Distinctly Catholic

Silk on Illinois, Evangelicals and GOP


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.

Cohn: \"Stunning Immorality of Ryan Budget\"


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.

Santorum and Those Un-Serious Catholics


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.

Grassl & the Catholic Ghetto


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.

Romney's Problematic Illinois Win


Mitt Romney knows what he wants – the nomination – and he is pretty sure that last night he took another big step towards achieving his goal. Which is not to say he sealed the deal last night: a 46% to 35% win is a big win, to be sure, but while he was outspending the cash-strapped campaign of Rick Santorum by 7-1, you might have thought Romney could break 50%. Nonetheless, barring a banana peel on his path to the convention, it is difficult to see how any of the other candidates can keep him from the magic number of 1,144 delegated needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot.

The key disappointment for the Romney campaign must be their inability to generate anything like enthusiasm from the GOP base. He has yet to win a primary in which white evangelicals constitute more than fifty percent of the voters. Perhaps they think that the GOP base’s hatred for Obama is so great, it doesn’t matter whether they like Romney, their hatred of Obama will drive them to the polls in droves. It is possible. But, some people like to be voting for, as well as against, and even a slight drop-off in white evangelical turnout could cost the GOP key states like Ohio, Michigan and Virginia.

Anti-Bishop Venom On the Right


I think some of us on the left tend to under-estimate the degree of nastiness bishops have to put up with from their right wing flanks. Maybe that is because we dismiss the far right extremists as kooks. But, they are noisy kooks. Think of the attacks on CCHD, and the way the bishops have resisted efforts to dismantle that signature anti-poverty program. Or of Father Guarnizo, the communion-denying priest who basically called Cardinal Wuerl a liar last week.

St. Francis Univ Ethics Lecture


Last week, I was invited to give the 20th annual ethics lecture by the Institute for Ethics at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. I chose to address Catholic Social Teaching and politics. Here is the text:

Time for Caesar to Render: How Catholic Social Teaching Can Heal What’s Wrong With American Politics

When I was asked to deliver this lecture last autumn, little did I know that the issue of rendering unto Caesar, that is, the relationship between Church & State, would become the stuff of nightly news and newspaper op-eds and polling data, and all the accoutrement of a modern democracy. The recent battle over if and how government mandates should extend to religious institutions reminded us all of something, actually many things, that we would rather forget:
The Constitution did not resolve the issue of the relationship of Church and State;

The Church never fits neatly into any political framework, many of the issues in contemporary political life have many answers and people of good will and good conscience can disagree, and disagree profoundly, as to which answer is best and, more importantly, which answers are even tolerable.

Happy Anniversary CMT!


Today marks the first anniversary of the splendid blog, CatholicMoralTheology.com. The editors of that blog asked me and some others to write up posts commemorating their anniversary, which I was delighted to do. You can find my post here and come back to the site each day this week to find more posts marking a milestone on the emergence of a truly valuable online resource for Catholic Moral Theology.



Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of my mother's death. She died on the vigil of the Feast of St. Joseph, patron of a happy death and, indeed, her death copuld not have been more peaceful when it came. What preceded it was far from peaceful: She had been battling Parkinson's for years and then, in August of 2006, she and my dad were in a horrific accident in which she broke both arms, her neck and one leg. She never really recovered, and never spoke again, although after the first few days, she re-gained consciousness. She was certainly aware that I was at her bedside each and every day and that my dad, once he recovered from his injuries, was there each and every day for the entire day.

Obviously, the readers of this blog did not know my mother. But, you have come to know me, and mindful of e.e. cummings words - I am first the son of my parents and whatever is happening to him - I share the eulogy I delivered at my mother's funeral with you:

Eulogy for Claire McDermott Winters
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
25 March 2007, Feast of the Annunciation


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017