Distinctly Catholic

The Inauguration: A Review


As American civic liturgies go, nothing trumps an inauguration. Yet, watching the proceedings yesterday, I could not help feel that our civic rituals are somewhat pale in comparison to those of the country against which we rebelled in 1776. Couldn’t we have just paid the tax on the tea and kept Westminster Abbey as a focal point for such rituals? Alas, thank God we had the latest installment of Downton Abbey the night before.

Two Events, One in DC & One in Colorado


Tomorrow, January 22, I will be participating in a panel discussion "CUA Meets the Press" in which we will discuss what to expect from Obama's second term. Joining me on the panel will be the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger, Rachel Swarns from the New York Times, and Greg Erlandson, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor. The event is 7-9 p.m. at the Pryzbyla Center on the campus of Catholic University, and it is free and open to the public. To find out more, click here.

Saving Catholic Schools


"Morning Briefing" here at NCR linked today to an important article by Manya Braecher in the Chicago Tribune about that city's Catholic school system, its successes and challenges. I am not the product of Catholic schools and my mother was a lifelong member of the National Education Association. But, I have come to appreciate the Catholic school as essential in creating Catholic culture and generating vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

What Should Obama Say?


Inaugural speeches are among the toughest speeches to write. The nature of the event itself requires that the President seek to transcend partisanship, a nature that was reinforced by the first great inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson’s famous “We are all federalists. We are all Republicans.” Our politics today are as divided as those that faced Jefferson, and so there is always something a little off-key about appeals to non-partisanship, and, unlike Jefferson, such appeals now lack the appearance of novelty.


Kaveny Response Part II


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.

Profile of Denis McDonough


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.  


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017