Saturday, September 29, 2012

Beloved " Hometown " Priest Msgr Joe Strickland Appointed Bishop For Diocese of Tyler Texas By Pope Benedict ( Links)

The Bishop Elect is on the left of Pope Benedict

Updates Below -

At Roman noon today Pope Benedict through the Holy See announced the appointment of Mons. Joseph E. Strickland   as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler in Texas   Msgr Joe Strickland, 54 is the current  vicar-general of Tyler. This is a somewhat rare event that some one is promoted from within a Diocese to Bishop. However Rocco Palmo in his extensive post on the announcement notes that this will be greeted with great joy in the this East Texas Diocese. See his post Tyler, Rejoice – “Father Joe” Named Hometown Bishop .

On and the Bishop Elect has a blog.

That diocese is in  purple above.  The Diocese borders Louisiana and Arkansas and runs west  approaching the out reaches of what is now metro Dallas. Though in the Baptist Bible belt of Texas it is a Diocese of rapid Catholic growth.

The Diocese of Tyler  is one the youngest if not the youngest  I believe of the United States Dioceses in that it was created Dec. 12, 1986 and erected on Feb. 24, 1987.  "Father "Joe"  will be the 4th Bishop of this Diocese.

Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia last year wrote how dynamic this Diocese was and described it in this informative post as the "Little Diocese that could "

The Diocese will be having a press conference at 10 a..m. this saturday morning. Updates throughout the day.

Updates -

The Bishop Elect has a fun blog  on how he got the call ( just two weeks ago ) that he would be be Bishop , and blogs amusing how hard it was to keep it a secret. Kinda of get an indication why people like him with his style.

The Diocese of Tyler now has a very complete bio  up of Bishop Elect Stickland from his birth in Fredericksburg, Texas onward. They have also announced that he will be ordained to the episcopacy on November 28, 2012 .

The Diocese has a nice photo gallery plus vid of the main part of the press conference here. Other parts of the press conference that also include  the former Bishop and more of the Bishop elect  are online at YOU TUBE. See

Bishop-elect Strickland Press Conference (Part 1) - Sept. 29, 2012
Bishop-elect Strickland Press Conference (Part 2) - Sept. 29, 2012
Bishop-elect Strickland Press Conference (Part 4) - Sept. 29, 2012
Bishop-elect Strickland Press Conference (Part 5) - Sept. 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

One Of Nation's Best Religion Reporters Says Farewell - Bruce Nolan of the New Orleans Picayune

I am hoping somehow that void in Louisiana religion reporting is going to be filled somehow.

See A Times-Picayune veteran’s farewell

Original Meaning Versus Founder's Intent As To The First Amendment ( Updated )

Update- A comment to this post wanted me to bring forth a point of qualification and clarity. While often this discussion is framed as to what the founders thought or meant it goes beyond that. It also goes to all those changes to the document and all the other amendments. So from the Post Civil War amendments to the amendment that guaranteed a females right to vote this same discussion would occur

Interesting set of article at two big religion law blogs that deals with the those that advocate original intent ( What the Founders meant ) which seems to be going out of style in some areas , and original meaning or what some call public meaning originalism .

See Drakeman on Original Meaning, Original Intent, and Religious Liberty ( and go to the link provided ) and original intent -- and why law is not a "message in a bottle" at Mirrors of Justice.

I have to admit I am more of a original meaning guy. Echoing Scalia's frustration as noted here , I agree that "it’s often easy to find some Framer whose policy choices are the same as yours, thus allowing too much results-driven analysis".

Part of the problem is most folks universe of the Founder's is three or four people . This bleeds over to the pundits and to politics which I don't find helpful. I am not sure why they get veto power over everyone else. I love Thomas Jefferson but I an still not sure why everything he wrote in this area his the Holy Writ over others about intent

Also who exactly are the Founders? The folks at the Convention ? Do they include people in the State Conventions that ratified it ? What about the role of the Declaration of Independence ?  What weight should the Federalist Papers be given versus other work etc etc etc .

