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Money & Politics


Money and politics function like pasta and olive oil: They cling to each other. The making of money today is accompanied by elaborate lobbying efforts to get special provisions into the tax code, or special regulatory standing, or some governmental special treatment. And campaigns can’t run if you can’t pay the staff, can’t run the ads, can’t send out the mailings.

Candidates for political office spend hours upon hours “dialing for dollars.” The candidate sits in a room, calling people on the phone and asking for donations. Sitting opposite the candidate is a staffer who feeds them the name, number and personal information about the person they are calling. As they wind down one call, the staffer begins dialing the next number. This is all opaque to the public: You never, ever let the press see the candidate dialing for dollars. It would appear so humiliating. This has given rise to a number of self-funding candidates, super-rich people who wish to share their capacity for “success” with the public.

Blast From the Past: Church History & RCIA


Later this week, I shall be giving a talk to the RCIA group at my parish about Church History. So, I dusted off my notes and thought I would share some of the highlights from the talk I will give.

By way of introduction, I always like to tell those aspiring to be Catholics why it is important to study the history of the Church. Among the observations I make are these:

Non-Yahoo Watch: Rand Paul


Politics makes strange bedfellows, they say. Rand Paul, the Republican candidate for Senate in Kentucky, who got into a heap of trouble when he expressed some extreme views regarding the Civil Rights Act has come forth with a statement about the ground zero mosque that is, all things considered, admirable. I do not share his concern for property rights in the matter so much as his concern for the First Amendment. And, I do not believe his swipes at “neo-conservatives” regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are on point, in part because the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were engaged on vastly different rationales. But, no matter, he gets applause for denouncing the objections to the mosque as demagoguery and for seeing the anti-Muslim animus for what it is, a political battering ram being employed for political purposes. Kudos to Paul.
(H/T to Rick Garnett)

A New Generation of Theologians


The Second Vatican Council was the central event in the life of the Church in the past 100 years and remains the central point from which all theological discussion flows. But, it was also like watching a dam break as decades, even a couple of centuries, of pent up concerns, insights, and desires came rushing over the wall. Vatican II was a good thing, a very necessary thing, but if the refusal to engage modernity that preceded it was destructive to the Church, some of the floodwaters unleashed at Vatican too were also destructive.


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October 24-November 6, 2014


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