Attending the annual USCCB plenary sessions in Baltimore always entails entering a parallel universe. The ballroom where the sessions are held is filled and the participants are almost exclusively male, a few women reporters and staffers sitting on the sidelines. Only in sports events is segregation by gender so obvious. All the bishops are, of course, dressed alike. All speak in measured tones. Even when criticizing a fellow bishop, the criticism is preceded by kind words.
I suppose that big things usually start small, but yesterday's session on "bishops and bloggers" at the USCCB meeting illustrated just how far we have to go before the blogosphere can effectively become a part of the New Evangelization. As I entered the room, I noticed that all the bishops were seated on one side of the room and all the bloggers and journalists on the other side. Call me silly, but if the value of the blogosphere is that it can bring people from diverse areas together in a common space, you would think the seating in the room might have reflected that.
Welcoming the bishops to Baltimore with an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, John Gehring of Faith in Public Life invites the bishops to re-evaluate their recent forays into politics, and whether the vast majority of moderate bishops are going to continue to allow a few noisy conservatives to dominate the public square. It is a good question.
I have not focused much on Samuel Rodriguez and his National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference. After four years with Jerry Falwell, I feel like I have earned a break.
Conservative pundits continue to survey the wreckage from their across-the-board defeats last week, losing seven seats in the House, two in the Senate and failing to defeat President Barack Obama. Already, the tensions are emerging and they are likely to get worse as Speaker John Boehner recognizes that the hand he is holding is considerably weaker than the one he had during the last round of budget negotiations and potential GOP candidates wonder how to approach their future.
At RNS, Mark Silk takes a quick look at the voting behavior of different religious groups. Catholics, once again, "went with the winner." What is most surprising is that Gov. Romney received a higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain did four years ago. Concerns about his Mormon faith did not materialize at the voting booth, and that is a good thing for the country.
California voters approved a ballot measure that raises their own taxes in order to invest in education. Why is this good news? Americans like more government than they are willing to pay for. Most Americans say that they think government is too big, but when you start mentioning programs that can be cut, they insist that such programs are essential and the cuts should be made elsewhere. Gov.
Here is a link to my article in the Tablet this week, in which I asked several prominent Catholics to look ahead to a second Obama term.
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Today, Charles Camosy of Fordham posts his thoughts on the election and what they can mean for Catholic Social Teaching. Better to say, what CST can mean for the results. Great stuff.