Last Friday, I participated in the "on-the-record" conference call with Melissa Rogers, the new head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Like my colleague, Mark Silk who blogged about the call here, I was disappointed that Rogers was kept on such a short leash by the White House Communications team. In the end, however, what matters is that Rogers is allowed to speak up at policy-making decisions within the White House, not what she can say to a gaggle of reporters.
Regular readers will know of my almost visceral dislike for former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and his ilk: These denizens of Wall Street have no place in policy-making positions in the kind of Democratic Party I was reared to admire. So, I especially enjoyed Noam Scheiber's look at how the comically inept politics of Cyprus nonetheless achieved a better bargain for the people of their country than Geithner achieved for ours.
My friend Robert Royal has an interesting, and typically thoughtful, piece up at his blog "The Catholic Thing" in which he first notes the way Pope Francis does not fit into standard ideological categories, a happy thing to note, but also points to the new pope's frequent references to the Devil. I have noticed this also.
All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected. In keeping with this conviction, the Church teaches that persons with a homosexual inclination “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). We recognize that these persons have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred and even violence in some sectors of our society.
Over at TNR, Yossi Klein Halevi looks at Obama's major policy speech. I agree that this could be a breakthrough moment in U.S.-Israeli relations and hope it is so. Halevi is surely one of the smartest commentators on that relationship writing today.
I was less enthused by the President's speech at Yad Vashem. Here are two of his opening graphs:
Yesterday, I linked to Charles Camosy's article in the Washington Post on the Republicans having a Pope Francis problem.
Rick Garnett has responded at Mirror of Justice.
The still new, and still fresh, online journal Millennial has some great posts recently.
I especially commend San Sawyer, S.J. on what - or who - Pope Francis wants to change, Robert Christian on Pope Francis seen from a global perspective, and Kate Gordon on the trial of Rios Montt. Good stuff all.
Yesterday, I gave my touristy impressions of Quebec, enthralled by the beauty and charm of the city I was visiting. Today we turn to the question that sits at the center of all conversations among Catholic intellectuals and pastors in the province: What happened?
Charlie Camosy has an op-ed at the Washington Post's "On Faith" section that expresses a hope I share - that the Democrats will become more pro-life as they confront an increasingly libertarian Republican Party - although I am less confident than Camosy that I will live to see the day.
Our new Holy Father's comments to other religious leaders yesterday did not really break any new ground, but it was the simplicity and clarity with which he re-committed himself to ecumenism and inter-religious dialog that stood out.