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.
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.