In case you missed it in the print edition, my analysis of Pope Benedict's political legacy is now on the NCR homepage.
Michael Peppard, writing at Commonweal, notes that one group seems conspicuously absent from the GOP's debate about its future: women. He notes there are only 4 GOP women Senators compared to 16 Democratic women and, further, compares the size of the electorates represented by these women. (He might have added that Sen.
Paul Elie seems to have picked up the anti-Catholic flu at the New York Times. His article urging Catholics to mark Lent by abstaining from Mass is bizarre. How, precisely, do we invite more grace into our own lives and the life of the Church by abstaining from the "source and summit" of our faith? It is silly season in the commentariat, but Elie should know better and his readers deserve better.
In the Hartford Courant, former ambassador to the Vatican and prominent Republican Thomas Melady makes the argument that the pro-life community should be knees deep in the push for gun control legislation.
Over at RNS, Mark Silk has a very funny "job posting" for the new pope. Funny, but also incisive.
Ever since 2004, when then-Archbishop Raymond Burke warned that he would deny communion to Sen. John Kerry because of the senator’s pro-choice stance, many of us have argued that Burke’s interpretation of Canon 915 was mistaken, that it is not the place of the minister of communion to decide whether or not a person should receive communion, but that it is up to the communicant to make the decision whether or not to present herself for communion. Most American bishops, and the Bishop of Rome, have never followed Burke’s advice.
American Conservative has a fine profile of Professor David Schindler, Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family and editor of Communio. As I noted the other day, if +Scola or +Ouellet walk out on to that loggia as the next pope, Schindler's theological influence will be obvious to all.
Yesterday, at the North American College, 62 seminarians were installed as Acolytes. When Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P. agreed to celebrate the Mass and give the homily, little did he know that eight cardinals would be concelebrating the Mass! In town for the conclave, and staying at the NAC, the cardinals joined +DiNoia in the liturgy and this is the sermon they all heard:
Third Sunday of Lent: Institution of Acolytes [final]
Pontifical North American College
3 March 2013
Friday, noting that Cardinal Angelo Scola and Cardinal Marc Ouellet are the leading papabili, I commented upon the historical novelty of theologians as popes. In addition to novelty, I think this tendency unfortunately misunderstands the nature of the papacy in relation to theology, further abetting one of the ugly consequences of Napoleonic rule, Rome’s exercise of disproportionate influence in theological disputes.
My friend Austen Ivereigh has a great article up at the Tablet on the frank discussions the cardinals will be having - indeed, conversations began about two minutes after Benedict XVI announced his retirement. The whole process might strike some as unseemly in its frankness, but I confess I think such thoughts betray a kind of gnostic sensibility. The Holy Spirit works through very human instruments.