Commonweal has re-published an essay by Michael Higgins, of Sacred Heart University, that profiles Cardinal Marc Ouellet, still the most likely person to walk out onto the loggia sometime next week as the new pope. Higgins clearly likes +Ouellet but the story he tells is troubling: While the cardinals rightly concern themselves with secularization, it does not appear from the track record in Quebec that +Ouellet was very effective in combating the acids of modernity.
Calls for reform of the Roman Curia have been around for a long time. The great medieval Councils urged such reforms, concluding with the Council of Constance’s classic formulation “reform of the Church in faith and morals, in head and members.” The Fifth Lateran Council, held on the eve of the Reformation, repeated the call but did not enact the kind of precise direction that would effect it.
PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly has posted the video of a great discussion held at Catholic University last week about the papal election.
The USCCB's Catholic Campaign for Human Development has announced almost $1 million in new grants to organizations that will help mobilize Catholics in support of comprehensive immigration reform and, also, help Catholic institutions prepare to implement whatever reform is passed.
This essay at El Pais by Mario Vargas Llosa on the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI is one of the most insightful I have read, and I am sure I missed some of it in translation. I have not found an English translation of it but if someone is more facile than I am, and undertakes the task, please send it to me so that I can post it.
The organization "Accuracy in Media" is, apparently, badly named. This article on the papal succession evidences a confluence of conspiracy theories so outrageous, it is more funny than threatening, until you realize that some people will read this nonsense and believe it. The racism is obvious too - it is a black president and the possibility of a black pope that is so threatening. I especially like the way they throw Benedict XVI under the bus as well.
In the movie “Game Change” the character playing Sen. John McCain is encouraged to go on the attack against then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama, specifically with ads highlighting inflammatory remarks made by Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. McCain recounts what happened in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary, when he was accused of fathering a black child out of wedlock: McCain and his wife had adopted a girl from Bangladesh. McCain recalls having to explain the situation when she got older and googled her own name.
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.