This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Links for 02/12/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/12/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I am wondering what the Donald's widely reported remarks on Francis and abortion will do to his Catholic vote? If it changes nothing, then all of those pro-choice Democrats need to follow suit and explain why Roe should never be overturned - and who the pro-life movement would never want a legislative solution - more because of its fundraising than the fact that there is no way equal protection principles would allow banning first trimester abortion to be easy (complications from miscarriage).

Not only are Camosy's comments on abortion and the Zhika virus not funny, but they miss the point of being pro-choice - abortions are neither prohibited nor mandated.  That is why, to her credit, Hillary Clinton went to a conference in China and condemned the One Child Policy.  It is hard to explain choice to those with a hierarchist or authoritarian frame of reference.  If the virus caused miscarriage - and sometimes it does - then abortion is safer for the mother than a full term stillbirth.  Because it does not always to this, however, the children should be allowed to be born - but the society must then be willing to lay out massive amounts of money to care for these short-lived children.  (Trump, at this point, would likely counsel infanticide).

I think Vlad and the Occupy committees that provided massive comments to Dodd-Frank implementors would disagree with Mark Silk's comments about Occupy being leaderless or ephemeral.  There was some follow-up by disaffected Wall Streeters who put in some hours on these projects.  What I find more exciting is that Move-On, the organization that pushed the left and formed the backbone of Obama for America, has also endorsed Sanders. Trump is a huckster using the rhetoric of the day.  Sanders means it, and that is a "huge" difference.  While this election could come entirely back to earth and feature Kasich v. Clinton, I hope it is more likely to feature Kasich v. Sanders.

Last Night's Dem Debate in Wisconsin | National Catholic Reporter

Last Night's Dem Debate in Wisconsin | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: What Wall Street money buys is a restriction on a belief in what is possible, which means no free tuition, no single payer health care (Wall Street likes the ACA as it is) and now write downs or cram downs on underwater mortgages.  The latter is where Sanders should be making some promises and contrasting this with how Clinton Secretary of the Treasury/Obama economic advisor(and Wall Street apparatchuk)  Larry Summers recommended against doing so, even though the Fed could easily buy up mortgage bonds, write down the debt amounts to market and reissue them.  It would be the one best thing that could be done for the middle and Sanders should do it and promise it, because Clinton would never do either.

As far as being pro-government or anti-government on abortion rights regarding party, MSW makes no sense.  Does he really want the kind of pro-government consistence that dictates who should be permitted to have a child?  Not the government's business - except to take away the economic reasons for having an abortion - like worries about going to college (free college tuition - including daycare services) and paying for food and housing (larger child tax credit).  I would trust a Democratic Socialist much more with these issues.  It turns out our secular Jewish candidate is the most Catholic.

Of course, the argument on abortion is a general election, not a primary argument - and someone needs to explain to the bishops - and to MSW - in legal detail why Roe v. Wade is soundly reasoned - and more importantly - even if you wish to give rights to the uborn - how repealing it is not a good idea.  He or she also needs to point out how much the pro-life movement is a Republican front, which demands much from its supporters and delivers nothing to the unborn.

Sanders knock out blow is nothing he can say in debates - the fact that Bill Clinton will likely have a West Wing office.  That is more a surrogates comment, to be soft pedaled but once its out there, its out there.  That opens the door to how welfare reform and mandatory minimums screwed over the African American community disproportionately.  Whether these matters come to the fore before the South Carolina primary or not is questionable - but no one is thinking any more that Senator Sanders and his movement will slip away if he does not do well there - except maybe some of the Clinton supporters and campaign staff.  They are sadly mistaken. Indeed, the African American support issue opens the door the Mr.Clinton's record and how he can't stop himself from acting like a white southern male sometimes.  Its not a positive for HRC, no matter how well her husband emotes.

Of course, HRC is more like the first President Bush than her husband - every qualified, not so good with that "vision thing."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Links for 02/11/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/11/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: There are a few issues here.  The first is whether the hospital has the right to say no to doing a procedure for ethical reasons.  It probably does - although it is usually the OB/GYN that makes these calls, they are so routine - so it is a quesiton of who gets privileges in a hospital.  Being a doctor is not being a minister, so Hossanah Tabor does not necessarily apply, but the ACLU is likely going to far on a case it is more likely to lose than win.