Further as I observe matters in politics I am more wary of being able to find Legislative intent.

Still like most people I am a tad of heretic in these matters , and I sprinkle some Founder's intent in because I think at times one has too.

As was noted by Prof Drakeman notes at Things I Haven’t Figured Out — Part 3: Where’d the Framers Go?

What I find perplexing is that people believe that the hunt for objective public meaning avoids these problems. Let’s look, for example, at the system of town-based taxes for Protestant ministers that existed in New England at the time of the Constitution. The Massachusetts courts called it an “establishment,” whereas the New Hampshire courts said that the same system definitely was not an establishment.

So, when we look at the First Amendment, which is the objective public meaning of “establishment,” the MA version or the NH version? There are two perfectly good choices that happen to be inconsistent with each other. Wouldn’t it be useful to know what the actual people who adopted and ratified the establishment clause thought it meant?

Yahoo Sports On How Man Is Giving Up A Baseball Career To Be A Priest Monk

Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports has a very good and detailed story on this young man at  From prospect to priest: Grant Desme leaves the A's, becomes a monk and tries to find his peace .

Good piece and again showing sportwriters write some of the best religion columns.

Ross Douthat Goes to the Belly of the Beast Georgetown To Talk Bad Religion

My gosh I sound like anti Catholic  Jimmy Swaggert :)   .

Ross Douthat went to Georgetown to debate his book Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.

Thought a more detailed article shall be coming these folks from IMD have a nice post on it that is worth a read. See “Bad Religion” at Georgetown

I hope this back and forth that Ross had gets online somehow. I would like to watch it.

Here is a part:

....Fr. Carnes offered his rejoinder. He confessed that he thoroughly enjoyed Bad Religion. He worried that Douthat may have praised the 1950s too much. The author later contested that speaking appreciatively of any era carries the risk of romantic portrayals of bygone days. Douthat observed, “There are no golden ages in history.” He pointed to several examples of obvious decline in churchly religion. Time magazine featured Reinhold Niebuhr on its cover while Fulton Sheen hosted a popular television program. One helpful contrast was the cultural force that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham wielded through their pastoral offices. Their succeeding heirs were Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson, both of whom sought powerful political office and engaged in petty party squabbles.

The progressive bent of the Georgetown government professor became increasingly evident during his commentary. “I like to think we’re in a radically different world,” he said. He thought the theological accomplishments of the 1950s were limited since only 25% of the American population had a college education and television was barely starting to emerge. He praised the benefits of “mass education and mass communication” that have since developed. Douthat demurred: “I’m not sure if our ‘more highly educated society’ and its discourse is as elevated as it was back then.” Carnes also bemoaned the recent “polarization of women’s religious orders.” Douthat, himself a Catholic, noted that the radically liberal women religious nevertheless have significant doctrinal issues as evidenced by their invitation of New Age speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard to their annual conference. Carnes regretted the traditional Catholic conception orthodoxy, “too often a lock-step rigidity with the Magesterium.” The IRD staffers all exchanged knowing smirks with each other; such statements generally belie a sympathy for revisionist theology. Despite these disagreements, the conversation between Carnes and Douthat remained incredibly cordial, belying the graceful character of both speakers.....

I agree that the 50's should not be viewed with a uncritical eye. It's clear that Fortress Catholicism had some cracks in it. However there are those that hold a too much negative view of it too.

The fact is Catholic Protestants, and now with Evangelicals catching up we are one of the more illiterate generations as to Biblical knowledge. This has been noted by people that have to teach the Liberal arts that are not believers in the Christian Doctrine.

