Distinctly Catholic

Lawler to USCCB: Ditch the Bubble Gum


Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org seems worried that the USCCB is incapable of walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time. He is upset that instead of focusing exclusive on the issue of religious liberty and a few others, the USCCB is diluting its own message. What should the bishops have to say about farm policy?

Well, Mr. Lawler fails to recall the sonorous opening lines of Gaudium et Spes: "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."

Lugar's Loss - And Ours


Sen. Richard Lugar did not merely lose his primary contest last night. He got thumped. Richard Mourdock took 60.6% of the vote in the Hoosier state to Lugar’s 39.4%. In all of his previous contests, Lugar has taken more than two-thirds of the vote. Six years ago, the Democrats did not even field a candidate against him. This is not your grandfather’s Republican Party.

Lugar joins former Senator Robert Bennett from Utah and former Congressman (and odds-on favorite to become a Senator) Mike Castle of Delaware in the list of those mainstream Republican candidates who were retired by their own party which has swung hard to the right. Some have given up trying, like Maine’s Senator Olympia Snowe, recognizing that even if you manage to win, your Republican caucus in the Senate is going to be sufficiently filled with fire-breathers, enabled by those whose Machiavellian instinct to worry most about obstructing one’s political opponents no matter what the cost, that what was once a rewarding job, reaching consensus in ways that benefit the nation, is no longer worth the effort.

Fr. Jenkins at Wesley


Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, delivered the graduation speech at the Wesley Theological Seminary's commencement exercises, held this week at Washington Nation Cathedral. Jenkins called on all, but especially the graduates, to root ourselves in the Christian commitment to treat others fairly, be watchful for the danger of hubris and hatred in ourselves, and to always show respect to those with whom we disagree.

Outside, critics burned an effigy....just kidding.

More on Pro-life Dems


I had reached out to former Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper for a comment about the Democrats for Life of America and their petition asking for a "big tent" on abortion in the party's platform. I wrote about this yesterday.

The comment arrived too late for my post yesterday, but it is worth posting on its own. Here is Dahlkemper's comment:

When I was running for Congress, my Democratic primary opponents questioned whether I was a “real” Democrat because of my pro-life stance.

I always refer to myself as a whole life Democrat and have fought for issues that Democrats hold dear including health care reform, a clean environment and educational opportunities for everyone. My whole life position also includes protecting the unborn. That position does not and should not negate my membership in the Democratic Party nor should people ever question my Party Affiliation due to my stance on abortion. There needs to be room for all Democrats in our big tent party so we can fight for the issues we all believe in.

Graduation Wars


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.

Can You Say Llave?


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.

Aux Armes Citoyens!


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.

DFLA Calls For \"Big Tent\" in Dem Platform


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:

We respect the conscience of each American and recognize that members of our Party have deeply held and sometimes differing positions on issues of personal conscience, like abortion and the death penalty. We recognize the diversity of views as a source of strength and we welcome into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these and other issues.


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In This Issue

February 10-23, 2017