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.
I think Mark Silk gets it exactly write in this short essay in which he suggests that the pastors chosen to give prayers at the Inauguration should be chosen because the President wants them, not to please any constituency.
President Obama is expected to announce that Denis McDonough will be his new chief of staff. This is one of the top jobs in Washington, and McDonough has been a friend to the Church during his tenure at the national Security Council. His brother is a priest who was Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. Paul. This profile of McDonough ran in this morning's Washington Post.
The speculation over who will serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the Holy See has gone from whispering to campaigning.
Over at Commonweal, Cathleen Kaveny has replied to my post the other day, which was a reply to her earlier post on religious liberty. She promises more soon, so I shall wait until then to reply. I will say that Kaveny is making the best case for the exemptions the administration presented, better than anything I have heard from the administration.
If you did not see this HBO documentary when it came out, it is now posted at Gloria.tv here. The documentary, "God is the Bigger Elvis," features Mother Dolores Hart of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, a very special place of grace that is well worth a visit if you are ever up that way. The video is only 36 minutes long. Bring Kleenex.
Three cheers for Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for his comments rebuking Bishop Fellay, the leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, who said in a recent talk that Jews were "enemies of the Church." As Madden noted, such comments do not only hurt the Jewish community, they hurt us Catholics too.
Of course being beautiful is not a sin, as the caption of the current Italian edition of Vanity Fair states. But, primping for a Vanity Fair photo shoot is not the traditional path to power within the curia. This is just embarrassing at so many levels.
I have voiced the concern previously that the debate over gun control could crowd out other issues, and that I fear the prospect of meaningful gun control is so low, it seems a questionable political calculation to pursue mediocre gun control if that makes real, substantive progress on other issues less likely. “Seek joy where joy may be found” is one of my most closely held beliefs.
Over at The New Republic, Nate Cohn has a must-read article on the politics of immigration reform and the GOP.