One of the signal differences between the current administration and its predecessor is the manner in which it handles events like the attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to detonate a bomb on his plane as it landed in Detroit. The appropriate administration officials have spoken about how something like this can happen despite the many precautions undertaken at airports worldwide. Security at the airports is increased in case this one incident is not one incident but the first in a series. The President did not rush into a press briefing in the middle of his vacation.
Sr. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, has told Catholic News Service that the New York Times got the story wrong when it reported Dec. 26 that her group wasn't in step with the U.S. bishops on the health reform bills now pending in Congress.
Keehan told CNS that her association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are working together to achieve health reform legislation that does not expand federal funding of abortion.
Read the full story: 'No disagreement' between Catholic hospitals, bishops.
Burning thoughts about new films
These past few weeks has seen the release of several surprisingly good films (though some will receive wide release in January). Here are some of the best:
A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. Matthew 2:18
It is a fitting day to mourn the Innocents who were kicked, beaten, stripped, starved, tortured, raped, worked to death, and buried in unmarked graves by bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, sisters.
A day to bewail the Innocents sentenced to the Magdalen laundries and industrial schools of Ireland, and for the Indian children confined in boarding schools in North America.
A day to lament the parochial school children molested in sacristies and in confessionals and in rectories and in lake cabins and in cars and on picnics and in their parents' houses.
A woman jumped a barrier at the start of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down the pope, briefly disrupting ceremonies.
Screams erupted from onlooking worshippers when the woman ran toward Pope Benedict XVI and grabbed onto his vestments as he walked down the main aisle of the church, video footage showed.
He was quickly helped to his feet by his aides -- prompting cheers from the crowd -- and the service was resumed, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.
While I was growing up, I was always aware, at least subliminally, that there were certain rare people in the little churches we went to who held the whole thing together through their faith and compassion.
Later I understood what St. Paul meant by "all the saints" he was corresponding with. They were ordinary Christians, largely anonymous and unheralded, who simply lived the Gospel.
They weren't always models of perfection. A father of a friend of mine, a man whose nature was loving, sang in the choir, led a prayer meeting, visited old people in the hospital and sometimes chased women, with what results I don't know. He was no angel but we thought he was God's UPS man.
Same with a woman who brought hope to people suffering from all sorts of mental and spiritual ills. She'd listen and minister to them with no fanfare. One day we discovered that in her role as church treasurer she'd made off with $5,000 (a tidy sum then) to bail her husband out of perilous gambling debts.
In those days, the Catholic system of sainthood was even more remote than Catholicism itself. It was a bit spooky and kind of super hall-of-famy populated by those who had just appeared to be human.
Senate passes healthcare overhaul
A prominent progressive Catholic group, Catholics United, has announced it endorsement of the Senate health care reform bill.” Like many supporters of health care reform, our members are clearly disappointed with the Senate's failure to include a public option, expand Medicare coverage, or do enough to improve the general affordability of health insurance for low- and middle-income families,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “We support final passage of the Senate bill, but call on negotiators from both houses of Congress to address these deficiencies in conference negotiations.”
Catholics United polled its membership before giving its endorsement. More than 71 percent of the 4,356 people participating in the poll indicated that they want the Senate measure to proceed although the same percentage expressed the fear that the Senate bill does not go far enough to cover the uninsured.