Yet this is the generation that thinks The Holy Spirit is revealing to them that doctrines handed down from a to z are to change.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Does a Michigan Snowblower Company Have To Do With Contraception and Religious Liberty? - Federal Court On Friday

National Review has a interview with the Michigan Attorney General that is involved in another front involving the HHS Contraception mandate. In this case a private business will be asserting their claim in U.S. District court in Detroit this Friday. See that interview here.

Community Comes Together To Give Attorney and Family 47 Minutes with Newborn Infant ( Archdiocese of New Orleans )

The Catholic newspaper had quite a article up yesterday Forty-seven minutes and a life filled with meaning . What I like about this article is it points to a pro-life  and Christian truth that it is a very community affair and obligation.. It is the Church Clerics ( The Deacon in this case ) , family , friends , the staff at the hospital that made special arrangement to the man that has a special calling to take  portraits for families faced with the prospect of infant death.

Lou Holtz Talks His Catholic Faith and His Long Marriage

The National Catholic Register has a nice interview with Former Coach and now ESPN commentator Lou Holtz on his Catholic Faith, Notre Dame, and his marriage. See

Lou Holtz on Marriage, His Catholic Faith and Notre Dame

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Red Mass- Bishop Malone Of Buffalo On the Vocation of The Christian Lawyer, Judge or Politician

It's Red Mass season and I wanted to highlight Bishop Richard J. Malone remarks at the Red Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo NY. The full text is here and here is an excerpt:

..Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the church in the Modern World alerts us in no uncertain terms to the danger of this separation. The Council Fathers describe as “wide of the mark" those "who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age" (GS, 43).

To extend this reflection to the legal profession in a humorous way, I quote Joseph Allegretti's The Lawyer's Calling: Christian Faith and Legal Practice. Allegretti was a professor at the Creighton University Law School. In addressing what he sees as the possible gap that can grow between the practice of law and the spiritual life, he refers to a lawyer friend of his who served as a deacon at his church. He writes, "When I praised his willingness to donate his time and talent to the church, he sighed and said, 'I've got to do something on the weekend to make up for what I do the rest of the week."' Remember now, that is from an attorney, not from me!

Seriously, though, Allegretti goes on to argue that as faith and work belong together for every Christian, so they do for those in the legal profession. While I am speaking in Christian terms, I invite those of other faith traditions who are here today to reflect on what this connection between religious commitment on the one hand and work on the other means in the context of your own religious perspective. Allegretti suggests that we need a change in our thinking. That change would come from rearranging the order of a few words ... from thinking of oneself first as a lawyer who happens to be a Christian, to thinking of oneself first as a Christian who happens to be a lawyer. May I quote: "...1 am not first of all a lawyer, spouse, friend or parent. First of all I am a disciple of Christ. My ultimate allegiance is not to the things of this world, but to the one true God who transcends all earthly loyalties. Remembering this, I try to approach my work not just as a career but as a calling."

Do you think of your work, as an attorney, a judge, another court officer, an elected official … or whatever it is that you do.. .as a calling. a calling within the first and primary vocation that is yours through baptism, or whatever your own faith commitment might be? This change in perspective may require a real transformation in the way we typically think of things. And so it is that we attend to the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, just now proclaimed, "Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge " what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect."

Each of us has to determine how to translate the values and obligations that are ours because of our Christian discipleship into the context of our own public life and work. This is a particularly vexing challenge for politicians, some of whom seem to me to place party philosophy, ahead of God's revealed truth, whether that be about the right to life of the unborn, the nature of marriage as God has created it, or other contentious issues of our time.

The challenge is singularly complex, and the right way not always apparent. And let me be very clear that when I call for the interpenetration of one's religious values with one's professional duties, I am not suggesting any weakening of the principle of separation of Church and state, which separation,

properly conceived, is best for both religion and society.

The bottom line, I think, is the principle that believers are called first and always to serve God in all that we are and do. And so it is that we hear Moses telling us in the reading from Deuteronomy, to heed the Lord's voice and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in the book of the law ... a law that is not remote, but, very near, he says, "in your mouths and in, your hearts.” And then we listened to Jesus calling us to the ethics, the law of the beatitudes, law that leads to happiness as well as to compassion. ....

