I noted at the beginning of the year that one of the principal difficulties President Barack Obama and the Democrats will face in the coming years is a difficulty of their own making. The inability of Democrats to prepare for, use their get-out-the-vote machine, and defend the policies they had enacted in advance of the 2010 midterm elections not only cost them control of the House of Representatives, but more importantly, ceded control of state legislatures and governorships in several key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Today is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists and writers. Here is the Catholic Encyclopedia entry. St. Francis de Sales, Pray for us!
Over at Religion & Politics, Marie Griffith has a must-read interview with Cathleen Kaveny about her new book and the 40th anniversary of Roe. The comment that most jumped out at me were these words of Cathleen's on the subject of "intrinsic evil":
E.J. Dionne has a very smart column up today at the Washington Post. In addition to correctly noting the similarity between Obama's second and Reagan's first inaugural addresses, Dionne corrects the record about Reagan's relationship with Tip O'Neil.
Talk about strange bedfellows, and not of the Bridgeport, cross-dressing variety, but of the intellectual variety: Over at First Things, Matthew Cantarino reports on how some men of the Left have discovered an unlikely champion in the person of Pope Benedict.
I have previously linked to the sermon delivered by Bishop Blase Cupich at his diocese's Respect Life Mass. Someone named Molly Roach posted a comment that caught the eye of a friend who sent it to me, and it caught my heart's attention:
Molly Roach | 1/23/2013 - 12:21pm
“When human life is considered ‘cheap’ or easily expendable in one area, eventually nothing is held as sacred and all lives are in jeopardy.” Cardinal Joseph Bernardin spoke those words in the early 1980s as he expounded what he termed a “consistent ethic of life” and what many of us came to know as the “seamless garment” approach to life issues, the idea that the Church should not focus exclusively on abortion, but see that issue in the context of a culture that had begun to cheapen life and, thus, made abortion thinkable.
Over at the USCCB blog, Father John Crossin, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat on ecumenical and interreligious affairs, notes seven markers on the road to Christian unity. It is stunning to think how far we have come in what is, in Church terms, such a relatively short period of time! Indeed, we saw visual evidence of this just yesterday as Cardinal Donald Wuerl, in choir cassock, prayed one of the readings at the interfaith prayer service for the inauguration.
When St. Paul got to the Areopagus, he found the monument to the unknown God, with which the Athenians were familiar, and began preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ by referencing that monument. This week, at the annual Respect Life Mass in Spokane, Washington, Bishop Blase Cupich did something similar, linking the vivid, painful and recent memories of the killings in Newtown, Connecticut with the Church's concern for the unborn.
Robert Royal has an essay on culture over at The Catholic Thing that is worth a read. I mostly agree with Royal that any effort to generate culture without reference to the transcendent does not, in fact, generate culture, it generates consumer goods.