Father Zuhlsdorf, when he is not lamenting the new pope's choice of attire and liturgical style, likes to throw down a challenge to us here at NCR, as he did in this article reporting on Pope Francis' homily the other day. Pope Francis asked the congregation if their faith was strong and, quite rightly, said that we should not negotiate the faith away.
James Hohmann, at Politico, makes the case that libertarianism is going mainstream. This is the scariest development in contemporary American politics and members of both political parties need to be on the alert, especially Catholics. You may find yourself agreeing with this or that policy, but the problem with libertarianism is at the root: When they say "human person," they understand that differently from the way orthodox Christians do.
Towards the end of his interview with Pat Buchanan on this week’s installment of “The World Over,” host Raymond Arroyo bemoaned the removal of a picture of Jesus from a southern Ohio public school where the picture had hung since 1947. Arroyo noted that the picture was set amongst other photos of prominent people like governors and senators.
The new pope has indicated several times that he does not want the Church to be "self-referential." If you are not sure what he means by that, I refer you to the blog of Father Zuhlsdorf where he addresses a question from a reader: "Is it a sin to fast during the octave of Easter?" That is what is meant by a self-referential Church.
This article at Politico puts a smile on one's face. Conservatives like Grover Norquist are coming forward to voice their support for comprehensive immigration reform, hoping to provide cover for GOP members of Congress from the attacks being thrown by the talk-radio crowd. Then, you come across this paragraph:
Anyone who thought the economy had nothing but smooth sailing ahead got a wake-up call this morning when the Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added only 88,000 new jobs last month. No doubt the sequestration at the beginning of March had something to do with this, not only because government hiring is essentially frozen but because the uncertainty surrounding the sequester has re-introduced a measure of fear in the private sector as well.
The other day a friend reminded me that the filing deadline for official comments on the
NBC Latino has an op-ed by my friend Juhem Navarro-Rivera, who works with the Public Religion Research Institute. Navarro-Rivera explains the results of a recent PRRI survey on attitudes towards immigration reform and reaches the conclusion that the leadership of the GOP may need to make a choice: Bend to the anti-immigrant wishes of the Tea Party or craft a viable future for the GOP on the national stage. They can't do both.
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.