Dateline : Diocese of Lafayette Louisiana - 20 Parishes of 121 Account For All Seminarians

Thisis some food for thought and shows that perhaps the Vocation Crisis is self inflicted to a great degree. Are we doing our part? What does the lack of Vocations from a parish indicate as to the spiritual life of a Parish as a whole. I suspect we see such a dynamic nationwide.

From this link:

by Fr. Kevin BordelonComments ()

As we approach a new academic year, we naturally consider this question. As of the time of this writing (8/2/12), Bishop Jarrell has accepted 10 new seminarians to begin priestly formation for our diocese. Four of the new seminarians—Brent Smith, Andrew Schumacher, Kyle White, and Benjamin Frederick—are sponsored by Our Lady of Wisdom in Lafayette. The remaining six men and their sponsoring parishes follow:

Benjamin Pitre (St. Landry, Opelousas)

Joey Nelson (Our Lady of Perpetual Help, New Iberia)

Stephen Pellessier (St. Mary, Lafayette)

Elliot Robichaux (Our Lady of the Lake, Delcambre)

Dennis Boudreux (St. Theresa, Abbeville)

Andrew Killeen (St. Pius X, Lafayette)

Further statistics: not counting the two seminarians studying for the Community of Jesus Crucified, we have a total of 37 men in formation. Twenty parishes account for those 37 men. That means 20 of our 121 parishes have someone in the seminary. Put another way, only 16.5% of our parishes have a seminarian. 101 parishes have potential then to produce a vocation. 83.5% of our parishes are ripe for the harvest of a priestly vocation! The potential for growth is tremendous.

I might also add that four parishes—Wisdom (8), Pius X (5), Cathedral (3), and St. Mary’s (3)—account for 19 seminarians or 51.3% of our total number.

We continue to thank God for calling forth good men to consider the priestly vocation and we continue to pray that a vocations- friendly culture be pursued and promoted in every parish and in every Catholic home.

Horrors - " The Great Passion Play " In Eureka Springs Arkansas Facing Closure


Wow this is like the Arkansas version of the Vatican closing down. It's been around forever. See With attendance down, 'Great Passion Play' facing closure

Their web site is here.

Religion Writer Mark Silk Turns History of Catholic Protestant Conflict Into HHS Contraception Mandate Piece

Mark Silk is a Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College . He also is a columnist at the Religion News Service and is part of the new Religion and Politics site .So he is one of these folks that is widely read.

He had an interesting column dealing with Irish Catholics, Yale , taxes and how the battles between Catholics and Protestants  died out in Connecticut . See Connecticut: A Blogger Revisits the Yale Athletic Fields .

However for some reason he seems to give a sort of Op-Ed  ( though I might be misleading his intent ) on the HHS Contraception mandate in the last two paragraphs.

The end of the Irish-Yankee struggle in Connecticut did not come overnight. It may be marked by the 1961 decision of Estelle Griswold, head of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and Dr. C. Lee Buxton, a professor of medicine at Yale, to open a birth control clinic in New Haven in order to challenge the state’s 1879 law banning contraception. The law was vigorously supported by the Catholic Church, but in the end to no avail. In 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Griswold v. Connecticut, a landmark decision that, by declaring the law banning contraception unconstitutional via a constitutional right of privacy, laid the basis for Roe v. Wade.

Since then, Connecticut has become a place where appeals to religion are looked at as wholly inappropriate in a political setting. As in other parts of New England, memories of ethno-religious contention have led to an embrace of church-state separation unequalled anywhere else in the country. For those who remember Griswold, it is somewhat ironic that a Connecticut bishop, William Lori of Bridgeport—recently made Archbishop of Baltimore—has this year been leading the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ charge against the federal mandate that insurance plans cover contraceptive services for women free of charge. Outside Connecticut, such objections to mandated contraception coverage have gained traction. It’s a safe bet, however, that Lori’s cause will attract only minimal support in the land of steady habits.

