Links for 11/19/19

by Michael Sean Winters

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One of the sweetest political victories of the year came Nov. 16 in Louisiana when the only pro-life Democratic governor in the country won reelection. "Governor John Bel Edwards has shown by example that he is a consistent and reliable whole-life advocate," said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life. "He is a voice for the voiceless. As governor, he expanded access to healthcare, addressed obstacles to placing adoptive and foster children in loving homes, and was a leader passing criminal justice reform in Louisiana and nationally." This is the second time this month that a Democrat won a gubernatorial contest in a state Donald Trump won in 2016. The president took Louisiana by 20 points and Kentucky, where Andy Beshear toppled incumbent Matt Bevin, by 30 points.

At LifeSiteNews, the same old list of dissenters from papal teaching want Pope Francis to "repent" over the Pachamama statues. The anti-Francis hysteria seems more and more shrill and to be attracting fewer and fewer people. But it still shows up, sometimes in the strangest places. George Weigel complained about the synod being a "masquerade" and did so in The Boston Pilot. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, call your office.

At Our Sunday Visitor, Gretchen R. Crowe does a fine job summarizing Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron's presentation to the U.S. bishops' conference meeting last week, in which he outlined five paths for "bringing the unaffiliated back to the church." I will have more on this in a week or two. For the moment, I will only echo a comment made at the meeting by Hosffman Ospino of Boston College, who collaborated with Barron on the production of his video. Speaking to the bishops, he noted that the video tends to focus on "upper-middle-class questions," not the questions that arise in the Latino community.

From the "I told you so" file, The New York Times reports on the Republicans' shifting defenses for the president's actions, and who comes along to blow it all up? The president himself.

At The Washington Post, Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports on new Pew Research numbers that indicate Americans continue to think of religion as a blessing for society, even while fewer of them actually adhere to any religion. One thing that seems grossly unfair: The return of the clergy sex abuse crisis has caused a decline in the approval rating of Pope Francis, the man who has done more to confront the crisis than either of his two immediate predecessors.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has thrown his hat into the presidential ring. He was a notoriously ineffectual governor but the moneyed interest is nervous that former Vice President Joe Biden may not be up to the job, Sen. Kamala Harris has already bombed, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg faces an insoluble problem with black voters. So, Patrick is in the race and, surprise, surprise, he is willing to take super PAC money. Politico has the story. I will have more on this tomorrow.

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

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