The next issue is whether the Church is right or not.  There are two main reasons for tubal ligation.  The first is because getting pregnant again could kill the mother - and having no sex on a regular basis is the only oher option.  Because marriage involves not fecundity but functionality, the Church is essentially ending the marriage by not permitting the procedure (in the unlikely event that the woman obeys the Church, which she should not).  The second is that the family just does not want any more kids.  Again, fecundity is not a requirement of marriage, functionality is.  In this case, though, economic reasons may predominate.

The Church needs to stop worrying about sex and instead fight for a large enough child tax credit (refundable with pay, of course) so that each new child is welcomed.  This is another case where an all male celibate priesthood is not up to the task of sorting these issues out.

On the Gilded Age question, the frame of reference is entirely wrong - it should be the advantages of the rich, not the organization of the poor.  Most industrial questions have been exported to Mexico, China and India - as well as Central America.  In many of these regions and countries, strong governments prevent the kind of organization found in late nineteenth century America.  There is little industrialization here and much of it is in southern factories employing undocumented workers who are keeping their heads down.  On the workers side, this is worse than 120 years ago.

On the golden side, advances in standards of living give everyone air conditioning, refrigeration, washers and dryers and indoor plumbing.  Almost everyone shares these advances - as well as smart phones and multiplex movies.  While there are differences in square footage between classes, there are few golden coated plumbing fixtures.  The difference, again, is power - which is as true now as then - and the number of the moderately rich has grown as the middle class has shrunk (the poor has also grown).  There is a political donor class and everyone else - and Bernie Sanders knows that quite well, thank you.

The Conscience of Marie Collins | National Catholic Reporter

The Conscience of Marie Collins | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Not to minimize the horror of priestly abuse, but it is complicated by the bad treatment and secrecy forced on them by the Church's lawyers, who serve the hierarchy and not the Church at large. This is what must be reformed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Links for 02/10/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/10/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I was not aware that there were any modernist ecclesial structures in the Roman Church in the DC area.  Pity that, as if the bishops continue to take political positions on our behalf, we either need to be electing them or they should at least ask us what we think and why.  Some of the embarrassing gaffs on abortion, contraception and gay marriage might have been avoided.

The value of poetry, the criticism of it and of aesthetic issues as a whole is that there are no real right answers.  You find your tribe.  That means if you like Sci-Fi, you marry someone who likes it to, or at least tolerates it (the latter condition being necessary because it is a mostly male avocation - although those who have it are the Alpha Males of the future - an evolutionary conundrum).

Iowa Evangelicals, who are very conservative, are very different from New England Evangelicals, who are liberal congregationalists - like my ancestors.  Indeed, I am sure many of them are related to me in some form.  Not a lot of Pentecostals, which is what you will find in Iowa.

Relatives once rented Union Station for a Bat Mitzvah, which is the opposite of renting out a Cathedral.  Sadly, the rent is likely necessary to keep the lights and heat on, although I hope this does not happen at Catholic Cathedrals.

Trump Wins NH; Millions of Catholics Cover Their Heads in Ashes | National Catholic Reporter

Trump Wins NH; Millions of Catholics Cover Their Heads in Ashes | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Many of us did think Sanders would catch on.  The desperate red baiting coming from the Clinton camp justified it.  Hillary's entire agenda cannot be a historic milestone.  Unlike Obama, that would be an affirmative action victory - and she brings Billy Boy back to the White House with her.  Eight years of him was nice, but it is enough.

Trump support will keep going until a more rational voice is found.  My bet is that this voice will be Kasich.  Rubio and Cruz are not ready for prime time and no one wants a third Bush in their lifetime.  I'd rather have his nephew Billy of Access Hollywood. Of course, SC is perfect for Cruz, but there are some big state primaries coming up where Kasich should start shining.  He is the only adult in the GOP room.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Links for 02/09/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/09/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I wonder how many of the New Hampshire "nones" are former Catholics - as well as New York transplants.  I bet some are also Jewish.  Being a none seems to be like being an independent.  The reality is, however, that most independents vote with their old parties in the general election and most nones go back to their native faith to mark marriages and deaths.

