Distinctly Catholic

Cohn on Romney's Health Care Proposals


Jonathan Cohn, at the New Republic, knows more about health care policy than anyone writing on the subject today. In a fine piece published yesterday, he looks at Gov. Romney's somewhat vague policy proposals and why they would be a disaster for the country.

As the USCCB continues to focus on religious liberty, a cause I support wholeheartedly, they need to remember that this election is also about other issues and one of those is whether or not the country will get health care to more than 50 million Americans or deny health care to 50 million Americans.

Memorial Day


Memorial Day brings a flood of memories. Our little town always has a parade down Main Street, with floats on the back of farm trucks, the band from the local high school, and our town’s fire trucks, freshly washed and waxed. At the end of the parade, everyone gathers at a monument to our town’s veterans, someone gives a speech, a wreath is laid, a trumpeter plays taps, the flag is lowered to half-mast. Then, the local Grange has a BBQ with free ice cream for the kids. It is very Norman Rockwell.

Report on Religious Freedom Event


Just back from an event sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center on religious freedom. It was not exactly “fair and balanced” anymore than Fox News is, although Bill Galston from Brookings was given the microphone and, unsurprisingly, gave the most nuanced of this morning’s presentations. At least the organizers were candid that the day’s proceedings were not just about learning, they were about action. This was the religious right’s highly educated cohort, getting their marching orders and their battleplans.

The avalanche of criticism against, variously, the Obama administration, secularization, gay and lesbian activists, etc., began with Tom Farr of Georgetown who said that in his 2009 address at Notre Dame, President Barack Obama asserted a “lack of rational content” in religion. The relevant words of Mr. Obama’s were: “It's beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.” Now, as I recall, I found Obama’s comments strange in a speech at a Catholic university dedicated to the pursuit of faith and reason.

Religious LIberty Updates


I will be heading out shortly to a conference on religious liberty sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Why these start these things so early, and all the way across town is beyond me. I will file a report early afternoon.

But, here is some food for thought on the issue.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has an article at the Washington Post explaining the archdiocese's decision to file a lawsuit against the HHS mandate. It is worth noting that Cardinal Wuerl focuses on the same objection Bishop Blaire highlighted - the still-extant, four-part definition of what is, and is not, a religious organization for purposes of exemptions from the new HHS mandate. I am sure there was some gnashing of teeth at the idea that bishops were taking different positions in public on this issue but I don't think the positions are that fundamentally different. The differences are ones of emphasis and context. All agree on the heart of the matter.

What's Worse Than Divided, Dysfunctional Gov't?


In a speech at the Reagan Library, Cong. Paul Ryan said he expects that the GOP will not only win this November's election, but will do so with a "mandate" to "sweep and remake the political landscape." If the option is continued, divided, dysfunctional government or a mandate to enact the Ryan view of government, I;ll take a few more years of divided, dysfunctional government.

Remembering Montini


Zenit reports on the establishment of a newly endowed chair at a Roman University in memory of Pope Paul VI. The chair will look at the pontiff's early life and work as well as his later years as Archbishop of Milan and then as Pope. I have long nurtured a profound esteem for Papa Montini, not only because he was the Pope of my youth, but because the more I learn of him and of his writings, the more I see how difficult a job he had of it, steering the Second Vatican Council to its conclusion and overseeing the early years of its reforms. What is emerging clearly is that he was intensely concerned that all the reforms keep the Church focused on Christ. His apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi paved the way for what we now know as the New Evangelization. His contributions to the social teachings of the Church were exemplary. And, even his most controversial encyclial, Humanae Vitae, reads better every year in its prescient concern about the eugenic potential of human tinkering with nature.


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017