Distinctly Catholic

Back to the HHS Mandate


The other day a friend reminded me that the filing deadline for official comments on the HHS contraception mandate rule was fast approaching. In all the excitement of the conclave and the election of Pope Francis, I had almost forgotten about the HHS mandate. Almost. Returning to the subject is not easy. Suddenly, it seems like small potatoes compared to the apostolic zeal we have witnessed in the person of Francis.


Tea Party v. Viable GOP Future


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.  

Dominicans in NYTimes


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.

Reform & Pope Francis: Part II


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.


Berkowitz v. Bowdoin


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.

The Church's Dark Side


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?

To Show People How to Love


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.

Rev. Leon and Prophecy


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.



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In This Issue

March 24-April 6, 2017