Distinctly Catholic

The Voice Vote in Jerusalem and God


The most awkward moment of the Democratic Convention - thank God, so to speak, it was not in primetime - came when the chair of the convention called for a voice vote on amending the Democratic platform to reinsert the party's commitment to Jerusalem's status as the capital of Israel and to mention the Godhead. Many people shouted "no."

In the case of Jerusalem, what to say? Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish state even when there was no Jewish state. Through the millennia, Jews did not pray, "Next year, in Tel Aviv" at Passover. Of course, the final status of Jerusalem is subject to negotiations with the Palestinians. Perhaps some arrangement can be made to accommodate the Palestinian desires. But, one thing is clear. If you get into a cab at David Ben-Gurion airport and say to the driver, "Take me to the parliament," he will not drive you to Tel Aviv. So, why the shouts of "No"? Because there is a growing hostility to Israel on the left. It is ugly. It is uninformed. But, it is there.

Sr. Simone vs. Sandra Fluke


The Democrats have run a pretty smooth convention. Yes, they ran into trouble over the platform’s omission of God and Jerusalem, but that story will die quickly because it was corrected. But, they made one scheduling mistake last night. Sr. Simone Campbell’s talk came before the 10 o’clock prime hour, and Sandra Fluke’s was moved to come within the 10 o’clock hour. It was heartwarming to witness the great reception Sr. Simone received. Fluke’s speech seemed to fall flat, both in the hall and across the airwaves. Why?

Bill's Show in Charlotte


Last night, the Democrats brought out the Big Dog from Arkansas to make their case, and, Lord, did he make it! No one has mastered the art of weaving together so much policy detail with so much folksiness in the history of modern campaign as Bill Clinton. And, I use the verb “mastered” advisedly. He did not always have that gift. Those who remember his rambling convention speech in 1988, or watched a still young Clinton on the stump in New Hampshire in 1992, will tell you that there was a time when he lacked this gift. He has it now. In abundance.

There were a couple of ironies in Clinton’s nominating speech. Bill Clinton knows something about divisive political environments. How quickly we forget, watching him bask in the role of elder statesman, with approval ratings through the roof, that the Republicans impeached this man! Ironic, too, that the man who was responsible for creating the New Democrat brand was brought into to bolster a president widely perceived as more traditionally liberal.

Morna Murray: Truth Matters


Morna Murray, who has served previously in a variety of positions, including Special Counsel to Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Executive Director of catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has a post up at her Facebook page that explains why the Romney campaign ads on welfare are not complexly wrong, but simply wrong. With her permission, I publish her post in full here.

Rocco is Back


There are two types of Church observers in the world, the casual observer and the serious observer. And if you are a serious observer, you begin your morning one way and one way only, with a visit to the website Whispers in the Loggia. Rocco Palmo has been off the grid for a few weeks: His grandmother grew gravely ill and then went to her eternal reward. He has a beautiful tribute to her on the mainpage. Now, his "page three" links are back and running. Welcome back Rocco. Blessings upon and prayers for your family and for the repose of the soul of "The Boss."

Garnett on Exec Overreach


Over at Commonweal, Notre Dame law professor Rick Garnett has an article that is mostly bipartisan in its criticism of politicians in both parties for their willingness to do end-runs around the cumbersome legislative process. Instead of picking on Newt Gingrich, Garnett might have considered the Bush administration's penchant for signing statements. But, nonetheless, Garnett does an admirable job reclaiming an important point from the rantings of the Tea Partyers and the ambitions of executive branch officials: Our constitutional system was designed to be cumbersome.

The Dems' First Night


The nation is engaged in a great debate about who can best be trusted to run the country for the next four years, President Obama or Governor Romney. But, comparing the first night of both conventions, there is no doubt which party runs a smoother convention: The Democrats.

Last week, at the GOP convention in Tampa, speaker after speaker mentioned their nominee in passing or as an after-thought. Perhaps it is unsurprising that the next generation of GOP leaders, who are rising in Tea Party Times, would celebrate the culture of “I’ve got mine!” but one had the suspicion in Tampa that the paramedics would need to be called in for all those strained shoulders and elbows resulting from so much patting of one’s own back.

NYTimes on Valerie Jarrett


If you want to know why the Obama administration decided to pick a fight with the Catholic Church, read the New York Times' profile of Valerie Jarrett. I confess I took an almost instant disliking to Jarrett the first time I heard her interviewed. Her comments reminded me of a visit I paid to the southside of Chicago and some of the faux intellectuals I met there, the kind of people who will chase any intellectual theory provided it is novel. It was the one and only time in my life I heard someone defend Stalin. It was unfair of me to conflate that experience with my first impression of Jarrett, to be sure, but if the Times article is to be believed, it was prescient too.


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017