Links for 03/09/15

by Michael Sean Winters

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The Holy Father's letter to Cardinal Poli on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Catholic University of Argentina should be mandatory reading for all the cranks at the misnamed Cardinal Newman Society, and other rightwing critics of Catholic higher education who conflate Catholic identity with conservative political and theological stances. The money quote: 

Theology is an expression of a Church which is a "field hospital", which lives its mission of salvation and healing in the world. Mercy is not just a pastoral attitude but it is the very substance of the Gospel of Jesus. I encourage you to study how the various disciplines - the dogmatic, morality, spirituality, law and so on - may reflect the centrality of mercy. Without mercy our theology, our right, our pastoral care runs the risk of collapsing into bureaucratic pettiness or ideology, which of itself wants to tame the mystery.

The good news was that Congress declined the request of its most extreme members to hold up funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The bad news is that the fault lines exposed in that internecine struggle have made the congressional leadership gun shy, and so, according to this report at Politico, immigration reform is dead again. And our friends at the USCCB, who were confident that the GOP was going to move on the issue in the lame duck, and if not then, surely in the new year, I hope they have the honesty to admit they were lied to by the congressional leaders.

At Commonweal, David Clouthier on the moral and intellectual incoherence of NYTimes' readers. David - are you really surprised? And, not to beat a dead horse, but these comments make the case for Notre Dame - and every Catholic college and university - to insist on mandatory philosophy and theology courses. People may not be "relativists" in the way our conservative friends darkly warn, it is certainly not a consistent and coherent stance held by many. They may not be relativists but they may just be ignorant. 

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