What is "ironic" is how much of that is wrong.

 First for many people Connecticut has not been seen recently as such a place of Church / State Separation  See here .

However what is very ironic is it turns the Griswold right of privacy on it's head. The Griswold Right to privacy casesare still some what disputed at least in the Academy at times. WHERE IS RIGHT TO PRIVACY in the document the argument goes.

Basically the reasoning of these cases  is there are some matters so intimate so private that the Government has no competence or ability to go into.

  From Griswold quoting  Mr. Justice Brandeis, dissenting opinion  in Olmstead v. United States :

"The protection guaranteed by the [Fourth and Fifth] Amendments is much broader in scope. The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man's spiritual nature of his feelings and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone -- the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. "

Later this right to contraception  and the right to privacy and all that went with it  was expanded to unmarried couples in Eisenstadt v. Baird :

"If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child."

Of course this logic was extended to abortion rights in the famous Roe V Wade case.

This line of cases was recently revisited in the important Lawence V Texas case.

...The laws involved in Bowers and here are, to be sure, statutes that purport to do no more than prohibit a particular sexual act. Their penalties and purposes, though, have more farreaching consequences, touching upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home. The statutes do seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals....

..It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice..

and the Court quoted the famous quote from Casey :

These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State." Ibid.

Now the interesting point we have gone from Government stay out to now Government telling  you , me , the man  behind the tree , and RELIGIOUS orgs that you are mandated to affirm these right by giving it assistance.

We can see this through the HHS Contraception mandate and all be damned if  it conflicts with our "own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

In fact as to the Lawrence opinion dealing with homosexual acts we now have these words from Judge Walker’s opinion in the famous Prop 8 case

Plaintiffs seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States. Perry and Stier seek to be spouses;they seek the mutual obligation and honor that attend marriage, Zarrillo and Katami seek recognition from the state that their union is “a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred.” Griswold, 381 US at 486.

In othewordsr we have gone from the State staying  out to people having a right to societal affirmation for certain conduct. That of course triggers all sort of things including many sanctions for those that don't agree. Now that is not the only argument for gay marriage of course. However that societal affirmation and "RIGHT" to it as see is in the mix.

Returning to the immediate matter of the HHS Contraception mandate related matters, and "irony" one wonders if people do not see the threat here that endorse all these rights. Christian Conservatives are often accused of escalating the "culture wars"  ,but nothing escalates something more than having to pay for something that goes against your morals.

For instance two days ago the Catholic Bishop of Springfield the dramatic change in the Democratic Platform :

Even more troubling is that this whole discussion about God in the platform is a distraction from more disturbing matters that have been included in the platform. In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare." That was the party's official position until 2008. Apparently "rare" is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be "safe and legal." Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion "regardless of the ability to pay." Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.

Again another step that seems to put some of the basic logic of the Griswold cases on their head. That is we go from  GOVT stay out to GOVT says you must help affirm these choices.

Needless to say Griswold says nothing about how religious groups must affirm these choices by a paying for services. Further it is indeed "irony" that the HHS Mandate that sets new  precedents and limits for what is "religious" is being used as great example of the Separation of Church and State.

In other words I think Mr Silk is out in left field. I am clueless how the HHS Mandate helps the cause and spirit of New England viewpoints of Separation of Church and State.

Ann Rice- The Intellectually Honest Apostate ?

Denny Burk , associate Professor of Biblical Studies at  the Baptist  Boyce College , makes an interesting observation on Ann Rice who appears to now procliam not only is not a Catholic but now is no longer a Christian at  Anne Rice’s Apostasy ( click to see her vid ).

