"Hills of the North, Rejoice" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, the people of the Northern KIngdom have not yet been allowed to return to Israel - although we did convert as a group before anyone else did. The Samaritans converted en masse, while the Romani in India were converted by St. Thomas. The Romani and Samaritans are the same nation.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
American Life League Attacks Sheehan | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: ALL is an example of the right wing's devotion to coaltion politics. There is no place in their coalition for social programs - because they think it keeps people poor - which is bogus. People are kept poor because Republicans are obstructing spending more, forgiving mortgage debt and giving the poor (indeed - all families) more income assistance for children. Indeed, abortion would be severely cut back if we had a decent living wage - something ALL is totally against. As far as going after a bishop who supported an organization that cut the founder's largesse - I am not at all surprised. What many on the left understand well is the capacity of right wingers to use the cause of life as their meal ticket (which means they are not interested in real solutions).
"The Danger of Pope Francis" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: While the Papacy is a poltical office, it is also spiritual. This is what scares the approach of Francis, who highlights the fact that taking care of the poor - both on the individual and governmental levels - is an essential part of discipleship (not to be confused with salvation - which is about getting your soul saved - with discipleship being about treasure in Heaven). Integrating charity into the faith makes some people uncomfortable - especially if they are against raising taxes. People ridicule Francis because they can't ignore him. Next they will actively fight him and then he will win.
What Is RFRA? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect that Hosanna Tabor will be the controlling law in this case - which also seems address who gets to deliniate who is a minister and who is not - the Church itself. This won't, however, do anything about the fact that the EEOC has long ruled that contraception is an essential part of preventative care. Of course, I am sure that the St. Thomas More Law Center will file an Amicus asking the Court to overturn both Roe and Grisswold. Indeed, I suspect that this round of law suits is all about giving the Court that opportunity. Given the fact that there are no different Republicans on the Court than when they passed on doing the same thing in Gonzales v. Carhart (with Kennedy, Alito and Chief Roberts taking a pass on overturning Roe), I suspect that this is a fools errand.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Just How Bad Is Income Inequality? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: This has nothing to do with support for women's health issues and everything to do with Republican obstructionism - although Obama probably should have let taxes go up for the upper middle class as well as the wealthy. What is really hurting is Republican obstruction to putting in Obama appointments that will let action go forth in the area of union rights - a problem recently solved by the exercising of the nuclear option. A lot of the continuation of the Great Recession came about because Obama was scared out of doing something for underwater mortgage borrowers. Had he not taken the advice of Larry Summers and done something when it would have made a differece, inequality would have moved just a bit in the other direction. He still has time.
Mandela | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I did not know President Mandela personally, but friends, chief among them Rev. Walter Faunteroy (who started the Free South Africa protests in the US by chaining himself to the South African embassador's desk on Black Friday) and I are part of what Dr. King called the Beloved Community. I feel this loss personally. Come next week I can celebrate his resurrection - which is assured due to his taking on the mantle of peace. First, some grief and tears are in order. Of course, some of that may be an awareness of my own mortality and those of my friends (such as Lawrence Guyot and my young South African friend Shuta Myoli, who came here fleeing persecution). It is an interesting twist of fate that our first black president will attend the funeral - and sad that South Africa, the land of Apartheid, elected a black president before the United States - the home of Jesse Helms and Mitch (block all actions Obama supports) McConnell. Maybe that is why I am sad.
Garnett on Hobby Lobby | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The slippery slope happened when the Church was given exemptions at all in the proposed rules. Too much accommodation is a bad thing. The truth is that for insurance that covers preventative care (and it all must) - contraception has been required since DECEMBER 2000! Note that fact if you want to cover the whole story. Because of the public nature of the new health care, someone should note that allowing employers to get federal money to deny the privacy right to contraception is in violation of Griswold v. Connecticut. If employers are acting in the government's stead, they cannot violate the constitutional privacy rights of employees - including the Church.
Kudos to Conley | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: As stated earlier, the right is afraid that Francis will drag the Catholic bishops out of the Republican coalition over economic issues. They have reason to fear - and yes, some of what Catholic social teaching from Benedict to Francis has been more than a bit Marxian. If you read just the introduction to Das Kapital and what it says about trade and workers welfare you would think he wrote it in the past few years. Pravda is pravda, Comrades.