The Whole Life Movement looks suspiciously like the Seamless Garment of Life that Cardinal Bernardin preached.  Of course, if one accepts that the pro-life movement as currently constituted is a branch of the Republican Party - and always has been - it is both an improvement and an equivocation.  Can the pro-life movement be saved from its current associations by going Whole Life?  I really doubt it, since the two have never been separate.

Regardless of the prioritizing of finance over service, the main fault in Flint was the lack of scientific rigor in making the switch to Flint River water.  Either the hydrologist in charge was incompetent or he warned the politicians what would happened and was shouted down (or knew and let it happen without raising his voice - which would be even worse). I will be interested to see which it is.  As far as responding - the obvious need is to fix it - even if the majority of the cost is debt serviced and added to the next 50 years of water bills.  Its not like the lead pipe did not need replacing anyway.  Control boards are often cover for these types of expenses and fiscal reorganizations - to not do so is authoritarianism for its own sake.

That conservative elites have disdain for working class voters is not new.  What is sad is that those working class voters are also conservative and are being manipulated with social issues, like abortion (see above) to get them to ignore that disdain extends to treating them like the control board treats Flint.

McElroy on Faith

McElroy on Faith by MSW. MGB: Everything is an act of discipleship.  It would be wonderful if state based solutions to poverty and mental illness actually worked and did so compassionately - but because they are not so perfect, the Church must enter into that arena - either as a provider or a complete alternative.  Getting to that point should be the goal of both political and ecclesial reform (including using lay deacons to administer services and more democracy overall).

Faithful citizenship implies solidarity - for to be a citizen is to be part of the group.  Citizenship also means, however, to have a sphere where solidarity need not exist - where the citizen is free to make his or her own decisions, like whom to marry and even who to sleep with.  The Church needs to really understand that or American citizenship will always vex it.  Note that is something is outside the public sphere, there is no justifying it - its simply off the table.

The bishop's analysis on the cooperation with intrinsic evil parallels August Fagothy's treatment of whether one may withhold taxes because abortion is allowed (or funded).  Fagothy says that because the impact is remote, tax evasion is not only not required, I seem to remember that it is not allowed.  Of course, the extent to which some bishops have prostituted themselves to the Republican Party by distorting this teaching for its political benefit is the extent that they are lying, which is an intrinsic evil.  As I have said before, abortion is not an issue (and no one is talking mandatory assisted suicide).  Poverty is still the ultimate life issue, as it should be - although I can't see voting Republican if you accept that.

I agree with MSW that Bishop McElroy is a rock star.  I hope that America reprints his article closer to election time.

Links for 02/08/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/08/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: As a left-libertarian commentator, I have always advocated for employee-owned firms and the Church to take over most governmental functions - not just for ideology but because they work better and are more accountable that way - of course I also favor a more humanistic morality and more democratic Church.  I would love it if more of my fellow lefties agreed with me.

Not exactly sure why NARAL Pro-Choice America would be offended by the Doritos ad, which seamed to win the day.  Fetuses do react, though not to Doritos.  I don't think Frito-Lay was making a claim for fetal intelligence, though it seems the fetus self-aborted for a snack.  As for the Kevin Hart commercial, you have to be a father of a daughter to see why its funny.

Thanks to Camosy for pointing out what I would have after I published my post on Longnecker, that the ETWN voters guide is not dogma.  Of course, I went further and explained why abortion is not really an issue at all, since most GOP efforts are made to draw a SCOTUS case to repeal Roe - and the votes simply are not there to do so (there are only two anti-Roe justices and they are old).  Any real change involves compromise and any compromise really ends the issue and pro-life fundraising (including Priests for Life). Of course, I am sure Senator Sanders appreciates the shout out - I hope we can bring it to his attention.  Whomever wins the Democratic nomination should really point out the hucksterism in the pro-life movement, which is made people like Richard Viguery wealthy and saved few embryoes from abortion.