........She knew that the Roman Catholic Church would never sanction same-sex marriage, but she was surprised that the church would actively oppose it. When she heard that, she knew she could no longer stay in the church. In short, the church’s stance on homosexuality appears to have been a watershed for her.

In this latest video, it’s interesting that she makes a passing reference to homosexuality again. She says that a person can no more choose to have faith than one can choose to be a homosexual. She says that faith—like sexual orientation—is something you discover, not something you choose. And she has discovered that she no longer believes.

I don’t know to what extent the Bible’s teaching about homosexuality influenced her decision to apostatize. I know that she used to cite D. A. Carson as one of her favorite biblical interpreters. That seems to suggest that she takes a pretty straightforward reading of scripture when it comes to controversial topics. Perhaps she just could not abide what the scripture says on these things. Rather than reinterpreting scripture or explaining it away (as many liberal theologians do), she was intellectually honest enough just to walk away.

I don’t pretend to know all the reasons for Rice’s falling away. But I do know that the Lord’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1). That alone is more than enough reason to pray and to hope that her story doesn’t dead-end with this latest news. Maybe there’s a real and lasting conversion in the offing. I hope and pray that there will be.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Paul Ryan Vs Harry Reid - Good Catholics Bad Catholics Good Mormons Bad Mormons

Compare and contrast

First from Central Florida today.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on Saturday derided President Obama’s space program and called his administration’s requirement that hospitals and universities, including Catholic ones, be required to offer contraception an “assault on religious liberty.”

Ryan promised at a town hall meeting in Orlando that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney would reverse the contraception mandate on “Day 1″ if he is elected president. The mandate requiring all insurance plans to include access to contraception was part of Obama’s health care overhaul.

Ryan’s comments came in a response to a woman’s question about whether he would ask Vice President Joe Biden in a debate how he reconciles his views as a Roman Catholic with the Democratic Party platform.

Both Ryan and Biden are Catholic.

“It will be gone. I can guarantee you that,” Ryan told the crowd of 2,200 supporters in an arena at the University of Central Florida.

Ryan handled that question I think in an appropriate manner. As a public official running for one of the highest offices in the land I think it would be very improper for him to get personal on Biden. If Biden or for that matter Ryan's positon causes a scandal to the Catholic faithful that is for us to discuss not the Biden or Ryan IMHO.

Now lets us look at the Senate Majority Leader tonight :

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he agrees with a fellow Mormon who wrote recently that Mitt Romney has "sullied" the LDS faith and that the GOP presidential candidate is "not the face of Mormonism."

Reid, a Mormon Democrat from Nevada, blasted Romney in a conference call for reporters over a litany of things the Republican nominee has said recently. And Reid added that Latter-day Saints aren’t buying Romney’s rhetoric.

"He’s coming to a state where there are a lot of members of the LDS Church," Reid said in advance of Romney’s Friday visit to Nevada. "They understand that he is not the face of Mormonism .

I think that crosses a line. Again that is for the Mormon faithful to discuss. But there is some a tad distasteful about the Senate Mahority leader of the U.S. getting so personal as to this issue. It also seems like bad civics.

I am not exactly sure where the line is in all this. But at this moment Biden , Reid, Romney and Ryan are not some backbencher from Idaho. I think it was crossed here.

The New York Times Using Term Illegal Immigrants Is Correct

The York Times Public Editor had a interesting blog post defending their use of illegal alien and illegal immigrant. She says in part :

....But in referring in general terms to the issue of people living in the United States without legal papers, we do think the phrases “illegal immigrants” and “illegal immigration” are accurate, factual and as neutral as we can manage under the circumstances. It is, in fact, illegal to enter, live or work in this country without valid documents. Some people worry that we are labeling immigrants as “criminals” — but we’re not. “Illegal” is not a synonym for “criminal.” (One can even park “illegally,” though it’s not a criminal offense.)

