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.
ThinkProgress is the blog of the Center for American Progress, the largest and most consequential leftie think tank in Washington. On many issues, I admire their work. But, they also seem to have developed a knee jerk hostility to the Catholic Church that is unhelpful politically and superficial intellectually.
Yesterday's "Outlook" section of the Washington Post featured an essay by Donna Freitas detailing the "hook up culture" on college campuses, including our Catholic college campuses. Last week, Archbishop Cordileone, chair of the USCCB subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, led a prayer vigil outside the Supreme Court during oral arguments on same sex marriage.
Last Thursday, I called attention to a comment by a young priest at one of the blogs for traditionalist Catholics. The young priest wrote he was bewildered by Pope Francis’ washing the feet of women as well as men during the Mandatum rite at the prison for young offenders where the pope celebrated the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I noted that the priest’s comment was sad, but the tone of my post was snarky. I apologize for that. The issue here is quite serious and deserves better than snark.
The incomparable Leontyne Price.