Congress Wrestles with Puerto Rican Debt | National Catholic Reporter

Congress Wrestles with Puerto Rican Debt | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Bernie Sanders would certainly beat Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio - and the capacity for Hillary Clinton to blow a lead has already been demonstrated, so a Sanders victory is not impossible.  Sadly, Puerto Rico needs help today - but so do under-water borrowers in the U.S. whose mortgages exceed the value of their homes.  Both deserve relief - which makes it hard for P.R. because the bill suddenly becomes very controversial.  The best thing P.R. can do is not pay the debt, which invites a control board to be set up.  Control Boards can be manipulated to solve the basic problems of a political economy.  Marion Barry played the Control Board over Washington like a violin (I know, I was part of the government).  The President will likely put someone on the board who will be sensative to the human concerns.  Whether that person is more than a token voice depends on how they view their job.  Hopefully President Obama can find someone with the courage to push back, but default is the only way to get things moving.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Links for 02/05/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/05/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Why do you give sites like Patheos the time of day while ignoring equally obscure characters on the left?  As for Fr. Longnecker's screed, he could have ended the sentence starting with "Abortion is not" with the word "issue" because it isn't one.  Aside from various unconstitutional Trap Laws that will soon be repealed by the SCOTUS, there really are no legitimate debating points on abortion - hence no issue.  Indeed, sites like Patheos would scream and holler if Obama and the Democrats compromised on second and third trimester questions - as it would be impossible for the entire right to life movement to fundraise or raise the issue in elections.

Roe will never be overturned - doing so would require undoing all equal protection law - including law that protects the Catholic Church in the South.  Of course, it also protects contraception, private sodomy and gay marriage, so I can see how some Catholics and Federalists would love all that progress to go away - but it won't and it shouldn't.  There are seven justices on the Court keeping Roe and equal protection in place and the Republic would be better off if the other two were to die and not be replaced with Justices like themselves.  Roberts and Alito were thought to be pro-Roe, but it did not turn out that way.  No Justice who is not could ever be confirmed, so from a presidential standpoint, there is no abortion issue.

Treasury and the Fed could do more to bail out Puerto Rico, but the essential pieces are the Control Board (sadly, like Flint) and bankruptcy reform (which could also include allowing cram downs on first mortgages).  Hopefully Bernie takes this up - I don't see Hillary challenging Wall Street and the vulture capitalists who give her money.  If PR went strong for Bernie, she might get the message that she is doing something wrong.  I actually think he is their only hope - so if you are concerned about P.R., feel the Bern!

Click on the appropriate link to see something nice for a Holocaust Hero.  Sadly, there were few such Heroes for the Porajmos (the Roma Holocaust).

Last Night's Dem Debate in NH | National Catholic Reporter

Last Night's Dem Debate in NH | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: On Sanders, free tuition and single payer health care are not necessarily moral issues - they are practical concerns.  We have assisted tuition and health insurance which meets the moral necessity argument.  Now, if Sanders went after the part of the ACA which had the Department of Education offer student loans directly - and pointed out that their generous forebearance options allow former students to build up debt based on capitalized interest - and that he would forgive that capitalized interest because it can probably never be paid - that would be a moral argument.  If he made financiers write down underwater mortgages, that would be a moral argument.  We are trying to get him to say that.

As for Clinton, she likes Wall Street types and likes taking their money.  If she were to call them devils, that would be a lie.  Love her or hate her, she is a neoliberal elitist.  The real elephant in the room is Bill Clinton back in the White House.  They promise he will stay out of the Oval, but does anyone really believe it, given the fact that he let her in?  Sanders should stress that too.  If he makes this election a referendum on Clinton policy, he wins the vote of all poor people.  As to suggestions on how she might win - I would never dream of making them.

Links for 02/04/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/04/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: A book is a great time to both share and work out thoughts for an author - even the Pope.  Sadly, while he goes to great lenghts to point out mercy in forgiveness, I suspect he misses the point that mercy can include realizing things are not sinful, like gay love, when other less merciful beings insisted that they are.  I think he does, however, get the point that mercy for the many may involve condemning the few who exploit them - and calling the few out is also a mercy to them.

Linking the Ordinate of an Anglican break away diocese to the Chair of St. Peter is rubbing their nose in it.  Frankly, I think we as Church have more to learn from that part of the Anglican Communion they are running from - especially on whom we ordain.

I think Notre Dame is overdoing it.  This is not the Pope's first trip to Latin America.  Still, he will be treated like a rock star and certainly has a large list of issues he can mention, since Mexico is going through tough times right now, many due to the illegality of the American drug market (how many liquor shoot ups have we had since prohibition ended?)  May God keep him safe.  I think he will, since there is much yet for him to do.

