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Hudson v. Sullivan on Burke v. O'Malley


Deal Hudson is all in a lather because of a well-reported article by Amy Sullivan in the current edition of Time magazine. Sullivan accurately reports on the virtually unprecedented criticism Archbishop Burke leveled at Cardinal O’Malley for presiding at the funeral of Sen. Ted. Kennedy. I say unprecedented because what Burke was criticizing very clearly was not a theological point, nor a canonical interpretation, but a pastoral judgment, indeed, a judgment that was O’Malley’s to make and no one else’s.

Islamophobia ñ Again?


We were all shocked by the horrific killings at Ft. Hood, Texas, yesterday. But again and again, the media keep mentioning the suspect's religion. He's a Muslim. I must admit: I wonder if someone would say "the suspect is a Presbyterian, or a Reform Jew or a Catholic." His religion may or may not have had anything to do with these killings.

After all, Major Hasan, the suspect, is also a psychiatrist with a specialization in post-traumatic stress disorder. He must have listened to horrible war stories from patients for many weeks or months. He had orders for a deployment he did not want. There is nothing especially religious about these identities, and either one might be a factor in the shootings he allegedly committed. Indeed, he might have simply "snapped."

But in some quarters, the religious hate, the "Islamophobia," has already begun, with threats against mosques and Muslims. It's part of the "blame the entire group for what a small group, or in this case - one person, may have done."

The Politics of Unemployment


The unemployment numbers are grim indeed, hitting a 26-year high. Nor will these numbers turn around tomorrow: Companies have learned to survive with a leaner workforce and they will not start hiring until they must. That is why unemployment is always the last economic indicator to rebound. This fact requires the Obama administration to recalibrate its political strategies going forward.

In retrospect, the economic benefits of health care reform should have been highlighted more clearly. With more than thirty million new customers coming their way, surely insurance companies should start hiring soon. More importantly, companies that have foreign competition must recognize that they are at a distinct disadvantage as they face increased health care costs for their employees while the foreign companies against which they must compete do not have any such concerns.

Saint of the Day, Nov. 6


Today is the feast of Blessed Margaret of Lorraine.

Margaret was born to Frederick II of Vaudémont and his cousin, Yolande d'Anjou, in 1463, at their castle in Lorraine.

She married René, Duke of Alençon in 1488. When he died four years later, Margaret was already the mother of three children. "The first thing she did was to secure her right to the guardianship of her children. . . . Having done this, she settled down in her castle at Mauves, where she brought them up. . . . she showed herself to be a most capable administrator. . . ."
--Butler's Lives of the Saints

The Other Anniversary


Yesterday was not only the anniversary of the coronation of Pope John XXIII. It was also the one year anniversary of the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The historic aspect of that election tended to obscure the darkening economic clouds that had been rushing in for the previous months, but now one year later they are still there, still dark and ominous.

Turning around the economy is always a slower process than one would wish, especially if you are now the incumbent. Some of the same people who voted for change in 2008 also voted for change in 2009, because they do not like what they see when they read the newspaper. Of course, voting for change in 2008 meant voting for the Dems and this year it meant voting for the GOP.

The health care debate, which has taken longer than Obama wished, is reaching its conclusion. Certainly the Senate should, like the House, move quickly to finish work on that bill and begin considering how government expenditures can best be used to promote job growth. There will be a wind at the Democrats’ back again as soon as they pass health care reform.

Rode confirms the investigation is after feminists!


It’s not very often that a Vatican official confirms my underlying suspicions so directly. But Cardinal Rode actually admitted that a “certain feminist spirit” among American nuns is part of the reason for his investigation.

If that’s what he’s after, we nuns could save him more than a million dollars. Of course, lots of us nuns are feminists – because the gospel calls us to that!

Dolan's Pre-emptive Strike Risky Business


To their credit, most Catholic leaders have not played the "anti-Catholic" card during the long and gruesome series of revelations of priests' sexual abuse of children. Though crimes -- and the reports about them -- have been bitter pills, bishops and other leaders have shown an increasing tendency to face them without placing the blame on factions out to get them.

Not so the new archibishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, who flashed this canard in a virolent attack on the New York Times. He lumps together three pieces -- Maureen Dowd's column critical of the nuns' investigation (full disclosure: I was quoted in it) and two that involved Laurie Goodstein, one on a Franciscan who fathered a child who's now dying and another on the Pope's welcome of Anglicans -- in a furious blog diatribe on the paper as the enemy of the Catholic church. This was after the Times turned down his bid to place the attack on the paper's Op-Ed page.

Nun in the news


Stories like these don't help the cause of U.S. women religious currently under investigation by the Vatican for allegedly supporting radical liberal causes:

Sister Donna Quinn, a long-time feminist and social justice activist, has been reprimanded by her order, the Wisconsin-based Sinsinawa Domincans, for escorting patients into a Hinsdale, Illinois clinic that provides abortions, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Online news site ChicagoCatholicNews speculates that the three bishops involved--Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, where Quinn lives; Bishop J. Peter Sartain of Joliet, where the clinic is located; and Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, where the order is based--are "monitoring the situation" and expect to talk soon.

The company we keep


"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Luke 15:2

Church marquees, those lightbox structures displaying the sermon title or a scripture passage, are the first indication of what lies within. Who decides the wording gets to be the face of that church, the first impression.

I don't often see the sign above: "Come, eat with us sinners." There are lots of sermons preached about avoiding sin, but the logic of this includes avoiding sinners, meaning other people who are the occasions of sin. The real test of this is at the Communion table, where in some churches sinners must be turned away because Communion has come to be seen as a reward for being good, not as a means to forgiveness and healing. Good people fear contamination from bad people. If we have advanced in age and experience enough to know that good and bad come together in most of us, we are told to at least leave our failings in the confessional first, then come to Communion. Wash your hands, then come to the table.


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