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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.

Yahoo Watch: Kathryn Jean Lopez


Kathryn Jean Lopez, one of the most frequent blogger at National Review Online, must be gunning for an audition on Fox News. Part of the blogging art is to be a little “forward leaning” as we say in the trade, but her post yesterday “The Obama Muslim Confusion,” is precisely the kind of slimy manipulation that has resulted in 31 percent of Republicans, and 18 percent of all Americans, believing the President is a Muslim.

There is no “confusion” about whether or not Obama is a Muslim. When Rush Limbaugh refers to President Obama as “Imam Obama,” he knows Obama is not a Muslim. A person may be “confused” about information, but people are manipulated by misinformation. Lopez's manipulation of a story from Obama’s memoir is appalling.

What it Means to be an American


Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith have a very important article up today at Politico entitled, “The new battle: What it means to be an American.” They argue that Obama’s push for various reform efforts in health care, financial regulations, the size and scope of government, his support for the Bush-sponsored bailouts of Wall Street and his own decision to bailout Detroit, all have shifted the focus away from the “social issues” that used to drive the GOP to a different, and in a sense, deeper issue of what it means to be an American.

Blast From the Past: Baltimore's O'Neill Legacy


The worst thing about reaching fifty is the recognition that I must write out a will. I am not wealthy but I have collected a few nice things. I would like my library to go to a graduating seminarian at Catholic University to be chosen by the rector of the seminary and the Dean of the School of Religion. I hope someone wonderful is around to take my wonderful dogs. I wish one of my nieces had taken up the piano so I would have someone to give my extraordinary 1920 Mason & Hamlin piano. Ezra, a friend with whom I used to work at Kramer’s and is the only person I will permit in the kitchen when I am working there, gets the copper pots I lugged back from Paris, one per trip. Etc. Whatever money and property is left will be split between my family and the Church. There will be no, repeat no, restrictions on the money left to the church. The reason: The O’Neill legacy.

Yahoo Watch: Zuhlsdorf


Leave it the hate-filled Father John Zuhlsford to suggest that instead of a mosque and community center near Ground Zero, there be erected a chapel dedicated to Sts. Nunilo and Adolia, two 9th century Christian martyrs who were executed as apostates under an Islamic regime. I do not know many people who look to the 9th century for inspiration on the inter-religious dialogue front, but Zuhlsdorf is happy to stoke the flames of religious hatred. This is beyond Yahoo. This is evil. And for someone who fancies himself as uber-orthodox, his Muslim-bashing could not be more different from Pope Benedict’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim world and build relationships founded on common respect and common concern for the human dignity of all. Zuhlsdorf is moving into terrain that is as dangerous as it is looney, Father Coughlin territory. The harm that Coughlin did the Church was real, and he only had the radio.

Q & A: Msgr. John A. Ryan


One of the difficulties of doing a segment of the blog that entails coordinating replies from five different people is that sometimes I mess up with the coordination. As well, August is simply a dreadful time to try and enlist comments from people, many of whom are on vacation or otherwise happily absenting themselves from the rigors of analysis. So, I do not have an interviewee lined up for today. You are stuck with me.

This week, we are looking at the children of immigrants who have made significant contributions to the life of the nation or the Church or both. This is because of all the foolishness about changing the 14th Amendment to deny the children of immigrants their birthright: citizenship. Drawing analogies to earlier times is difficult because, throughout most of the 19th century, there were no restrictions on immigrants, so everyone was a legal immigrant. Still, the point holds: The history of America would be vastly more impoverished than it is were it not for the contributions made by the children of immigrants and we should remember that before we start placing new restrictions upon them.


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October 10-23, 2014


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