I wrote separately about the Puerto Rican gun case.  Here is what I said 3 weeks ago on this case: Puerto Rico is sovereign because it can leave. On the financial issue, if it leaves, it can have its own currency and print money to pay back its creditors - or default without a control board. Until it leaves, however, it is linked to the U.S. the same way Canada is linked to the U.K. - with the Congress having more say in our relationship than Parliment does over Canada, although the Canadian head of state is the representative of the Queen - the governor of Puerto Rico has no connection to presidential appointing power. The interesting case in parallel is the District of Columbia, which is the only territory that cannot decide to unilaterally kick the U.S. out. In DC, the prosecutor is the U.S. Attorney, so all cases are essentially federal - allowing no separate local trial for the same offense

Thursday, February 04, 2016

MSW v. the Catholic Left | National Catholic Reporter

MSW v. the Catholic Left | National Catholic Reporter  by MSW. MGB: Catholic politicians who are pro-choice should not be defended.  They should speak for themselves rather than hiding behind some pseudo-constitutional commitment to pluralism.  In truth, whatever you feel about abortion, repealing Roe v. Wade is not the route to diminish it.  Catholic politicians who are usually also lawyers should explain that to the bishops publicly and in great detail, regardless of any fear that Catholic voters may rebel against what would look like an act of disrespect - when instead it would be an act of political courage.  Don't expect non-Catholic pro-choicers to wade into this if the Catholic ones won't talk honestly with their own bishops.

On gay marriage, only fecundity, which is not a deal breaker in marriage, is missing for gays - and they can adopt or have often had kids previously.  My neice is a step child of my brother when he married his husband, for example.  Thinking their sex life is icky is not a moral argument.

As I stated yesterday, liberal Catholic morality does come from our view of Calvary as a vision quest rather than a blood offering to an angry God.  It is for us, not for God's benefit.  Of course, this does not justify abortion - but justifying abortion and permitting it because a criminal approach - even a fetal rights approach (which brings with it a crimial approach) is simply not a good idea.  There is nothing in the gospel that mandates a police state on any isue, from alcohol prohibition to abortion.  Indeed, the Torah mandates abortion when adultery is suspected - because adultery was as much a property crime as it was a sexual offense.

It seems that abortion has taken its place among those who would regard women as property - and rejecting that impression is the reason many are adamant about abortion as a right.  Still, you don't have to agree with them to think criminalization won't work - while throwing money at families with kids likely would.  Of course, it is at this point that the pro-lifers start talking about personal responsibility for paying for your own children - at which point the pro-choicers yell "Checkmate!"

Don't talk about solidarity unless you include solidarity with a woman who has decided she must have an abortion - and that it is not about the inconvenience of pregnancy.  Don't talk solidarity until you are willing to defy Rome about ordaining women - as the suitable vessels argument is purely sexism.  Until a woman priest - indeed a married lesbian woman priest - is the voice of the pro-life movement, it will continue to be regarded as sexist.

Of course, the fun debates occur when we talk about essential late term abortions.  This is where the hierarchy is not even open to a therapeutic abortion when the child is doomed - never to survive pregnancy - while the woman cannot live - or even would be better off if the pregnancy were ended now.  Prelates sometimes seem that God will strike them head if they ascent to the reasonableness of abortion in such circumstances - or maybe they are worried about retribution from fellow prelates.  Either way, their God is an Ogre - not because they believe God would damn the woman but because they believe God would damn them.  Their thoughts on God are not worthy of God - and certaily not of Jesus.

Of course, there are those who think even publicly disputing this is mortally sinful.  They are wrong.  I go to Communion and Jesus is perfectly happy with me doing so.

Links for 02/03/1 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/03/1 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Pilate was an imperialist who deserves Hell, however Christ desiring their salvation does not overcome their ability to reject it.  Whether the cosmic drama, as people call it, give the damned a second chance is something for our future - though it is all but a moment in the eyes of God.

