Distinctly Catholic

B16 Backs Immigration Reform


While acknowledging that the issue is complex, Pope Benedict XVI nonetheless offered his clear and unmistakable support to the USCCB's efforts to get Congress and the White House to pass comprehensive immigration reform. During his final address of the ad limina visits by US prelates, Benedict said:

I would begin by praising your unremitting efforts, in the best traditions of the Church in America, to respond to the ongoing phenomenon of immigration in your country. The Catholic community in the United States continues, with great generosity, to welcome waves of new immigrants, to provide them with pastoral care and charitable assistance, and to support ways of regularizing their situation, especially with regard to the unification of families. A particular sign of this is the long-standing commitment of the American Bishops to immigration reform. This is clearly a difficult and complex issue from the civil and political, as well as the social and economic, but above all from the human point of view. It is thus of profound concern to the Church, since it involves ensuring the just treatment and the defense of the human dignity of immigrants.

More Graduation Wars


While here in Washington, attention has been focused on the speaking gig given to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Georgetown's School of Public Policy, I was surprised to see that the Franciscan University of Steubenville invited retired Air Force General Michael Hayden to give the school's commencement address and receive an honorary degree. Hayden, of course, as Director of the National Security Agency and also of the CIA not only authorized the use of torture, he had openly defended such use again and again.

Last night, on EWTN's "The World Over," the President of Franciscan University at Steubenville, Father Terence Henry, talked about the school's decision to cease offering health care to its students rather than comply with the HHS mandates regarding contraception. At least twice he vowed that the university would never, never, never cooperate with and intrinsic evil. But, isn't torture an intrinsic evil? Did I miss the inaptly named Cardinal Newman Society's petition protest against Hayden's appearance? Or is Catholic outrage now to be reserved only for Democrats?

Why Your Vote Won't Matter


I do not doubt that there will be significant differences between a second term Obama administration and a first term Romney administration. But, barring some unforeseen event, it seems unlikely that either party will control the White House and both houses of Congress. The Democrats have an outside chance at taking the House. The Republicans have a better chance of taking the Senate, but no chance at getting a 60-vote majority in that body. Consequently, and sad to say, your vote won’t count this November.

The dysfunction in Washington is not only obvious, it is increasingly intractable. And, apart from the relative temperament of either party, the causes of this dysfunction are threefold and neither party seems inclined to do much about them.

Schonborn's Interview


Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, gave an interview to Vatican Insider that they have posted here. If your Italian is passable, read it in that language because the English translation is not very good.

The entire interview is interesting, but his remarks about homosexuality bear scrutiny. He considers it along side other things considered sexual sins, such a divorce and remarriage. This is not the Vatican line since 1986, which argued homosexuality was its own kind of sin, an "intrinsic disorder." That way of looking at it always seemed strange to me. The CDF seemed to be saying that homosexuality was not a specific act, like sex outside of marriage between two heterosexuals, nor was it like one of the seven deadly sins, to which all human beings are tempted, but an entirely new category of sin. It will be curious to see what kind of responses Schonborn gets.

Kudos to Gov. O'Malley


If there is one reason it is still worthwhile to be a Democrat it is because, when faced with a choice between gutting public investment in education and other vital needs of the commonwealth or raising taxes on the wealthy, Democrats opt to raise taxes. Yesterday, under pressure from Gov. Martin O'Malley, the Maryland state legislature voted to raise taxes and preserve the state's sense of its obligations to the poor and to the future.

The tax hike is hardly an enormous burden. It applies only to those individuals making more than $100,000 per year and, on average, amounts to about $745. That is on average, so it includes zillionaires - those making less than $250,000 will only pay about $300 more per year. On the other hand, the burden of closing schools, firing teachers, underfunding projects that assist the poor and the marginalized, is far greater.

No politician likes to raise taxes. Those with the courage to do so should be applauded.

Lori's Bizarre Sermon


These words from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, lept to my mind yesterday as I listened to newly installed Archbishop William Lori give the homily at his installation Mass:

Because the sermon is part of the liturgical service, the best place for it is to be indicated even in the rubrics, as far as the nature of the rite will allow; the ministry of preaching is to be fulfilled with exactitude and fidelity. The sermon, moreover, should draw its content mainly from scriptural and liturgical sources, and its character should be that of a proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history of salvation, the mystery of Christ, ever made present and active within us, especially in the celebration of the liturgy.

Ratzinger's Faith: Part III


The Church is often portrayed as a stern moralizing agent, hurling anathemas against people, fixated on sin, especially sexual sin, and Joseph Ratzinger is also often portrayed as Exhibit A in that indictment. He did not earn the title der panzerkardinal for nothing, right?

But, as early as 1964, as Tracey Rowland points out in her book “Raztinger’s Faith,” which I have been examining the past few days, Ratzinger was concerned about the reduction of religion to ethics. Preaching to a group involved with student chaplaincy at the cathedral of Munster, Raztinger asked: “What is the real substance of Christianity that goes beyond mere moralism?”


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017