Distinctly Catholic

The Evolution Debate, Such As It Is


Why has evolution, of all things, become a hot topic in this year’s presidential race? It is an interesting question. After all, very little a president does has to do with the teaching of evolution. But, because evangelical Christians have become the base of the GOP today, the issue matters greatly.

First, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, incorrectly, that in Texas both creationism and evolution are taught in the schools. Of course, in the religious schools, creationism is taught and in the public schools evolution is taught. But, repeated court rulings prohibit the teaching of creationism in the public schools because it is a religious belief.

ROFL in Latine


Somebody at the Vatican has WAY too much time on their hands. The official Vatican website, which now includes Latin as one of the languages, has a new feature: how to render modern words unknown at the time Latin was still a spoken language. Who knew that "hot pants" is properly rendered as "brevissimae bracae feminae" or that "mini golf" was "pilamalleus minutus." As for "factotum" I thought that was already in Latin.
In any event, check out the full list here but be prepared to laugh out loud.

Dr. King - Still A Giant


This weekend, President Obama will dedicate the new memorial on the National Mall honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A documentary of King has recently been unearthed that captures some of his greatness. Dr. King was a truly great American who changed the nation's political and social fabric without ever violating his principles, and he did it with no violence. Happy the man with such a legacy and happy the country that honors that legacy.

A Tax Cut Republicans Don't Like


Harold Meyerson is the kind of liberal I really like, unafraid of embracing a brand of economic populism rooted in the vision of FDR. (I am sure Meyerson and I would disagree about some other issues.) In this morning's Washington Post, Meyerson looks at the one tax cut the GOP does not seem to like, the payroll tax cut. His article reminds us also of the limited veracity of some Tea Party claims that too many poor people don't pay any federal taxes - they pay plenty in taxes, payroll taxes, and sales taxes, even if they don't pay income tax.

The Lesson from Libya


The fall of the Qaddafi regime may be welcome new to President Obama, removing a potential stumbling block from a path already strewn with plenty of difficult stones to overcome. But, it is doubtful that the happy news from Tripoli will provide him with much of a bounce. Why is this?

One of the most jarring intellectual exercises you can undertake is to read or listen to John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address. Almost the entire speech was dedicated to the subject of foreign policy. Back then, of course, foreign policy was more or less a subject that garnered bipartisan agreement. Statesmen understood the need to end political debates “at the water’s edge” and present a united front to the world. That had been the case since the great Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg saw the need to work with President Harry S. Truman in crafting the post-war policies that were essentially followed by every American president until the collapse of communism. There actually was a broad consensus within the foreign policy establishment of both political parties.

Strike Five on Perry


First came the charge that Ben Bernanke was going to commit treason by regulating the money supply (which is sort of what a Fed Chairman does). Second, came the attack on scientists who "manipulate" data to prove global warming. Then, the claim that the Texas school teach both creationism and evolution and that the governor has more than a few reservations about evolution. Fourth, was Perry's contention that Social Security is "unconstitutional" and a "ponzi scheme." Now he wants to repeal the 16th Amendment which permits the government to institute an income tax. The 16th Amendment was "the great milestone on the road to serfdom." Hmmmm. I have never met a serf, and there is no documentary evidence that serfs ever existed in the U.S. nor that the framers of the 16th Amendment had serfdom as one of their goals. But, if memory serves, serfdom bound a peasant to a piece of property, and it had nothing to do with taxes. But, in the whacky world that is the mind of Gov. Rick Perry, it is all the same so long as you get a cute turn of phrase.

Three Cheers for Bp Wester & USCCB


As reported on our homepage, Bishop John Wester, head of the USCCB Committee on Migration, has praised the Obama Administration for its decision to implement a new plicy regarding the detention of undocumented workers. The new policy will help those undocumented workers who have not committed crimes to avoid automatic deportation and will help keep families together.
The USCCB has been forthright in voicing its objections to policies that it oppposes. It is nice to see them applauding a decision that warrants applause.

Sirico Strikes (Out) Again


One of the nice things about being in Connecticut is that I almost never watch television while there: My Dad has reorganized the TV room for the needs of one person and he is that person. So, I get more reading done and miss a lot of nonsense on the airwaves.

Back in DC, however, there was a re-run of “The World Over” on EWTN last night with Father Robert Sirico opining about the economy and other matters. It is difficult to determine who is more tendentious, Sirico or the show’s host Raymond Arroyo, but let us just point out that rarely, if ever, does Arroyo deliver a pointed question at Sirico. Instead, both men sit there tossing GOP talking points across the table like a ball at a tennis match, full of self-congratulation and certainty, dismissive of any real economic data or political facts that do not fit their narrative.


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017