I am watching the National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral. It is on C-Span right now. Cardinal Wuerl looks great. Steve Schneck is seated in the sanctuary as he will be leading one of the prayers. The service began with the hymn, "Guide Me Thou, O Great Redeemer," and while Americans don't sing at full throttle as the Brits do, it was splendid nonetheless. And the first reading was from one of my favorite passages, Isaiah 55. It's not Westminster Abbey, but it will do.
Over at Crisis magazine, there is an article by Nicholas Hahn in which he chastizes the bishops and Father Lombardi at the Vatican press office for daring to support common sense gun control measures. It is clear that Mr. Hahn cares more about the Second Amendment than he does about the Second Vatican Council. He cherry picks a few quotes from pope John Paul II, which were not on point to begin with, and fashions them into a core argument: Bishops, mind your own business and gins are not your business.
My friend Cathleen Kaveny has posted the third in her recent columns on the HHS mandate. There is much here to ponder, including an issue that NCR raised in its editorial naming Chief Justice John Roberts our "Person of the Year," namely, why do Catholic judges get a pass from neo-conservative Catholic thinkers but legislators do not?
As American civic liturgies go, nothing trumps an inauguration. Yet, watching the proceedings yesterday, I could not help feel that our civic rituals are somewhat pale in comparison to those of the country against which we rebelled in 1776. Couldn’t we have just paid the tax on the tea and kept Westminster Abbey as a focal point for such rituals? Alas, thank God we had the latest installment of Downton Abbey the night before.
Charles Camosy, writing at CatholicMoralTheology.com, on the 40th anniversary of Roe, a subject I suspect we will have many postings on this week, including my own contribution on Friday, the day of the March For Life.
Tomorrow, January 22, I will be participating in a panel discussion "CUA Meets the Press" in which we will discuss what to expect from Obama's second term. Joining me on the panel will be the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger, Rachel Swarns from the New York Times, and Greg Erlandson, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor. The event is 7-9 p.m. at the Pryzbyla Center on the campus of Catholic University, and it is free and open to the public. To find out more, click here.
"Morning Briefing" here at NCR linked today to an important article by Manya Braecher in the Chicago Tribune about that city's Catholic school system, its successes and challenges. I am not the product of Catholic schools and my mother was a lifelong member of the National Education Association. But, I have come to appreciate the Catholic school as essential in creating Catholic culture and generating vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
This weekend, the text of a letter from Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Vice President of Ecclesia Dei charged with trying to achieve a reconciliation between the Society of St. Pius X and the Holy See, was released. You can read the full text by clicking here, and you should do so.
Inaugural speeches are among the toughest speeches to write. The nature of the event itself requires that the President seek to transcend partisanship, a nature that was reinforced by the first great inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson’s famous “We are all federalists. We are all Republicans.” Our politics today are as divided as those that faced Jefferson, and so there is always something a little off-key about appeals to non-partisanship, and, unlike Jefferson, such appeals now lack the appearance of novelty.
Cathleen Kaveny is writing some of the smartest posts on the HHS mandate to be published so far. Here is her second response to my posting which was, in turn, a response to her first article on the topic at Commonweal. I shall respond to Kaveny's postings when she has completed them but must say that the White House would be in a far different position if they had hired her to explain the mandate a year ago, which is not to say that i am entirely persuaded. But, as I say, I shall wait until she is finished to reply.