Distinctly Catholic

The Problem with Romneycare


Former Massachusetts Governor, and GOP presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney has found himself on the defensive regarding his health care reform law in the Bay State. Most of the criticism has focused on the fact that the Massachusetts reform, like President Obama’s reform, included an individual mandate, requiring that all citizens purchase health insurance or pay a fine.

But, for Catholics and other pro-life voters, Romneycare holds a different problem. It explicitly provided government funding of abortion. The Massachusetts health care reform established a government funded program, Commonwealth Care, that includes coverage of abortion. Commonwealth Care was made available for free to everyone in the Bay State who was below the poverty line and subsidized participation was made available to those above the poverty line.

Conservatives in a Lather


It didn't take long for certain conservative critics to denounce the document released yesterday by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace regarding the world financial crisis. This is the same crowd which, on other issues, points to similar Vatican documents and invests them with enormous authority. But not now.

Here is George Weigel in the National Review: "The document doesn’t speak for the Pope, it doesn’t speak for 'the Vatican,' and it doesn’t speak for the Catholic Church."

The inimitable Father Zuhlsdorf has the decency to admit that the document has him ranting "like a loon."

And, at CatholicVote.org, Thomas Peters, aka the American Papist, does all he can to diminish the significance of this document, emphasizing that the Church admits it has no special expertise in economics, as indeed the authors of the document say.

The Changing Face of the Middle East


The politics of the Middle East is in flux, which may be the only thing all Americans can agree about. The most important long-term U.S. foreign policy objective in the region, stability, sought by presidents of both political parties for decades, does not sit well with flux. We are thrilled to see despots deposed, but we worry about what may follow. Americans, of all people, must stand for democracy, but we worry about the influence of radical Islamicists in these newborn democracies. What to do?

Reminder: Human Trafficking Conference on Weds.


Just a reminder, that on Wednesday, Catholic University is hosting a day long conference on human trafficking. The event will include a panel of survivors of torture and trafficking as well as a panel of advocates. A keynote address by Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who leads the State Department efforts to combat trafficking and a closing address by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick round out the program.
The event is free and includes continetal breakfast and lunch, but organizers ask everyone to register so there is enough food and chairs for all.
You can register here.
The conference is sponsored by CUA's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, The Franciscan Action Network and Franciscans International.

Holy See v. Laissez Faire


The Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has issued this morning a new document dealing with the global financial crisis. It is bound to cause a stir and I suspect Mr. George Weigel is already looking for his red and gold pens to tell us what we can ignore and what we must follow in the current text. (He will be disappointed: There is next to nothing in this document that will cause Weigel to get out his gold pen!)

Cut Rubio Some Slack But....


This morning's Washington Post has a front page story on what it calls Sen. Marco Rubio's "embellishment" of his family's history. Rubio has previously, and on many occasions, said that his parents fled Cuba after Castro's revolution when, in fact, they came to the U.S. in 1956. The article correctly notes that those Cubans who fled Castro had a cache and that those who came before were often viewed with suspicion, so mixing up the dates would have served Rubio's political career.

Frank Foer on Occupy Wall Street


Frank Foer at The New Republic raises some hard-headed questions about the Occupy Wall Street protests. I share his concerns about the practical political effects of the protests. All it takes is one moral idiot wearing a Che Guevara tee-shirt and an Obama button to make a devastating attack ad. (And, yes, if you wear a Che Guevara tee-shirt, you are a moral idiot.)

There is a Romanticism about much of the commentary regarding these protests. I am suspicious of Romanticism per se. It is fine, even uplifting, to listen to five minutes of Wagner, but if you listen to five hours, you are going to think about invading Poland.


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In This Issue

March 24-April 6, 2017