Links for 10/19/17

From Radio Vaticana, here is Pope Francis' homily on "hard-hearted Christians."

At The Washington Post, a look at the so-called "generic ballot" polling in which respondents are asked if they would vote for a generic Republican or Democrat for Congress shows the numbers look dreadful for the Republicans, especially the fact that they are now trailing among Independents. Still, if there is a way for the Dems to lose an election, they will find it. 

At Politico, Matt Latimer argues that the reason so many Republicans have not abandoned Trump is they want to get the tax cut enacted first. Maybe. I think they know that the base loves the president more than they love Congress, and they don't want to risk a primary challenge. It does tell you all you need to know about today's Republican Party that the one thing that unites them is showering more money on those who are already plenty rich.

At America magazine, Robert Imbelli writes about the 55th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and how the task for the church remains the same: to proclaim the risen Christ in a world often beset by darkness.

The U.S. bishops' conference issues a report on how critical it is to maintain Temporary Protected Status for refugees from countries that are beset by violence and hardship. The report is based on a fact-finding trip to El Salvador and Honduras, but the Trump administration's threat to do away with TPS will also affect refugees from Haiti, South Sudan and other countries. These refugees have nowhere to go. The idea that we will simply send them back is horrifying, but that doesn't mean it is bad politics for the president.

In these dark days, music helps keep me going. Recently, I have been listening to Mendelssohn's organ sonatas played on two 19-century organs in Boston. Those recordings are not online, but here is Sonata #2 played on the Garrells organ in the Nicolaaskerk in Purmurend, Holland. 

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]​

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