For years now, I have felt frustrated at how dysfunctional our national politics are. This has been exacerbated by the recent turn of events surrounding the health reform legislation in particular in the U.S. Senate.
As I tell my students, the Senate is an anti-democratic body and don’t let anyone fool you on that.
For several days now, those of us who live in the Washington/Baltimore area have been digging out from at least two feet of snow! I’m a native of the Buffalo, N.Y. area, so this raises fond memories of childhood. But in my 40 years in Washington, I’ve never seen this depth before -- or this immobility.
tWhile there are undoubtedly many ways to capture what’s noteworthy about Italian Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, here’s one from my experience just this week.
tTuesday morning, I was on my way to the Paul VI Audience Hall to listen to a talk by Ravasi at a conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. I bumped into a priest friend in the Vatican, who, it’s fair to say, would probably be seen as falling on the conservative side of many church debates. When I told him I was headed to see Ravasi, his eyes lit up.
t“He’s always giving speeches,” he said, “but he always has something interesting to say.”
tLater that day, I lunched with a lay church-watcher in Rome, who conventionally would be regarded as at least somewhat liberal. When I mentioned I had spent part of the morning listening to Ravasi, she too was animated.
t“He’s amazing … brilliant, but with an incredible ability to speak to real people,” she said.
The DC blizzard has resulted in, among other things, getting your Sunday paper on Monday afternoon. The Post’s “Outlook” section gave top billing to an article by Gerard Alexander entitled “Why are liberals so condescending?” which examined the ways that liberals dismiss conservative ideas rather than engaging them.
Alexander is on to something. There is a sense of intellectual and moral superiority among some on the left, and it truly does impede political decision-making. That said, chastising politicians for considering politics is hardly a uniquely liberal or conservative monopoly and, besides, if you spent five minutes with a member of Congress, you would prefer they stick to politics and not dabble in, say, theology.
John Gehring, director of communications for the Washington-based Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, sent us the following report from the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington.
USCCB Official Laments Polarization in Catholic Church
Nearly every Academy Awards season, the Oscar nominations bring to the forefront a small film deemed to be "socially important," a film of supposedly searing insight into the human condition, a film that - in short - cannot be ignored. These movies often tell us more about the Hollywood elite (i.e., Academy voters) than they do about any real social condition.
This year's anointed picture is "Precious," often described in reviews as a fairly brutal depiction of the life of an obese and illiterate black teenager who has two children by her father. Films like "Precious" garner critical attention and Academy nods not as films -- the acclaim is not really for script, plot, direction or cinematography. "Precious" is celebrated for what it allegedly reveals to us about the hidden sides of society we choose not to see. But does it?
Today is the feast of St. Miguel Febres Cordero, FSC.
Francisco Febres Cordero Muñoz was born at Cuenca, Ecuador, on Nov. 7, 1854. He died at Premià de Mar, Spain, one hundred years ago today.
In 1868 he entered The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the first Ecuadorian to do so. He became Brother Miguel.