When you get a roomful of Catholics together, the subject of Vatican II is going to come up, especially in this year which marks the 50tih anniversary of the convening of the Council. Yet, these conversations about what the Council did and did not achieve, what it meant, the whole hermeneutical question seems to me the have gotten bogged down in ideological presuppositions that distort the Council itself and, in a more fundamental way, what a Council means to the life of the Church.
Yesterday, I arrived here in Kansas City, Missouri at the airport and fell to conversation with the driver of the van NCR had dispatched to retrieve me and some fellow NCR writers to bring us to the hotel. He explained to me that officials are planning on constructing a new airport terminal over the next seven years.
Morning Briefing has a couple of links to articles about Australia, where politicians and even some priests are questioning the inviolability of the confessional seal.
I am sure that losing a presidential race you thought you were going to win is one of life's more difficult experiences. Mitt Romney delivered a gracious concession speech on election night and should have walked quietly off the stage of public life. Certainly, he has many homes to which he can repair for solace.
On November 16, 1953, Cardinal Edward Mooney, the Archbishop of Detroit, invited Father John Courtney Murray, S.J. to dinner with Cardinal Samuel Stritch, the Archbishop of Chicago. The men discussed Murray’s theological efforts to develop the Church’s doctrines regarding Church-State relations. In a letter to his friend, and my mentor, Msgr. John Tracy Ellis recounting the evening, Murray wrote that at one point in the evening, Cardinal Mooney said “None of us could go as far as Gibbons went.” Murray commented to Ellis that he “was dying to ask: ‘Why not?’”
My colleague Heidi Schlumpf has penned a column advocating abstinence from "Black Friday" shopping. I second the motion. I would also like to see if Bill Donohue and Bill O'Reilly, both of whom have discerned and denounced a "War on Christmas" waged by secularists will now understand that the war on Christmas comes not from secularists but from profiteers, and now they are attacking Thanksgiving too.
The other day, speaking with a friend, I was trying to explain that I thought the real problem I have with George Weigel's writings is not that he is a conservative politically and I am not. No, my problem is that I do not think he has the heart of the matter in hand, if the matter in hand is the Catholic Church's teachings. Now, as if Mr. Weigel had read my mind, he furnishes me with a perfect example of what I mean. In his weekly column this week he writes:
If there was any doubt that the USCCB is in some disarray, yesterday confirmed the diagnosis. In the afternoon, the bishops unanimously agreed that it was opportune to proceed with the cause of Dorothy Day for canonization. In the morning, they rejected a statement on poverty. Hmmmm.
The proposed statement on poverty from the ad hoc drafting committee led by Archbishop Allan Vigneron was defeated by a vote of 134 to 85, short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. This is fairly stunning. I cannot remember a document from a committee being rejected by the full body of bishops in recent years. I will have more to say on this tomorrow, but what we are witnessing is a bishops' conference that can't find consensus about how to preach the Gospel in the world today.
Catholic University Politics Professor Matt Green has two interesting posts up (the one is linked within the other) about the possibility that the Democrats may have won a majority of the votes for Congress this year, but nonetheless were unable to secure a majority of seats. This has only happened once in recent times, in 1996. As Green notes, it is not clear that re-districting is the only or even principal culprit here, but it is the most likely suspect.