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Deal Hudson is Right (Not Just Ideologically!)


It is not every day that I find myself in agreement with Deal Hudson, but he has an essay up at that makes some fine points.

Yes, too often, the sharge of "incivility" is used to quash debate and avoid underlying, and important issues. Yes, most social movements, be they good or bad, stem from a certain anger in the population.

Where Hudson is wrong is when he thinks that those who warn against incivility are mostly concerned about not hurting their own cause, that the extremists damage the reputation of more thoughtful social critics. I think there is a genuine, and somewhat misplaced, concern for "tone" in the blogosphere.

Sharp elbows have their place. There are limits of course, but generally, a democracy functions better when debates are sharp.

Any student of history will know that for all the rantings from the Tea Party, our own times have nothing on, say, the election of 1800 in terms of incivility. Ditto the election of 1860. Ditto the election of 1932. The Republic survived those contentious times and even flourished.

Yahoo Watch: Taliban Catholics


My colleague John Allen coined the phrase "Taliban Catholics" to describe a certain type of paleo-conservative Catholic whose understanding of the faith is fundamentalist, and not in a good way. John was quoted in this article about certain right-wing Catholic groups that ran on AP.
I am keeping an eye on the "RealCatholicTV" crowd and wondering where they get their funding. Father Coughlin was from Detroit too so maybe there is something in the water in those parts. Then again, so was Cardinal Dearden.

Q & A: Ken Hackett


All this week at Q & A, we will be looking at the distinctive nature and contributions of Catholic charitable activities.

Ken Hackett is the President of Catholic Relief Services, an organization that has been much in the news because of their leading work in Haiti.

With news reports indicating that there has now been a cholera outbreak on the island, readers may wish to click on the link above and make a further donation.

The question: Based on your work, what is distinctive about Catholic charitable activities?

Ken Hackett: Catholic charitable activities are truly catholic, that is to say, universal. In answering this question, perhaps Archbishop Timothy Dolan, chairman of the CRS Board, best expresses our approach: “At Catholic Relief Services, we don’t just help people who are Catholic; we help people because we are Catholic.”

Early Voting Results Start To Come In


The indomitable Nate Silver at analyzes some of the early voting patterns. There is a lot of good news for Republicans and a little good news for the Democrats.

The most significant thing that jumps out at me, however, is the wide divergence from state to state. The GOP number in Pennsylvania and Florida are really strong, and the Democratic numbers in West Virginia are almost unbelievable. So much of the attention in political commentary is focused on the national level, but there are 435 distinct congressional races this year and 37 distinct senatorial contests.

Early voting is in indication of an effective Get-Out-the-Vote effort, and GOTV decides close elections.

It will be interesting to see if these early voting numbers change in the course of the week. We may have a pretty good idea of what the final results will look like in some contests before election day.

Election Time: Turnout


Yesterday, on our way home from Mass, four young people stood by the side of the road holding up enormous signs. One was hand-painted on a sheet and said “Vote Today.” Maryland has early voting at select areas. The other sign was professionally imprinted – and there were two more identical signs at the next intersection. “We Got Your Back President Obama!” those signs read.

Prince George’s County is a majority-minority county, and when you drive around on Sunday at midday, you see a lot of black folk and a lot of Latinos coming home from church. These signs were on this road, and at that intersection, by design. In the event, there are very few contested seats in Prince George’s County. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is going to win in a walk, Congressman Steny Hoyer does not face serious opposition and, according to a new poll out this morning, incumbent Gov. Martin O’Malley is opening up a wide lead in his race for re-election.

Blast From the Past: John Winthrop


Earlier this morning, in my post about Michael Gerson's article, I mentioned John Winthrop's "city on a hill" metaphor to which Ronald Reagan added the adjective "shining."

Of course, that city would not have been very "shining" for us Catholics if Winthrop had his way. Here, from 1629, he explains why so many of his fellow Puritans were prepared to set out for Massachusetts Bay:

It will be a service to the Church of great consequence to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, to helpe on the comminge of the fullnesse of the Gentiles, and to raise a Bulwarke against the kingdome of Ante-Christ which the Jesuites labour to reare up in those parts.

So, the anti-Catholic, pro-Protestant biases of American culture are as old as American culture itself.

Yahoo Watch: James Dobson


James Dobson has been a critical leader among the religious right for some years now and he has all the subtlety of a chain saw. His organization, Focus on the Family, and its offshoots, do more to spread the conservative Christian creed than any other and have since the Moral Majority folded shop in the late 1980s. Indeed, when someone asked Jerry Falwell who would carry on the torch of the Moral Majority, he did not point to fellow minister Pat Robertson but to the layman Dobson.

Archbishop DiNoia, O.P. On New Vocations


Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., gave a conference at the Provinicial Chapter of the St. Joseph Province last June on the subject of new vocations to that province. Those who are unfamiliar with the archbishop may recall his giving the homily at the Red Mass earlier this month here in Washington. Those familiar with him, will be unsurprised by the eloquence and the passion of his conference. It is available online here.


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In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015


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