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Legislator: 'The Catholic bishops are often laughed at'


Recently, I was part of a discussion group with progressive Catholics who care a lot about their church. One of them was a member of the Maryland State Legislature.

After we adjourned our general discussion and began milling around before departure, I went up to him, inquiring about the recent votes in the Maryland legislature on a bill that would have legalized same sex marriage.

Unfortunately, the bill is dead for this year. It passed the Senate, but was tabled in the House -- even though we have solid Democratic majorities in both chambers and Governor Martin O’Malley was ready to sign it.

I thanked the legislator for his vote in favor of this bill, and then sought to confirm my analysis as to why the bill failed to pass. I asked if he shared my view that the defeat of the bill was largely due to the lobbying of African-American ministers in Prince Georges County in the suburbs of Washington, DC, rather than the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Both were opposed to the legislation, and both lobbied hard.

Santorum Urges Boycott on Gifts to Catholic Schools that 'Abandon the Church's Teaching'


Rick Santorum took some heat, here at the NCR Today blog and elsewhere, for his contention that Thomas Jefferson is “rolling over in his grave” at modern interpretations of church-state separation. But the former Pennsylvania senator’s comments on Catholic schools are equally irksome.

“The heresy that goes on in Catholic schools in America is amazing,” he told Boston Catholics at an event earlier this week. “He urged the crowd not to donate money to Catholic schools that abandon the church’s teachings,” reported the Boston Globe.

Said Santorum of those who contribute to Catholic schools, “You’re feeding the beast.” One wonders what criteria Santorum, whose children are home-schooled, uses to determine which schools “abandon the church’s teachings.”

Health reform law challenges: An update


I have tried mightily to keep track of the various court challenges brought against the health care reform law that Congress passed and President Obama signed last year, but have failed.

Thank goodness Kaiser Health News is keeping track for me.

All over the country, lawsuits challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are working their way through the federal courts.
KHN is tracking the status of 25 cases, below, and will update those and other new cases on this page.

Court overturned law or part of law: 2 cases
Court ruled law constitutional and dismissed case: 6 cases
Court dismissed for lack of standing or procedural problems: 4 cases
Court dismissed but gave plainiff right to refile: 1 case
Court decision pending: 12 cases

Read the full scoreboard: Tracking Health Law Court Challenges

Haiser Health News is funded by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.. From its web site:

"Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news organization committed to in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics.

Morning Briefing


COMMENTARY: Everyone's Irish today

North Dakota Catholics told not to donate to groups, no giving to or working with the March of Dimes, UNICEF, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, or Crop Walk

Discussion on The Wall Street Jouranl discussion page: How should the Catholic Church and Catholics respond to the Philadelphia clergy-abuse allegations?

Editorial: A few bad apples don’t spoil the bunch, The 96 percent of good priests deserve a better fate and reaction from the public.

Chicago: Fr. Mike Pfleger’s tenure at St. Sabina Parish may be ending

Santorum Picks the Wrong Founding Father to Make a Point


This year’s crop of Republican presidential candidates are having a difficult time with colonial history.

First, Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) places Lexington and Concord in New Hampshire. And now Rick Santorum (R-PA) has Thomas Jefferson “spinning in his grave” over John F. Kennedy’s famous September 1960 address on church and state. Santorum takes particular issue with Kennedy’s assertion that church-state separation should be “absolute.”

KofC sued for sex abuse


NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Knights of Columbus, citing a statute of limitations, asked a judge to dismiss lawsuits by two men who say a youth leader sexually abused them decades ago.

The men sued the New Haven-based group in December and said a former leader of the Columbian Squires, the Knights' official youth program, abused them in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s. Their attorney has said the lawsuits appear to be the first against the Knights, the world's largest Catholic lay organization, to allege sexual abuse of children.

Maureen Dowd on the Philadelphia scandal


New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd weighed in on the sex abuse scandal in Philadelphia yesterday.

Here's a snippet:

Even with a global scandal that never seems to stop disgorging disgusting stories, the Philadelphia grand jury report is especially sordid.

It tells the story of a fifth-grade altar boy at St. Jerome School given the pseudonym Billy. Father Engelhardt plied him with sacramental wine and pulled pornographic magazines out of a bag in the sacristy and told the child it was time “to become a man,” the report says.

A week later, after Billy served an early Mass, the report states that Engelhardt instructed him to take off his clothes and perform oral sex on him. Then the priest told the boy he was “dismissed.”


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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