Proposed alternatives like “undocumented” seem really to be euphemisms — as though this were just a bureaucratic mix-up that can easily be remedied. Often those phrases seem deliberately chosen to try to soften or minimize the significance of the lack of legal status. We avoid those euphemisms just as we avoid phrases that tend to cast a more pejorative light on immigrants. For example, we steer clear of the shorthand “illegals” and also the word “aliens,” both of which we think have needlessly negative connotations.

I largely agree with that though personally I don't find the term alien all that negative.  So I often used both.

That being said as a pragmatic supporter of immigration reform that includes pathway to citizenship I support those terms. When trying to persuade a person that is open to some pathway to citizenship to call these people  undocumented immigrant just causes their eyes to roll. These people are open to immigration reform but want some assurance we shall be doing this again in twenty years. Usually such terms  that downgrades the fact that people entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas . I find this generally stops the discussion and just makes them mad.

Further the term "undocumented" gives ammunition to opponenets of immigration reform that say the ultimate goal is just "open borders". A charge that many of us that support immigration reform have to spend a great time disputing .

Historic Day- First Printed Baton Rouge Advocate ( New Orleans Edition ) Newspaper Is Out

Historic day. The first edition of the Baton Rouge Advocate Daily New Orleans print edition is out today. Suspect the now 3 day a week Picayune print edition will not be reporting this. However Nola Defender  has the story .

Will First Generation of Fully Americanized USA Vietnamese Catholics Impact The Faith Like Their Parents ?

American Vietnamese Catholics  contribute a good bit to American Catholicism considering their numbers. We often see this in a dramatic way as to Vocations to the ppriesthood and religious life.

It therefore going to be interesting to see what impact the American culture has on the first generation of young Vietnamese Catholics that have no memory of Vietnam, being a refugee, living under communist rule etc.

PBS had a interesting video and transcript of a interview up here that hid a wide range of topics. See Vietnamese Catholics in the US .

On the topic I mentioned:

VALENTE: But preserving religious traditions from Vietnam is also important to these first- and second-generation immigrants. The Marion Days Festival draws thousands of teens. This drum group traveled to Carthage from San Jose, California. Many youngsters accompany their grandparents, though they admit they are more likely to speak to them in English than Vietnamese.

ALISON PHAM (Drummer): I just like the environment, like being all together, getting to praise God as a group, especially uniting with other Vietnamese people because I know a lot of times, you know, people don’t—they lose their culture, and they don’t join together.

VALENTE: The priests in Carthage worry that the rate of vocations eventually will decline among Vietnamese families, as it has among Americans. Boys used to enroll in the seminary here during high school. That’s no longer the case, and it’s becoming more difficult to attract college-age men.

FATHER TRAN: Last year I didn’t get any. But this year I’m blessed enough to have five. So it’s just give and take.

VALENTE: Still, the congregation currently has 150 men in the U.S. studying to be priests or brothers—a number that would thrill any other seminary. Father Tran says he hopes the example of men like Father Basil, who seem to thrive as priests, will inspire other young people to try religious life.

FATHER BASIL: I live in wartime in my country. Here I feel peace. I feel peace in my heart and my mind

Will Dr. Jonathan Reyes Heal the Catholic Social Justice Civil War ?

Amy Sullivan at the New Republic has a pretty horrid article with a very horrid title at The Catholic Bishops Move Even Further Away From Social Justice .

I suspect a good bit of the negative reaction to Dr Reyes hiring is people are upset their friends they know did not get hired and unlike most folks that do not have access to national press want to have a tantrum. Also one could after looking at this list of names of former workers at the USCCB wonder if some fear a coming diversity at their workplace.

I stand with some progressive Catholics in saying casting a bad light on Carr and his Faith who headed that office is wrong. However I have to say what we are seeing as to Reyes appears wrong too.

On that note let me point out a very different viewpoint that conflicts with the title of the Amy Sullivan piece. It is is written by Micah Murphy who lives in the Diocese of Shreveport and is the webmaster of the blog Truth and Charity. See The USCCB’s New Rallying Cry where he is quite exited by the Reyes appointment.

