anti-clericalism. This concern of the Church almost resulted in a catastrophe for the Church’s ability to maintain the allegiance of the working classes, and to defend its emerging social doctrine as the following episode, record in Msgr. John Tracy Ellis’s “American Catholicism” relates.

Yahoo Watch: Zuhlsdorf

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Father John Zuhlsdorf attacks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi because she did not exactly answer a question posed to her by a reporter for the rightwing-nut attack squad at the Cyberspace News Service. The reporter asked the Speaker about whether or not Jesus had a right to life from the moment of His conception. Pelosi replied, “Whenever it was, we bow our heads when we talk about it in church, and that’s where I’d like to talk about that.”

Zuhlsdorf is scandalized that the Speaker did not answer, not recognizing that what Pelosi was saying was that the subject of the Incarnation of the Lord was a fit topic for church but not for a press conference in the halls of Congress. Maybe Zuhlsdorf has heard of the distinction between Church and State, and recognizes that the reporter’s question was about as appropriate as asking Pope Benedict about whether or not the mandates in the health care reform bill violate the U.S. Constitution. Zuhlsdorf then goes into a bizarre riff about the Bible instructing that women should not speak in church.

Q & A: Bishop Joseph Galante

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Continuing our focus on the episcopacy, today we hear from Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden, New Jersey.

The question: What is the best thing about being a bishop in 2010?

Bishop Galante: For me, my most ardent desire has been to help people come to know, love and live Jesus more completely at a time when secular influences sometimes make it difficult for people to hear and be receptive to the Gospel. That is why I have been especially grateful to serve as a diocesan bishop, because the needs of our people are so great, as are the opportunities to serve them more effectively.

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September 12-25, 2014

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