Two news items, both of them good news, lead me to conclude that it is time to offer some friendly advice to our friends at the USCCB. First, yesterday the USCCB released the text of a letter from Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Gomez to Speaker John Boehner on the need for immigration reform. Second, a small item in this morning’s Washington Post notes that in many states, although not all, the “anti-sharia law” movement is dead or drying.
I remain when Pope John Paul II went to Cuba vividly - and so do you, although it might have slipped your mind. I had been at work all day and not seen any television. I listened to nice music on the drive home, hoping to catch "Nightline" - the night before Ted Koppel had announced he would be traveling to Havana the next morning to cover the trip. So, I got home, let the dog out, turned on the TV and Koppel was back in his NYC studio. There were no palm trees in the back. Unbeknownst to me, that very day, the world was introduced to Ms. Monica Lewinsky and any interest in John Paul meeting Castro took a back seat.
Let's all hope there is no repeat!
The headlines about the Pew Survey focus on the fact that Americans still tend to prefer their religion in one part of their lives and politics in another, just as some people keep their vegetables on one side of the plate and their meat on the other. There has been since the founding a sometimes subtle, sometimes not, tussle between America's secular governmental system and the deep religiosity of American culture and society.
But, there is a clear warning for the Obama Administration and Democrats generally in the Pew data: They state:
In my main post this morning, I mentioned the letter from Bishop Stephen Blaire and Bishop Richard Pates to all members of Congress, written on behalf of the USCCB. Here is a link to the text of the letter so you can see for yourself how out of whack the Ryan budget is with the vision sketched by our bishops.
The budget proposals put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, present, as his “Path to Prosperity” text states, a choice between two futures for the nation. And, let us stipulate at the outset, that Ryan is both sincere and correct when he bemoans the current inability of Washington to courageously address the nation’s fiscal issues. But, in this case, the remedy is worse than the disease because the future for America that Ryan’s budget paints is a vicious future in which the rich get richer, the poor and the marginalized are left to fend for themselves, vulnerable seniors are given vouchers, not health care, and – most disturbingly for Catholics – the common good is entirely set aside in the name of freedom.
This story from the Associated Press will, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Santorum, make you want to throw up. A new book details that the Vatican received information about Father Maciel's crimes more than 50 years ago. (h/t to Rocco!)
I do want to point out one thing however. The article does not implicate Benedict in the cover-up but it leaves open the possibility. That possibility should be foreclosed. As head of the CDF, then-Cardinal ratzinger conducted the investigation of Maciel and then the apartment did nothing with it. Cardinals Sodano and Dziwicz have some answering to do but not Pope Benedict.
Mark Silk looks at the relative moderation of suburban Chicago evangelicals - think Willow Creek - compared to some of the fire-breathing fundamentalists that Santorum chose to hang out with this past week. The question is whether the fire-breathers will come around in November or the combination of Romney moderation and his Mormonism will suggest they should go fishing on election day.
Jonathan Cohn doesn't mince words when evaluating the new budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Cohn terms it "stunningly immoral." Especially in the way the protections fall exclusively on the wealthy and the cuts fall exclusively on the poor, especially the elderly, the Ryan budget is a disaster. I will have more on this tomorrow.
Great catch by the good people at People for the American Way. In an interview on the new Sandy Rios show, Rick Santorum indicated that the reason he is doing better with white evangelical voters than with his co-religionists is because he is only doing well with people who take their religion seriously. Huh? I wish to assure the former Senator that I take my religion very, very seriously, and I would still never vote for him.
Over at Crisis magazine, Wolfgang Grassl hits on a truly provocative idea - reviving the Catholic cultural ghetto we associate with the urban, ethnic parishes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century - but, as is common with some Catholic conservatives, Grassl proceeds to mis the mark almost entirely. He thinks that, in hte light of the HHS mandates, our Catholic charities, hospitals, and schools should return to serving only our own. The problem here is obvious: The Parable of the Good Samaritan does not suggest that we should only seek to help our own poor but all the poor.