Distinctly Catholic

More Conservative Craziness


To observe that Father John Zuhlsdorf is a crank is like observing that the sun rises in the East. You don't get points for stating the obvious.

But, at the end of this post, in which he rightly faults President Obama for his response to a question about the HHS mandate, Zuhlsdorf includes a fake poster showing, in a row, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao-Zedong, and Obama. This crosses the line, even for someone as off-kilter as Zuhlsdorf. Marx, of course, was a writer and thinker, not a politician, so he fits rather oddly with the quartet: In Moscow, after the collapse of communism, the statues of Lenin were hurled from their pedastals, but not the statue of Marx not far from Red Square. There, the inscribed motto was altered, and not by much, to read: "Workers of the World, I'm Sorry." But, Lenin was bloodthirsty. Mao was one of the great mass murders of the 20th century. To put Obama with them is so wrong, I don't know where to begin.

GOP Govs & Medicaid


While most of us at NCR were breathing a sigh of relief over the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act, the Court's ruling regarding the expansion of Medicaid is troubling. Sort of. On legal grounds, I suspect the Court got it right - the idea that the federal government could withdraw already pledged funds to the states to entice those same states to sign on for the expansion of Medicaid runs counter to the ideas of federalism at the heart of the Constitution.

Obama's Problem


Yesterday, I looked at Romney’s problem, the need to continually conciliate a rabid base while not alienating moderate, swing voters, a task made more difficult because Romney simply does not talk or walk like either a wild-eyed libertarian or an evangelical zealot.

For President Obama, the problem is difficult but it also has to do with the fact that he has proven himself incapable of talking and walking like his party’s base. He, like Romney, is stuck with a personality that is strangely out-of-touch with the job he holds.

Camosy on Singer


Fordham's Charles Camosy has a new book out - "Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization" - and, over at America, Camosy has a podcast up discussing his work. I have started Camosy's book, but had to set it aside to do some reading on assignment, but I hope to have a review of it posted next week. In the meantime, get Camosy in his own words on the podcast.

Romney's Problem


There was distressing news for Mitt Romney in the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. Yes, the poll showed that he was dead even with President Obama nationally, both men garnering the support of 47% of the electorate. But, while 75% of Obama supporters said that their choice was based on their support for the president and 23% said they were supporting Obama primarily because they were against his opponent, only 37% of those who said they would vote for Romney said their choice was based on support for him, while a stunning 59% said they were primarily opposed to giving Obama a second term.

G'town's Farr: Half-Right, Half-Wrong


Over the at Weekly Standard, Georgetown University's Tom Farr has an essay on the dangers to religious liberty around the globe. I share his concerns, both about how the issue plays out in countries like Iraq, where most Christians have fled, and Egypt, where many Christians fear they may yet have to flee. And, I worry about the cavalier way some liberal democracies are shunting religious opinions aside. Farr writes:

In short, religion in much of the West is no longer seen as intrinsic to human dignity and social flourishing. It is generally understood as merely an opinion and, as a species, a dangerous opinion at that. While it is fine to practice your religion in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, democracy requires that you leave it there. To bring it into politics endangers democracy.

This malevolent idea, which was famously championed by the American political philosopher John Rawls, is gaining considerable purchase in our own country.

From Enemy to Brother: Part II


On Friday, I began a review of “From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965,” by John Connelly. There, we looked at the problem: Centuries of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism that had left the Catholic Church incapable of finding ways to even talk with or about Jews that did not feed into the kind of attitudes that had perpetrated centuries of persecution. Several factors came together to affect a change in Catholic doctrine towards the Jews, and Connelly’s book tells that tale.


Subscribe to Distinctly Catholic


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016