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The Encyclical Cometh


In case you haven’t heard, Pope Francis is releasing his encyclical on the environment this week. I suspect you have heard. Never has a text that no one has yet seen generated so much attention! I have not seen it either but prognostication is part of an analyst’s brief, so at the risk of proving myself a fool, here are my predictions about “Laudato Si.”

Naptime at the USCCB


The first day of the USCCB meeting in St. Louis appeared somnambulant. The bishops might as well have been catching a nap, as no activity was required. They sat and listened to a series of reports, most of which had all the enthusiasm of a dentist explaining why that tooth must be pulled. The whole thing could have been done by email.

The Accountability of Bishops


The Holy Father’s approval of a new procedure and process for holding bishops accountable if they fail in their responsibilities to protect children, and to assign this task to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is an enormous step forward in the Church’s long effort to rid itself of the scourge of clergy sex abuse and to create a culture that sees the protection of children as one of its highest duties.

Obama at the CHA


President Obama spoke to the Catholic Health Association meeting in Washington yesterday. Like all politicians speaking in front of religious groups, the president had to navigate some of the hard-to-see currents in the estuary where politics and religion mix and he mostly came out unscathed.

Getting the President of the United States to speak at a group’s annual meeting is one of the biggest coups possible in D.C. And, Obama made it clear why he chose this group to come and give a speech:

Erroneous Autonomy: A Conversation on Solidarity & Faith


Next Monday, the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies will convoke a conference, co-sponsored and hosted by the AFL-CIO, called “Erroneous Autonomy: A Conversation on Faith & Solidarity.” I am a visiting fellow at the Institute and have been working on this conference for about eight months. The keynote this year will be given by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, with a response from Fr.


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