Distinctly Catholic

Yahoo Watch: The Anchoress


The Anchoress, Elisabeth Scalia, over at First Things is usually thoughtful. Usually wrong, of course, but thoughtfully wrong. But her analysis of the controversy surrounding Shirley Sherrod earns her a spot on today’s Yahoo Watch.

Scalia writes that Sherrod blamed the NACCP for her firing, which is not exactly what Sherrod said. Sherrod noted, correctly, that the focus on her was in response to the NAACP’s resolution calling on the Tea Party to renounce those in its ranks who peddle in racism. She did not “blame” them if by blaming we mean to suggest a moral responsibility. And, there is no comparison between the NAACP resolution and what Andrew Breitbart did. The NAACP asked the Tea Party to denounce those who attend its rallies carrying racist signs, and yes, there are such signs. Mssr. Breitbart, on the other hand, willfully distorted a video to suggest that Ms. Sherrod was saying the exact opposite of what she was saying.

Q & A: Congresswoman Linda Sanchez


This week, we are discussing immigration reform. Today, we hear from Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, D-CA.
The question: What will it take to get immigration reform passed and what are the prospects for passage?
Cong. Sanchez:
In order for immigration reform to get done this year, we need Republicans to stop playing politics with a problem we should have fixed long ago. I’m ready to move forward; the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward; and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is, without bipartisan support, we cannot reform our broken immigration system. The Senate requires 60 votes to pass an immigration reform. With 56 Democrats, 2 Independents, and 42 Republicans, the reality that Republican votes are needed in order for something to happen is a reality that can’t be ignored.

\"Whole Life Heroes\" Makes Its Debut


Democrats for Life of America has a new website that champions “Whole Life Heroes,” those pro-life members of Congress, all Democrats, who supported health care reform after ensuring that the law was amended to ensure that there would be no federal funding of abortion. The site includes fact checks about the bill as well as profiles of these courageous members of Congress.

“Pro life Democrats provided the final votes needed to pass health care reform. These Democrats stood up for pro-life principles during the healthcare debate and delivered needed reforms that protect life at all stages,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America in a press release announcing the new website. “Now we are standing up for these Whole Life Heroes as they come under false, politically motivated attacks for defending their values.”

Smelling A Rat: Andrew Breitbart


At this time yesterday, the world did not know of the existence of Ms. Shirley Sherrod, an employee of the Department of Agriculture. Then Andrew Breitbart “caught” Ms. Sherrod on tape discussing an incident from twenty years previously in which she said she thought about not helping a farmer who had come to her in need because he was white. Except, that is not what she was discussing at all.

Can't or Won't


I count myself among those who thought it was very bad for the Vatican to treat the ordination of women in the same document in which it dealt with new norms for punishing those clerics who sexually abuse minors. But, among those who criticize the document, one criticism seems to me misplaced and that is the charge of misogyny.

Blast From the Past: Murray v. Vagnozzi


Last week, I ran a quote from Gerald Fogarty’s invaluable The Vatican and the American Hierarchy from 1870 to 1965, which included quotes from the intervention of Bishop Stephen Levin at the Second Vatican Council. That passage is followed immediately by this account of a struggle between Father John Courtney Murray, S.J. and the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, which shows that there is always a back-drama to the Church’s decision-making, a thing to remember whenever we read a new document from the Holy See.

Yahoo Watch: Ex-Gays


There are few more pernicious groups in America today than those which claim they can “convert” gays and lesbians into “ex-gays.” They promise nothing but lies and human misery. So, it is not simple schadenfreude that makes me relish a story about the leader of one such group being caught doing things that are inappropriate by any standard.

Click "read more" to see the video. (H/T to Right Wing Watch.)

Edmund Burke: Call Your Office


There is nothing unremarkable about finding the following sentiments on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal regarding the relationship of the United States with the United Kingdom: “The U.S.-U.K. relationship is simple: It's strong because it delivers for both of us. The alliance is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests.” This is the kind of cost-benefit analysis to which the good folks at the Journal reduce all human interactions. But, what is remarkable – quite remarkable – is that these words were penned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the newly installed PM and leader of the Conservative Party.

Q & A: Jennifer Butler, Faith in Public Life


This week, we are asking about the prospects of immigration reform. Yesterday we heard from Kevin Appleby of the USCCB. Today we hear from Jennifer Butler, executive director of the group Faith in Public Life.
The question: What will it take to get immigration reform passed this year, and what are the prospects for passage?
Jennifer Butler:

Investigating the Spook-Industrial Complex


All of Washington is abuzz over a Washington Post investigative report into the vast network of public and private security organizations that have sprung up since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The two reporters, Dana Priest and William Arkin, are to commended for this two-year investigation that concludes: “The government has built a national security and intelligence system so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it’s fulfilling its most important purpose: keeping citizens safe.”


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017