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Q & A: Rocco Palmo


We continue our week long conversation with Rocco Palmo, the blogmeister at Whispers in the Loggia.

The question: What is the most important thing that will happen at the USCCB meeting in November?

Rocco Palmo: One of the perks of covering church politics is that, while the country has to wait four years between presidential elections, American Catholics get one every three. So yet again, this year’s “Fall Classic” -- the USCCB’s November Meeting in Baltimore -- will see the Making of the President, Church Edition.

That said, the top-ballot’s outcome is the least suspenseful part of the process. Following a custom that’s essentially been inviolate for the half-century since the US bishops began electing a president, barring anything apocalyptic the incumbent vice-president of the body, 69 year-old Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, will be elevated to the top slot. As ever, the real race is the one that’ll determine his #2... and this time, a very changed scene since 2007 renders who makes the cut even more intriguing than usual.

Yahoo Watch: Kathryn Jean Lopez


Not sure what Ms. Lopez is smoking, but her recent attempt to link the Tea Party movement with Pope Benedict XVI is bizarre. The ranters who carry racist placards that show the President as a witch doctor or the dumb with a captial "B" signs that say, "No government health care - Hands off my Medicare!" have nothing, repeat nothing, in common with the refined, thoughtful social and political analysis of Pope Benedict XVI. The Tea Party movement is in euqal parts inchoate and incoherent, two adjectives that do not leap to mind when considering the writings of Joseph Raztinger.

My friend John Gehring takes on the comparison at greater length here.

Note To Readers: Timing


Regular readers are used to seeing the Q & A posted around noontime, but the past two days, our guest interviewee all week, blogger extraordinaire, Rocco Palmo, asked for more time to give fuller replies. Don't stand in the way of a great artist, I remember being told, so I apologize for the delays in posting but am sure you will agree that the wait was worth it. Check out Rocco's two posts below and look for more the rest of the week.

Election Time: CA-Senate


UPDATE (10/25): The Real Clear Politics Polling average has Boxer leading Fiorina by 2.5 percent, with almost all polls showing a slight lead for Boxer. But, most polls are within the margin of error and the Cook Political Report and RCP both rate the race as a "toss-up." Nate Silver's model at nonetheless only gives Fiorina a 19% chance of taking the seat based on both the large number of polls conducted in this race and the nearness to election day.
Neither candidate has run a particularly noteworthy ad, nor produced a defining debate moment, and it is difficult to think at this late date any news would affect this race in particular. California is a blue state that, despite being hit hard by the recession, would need more of a reason to vote Republican this year.

Q & A: Rocco Palmo


As mentioned, all this week at Q & A, Rocco Palmo, whose blog Whispers in the Loggia is a must read on both sides of the Atlantic, is answering questions about the state of the Catholic Church.

The question: Who is an up-and-coming bishop we should keep an eye on and why?

Rocco Palmo: Picking just one “up and comer” among the bench’s new crop is kinda like the potato chip ad -- “you can’t have just one.”

Being accustomed to its sprawling nature, many of us tend to give it short shrift, but globally speaking, the US church is an immense enterprise -- only Italy and Brazil have more bishops, and given the scope of the turf here, it’s impossible boil the situation down into a single column because, well, the culture of Catholicism in New England and New Mexico are two drastically different things.

Yahoo Watch: Alan Grayson


The Democrats' strongest card in this year's election is that they are serious about the nation's problems while the GOP is beset by birthers, those concerned about repealing the 17th Amendment, and various other esoteric issues such as self-pleasuring. But, Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is a walking counter-argument to the proposition that liberals are intellectually serious.

Tonight in DC: Abp DiNoia


Tonight, at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., will be giving the annual John Carroll lecture on "Why Catholics Go To Mass." Archbishop DiNoia, who celebrated his 40th anniversary as a priest this past Sunday at a beautiful Mass at the Dominican House of Studies where he taught for many years, is one of the most gifted speakers in the Church today, a master not only of theology but the English language. His talk will not disappoint. It begins at 6:45 p.m. Archbishop DiNoia is also slated to give the homily at the Red Mass this coming Sunday.

Silk on Chaput


As always, Mark Silk has some highly intelligent remarks about Archbishop Chaput's recent comments about the coverage of religion in the media. He is spot-on about how the media, appropriately, considers hypocrisy an aggravating factor as opposed to a mitigating one, in its coverage of religion. The only other thing about Chaput's address that jumped out at me was the sheer defensiveness of his speech. Coming on the heels of the media's coverage of Pope Benedict's successful trip to the UK, almost all of it favorable, that defensiveness seemed more than a little odd.


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February 27- March 12, 2015


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