Distinctly Catholic

Marc Thiessen v. USCCB


You may remember Marc Thiessen for his ham-handed effort to justify torture, despite the fact that it is an intrinsic evil. Now, at the Washington Post, Thiessen comes to the defense of Cong. Paul Ryan whose budget the USCCB recently stated failed to meet the moral criteria they had stipulated.

Thiessen of course does not attack all the bishops. He aims his fire at Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, who is the chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestice Justice and Human Development. Blaire signed the letters to members of Congress urging that they not cut vital social programs but instead consider alternative means of addressing the nation's growing debt. But, Blaire's letter was not the result of whim. He answers to a committee and is known for his highly consultative method of drafting such letters. He was speaking for the bishops, all the bishops, no matter how much Ryan and Thiessen try to paint him as some kind of quasi-socialist ideologue.

+Gomez on AZ Immigration Law


In the Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez has an article on the Arizona immigration law, which comes before the Supreme Court today. In previous posts on immigration, several commentators have suggested that Catholics can, and should, support efforts like the one in Arizona to enforce our nation's broken immigration laws. Archbishop Gomez's article demonstrates why Catholics must oppose such laws. Additionally his treatment of the issue demonstrates not only a pastor's heart, it shows, as does his entire career, how immigration strengthens America. Archbishop Gomez, after all, was not born north of the border, but how blest we are that he crossed it.

Defending Jerry Falwell


At Politico, Joe Scarborough writes: "Since Jerry Falwell founded The Moral Majority in 1979, few things have unified American liberals as much as their contempt for self-righteous types who pushed a political agenda by attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Alas, whatever one's objections to Falwell's politics, I do not once recall him "attacking the faith of partisan opponents." Yes, he criticized their moral reasonings. Yes, he felt betrayed especially by Jimmy Carter, the first "born again" president who, in Falwell's eyes, gave Baptists a bad name. But, he never denounced Carter's faith, or Ted Kennedy's, or any other politician. He was highly critical of other evangelists, especially Pentecostals, on religious grounds but those criticisms had nothing to do with politics.

The habit of some rightwing zealots today have adopted of impugning President Obama's faith, or some leftwing zealots today have of impugning Mitt Romney;s faith, is truly ugly. It is not truly Falwellian.

Obama's Speech at the Holocaust Memorial Museum


Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. News accounts have focused on his announcement of new sanctions against Syria and Iran regarding their use of new technologies to further their repressive aims. The President also announced the establishment of an Atrocities Prevention Board, that will serve senior government officials across many bureaucratic jurisdictions, to alert them to pending challenges and articulate policy responses to horror. All to the good.

AZ Anti-Immigrant Law Heads to SCOTUS


The United States Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments this week in the case Arizona v. United States. At issue is Arizona’s anti-immigration law, known as S. B. 1070, which requires police officers to ascertain the legal status of those they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.

There are a variety of legal reasons why the Court can and should strike down the law. For obvious reasons, immigration policy is a federal, not a state, issue. If Arizona can find legal justification for police action that effectively creates a second juridical border, what is to keep California from pulling down the barriers that exist along its border with Mexico? Federal immigration law is enough of a mess without further complicating the issue by permitting all fifty states to enact their own separate provisions.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017