I am not sure why one is afraid when people who have been suffering for thrity years and who are dependent on parents who are probably soon to die themselves might want to join their parents rather than having to live where they cannot cope - unless one believes God is Ogre who will damn them for it.  Its not like their parents or the government are mandating their extinction - now that would be scary.  Should they have to jump through some hoops, including trying a new mode of living in semi-autonomy, before they take such a step - but its their step.  Punishing them for trying to end their lives on their own by criminalizing suicide - now that is scary unless it just leads to treatment.  Autism is not depression, however - and if they are not diagnosed as bipolar, again, its their call and none of MSW's business.

I am sure that today's statement from Chicago has elicited howls from Rigali -wherever he is hiding for eventual justice - and his successor in Philadelphia. Bravo to the priest in question who trusted in the judgment of his Archbishop.  Of course, I would allow that priest a husband while still fulfilling his duties.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Kaveny v. First Things | National Catholic Reporter

Kaveny v. First Things | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: First, let me repeat what I wrote in response to Kaveny: The politicization of the Church predates Francis by a long way, including the suppression of liberation theology and the one man orthodoxy team named Rigali back in that era. Of course, one can always look back from there - all the way to the Book of Revelation - which was a reaction to the Council at Jerusalem and the whole Judasization controversy in the early Church.

Of course First Things would rebel against Kaveny.  They would like what I say worse.  We have our fights - indeed in ancient times they sometimes became blood feuds over basic beliefs.  We have mostly gotten past that. For some, moral politics is part of the political order without morals, as Reno demonstrates.  Of course, Reno may be compartmentalizing - with all of First Things - for political but not moral ends - but that gives the wrong impression to those of the faith who take their words seriously on moral matters.  On abortion and the GOP's Catholic project this means undertaking the appearance of a moral crusade but never wishing to carry it out - which is using the pro-life movement as an instrument of politics and deceipt.  That's really slimy.  Like the Cruz campaign.

 I will agree that all moral issues lead back to Calvary - but the main issue is whether or not God is an Ogre.  If we are afraid that doing the wrong thing for the right reason (such as allowing a late term abortion when the child could never be born anyway) - or worse that allowing such a thing will be damnable then God is an Ogre who demanded a blood sacrifice to save humanity.  I suspect First Things falls into that camp.  If, however, you believe that Calvary was God abandoning himself on the cross in moral agony because that is what it took for the deity to feel like one of his creatures - in other words that it was a vision quest - and that morality is meant to serve human happiness in this world - including letting the fetus die, or even inducing labor very early - so the mother may live - then perhaps what you say is morally useful for both ethics and worship.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Links for 02/02/16 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 02/02/16 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: That is good advertising in Flint for the plumbers, who stand to gain big from a crash program to swap out all lead pipe from mains to meters.  This should actually be done everywhere and be funded both by disaster money and bonds to be redeemed with future water bills over a long period of time.  Sometimes solidarity must meet good public finance.  OK, all the time.

That there is really no issue to be dealt with on abortion is where journalism has abrogated its responsibility.  Roe is going nowhere.  Of the three justices that might be replaced soon, two are of the opinion that Roe should be overturned - the other seven won't do so.  Abortion is, therefore, a general election issue only - and the only issue there is whether something can be done to add some time limits to the nascent partial birth abortion ban (now there is a story - a SCOTUS decision and not one prosecution since) and to apply the same hard limits to other procedures - using the proper 14th Amendment language to justify it.  Of course, all of that would bring a real end to the issue (the recent Trap Law cases will likely be reversed by the Court under the undue burdens test - proving the entire recent abortion effort was about looking busy for the movement).  Obama actually promised to deal with this issue.  Now that he has no more elections ahead of him, perhaps he will - although the Right to Lifers will run away quickly - since settlement hurts their fundraising.

I am sorry, but adding Eucharistic piety simply confuses the discussion on climate change.  Indeed, it is one step away from asking God to fix what we have broken - which we can and can't do.  God is not going to work a natural miracle here - what He will do is to give us the strength to work together through Him in the Eucharist.  Of course, we seek God's help for our common work for the environment OUTSIDE the Eucharist as well, since more than the the Church is needed for this effort.  I have no problem with God providing inspiration to an atheist to help the common work, even without seeking the conversion of that atheist, who can make up his own mind and demonstrate his Love (which comes from God, even if he does not know it) through his actions.