By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tI’m in Brazil this week, speaking at a seminar on the always-volatile relationship between the church and the media at a couple of seminars sponsored by the International Institute for Social Sciences in São Paulo. Though we’re just one day into the event, there are already a couple of nuggets worth recording.
tYesterday, a veteran Italian writer on Vatican affairs floated an intriguing hypothesis about a recent mystery surrounding the release of Pope Benedict XVI’s social encyclical Caritas in Veritate. In effect, he argued that anonymous leaks of the encyclical a few days before it came out in early July represented the first stirrings of a new “dynamic communications strategy” in the Vatican.
More than one of every five requests for medical claims for insured patients, even when recommended by a patient's physician, are rejected by California's largest private insurers, according to data released today by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
Quick – check your children when they come home from school today to make sure they do not show any ill signs from President Obama’s “back to school” speech, delivered earlier today. The rightwing punditocracy warned that the speech amounted to indoctrination although the text was an anodyne series of encouragements to students to sick with their schooling.
There was a time when conservatives were all about patriotism. The President is the only office, along with the Vice-Presidency, that is elected by a vote of the entire nation. As well, in our constitutional system, the President is both head of state and head of government. He is the natural focus of national, as well as political, spirit. But, all that came crashing to a halt when Barack Hussein Obama won last November. Now, when the President does something that previous presidents have done, give a speech to schoolchildren, we are warned that the republic is under attack.
Bishop Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Baker, Oregon, requires the following affirmation of faith to be signed by all lay persons who hold positions of administration and teaching in his diocese. This includes catechists, liturgical readers, cantors and extraordinary Eucharistic ministers.
An New Jersey NCR reader sent a note with web link, suggesting a piece that he thought other NCR readers might be interested in seeing. The link takes you to the blog Religion Dispatches.
The title, which pretty much sums up the article itself, is Conservative 'Cafeteria Catholics' Favor Opposition to Gay Marriage Over Health Care.
Polish bishops are reminding Catholic politicians that if they support abortion, they risk excommunication from the Church.
Mariah Blake, Editor of the Washington Monthly has just written an interesting profile on the rise and fall of Ave Maria school of law.
As Blake explains in an email: "Until a few years ago, the school—which was created with the help of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and other prominent conservatives—seemed poised to become a top-drawer institution. Its graduates had an astonishing 100 percent bar passage rate, and many went on to high-powered jobs and prestigious clerkships. Today it’s among the worst law schools in the country, if not the very worst, and appears to be on the verge of financial collapse."
The piece is a colorful yarn, involving a 250-foot crucifix, the Detroit Tigers, and a newly built town where Monaghan and his business partners control the government in perpetuity.
The Archdiocese of Detroit is losing $42,000 daily and, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press, will be cutting staff and some of its losing real estate investments. There are, no doubt, many reasons for the decline of the church in this economically devastated area of the country.
But as NCR reported in Feb. 2006 and again in March 2007, financial secrecy and gross mismanagement are not least among them. Check out these NCR links:
After a fairly good showing in this summer’s romantic comedy “The Proposal”, Sandra Bullock now plays Mary Magdalene Horowitz (a Jewish-Catholic) crossword puzzle creator in her new film "All about Steve." She has a bad case of logorrhea (verbal diarrhea).