Good News from Rome | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Putting a whistle blower in change will cause them to try to circle the wagons. Hopefully she and her group will have the power to compel compliance - including by using episcopal appointment and removal to make things happen. This is an old problem - one of the oldest in the Church. When Jesus talked about leading young ones astray, he was not talking about teaching false doctrine but instead corrupting them sexually. That this passage made it in is telling - whether it is an attribtion or a verfied quotation.
The Domestication of Indifference | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The answer to abortion is not to pander to the masses for electoral and coalition politics reasons - it is the adoption of the economic agenda of Francis and Obama. Of course, this is what the right wing is afraid of - from Donohue to Limbaugh to Shaw and FoxNews. They are deathly afraid that this pope will shake the pro-life bishops lose from the Republican coalition - which would literally have the GOP fall apart. It is no wonder they speak with both lies and vitriol.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
WPFMTS Award: Life Site News | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The right wing seems to be more about believing the right things than doing them. It is almost Protestant. Sadly, they are really about group loyalty - so it is embarrassing for Catholic right wing groups to find themselves on the other side than the Pope, who does not fit into any coaltion but is more liberal than not. At some point it will become more well known that the majority of the pro-life movement and its supporters (like the Bishops) are more about Republican coalition politics (note the Affordable Care Act) than they are about truth, justice and mercy.
RC Schools & Common Core | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: When Catholic Schools are also Charter Schools (increasingly the reality) or if they ever get public funds - say in exchange for letting in the unions, the Common Core will not be optional - fad or not.
Douthat Challenges RC Left | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Douthat does not mention abortion - and as a liberal Catholic I would state that the best way to fight abortion is to make the economic reforms that both Pope Francis and BARACK OBAMA seem to be suggesting (capitalization meant to inflame). As for Gay Marriage and the Ordination of Women - we don't advocate discussing these issues - we demand change and we will see it as the demand becomes large enough. Let the philosophical defense involving the marital model of the priesthood (which is God is male suggests females only as priests) end. It is sophistry and everyone below 50 pretty much gets it unless they are true defenders of the faith (or at least the status quo). As for Church governance - it is time to adopt the Orthodox mode of autocephalic national patriarchs. Let the local American patriarch rule on gay weddings, the election of bishops, the ownership of Church property (an issue made acute by the sex abuse scandal) and the ordination of women. Hopefully that Patriarch is not Dolan.
Terror in Democratic Republic of the Congo | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, there is no American appetite for intervention. Not sure that would be true if there were unrest in Portugal or Belgium.
The "War on Christmas" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Jesus not only brought God, but brought God to the world of human suffering - and not just the physical kind but the spiritual kind of well - and that is worth celebrating!
As for the manger scene in the pubic square, let us remember there were no manger scenes until Francis of Assisi staged one. It is a sacramental, not a sacrament. Indeed, iconoclasts would say it is a sin against the second commandment (although Catholics locate it in the first).
In truth, the entire Christian season is a hijacking of the far more ancient season of Yule - the celebration of the solstice. Christianizing this feast is an attempt to make Christ the Light of the world who banishes the darkness, rather than the Sun. Of course, the Church is thereby buying into astrology rather than leaving it be.
Giving gifts to children is a very new thing (rather than using St. Nick's day for candy and Three Kings Day for bigger presents. Doing so in America came about due to increasing material prosperity and the end of child labor.
AA members, who are often badly affected by the shortening of the day, hold extra meetings, called Alcathons, during both the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Holidays (and some of them are "spiritual not religious" - yet they still call the holidays by their names). If you want to see the height of Christmas spirituality, go to an open AA meeting on Christmas (most of them are nowadays).
Another Gem from Evangelii Gaudium | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: No one argues about the need for mercy when a sin is committed. The argument is why something is sinful and whether it is. Only the old school, hard core Catholics think there is anything wrong with masturbation as long it is not taken to extremes in terms of frequency or stimulus. There is an emerging consensus that monogamous gay sex is not sinful, nor is birth control (birth control is a symptom of the sin of inequality - as is natural family planning).
Supporting "Fast For Families" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: This is more a hunger strike than a fast. It is poltical, not spiritual - but that is not to say it is not valid - especially since it is getting ink, airtime and bandwidth.