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Guns in Church?


Now, we can all feel safe going to church in Louisiana. We just have to remember to pack our handgun. Gov. Jindal signed a law that allows people to carry a concealed weapon in a church. Now, if the Governor signed it that means a majority of legislators approved it. This is crazy!

At my parish, St. Matthew’s Cathedral, the annual Red Mass always features a color guard that carries the nation’s flag down the central aisle, turns in front of the alter, and the whole congregation stands and signs the National Anthem. Until a few years ago, the flag bearers were flanked by riflemen, their weapons over their shoulders. A few of us protested the presence of guns in the church. The archdiocese nixed the riflemen.

Yahoo Watch: Citizens United


A new ad from the intellectually challenged group Citizens United suggests that President Obama’s policy towards Iran resembles the policy of appeasement adopted by Neville Chamberlain towards Germany at Munich in 1938. The difference between contemporary Iran and Nazi Germany are significant, certainly significant enough to question the validity of the comparison.

The episode called to mind another moment when the rightwing got hoisted on its own petard with Chamberlain references. Radio show host Kevin James was on “Hardball” and it quickly became obvious that Mr. James did not actually know what Chamberlain did at Munich.

Q & A: Terrence Donilon


We have already heard from St. Mary Ann Walsh of the USCCB, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Whispers in the Loggia's Rocco Palmo, and NPR's Michel Martin. Today we hear from Terrence Donilon, the communications director for the Archdiocese of Boston.
This week's question: "What is the principal impediment to good media coverage of Catholicism/religion?"
Terrence Donilon:
I am not one to buy into the notion that there is a conspiracy against the Church by the media. One of my guiding principles when dealing with reporters is “I will never lie to you but it’s not my job to tell you everything. That’s why they call you a reporter.” Trust is at the core of every meaningful relationship. It is the same with reporters and representatives of the Church. Are there skewed opinions and personalities on both sides? Absolutely. But if we start from the premise that both sides have a job to do, then it makes the work much more productive and successful if there is mutual respect and trust.

Palin on the Airwaves


In case you doubted Sarah Palin’s ability to connect with a key – perhaps the key – demographic in a GOP presidential primary, conservative women, check out the latest video from SarahPAC. As I wrote in the print edition of NCR last year, the role of conservative women in shaping the modern Republican Party goes back to the fight against sex education in the public schools in the 1960s. Mike Huckabee’s campaign was built on the organizational strength of the home-schooling movement, a movement that is dominated by women. And, Palin has something going for her that Huckabee doesn’t: She can address a roomful of women and say “we.”

Wolfe on Evil


The always incisive and always readable Alan Wolfe from Boston College, has a great essay over at TNR, reviewing Terry Eagleton's new book "On Evil." Nothing to add to an essay by Professor Wolfe, who is working on a book about political evil. The essay - and the forthcoming book - should go on everyone's must-read list.

Two From the Post


Two articles on today's Washington Post are worth checking out.
Ruth Marcus discusses the difficulties with Rich Trumka's "Soak the Rich" approach to the nation's fiscal problems. Trumka is correct to suggest higher taxes on the rich, and Marcus is right that it won't be enough. Neither points out that with all the loopholes and tax shelters in the tax code, rich people can hire accountants to help them avoid paying their fair share, so arguments about the appropriate tax rate are misleading.
And Michael Gerson has a column about two men with the same name and wildly different life experiences.

Blast from the Past: Pope Celestine V


“Celestine was a visionary, the founder of a brotherhood of hermits with strong links to the radical Franciscans. He therefore represented precisely that dimension of the thirteenth-century Church which most detested the wealth, worldliness and legal and political entanglements of the papacy. His election fed apocalyptic hopes of a Papa Angelicus, a holy and unworldly pope who would cleanse the Church and prepare the world for the advent of Christ. The notion of an unworldly pope, however, was by now almost a contradiction in terms.”

Eamon Duffy, commenting on Pope Celestine V, at whose shrine in Sulmona, Pope Benedict XVI prayed on Sunday. The papacy of the early twenty-first century lacks many of the explicit political entanglements of the papacy of the thirteenth century, but it remains a conundrum for all leaders in the Church, and indeed for us in the laity too: How to be in the world but not of it?

Be sure to check out my colleague John Allen's excellent commentary on the visit.

Ten Best Hymns


Over at First Things, Joe Carter and The Anchoress raise the question of which hymns sung in churches today are the worst. It is a fine question and one that matters deeply to regular church goers, although I think there is something unnecessarily censorious, and just so un-Roman, about only listing the worst without listing the best too. The best of hymns are like little symphonies, so much joy in such a small package.


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July 18-31, 2014


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