The graduation wars have begun. As thousands of students at Catholic colleges and universities prepare to celebrate their graduation and take their degrees, their campuses are embroiled in controversy over who should and should not be permitted to speak at graduation and, in some cases, receive an honorary degree.
This article at Politico looks at the central role of Hispanic voters in such key swing states as Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Virginia. If Obama wins Florida or any combination of two of the other three, it is difficult to see how he loses the election, unless the economy tanks or some other unforeseen event. Whatever you think of Mitt Romney, and I don't think much, his decision to outflank his opponents to the right on the immigration issue may prove his undoing.
Yesterday, France elected Francois Hollande as its next president. As I discussed last week, I believe that this is a good thing for France and for the European economy. The incumbent, Nicholas Sarkozy, was far too committed to following German Chancellor Angela Merkel's austerity programs within the Eurozone, and austerity programs never work unless paired with growth policies. Hollande's victory, combined with the still murky results of elections in Greece, should help Europe move away from the policies that were doomed to fail.
The group Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) has launched a petition drive calling on the Democratic Party to introduce “big tent” language into its platform on the issue of abortion. This is an important, and commendable, effort and I encourage everyone to sign the petition. I wrote about DFLA in a column in the print edition of NCR that you can read by clicking here.
Here is the text of the proposed language:
CNS has video up of an interview with Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who was Pope John XXIII's secretary. (h/t Rocco.) It is wonderful to see how this Pope, who was trained in history, saw the Council and his role in it.
My colleague Joshua McElwee has called attention to an interview with Bishop Stephen Blaire over at the other NCR - the National Catholic Register.
A couple of thoughts come to mind. First, you can almost hear Blaire's calm, pastoral voice speaking through the computer page. Rightly, I believe, he does not indulge a jeremiad, he does not compare Cong. Ryan to Hitler or Stalin, his sense of the Church's role in politics and society appropriately careful and even modest. This is the kind of priest I like to go to confession to - calm, pastoral, gentle.
Lisa Miller, at the Washington Post, has a feature profile of religious scholar Mark Silk, whose name will certainly be familier to readers of this blog.
We are winding down our Webathon. If you enjoy coming to this blog, please remember that we at NCR our doing our part day-in and day-out, to bring you news and analysis and commentary. Now, we need you to do your part. None of us at NCR are about to move up into the 1% in this country - which is as it should be for a Catholic organization - but we do need to cope with the costs that go with running an independent newspaper and website. Please be as generous as you can. Thank you.
Here is the link.
It is not uncommon for George Will to strike out when he is swinging for the Democratic fences. But, every once in awhile, he pens a truly beautiful column and this one, about his son Jon turning 40, is among the most touching and beautiful Will has ever penned.
It appears that I was not the only one who took issue with Ross Douthat's characterization of the role of religion in the American South. Professor David Chappell (no relation!), whose work Douthat cited, has penned a comment correcting the record and explaining how Douthat completely misunderstood the points Chappell was making. Here is the link.