Distinctly Catholic

B16 on the Sensus Fidelium


So, it appears that I am not the only one concerned about a certain sloppiness in appealing to the sensus fidelium. Pope Benedict XVI addressed the issue in his recent comments to the International Theological Commission. I think the Holy Father makes a key point: The sensus fidelium must cohere, in a sense, with what is known as the Vincentian canon, that is, what has been believed always, everywhere and by everyone.

Key Republicans on Immigration


Politico profiles five key Republicans in the upcoming debate about immigration reform. As the story indicates, a pathway to citizenship still looms as an obstacle, but those who oppose such a pathway must ask themselves if the idea of a two-tier system of citizenship is healthy for a democracy. They must also ask themselves why, in this case, the idea that Congress might change the penalties for a crime, in this case, entering the country without proper documentation, cannot be changed.

Values & The Fiscal Cliff


Values. I do not like it when our religion is reduced to ethics, as regular readers know. The important thing to know about the Catholic faith is not that it imparts good values to its communicants but that it imparts the Word of God which saves us from final damnation. We hold to what we believe because it is true, not because it is efficacious. And, because it is true, because God’s verdict on this person known as Jesus was different from the verdict rendered by Pilate, then the teachings of Jesus become normative.

Gays at the Supremes


The issue of same-sex marriage is headed to the Supremes, and it is far from clear whether the justices will sing "Stop! In the Name of Love" like the other Supremes. Linda Hirschman at the New Republic looks at the potential difficulties of the high court's decision to look at the constitutionality of both the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, analyzing the careful strategy that preceded Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.

Fiscal Cliff, Unions in Michigan & the Church


Last week I flew to Chicago. Fifty years ago, the cost of air traffic control was somewhat less than what it is today. Additionally, since the attacks of September 11, 2001, we all have to go through those expensive screening machines, guided by people wearing blue gloves, all of which costs money. When I start compiling my tax information, of course I wish I could keep more of it. I need a car. I need to go to the dentist. I have not visited the Eternal City for far too long.

US Christian Leaders in Uganda's Anti-Gay Proposed Laws


While there are some American evangelical fingerprints over anti-gay measures being contemplated in Uganda, other US religious leaders are urging the Ugandan parliament not to enact these barbaric, bigoted measures. One of those leaders, former US ambassador to the Holy See Thomas Melady, who also served extensively in Africa during his storied career, is especially noteworthy as a signatory. You can read their statement here.

Welcome to "Lawfare"


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.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017