Distinctly Catholic

Mea Culpa


First, I apologize because yesterday, in my article about Fr. Rutler, I inexplicably enter the name "Butler" not "Rutler" in the title of the piece. I suppose this mistake derived from watching a Downton Abbey rerun the night before!

Second, spotty posting today as I have to fly to Chicago to give a presentation. I hope to have some links up later in the day.


"To Hell With It" - The Motu Proprio


Yesterday, I wrote about Father George Rutler’s article in Crisis magazine and how, in its tired repetition of neo-con talking points, it failed the Flannery O’Connor test, articulated in her comment about the Eucharist, “If it is just a symbol, then to hell with it.” Today, I want to look at the recent motu proprio from the Vatican about the Catholic identity of the Church’s charitable institutions. Unlike Rutler’s article, I think the motu proprio passes Flannery’s test.


KC: Somebody, Do Something


Today is December 3. On September 6, Bishop Robert Finn was convicted in civil court of failing to report an instance of child sexual abuse. Not only is Finn now serving a suspended sentence, he is in violation of the Dallas Charter the bishops adopted ten years ago to confront the sex abuse crisis. Three months. Bishop Finn is still the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The Vatican is said to want the American bishops to exert fraternal correction and get Finn to step down. The US bishops are said to be waiting for the Vatican to move. Enough already.

The Self-Destructiveness of Extremists


At the New Republic, John Judis details how the extremists within the GOP are already showing themselves quite content to destroy what's left of their party. In the end, groups like the Club for Growth and their Tea Party allies will reduce their party to a bunch of bitter, angry old white men who really do not want to raise taxes. If the lessons of the last election demonstrate anything, it is that such a coalition does not fare very well in America today.

Cokie Roberts: Help the Nuns!


At the USCCB website, Cokie Roberts has penned a really beautiful tribute to the contribution women religious have made to this country. Her post comes in advance of the national collection for the retirement funds of our religious men and women. These holy men and women have been generous their whole lives with us laity, indeed, spending the entirety of their lives for us, helping them out in their latter years is truly the least we can do. Please be generous.

Better Music Makes Better Liturgy & Catechesis


Beth Griffin at Catholic News Service has this story about the state of liturgical music, the difficulty in funding good music programs, etc. (h/t Rocco.) I am not one of those who thinks we should look to the entertainment world for liturgical templates, but when someone tells me they love or hate the liturgy at their parish, their opinion is usually determined by the quality of the preaching and the quality of the music. The two can and should go together as well.

Still Cleaning Up After Sandy


This article in The Atlantic reports on the on-going efforts to clean up after Sandy destroyed much of the neighborhoods along the shore in New York and New Jersey. The article captures a whole lot more, too, because it is written with a keen observational eye that belongs to a young writer who used to work for me as a waiter at Kramerbooks & Afterwords here in Washington. Nicholas Brown is a writer with a future.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017