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More on the Gay Marriage Ruling


Thanks to Cathy Grossman at USAToday for working her way through the court decision on gay marriage in California and pulling out the parts that are most relevant to the religious conversation.

Grossman notes that Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision at one point spells out in all CAPs what is the essential rationale for his decision. He writes, “A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION.” Judge Walker is absolutely correct. No “private” moral view should be the basis of any legislation, on same-sex couples or otherwise. But, there is nothing “private” about Catholic moral views.

Blast From the Past: James Cardinal Gibbons


When labor unions were first organized, they needed to remain secretive because the leading industrialists were intent on destroying them in their crib. The Church had a long dread of secret societies stemming from the role of the Free Masons and other European groups that peddled in anti-clericalism. This concern of the Church almost resulted in a catastrophe for the Church’s ability to maintain the allegiance of the working classes, and to defend its emerging social doctrine as the following episode, record in Msgr. John Tracy Ellis’s “American Catholicism” relates.

Yahoo Watch: Zuhlsdorf


Father John Zuhlsdorf attacks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi because she did not exactly answer a question posed to her by a reporter for the rightwing-nut attack squad at the Cyberspace News Service. The reporter asked the Speaker about whether or not Jesus had a right to life from the moment of His conception. Pelosi replied, “Whenever it was, we bow our heads when we talk about it in church, and that’s where I’d like to talk about that.”

Zuhlsdorf is scandalized that the Speaker did not answer, not recognizing that what Pelosi was saying was that the subject of the Incarnation of the Lord was a fit topic for church but not for a press conference in the halls of Congress. Maybe Zuhlsdorf has heard of the distinction between Church and State, and recognizes that the reporter’s question was about as appropriate as asking Pope Benedict about whether or not the mandates in the health care reform bill violate the U.S. Constitution. Zuhlsdorf then goes into a bizarre riff about the Bible instructing that women should not speak in church.

Q & A: Bishop Joseph Galante


Continuing our focus on the episcopacy, today we hear from Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden, New Jersey.

The question: What is the best thing about being a bishop in 2010?

Bishop Galante: For me, my most ardent desire has been to help people come to know, love and live Jesus more completely at a time when secular influences sometimes make it difficult for people to hear and be receptive to the Gospel. That is why I have been especially grateful to serve as a diocesan bishop, because the needs of our people are so great, as are the opportunities to serve them more effectively.

The Fourteenth Amendment


The Fourteenth Amendment is one of the crown jewels of the Constitution. Adopted in 1868, it was literally paid for with the spilt blood of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Its guarantees of equal protection and due process have embedded themselves in the culture, giving voice to one of the most admirable qualities of the American national character, our sense of fair play. Its text should be approached with reverence, even awe, but lately, from two distinct quarters, the Fourteenth Amendment has fallen victim to the culture wars.

A group of Republican Senators have decided to question the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment to the children of undocumented immigrants. Why, they ask, should women be allowed to come to the U.S. to deliver their children solely for the purpose of extending the rights of citizenship to their children? There is no proof – at least none any one has produced – that this is a common phenomenon. I suspect it is like the charge that Phoenix is the #2 kidnapping capital in the world behind Mexico City, a charge with no basis in fact. Or the cries about increasing violent crime along the border, another claim that has been disproved decisively.

Blast From the Past: Archbishop John Ireland


Archbishop John Ireland, the first Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, was known as the “Consecrated Blizzard of the Northwest” because of his fiery commitment to his views and his strong personality. He was profoundly committed to seeing Catholics become full partners in the building up of the American nation as this episode from Gerald Fogarty’s “The Vatican and the American Hierarchy from 1870 to 1965” demonstrates.

Yahoo Watch: Catholic Key


Over at the Catholic Key Blog, editor Jack Smith is so ecstatic at the passage of Proposition C in yesterday’s primary election in Missouri, that he didn’t even have a chance to spell check his article: He writes “annectdotally” with an extra “n” and an extra “t.”

But, while he gives a bunch of reference point so show that the 667,680 people who voted for Prop C is really an overwhelming rejection of the health care reforms mandates, he fails to note one salient point. The population of Missouri is 5,987,580, so a little more than 10 percent of Missourians voted against the mandates. This result came in a special election in which those in favor of the health care bill saw little motivation to vote, knowing that the issue of the mandates will be resolved in the courts, not by primary voters in Missouri. That is some “annectdote.”

Q & A: Bishop Ricardo Ramirez


Continuing our series on the episcopacy, today we hear from Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, the bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The question: What is the best thing about being a bishop in 2010?
Bishop Ramirez:
For me, the greatest joy as a bishop lies in making sure that catechesis, the handing on of faith, continues in the diocese. Preaching of the Word of God is one of the principal ways through which the faith is handed on. Today we do so through both traditional and new means. I get excited when I see how new technologies make it possible for so many more people to be involved and participate at the events, programs and discussions going on in our diocese.

As a bishop, it brings me joy to see the influx of so many newcomers and its impact on the multicultural make-up of the Church in the United States today. Nearly every race, ethnic and cultural group on earth is represented in our population and in our Church. What a gift!


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