National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Distinctly Catholic

"Maybe 'tis our brother."


The other night I picked up Churchill’s Marlborough, His Life and Times, for bedtime reading. As I mentioned earlier, I had begun re-reading these volumes with an eye towards visiting the battlefield in Blenheim, but then could not put them down. I have been engaged with them fitfully since – too heavy to bring on a trip, other books with a claim on my more immediate attention. As luck would have it, this week got me to 1707 and the Act of Union with Scotland. The issues then were political and, largely, dynastic.

+Dolan Defends Stance on St. Patrick's Day Parade


Cardinal Timothy Dolan has penned a defense of his decision to serve as Grand Marshal of next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade. I would point out to his critics that nowhere, not once, does +Dolan suggest he disagrees with the Church's teaching in any regard. That is not the point. What is the point, as +Dolan notes, is this: "So, while actions are immoral, identity is not!

Congress, Obama and ISIS


Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a request by President Obama to arm and equip the moderate Syrian rebels. The vote, which crossed partisan lines, was 273 to 156. Those republicans who opposed the measure thought it did not go far enough. Those Democrats who opposed the measure worried it went too far. There is no Goldilocks solution here. Still, the House vote was correct.

First, the caveats.

+Dolan Backs People's Climate March


At his blog, Cardinal Timothy Dolan endorses the People's Climate March, scheduled for next Sunday. First, +Dolan does not get over-excited about the prospect of gays marching in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Now, he is endorsing a march aimed at calling attention to the pressing need for action to address climate change. Certain rightwing critics denounced him over the St. Patrick's Day parade, and I am sure some will denounce his endorsement of the enviro march.

Cardinal Burke, Sandro Magister & Me


I am not sure why conservative Italian vaticanista Sandro Magister singled out me in his story about Cardinal Raymond Burke's apparently forthcoming demotion. I am not the only Catholic who wept when +Burke got a red hat. I consider +Burke's influence at the Vatican to have been largely unfortunate, especially when he was on the Congregation for Bishops, but so did many people, including the vast majority of people in several dioceses!

The Many Flavors of Political Corruption


Corruption comes in many flavors. Earlier this month, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were found guilty of the kind of petty, gross corruption that we usually think of when we employ the word, trading on their official capacity for private gain. Such corruption is real and offensive and it should be punished, to be sure. But, as is often the case, less obvious varieties of corruption (and other sins) can pose a deeper threat to the political life of the nation. Two otherwise unrelated events this week point to such deeper corruption.


Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

October 10-23, 2014


Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.