You got to hand it to Catholic Charities USA. The timing of the release of its 2008 survey is impeccable, as the U.S. is focused on healthcare reform, jobs and the economy (among other issues, say, e.g., the wars). This survey is a clear reminder that private, market forces are not working for the poor. The "anti-federal government" crowd should spend some quality time reading this survey, and then perhaps, flipping to Matthew 25: 31-46.
Not surprising, according to a new according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "nearly six in 10 Americans are now concerned about job or pay losses in the coming months, little changed since February, and there has been no increase in the percentage who see the federal government's stimulus efforts as having an impact, even as the pace of layoffs has eased in recent months. And there is lukewarm public confidence that the government is enacting measures to stave off another financial crisis."
A great look at the society-we-are by David Brooks in Tuesday's New York Times. Brooks uses some old radio broadcasts on the day victory was declared in World War Two to contrast where American society was then and where it has gone now.
Over on the GQ web site is an essay by former Pres. George W. Bush speech writer Matt Latimer about the final months of the Bush administration: Me Talk Presidential One Day.
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has been vilified by right wing critics for pursuing a political strategy that favors the Democrats and polarizes the Catholic Church. But, they have signed on to a statement signed by an array of theologians calling for the Church to speak with one voice on the issue.
Missing from the list of signatories is Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. But, given the cardinal’s remarks to a CNS reporter noted earlier on NCR Today, they should have asked him to do so. The cardinal says he “could never explain” how or why so many Americans lacked health care. Martino lived in the United States for many years while serving as the Holy See’s ambassador to the United Nations.
"For those who have given their lives to service to their country, promoting values of peace, justice, equality, and liberty; especially, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, that he may find his eternal reward in the arms of God . . . . We pray."
Father Michael J. Gillgannon, a widely respected missionary priest of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has written an open letter to his bishop, Robert W. Finn, taking strong exception to his leadership.
"You appear to me and many priests of my generation who lived the Spirit filled days of Vatican II," wrote Gillgannon, "as one whose task is to reverse the changes of that great event. You have given the impression that your changes were for the sake of a narrow 'orthodoxy' which seems to imply that the bishops and priests and laity before you were not orthodox."
This, with a tip of the hat, to Carol Glatz at the CNS blog:
She writes: "The Vatican hasn’t weighed in very much yet concerning the fierce debate in the United States over health care reform. Some of the opposition in the U.S. centers around whether the government should have such a dominant role in providing affordable coverage for all Americans.
In her erudite piece on the history of apostolic religious life, Sister Sandra Schneiders notes at the outset that she is writing to correct those who write "dogmatically" about the subject but have "no lived experience of or academic competence" to back up what they say.
Nothing she says points to me, who has written quite a bit about that topic, but I certainly fit the description. Obviously I've never been a sister in apostolic life nor do I consider myself a scholar of it.
On the other hand, it's perfectly legitimate to debate whether or not what I or anyone else writing about the current crisis is dogmatic, which I assume means rigid conviction untempered by reason or knowledge. That's fair game.
But her comment indirectly raises another issue: the role of the outsider.
Thomas J. Miller, a veteran U.S. diplomat, says that President Barack Obama's maiden appearance at the United Nations later this month will attract considerable attention.
Obama has "talked very much about working cooperatively with other countries and about multilateral diplomacy and the importance of it," Miller says, and "people are going to be looking very carefully to what he has to say." Obama will speak at a special summit meeting on climate control on September 22, address the General Assembly on September 23, and chair a special Security Council meeting on arms control and nonproliferation on September 24.
It's been a while since a U.S. president has seen the UN as an asset and not as a hinderance.