Distinctly Catholic

Welcome to "Lawfare"

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A new blog has been launched - "Lawfare" - that examines the difficult legal choices facing the country in a time when warfare has been changed by the advent of non-state terrorists, new technologies, and a renewed interest stateside in the text of the Constitution. I confess my interest in the subject is largely the result of the fact that one of the founders of the new blog, Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution, is an old and dear friend.

The HHS Mandate in Court

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The District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a ruling Wednesday that essentially allows the lawsuits brought by several New York Catholic organizations, including the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Rockville Center, against the HHS contraception mandate to proceed. The decision was a bit complicated, and you can read the legal analysis of Marc DeGirolami at "Mirror of Justice" by clicking here.

Nussbaum on Human Sexuality, the Church & Culture

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NCR's own Melissa Musick Nussbaum published an article about Human Sexuality, the Church and Culture in the current Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Forum. It is arguably providential that Nussbaum's article came out the same day as Notre Dame announced its new LGBTQ student group. There is much in Nussbaum's essay that is splendid, but what strikes me as its most distinguishing characteristic is her willingness to admit ambivalence.

Notre Dame, Gays, & the Church's Teaching

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The University of Notre Dame announced the results of its services and support for students who are "LGBTQ" (I confess, I had to check to see what the 'Q' stood for - 'questioning') on campus. Among other things, the university will permit a student group for LGBTQ students, and appoint a full-time staffer to oversee the implementation of the policies recommended by the review. You can read Father Jenkins' announcement, with links to the various statements, here.

Is Hell Empty?

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Father Robert Barron looks at the issue of hell and if anyone is there. The issue is not only fascinating, involving some of the most prominent theologians of our time, but I think Barron is doing something else that is really, really important. When was the last time you heard a sermon about hell, or heaven, or the last things? When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Creed? In this "Year of Faith" we should think about these things and we should hear sermons on these things.

"To Hell With It" - Dorothy Day

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We continue our series of considering Catholic identity today by looking at Dorothy Day. Monday, I set the tone for the week by recalling the response of Flannery O’Connor to a group of erudite Catholics who thought the Eucharist was a great symbol: “Well, if it’s just a symbol, then to hell with it.” Then, I examined the counterfeit of faith known as civil religion. Yesterday, I looked at the Vatican new motu proprio regarding the Catholic identity of our charities and a different counterfeit form of Christianity, a reduction of the faith to a social justice ethic.

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In This Issue

January 13-26, 2017

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