Distinctly Catholic

USCCB In Disarray

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If there was any doubt that the USCCB is in some disarray, yesterday confirmed the diagnosis. In the afternoon, the bishops unanimously agreed that it was opportune to proceed with the cause of Dorothy Day for canonization. In the morning, they rejected a statement on poverty. Hmmmm.

Poverty Doc Defeated

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The proposed statement on poverty from the ad hoc drafting committee led by Archbishop Allan Vigneron was defeated by a vote of 134 to 85, short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. This is fairly stunning. I cannot remember a document from a committee being rejected by the full body of bishops in recent years. I will have more to say on this tomorrow, but what we are witnessing is a bishops' conference that can't find consensus about how to preach the Gospel in the world today.

Re-Districting & Majority Votes

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Catholic University Politics Professor Matt Green has two interesting posts up (the one is linked within the other) about the possibility that the Democrats may have won a majority of the votes for Congress this year, but nonetheless were unable to secure a majority of seats. This has only happened once in recent times, in 1996. As Green notes, it is not clear that re-districting is the only or even principal culprit here, but it is the most likely suspect.

Letter From B'more: Monday Review

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Attending the annual USCCB plenary sessions in Baltimore always entails entering a parallel universe. The ballroom where the sessions are held is filled and the participants are almost exclusively male, a few women reporters and staffers sitting on the sidelines. Only in sports events is segregation by gender so obvious. All the bishops are, of course, dressed alike. All speak in measured tones. Even when criticizing a fellow bishop, the criticism is preceded by kind words.

Bishops & Bloggers

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I suppose that big things usually start small, but yesterday's session on "bishops and bloggers" at the USCCB meeting illustrated just how far we have to go before the blogosphere can effectively become a part of the New Evangelization. As I entered the room, I noticed that all the bishops were seated on one side of the room and all the bloggers and journalists on the other side. Call me silly, but if the value of the blogosphere is that it can bring people from diverse areas together in a common space, you would think the seating in the room might have reflected that.

Post-Mortems Abound

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Conservative pundits continue to survey the wreckage from their across-the-board defeats last week, losing seven seats in the House, two in the Senate and failing to defeat President Barack Obama. Already, the tensions are emerging and they are likely to get worse as Speaker John Boehner recognizes that the hand he is holding is considerably weaker than the one he had during the last round of budget negotiations and potential GOP candidates wonder how to approach their future.

Silk Looks at Religious Voting Patterns

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At RNS, Mark Silk takes a quick look at the voting behavior of different religious groups. Catholics, once again, "went with the winner." What is most surprising is that Gov. Romney received a higher share of the white evangelical vote than John McCain did four years ago. Concerns about his Mormon faith did not materialize at the voting booth, and that is a good thing for the country.

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In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016

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