Distinctly Catholic

WaPo on John Carr


Michelle Boorstein has a great profile of John Carr as he concluded his twenty-five years of service at the USCCB. Carr has been a consistent voice, perhaps the most consistent voice, for the voiceless in this town for those twenty-five years. Also, one of the most effective. Also, one of the most thoroughly Catholic - no cafeteria for him, as opposed to some of his critics.

To say that he will be missed at the conference is to state the obvious. To note that he will bring an unparalled stature to Catholic University is to state another obvious point. Less obvious, but well explained in Boorstein's piece, is the positive influence one man committed to the Church can make in the life of the nation, especially on behalf of the poor. That is not so easy to do in this hyper-consumerist, spread-eagle-capitalist, acquisitive, brutish culture of modernity, but Carr has done it.

Cohn's Casuistry


Jonathan Cohn, at the New Republic, examines the media's coverage of Congressman Ryan's convention speech and the degree to which it was less than honest. Cohn is one of the smartest policy analysts I know of, and here he engages in the fine art of casuistry, which got a bad name in Elizabethan England and Port Royal, but which is nothing else than a concern for precision in moral analysis. Bravo.

What the Dems Need to Say


As the Democrats gather in Charlotte, you would have thought that it might have occurred to them that they need a narrative to justify the case for re-election but, instead, they have seemed unable to even answer the simple question: Are you, and is America, better off than we were four years ago? David Plouffe couldn’t bring himself to say yes to this question. Finally, Vice President Biden said: “Of course we are. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” The narrative needs to be filled out, but there is the start of a narrative.

Dear Democratic Catholics


Last week, I published an open letter to Republican Catholics and today I do the same for Democratic Catholics. As mentioned, it is important to recognize the relationship of noun and verb: Catholic is the noun, party affiliation the adjective. If you are a partisan first, this is not for you. I am speaking to Catholics who, for whatever reason, have an allegiance to the Democratic Party but recognize that their prior allegiance is to their Catholic faith.

Dear Democratic Catholics,

I concluded last week that the GOP’s commitment to laissez-faire and libertarian economic ideas amply fulfilled Pope Pius XI’s warning about the “poisoned spring” such ideas represent in his 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo Anno:

Truth Makes a Comeback


Maybe all those years reading French Deconstructionists has finally run its course. A concern for truth is returning to our political life, and not a moment too soon.

This morning, Kathleen Parker, who is hardly a screaming leftie or Dem partisan, chastises both Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan for running as someone they aren't, or at least as someone they have never been before.

And, Melinda Henneberger also jumps into the discussion of facticity with a column about the need for all of us to become fact-checkers.

Abusing the Memory of Pope John Paul II


Over at the Huffington Post, and just in time for Labor Day, Gerald Beyer and Jaroslav Makowski have an essay about the many ways Mitt Romney's ad invoking the memory of Pope John Paul II distorts the reality of what happened in Poland, not least the Pope's commitment to strong labor unions, a commitment that is, shall we say, somewhat lacking in Mr. Romney's resume.


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017