Distinctly Catholic

Please Let It Be Perry


Texas Gov. Rick Perry has made quite a splash in his first week as a presidential candidate. First he hurled the charge of treason at Ben Bernanke. Then he both denied there was such a thing as man-made global warming and accused the scientists who have demostrated such global warming of manipulating their data. Then he wrongly said the Texas schools taught both creationism and evolution, and that he was not convinced about evolution.
Now, he is backing off of comments he made in his book "Fed Up" which was published just last autumn in which he said Social Security was "unconstitutional" and a "ponzi scheme."
And this is the establishment alternative to Bachmann?
Please, let Perry's candidacy flourish. It will be too much fun to watch.

No Altar Girls at Phoenix Cathedral


The rector of the Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude in Phoenix has decided to only allow boys to be altar servers at Mass. The Rev. John Lankeit said the decision was his alone, not that of Bishop Thomas Olmsted. Lankeit cited the historic connection between altar boys and vocations.

The decision is regrettable from every angle. There may be an historic connection between boys being altar servers and some of those boys going on to be priests. Hard to tell. There was also an historical connection between maleness and, say, the American founding. There was, until recently, a connection between being male and running for President. The rector may not have noticed but women do lots of things they did not do previously and it is a misplaced concern for gender differenciation to want to hold on to yesteryear's ways.

Bliss Was It In This Dawn


The television images last night and this morning bring tears to one’s eyes. The people pouring into the streets of Tripoli to celebrate the end of the Qaddafi regime, the shockingly quick collapse of resistance to the advance of the patriot forces, the look of befuddlement on the faces of the government’s handlers at the hotel where the media was holed up, all makes one feel in one’s bones something of that feeling that inspired Wordsworth to pen, “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive/ But to be young was very Heaven!”

Three Cheers on Immigration


The Obama Administration is finally realizing that there are steps it can take to adjust our nation's bankrupt immigration policies short of a comprehensive reform. It announced a new set of procedures that do not automatically deport undocumented workers who have committed no crimes.
This is a small step in the direction of sanity, but a step nonetheless. The courts were getting clogged with deportation cases for people who had no criminal records, and were consequently unable to process cases against those undocumented workers who actually have committed crimes. Additionally, the new policy is a clear step towards recognizing that justice demands we recognize the rights of immigrants and move towards a system that treats them as human beings first and as undocumented second.
It would be nice to see the USCCB, which is often quick to criticize, at the front of the line in praising the new policy.

More Thoughts on Weinandy's Speech


Our friends at Catholic Moral Theology have two new essays responding to Father Weinandy's speech about some theologians being a curse.
One by Dana Dillon, who teaches at Providence College, argues that divisiveness is exactly what we do not need more of in today's theological community.
The other, by Emily Reimer-Barry, wonders aloud just who needs to "seize back" the Bible.
Both are well worth the read.

Fr. Weinandy's Unfortunate Speech


The recent address by Father Thomas Wienandy, director of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, has caused more than a few raised eyebrows. Coming on the heels of the same committee’s handling of Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s book, Quest for the Living God, Weinandy’s remarks to the Academy of Catholic Theology have put him and his committee back in the headlines.

It is difficult to see how saying that some theologians can be “a curse and an affliction” for the Church – even if you believe it to be true – is helpful. If you think many or most contemporary theologians are singing the wrong songs, it might be more productive to teach them new songs than to simply tell them to leave the choir. Besides, persons are never “a curse” and such de-humanizing language ill befits a Catholic leader, still less a man of the cloth. If Weinandy had more carefully said that some theologies are a curse, his words would not have stung as they have done. But, he said what he said, and sting they did.

9/11 Related Events


As the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 loom, I will try and post events commemorating that terrible morning that might be of interest to our readers. Here is the first.
Sacred Heart University will host a screening of the film "Of Gods and Men," directed by Xavier Beauvois. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibehirine in Algeria. It tells a story of eight French Christian monks who live in harmony with their Muslim brothers. Following the screening of the film there will be a discussion led by Michael W. Higgins, Ph.D., SHU’s vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity. There will also be light refreshments served.
The screening will take place September 13, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the university's Schine Auditorium.

Reactions to Weinandy's \"Curse\" Speech


Yesterday, John Allen wrote about Father Thomas Weinandy's speech to a group of conservative theologians in which he said some (other) theologians were a "curse" and "an affliction." I will have my own thoughts on Weinandy's speech later.

But, here is a commentary from Jana Bennett published over at CatholicMoralTheology.com, about Weinandy's speech.

Rick Perry: 2 for 2


Funny, it is, that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, fresh from his accusing Ben Bernanke of treasonous behavior, has made another round of headlines by denying what an overwhelming majority of scientists believe about global climate change. (What's next? I vote for denying evolution!)

What was especially interesting about Perry's comments about climate change was his accusation that the scientists who study the issue are corrupt. He stated, "There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they would have dollars rolling in to their projects." That is quite a charge and, unsurprisingly, Perry offered no evidence to back it up, something that cannot be said about the scientists who study climate change and have plenty of evidence to back up their findings.

Chaput's Latest


Archbishop Charles Chaput, soon to be installed as the next Archbishop of Philadelphia, gave a talk to the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, which has now been published as an essay by the Witherspoon Institute. The essay is entitled “Nation of Faith; Nation of Immigrants,” and it explores how religion and American culture intersect historically and what Latinos bring with them into the U.S. cultural mix. Chaput addressed some of these themes in his book, Render unto Caesar.


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017