Faith leaders urge Obama to make health care reform happen. See the statement here.
Reinhard Marx, the Catholic archbishop of Munich and Freising in Germany (a position Pope Benedict held from 1977 to 1981), will be on a panel this week at the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. http://www.weforum.org/en/index.htm
The panel is on “Restoring Faith in Economics.” Joining Marx on the panel are Niall Ferguson, a Harvard Business School professor, and Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Anglican archbishop in South Africa. Ruth Simmon, president of Brown University, will moderate, according to Sarah Kidwell, a spokeswoman for the university in Providence, Rhode Island.
One wonders why a Catholic archbishop would attend such a tony event among the global elite. A few mouse clicks later and it's clear: Marx wrote a book titled, "Das Kapital: A Plea for Man", published in October 2008, in which he criticizes capitalism and highlights Catholic social teaching.
Retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor yestereay said last week's Supreme Court decision striking down restrictions on corporate spending in elections will energize an "arms race" in judicial elections, threatening an independent judiciary.
O'Connor said the decision will effect an overwhelming number of states and localities that elect judges.
"In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon," O'Connor said at a symposium at Georgetown Law Center.
She noted that each election cycle brings new spending records in judicial races.
This from the Vatican Information Service this morning:
A communique made public yesterday afternoon (Jan. 26) explains that the stamp is dedicated to the 1500th anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Grace, better known as the shrine of Mentorella, located in the Italian region of Lazio.
The series of 900,000 stamps, each with a face value of 0.65 euros, will be sold for 0.85 euros, though their postal value will remain 0.65 euros.
The 0.20 euros surplus will be used to aid victims of the earthquake. According to estimates of the Governorate of Vatican City State, if almost the entire series is sold some 150,000 euros will be collected.
Today is the feast of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursulines. She was born c. 1474 and died on Jan. 27, 1540.
In 1535, "Angela founded her company in Brescia . . . to enable women to live consecrated lives in their own homes and keeping their occupations. At a time when women were expected to choose between a husband or a cloistered life, it was a daring move! As the company required no dowry, it was open to women of all social backgrounds."
-- Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Ohio
Recently I devoted both my “All Things Catholic” column and an op/ed piece in The Forward, a national Jewish weekly, to Pope Benedict XVI’s Jan. 17 visit to the Great Synagogue in Rome. Among other things, I suggested that the pope’s speech that day reflected a broad thrust in his approach to inter-faith relations, away from specifically theological dialogue in favor of social, cultural and political cooperation.
tLike usual, those pieces drew a wide variety of responses.
Yesterday, the President proposed to lower the percentage of one’s income you must pay on your federal student loans. Currently, payments on student loans are capped at 15 percent of income, and the new rate would be 10%. It is a fine idea, and coupled with the President’s earlier proposal to get banks out of the student loan business, where they make a risk-free windfall at taxpayer expense, it shows the kind of below-the-radar good policies the administration is pursuing.
He needs to go further. I know that the centerpiece of his state of the Union speech tomorrow night is evidently going to be a freeze on domestic discretionary spending. But, he should find some programs to kill, preferably in the districts of those who opposed health care reform, and pump the money into additional funding for college loan programs. Acknowledging the need to restrain government spending should never entail eating your seed corn, and investments in America’s higher education system undoubtedly reaps rewards for years to come.
A press release from SOA Watch:
The "SOA 4" are:
Nancy Gwin, long-time activist from Syracuse, New York - sentenced to six months in prison
Father Louie Vitale, veteran and priest from Oakland, CA - sentenced to six months in prison
Ken Hayes, SOA Watch Council member from Austin, TX - sentenced to six months in prison
Michael Walli, a member of the Catholic Worker movement from Washington, DC refused to appear for the trial in Georgia. Walli had told the court during his November arraignment that he would not pay any bail and that he would not voluntarily return for the trial. "I walk out and it's goodbye" Walli told Judge Mallon Faircloth. Michael Walli made good on his promise and on Monday, Judge Mallon Faircloth issued a warrant for Michael Walli's arrest.
I'm still huffing about last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively taking the lid off corporate campaign spending. Some people who follow these matters more closely than do I think the ruling won't make matters much worse than they already are. Okay, maybe they are right; I suspect they are not. But who knows?
But I do want to share with you a few paragraphs from the great, and apparently, soon to retire, Justice John Paul Stevens who wrote for the dissenters: