A number of speakers at the Democratic convention last night delivered some first rate oratory. A good speech combines information while stirring the imagination. It is persuasive and precise. Among those speaking last night was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, clearly a rising star. In a period of less than a minute he offered an impressive list of Obama accomplishments.
Washington state’s four Catholic bishops, while professing to abhor “bias” and “rejection” directed at gays and lesbians, have delivered a pastoral statement calling Referendum 74 a threat to religious liberty. Ref. 74, on the November ballot, would make Washington the seventh state to legalize marriage between partners of the same sex.
DULUTH, Minnesota -- Catholic priest donated $1000 to gay marriage. The Diocese of Duluth, where Lambert is stationed, has donated $50,000 to support the traditional marriage amendment.
On Sunday evening, I was honored to attend, as an invitee, an interfaith banquet sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America. It was part of their larger national convention with the theme, "One Nation Under God, Striving for the Common Good."
You might recall the name of this organization, the largest Muslim organization in North America, because it has been an implicit target of attacks in July by Rep. Michele Bachmann and other right-wing critics who want to link it to the Muslim Brotherhood. Among those named as security risks by Bachmann and others was Imam Mohamed Magid, currently president of the Islamic society.
Imam Magid was present at the dinner, of course, and shared the stage with Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Cardinal Emeritus Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., and noted author and scholar of interfaith relations Karen Armstrong. They discussed issues of religious freedom as they are emerging around the globe. (The question of contraceptive coverage in the health care law was never mentioned. They talked about real threats to religious freedom, like Muslims and Christians killing each other in Nigeria.)
The news media are saying that Clint Eastwood's Aug. 30 "talk" at the Republican National Convention was weird. They say the campaign must have been fretting. I actually thought the chair was brilliant. Once you realize Clint was speaking without a script and maybe having some senior moments, that he regrouped and brought in the chair -- it was just sitting there; organizers must have put there in case he couldn't stand. If Clint had them set the stage like this, well, he's a really smart guy. Yes, it was a little risqué, a little too long. Still, the chair was genius.
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini died in Varese, northern Italy, on Aug. 31 at the age of 85. Two weeks earlier, on Aug. 8, Martini gave a final interview to his fellow Jesuit Fr. George Sporschill, with whom Martini had collaborated on a book titled Nocturnal Conversations in Jerusalem, and an Italian friend named Federica Radice Fossati Confalonieri. Radice has told Italian media outlets that Martini read and approved the text of the interview, intending it as a sort of "spiritual testament" to be published after his death.
My colleague, Michael Sean Winters, the award-winning blogger of NCR's Distinctly Catholic blog, has offered some excellent Republican convention analysis.
Election 2012 -- Obama Plan Pares Deficit as Romney Pledges End Without the Means
Election 2012 -- What to watch at the Democratic convention Tuesday
Election 2012 -- Robert George in the Wall Street Journal: Cardinal Dolan Goes to Charlotte The cardinal's presence confounds efforts by the abortion-rights and gay-marriage movements to stigmatize and marginalize those who refuse to fall into line.
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Cardinal Raymond Burke has reportedly expressed his profound sorrow that “the failure of knowledge and application of the canon law … contributed significantly to the scandal of the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy in some parts of the world.”
His remarks, as far as they go, reveal a serious misunderstanding of the deeper nature of the clergy sex abuse crisis. Not to face its larger and, in the eyes of many, more troubling dimension, is to make it all the more unlikely we will ever get beyond it.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, addressing a Kenyan canon law convention Aug. 28, linked the clergy sex abuse scandal with a failure by priests to respect canon law.
Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest court, said: “It is profoundly sad to note, for instance, how the failure of knowledge and application of the canon law, which was indeed still in force, contributed significantly to the scandal of the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy in our some parts of the world.”
Burke's remarks appeared on the CatholicCulture.org website.
"The years of a lack of knowledge of the Church’s discipline and even of a presumption that such discipline was no longer fitting to the nature of the Church indeed reaped gravely harmful fruits in the Church," Burke said. Going on to say: