In the visuals of the verbal muggings that some characterize as debate over health care reform, we (and I am grateful to this point) haven’t seen much of a discernibly Catholic presence. But the same vituperative, over-the-top language is out there on Catholic blogs. In the past it would have become the unchallenged “Catholic” point of view and its perpetrators the “experts” weighing in for the rest of the church.
So we might have seen the priest from pizza magnate Tom Monaghan’s Ave Maria University assert that the U.S. bishops have it wrong when they say that health care is a right -- and not hear a counter argument. Or the personal attacks on the nun who heads the Catholic Health Association might have gone unchallenged. However they are ably challenged here by John Gehring of Catholics in Alliance.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, umbrella organization for most U.S. women religious, opens their annual convocation tomorrow in New Orleans. NCR editor Tom Fox is there to give us on the ground reports. Check this web site regularly for updates.
The meeting is of special interest this year because the conference and its membership are facing two investigations by the Vatican. It's a story NCR has been reporting since it broke in January. Here's a handy guide to NCR reporting and commentary:
There's a video on The New York Times web site called "Scraping By: Portraits of Life during the Great Recession," by filmmaker Stewart Thorndike.
The four minute video introduces viewers to residents of a tent city (for the homeless and unemployed) on the grounds of St Jude's Catholic Church in Redmond, Wash. What I found startling was that the video has such a "normal" tone to it. Watch it and see if I am calling this right.
You can read more background about the film project at the Seattle news web site Crosscut.com in a story titled "Inside a Tent City near Microsoft." The story too takes a "normal" tone:
President Barack Obama will be participating in a national call-in and webcast with faith leaders next Wednesday night, August 19. The call is being sponsored by a network of faith-based groups including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners, the National Council of Churches, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The call-in will be the centerpiece of a lobbying effort called "40 Days for Health Care Reform."
PayScale.com has just released its second annual rankings based on how much money a graduate makes. Notre Dame first year grads' starting median salary is $55,300, while ND midcareer alums make $121,000.
Next in line: Jesuit schools, Santa Clara University and Georgetown University, where first year grads' median starting salary is $58,000 and $57,000 respectively, while midcareer grads make $111,000 for each school.
Like other rankings, PayScale.com is being challenged on its methodology.
Critics of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious often blame the huge drop in sisters to the Conference's promotion of liberal or "renewal" theology.
At the same time, however, under two strikingly conservative popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and a prevalence of conservative American bishops, the ranks of the priesthood have dramatically thinned, a third of those born Catholic have left the church, mass attendance and confessions are down and there are fewer church weddings.
Michael Paulson of The Boston Globe writes a fine article on the return of Eucharistic Adoration at St. Clement Shrine in the City of Boston. Apparently, the practice was re-ignited by a few lay people, and not because the New York Yankees just swept the Boston Red Sox in four straight games this past weekend. No. This has been in the works for some time. Good for them.
I have always had respect for the late Archbishop Joseph Bernardin. In so many ways he was an exemplary leader. But it is also clear he had a blind spot, one shared seemingly with nearly all the other U.S. bishops of his time and far more than any one might imagine possible today.
According to a new Gallup poll, about 24% of all American adults identified as Catholic between January and June of this year. The distribution of Catholics across the states is heavily skewed toward the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, the regions of the country through which the large waves of Catholic immigrants from Europe arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries.