In the New York Times, an article about the growth of the Dominican Order, especially in Ireland, at a time when vocations to religious life have plummeted in the Emerald Isle. I think the emphasis the new recruits place on living in community is vital, and that diocesan bishops need to think of ways to permit their clergy to live in at least small communities, although I know other priests who would recoil at the prospect.
Yesterday, I began a discussion about Pope Francis and the evident mandate he received from the cardinal-electors to reform the Church. The Church is not a business, and so the most important reforms will be those of the heart, and such reforms are never easy to achieve, at least not through a management program. More on that at the end. But, let us look at what can be done to manage the curia more effectively and, especially, the relationship of the curia with the universal Church.
Over at RealClearPolitics, Peter Berkowitz continues his crusade against the "sad state of liberal education" in America, looking at a new report on Bowdoin College. I am deeply sympathetic with the concerns Berkowitz raises: The modern academy is often a place where foolish fads hold sway and basic introductory courses into Western Civilization, courses that might acquaint a student with a variety of answers to the question "how did we get here?" go unaddressed.
Michael Voris used to air a program called "Real Catholic TV." As one bishop friend told me, "The funny thing is that it is not real, it is not Catholic, and it really isn't TV." Now, Voris has renamed his venture "ChurchMilitant.tv" and the change in name has not altered the content. Vile, hateful, meandering, paranoid, ignorant, bigoted, these are the adjectives that come to mind. I have to ask: If the Church has the time to investigate the LCWR, it has the time to investigate this, no?
The initial excitement about the selection of a new pope has died down, CNN no longer has cameras trained on the chimney at the Sistine Chapel or the loggia of St. Peter's. The astonishment at the choice of an Argentine cardinal and even greater astonishment at that Argentine’s choice of name, is still sinking in.
While politicians in Washington tremble before the power of the NRA and prepare to do essentially nothing to curb gun violence in the U.S., legislators in my home state of Connecticut are preparing to pass the strictest gun laws in the country.
Over at CatholicMoralTheology.com, a beautiful essay from Paul Gondreau, a theology prof at Providence College who is in Rome for the year at that school's Rome campus. His son, who has cerebral palsy, was the young man that Pope Francis picked up and kissed in the crowd as the popemobile made its trek through St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday, a video that has gone viral. Professor Gondreau writes so beautifully about what it means to have a special needs child.
Controversy has erupted over the remarks of the Rev. Luis Leon, pastor at St. John’s Episcopal Church, during his Easter homily. On this most holiest of days, Rev. Leon spoke about the religious right, saying that they wished to put blacks back in the back of the bus, women back in the kitchen, gays back in the closet and immigrants back on the other side of the border. The remarks would probably have received no attention except for the fact that the President of the United States was sitting in the pews listening to the harangue.
Tom Rosshirt, in this essay, beats me to the punch of tackling the strange phenomenon of interest in one Dr. Ben Carson who has emerged in certain conservative circles as a kind of anti-Obama icon. His rise to prominence was a little scary to me because he preaches the kind of homespun populism that brings to mind images from "All the King's Men." I was relieved to learn from Rosshirt that Carson is mostly about making money.
I am not shy about criticizing the libertarianism of the right. Here is an instance of goofy libertarianism on the left, an official with Planned Parenthood who just can't bring herself to state that a child born alive after a botched abortion is a patient deserving medical attention. Shocking and sad at the same time. This is what happens when you convince yourself that the unborn child is not really a child and that only the volition of the mother should count.