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Distinctly Catholic

Today's message is from
reader Dan Vrooman

The GOP's Budget Joke: Who's Laughing?

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Last summer, Congressman Paul Ryan, long seen as the Republicans’ point man on budget matters gave a talk at the American Enterprise Institute on the need to combat poverty. Many on the left criticized him, often unfairly, but some of us insisted that his ideas be given a hearing, and praised him for at least trying to focus our nation’s politics on issues related to poverty. Well, it turns out that he was just joking after all.

Douthat on the Pope's Critics

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Ross Douthat at the New York Times has an interesting, and detailed, commentary about Pope Francis’ critics the other day. I am not sure why he started by citing a recent article in The New Republic that was, like the magazine as a whole these days, superficial. Nonetheless, Douthat invites us to distinguish the different groups that resist this pope and he is mostly on target, with a few important qualifiers.

Countdown on Iranian Nuke Negotiations

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It is tempting this morning to focus on the bracketology of the NCAA basketball tournament, like the rest of the country. Alas, one of the fundamental problems our nation faces is that so many people think entertainment is more important than civic engagement, and powerful economic interests want it that way: While the people are busy watching sports or Real Housewives or something to do with the Kardashians, those economic interests are gaining control of the government. Besides, my UConn Huskies did not make the cut this year.

Pope Francis' 2nd Anniversary, Part II

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One of Pope Francis’ first acts was to go to the Church of St. Anne, the parish church for Vatican employees, and say Mass there. At the end of the Mass, he stood outside the vestibule, greeting the parishioners at the door. The pastor at my church here in DC grabbed me as I walked into church later that morning. “Did you see him?” he asked excitedly. “He could have been any parish priest, greeting the people as they leave Mass.” One of the most foundational changes in this pontificate is that Pope Francis is re-fashioning the job description: He is the world’s parish priest.

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