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Neumayr Doubles Down


A couple of weeks back, George Neumayr at The American Spectator attacked my bishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. I wrote about that attack here.

One would have hoped that Neumayr would have taken the time, and the criticism he received, some of it from the right, to think more charitably about the assertions he made in his initial article. Instead, he has doubled down, unleashing more nastiness at Cardinal Wuerl in another article at The American Spectator.

Garnett Responds to MSW


At his blog Mirror of Justice, Rick Garnett has responded to my post this morning.

I shall only note that his response indicates why Garnett is my favorite conservative Catholic sparring partner. His reply is lucid, concise, thoughtful, engaging. He is not out to score points, but tries to advance the conversation. He is right to say that we agree more than we disagree. That said, I still think that there are plenty of conservative Catholics who do the exact same thing that some liberal Catholics do: tailor their religious convictions to suit their politics, rather than starting with their religion and developing political positions therefrom. But, it is an honor, and an education, to engage with Garnett.

Cafeteria Catholics: A Longish Response to Rick Garnett


Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnett has responded to David Gibson, John Allen and myself, regarding comments we made about Pope Benedict XVI’s comments regarding the “certain schizophrenia between private and public morality.” I called attention to the comments here, in which I include a link to John Allen’s article. Here is a link to Gibson’s comments.

It is, perhaps, ironic, that on a different post yesterday, I noted that I sleep better when I find myself in agreement with Professor Garnett. So, I guess I shall be sleeping less soundly tonight.

Garnett writes:

More on ACA at SCOTUS


Jonathan Cohn, at TNR, argues that even raising the issue of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and giving it such a central role in the nation's political discourse - as opposed to an argument about the ACA on policy grounds - represents a win for the far right. But, as is their wont, the far right may have over-played their hand. By focusing almost exclusively on the constitutional issue, and not the many policy difficulties the ACA raises, the far right will have little to say if the Supreme Court rules that the ACA is, in fact, constitutional. As well, the far right will not have much time to craft a response and shift the debate to the policy merits of the ACA before the November election.

Gerson Nails It


In this morning's Washington Post, Michael gerson looks at the recent Pew survey on Americans' attitudes towards the role of religion in politics. Gerson even-handedly deconstructs the problems in both parties regarding the role of religion in our public and political discourse. But, his opening graph hits precisely on some of the weirdness surrounding the issue in the current campaign:

Religion in the 2012 presidential election is the topic that will launch a thousand PhD theses. The pre-Vatican II Catholic candidate, Rick Santorum, has risen largely on the support of evangelicals, who, before the Second Vatican Council, often regarded the pope as the Antichrist. The former Mormon bishop, Mitt Romney, won Ohio and Michigan (and thus probably the nomination) arguably because of Catholic support. Meanwhile, a significant portion of the Republican electorate regards a president who has affirmed “the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ” as a closet Muslim.

A Horrible Court Decision in Mass.


District Court Judge Richard Stearns ruled last Friday against the Department of Health and Human Services, siding with the Massachusetts’ American Civil Liberties Union that HHS’s contracts with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for services to the victims of human trafficking violated the Establishment Clause. Those contracts included an “accommodation” sought by the USCCB that the services would not include contraceptive or abortion services.

B16: Provocateur


My colleague John Allen reports on an exchange the Holy Father had with reporters in which Benedict denounced the facile distinction often drawn by politicians between their private beliefs and morality and their public responsibilities. But, while this charge has rightly been delivered against pro-choice Catholic politicians, Benedict directed the charge at those who fail to embrace the Church's social teachings on issues like poverty.

In short, Benedict XVI recognizes there is a variety of cafeteria Catholicism on the right as well as the left, something I have been arguing since I started arguing about such matter years ago. I can't imagine what people like George Weigel and Fr. Robert Sirico will make of the Pope's comments.


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