.. It has long been the case – regardless of your own feelings on it – that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has not been held in great esteem by orthodox Catholics, most especially those of the younger generation who have placed a primacy on orthodoxy in their Catholic identities. Following the example of the late Cardinal Bernardin, the USCCB for many years emphasized social justice to such a strong degree that many of my colleagues in orthodox catechetics suffer from Post-Exposure Seamless Garment Syndrome, a psychological condition whereby orthodox young people undergo knee-jerks and make overgeneralized disparaging comments about the term social justice, due to the fallout of Bernardin’s ethic, which – though we must assume he didn’t intend it – led largely to the standard hypocrisy in politics today of being pro-abortion, but anti-capital punishment.

The stigma surrounding most social justice programs in the United States – and the undesirability of associating with volunteer social workers so heterodox as to make the blood boil – tends to keep orthodox Catholics out of many social justice circles (with the exception of pro-life circles, where they are at home). As a result, many social justice programs deliver material or psychological goods to the poor, but not always spiritual goods through sound doctrine and solid evangelization....

I think that observation is correct

....This latest announcement may finally put to bed the animosity so many orthodox Catholics have for our national “social justice” programs. What is that announcement? Dr. Jonathon Reyes, famous for his connection with FOCUS, the Augustine Institute, and related programs, has just been hired as the new Executive Director of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

Given his orthodoxy, Dr. Reyes’ appointment as more than just another turning point in the history of the USCCB. With God’s grace, an orthodox, personalistic, Christ-centered, and Spirit-filled approach to social justice will trickle down from the national level as new normative documents are written. This moment in American Catholicism is a time for new faithful to be brought forward. The stigma of social justice may soon be erased and it could not have come at a better time.....

Read it all because I think he is right on.

Michael Winters a critic it appears said at his post :

Third, at a time when there are obvious divisions within the hierarchy regarding which public policy issues should be emphasized, and how those issues should be framed, it seems to me imperative to have selected someone who was not so obviously aligned with one wing of the current ideological divisions within the Church. I am not one of those who sneers at Christendom College. Nor at FOCUS. But, to deny that there is an agenda there, one which does not necessarily invite greater unity within the Church is, I think, mistaken .

I have no idea what is Mr Winters problem with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students which I view as one of the more exciting Catholic movements in the United States we have seen in some time. The Bishop of Rome, in whom all Catholic are linked to in their unity , appears to have a different view than Winters . In that Pope Benedict appointed the head and founder of FOCUS as one of just two American consultants for the Vatican advisory group on the Catholic Church's "New Evangelization.".

This group is needless to say a big deal to the Pope.

I mention that because of a video of a speech I posted earlier that Dr Reyes gave. Around the  to 1:23 mark Reyes comments that in this generation of young Faithful  Catholics he sees an

attitude that does see a need for a war between pro-life Catholic on side and social justice Catholic on the other. That seems a good thing and echos what Mr Murphy is saying. No doubt these observations  are partly based on his work with FOCUS and of course Catholic Charities of Denver where he worked.

To see where the rubber meets the road as to Dr Reyes we should all take a look at a program he started in the Archdiocese of Denver called  Christ in the City . A impressive program to say the least as you can see. From their Mission Statement this seems to be what Catholic Social Justice is all about. In fact such programs seem a critical part in ending the divide in Catholic circles as to such issues.

So Amy Sullivan is quite incorrect . He is not leading the Church away from Social Justice but doing quite the opposite.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Three Cheers for God In Political Platforms and Politics

Baptist Pastor Alan Rudnick has an article up here at the Associated Baptist Press site called God is not a political football. Well I quite agree. Republicans and Democrats need to be careful in this regard.

In part Republicans are seeming to get some blame because many progressives in the Democrat party envision a very SECULAR political party. I think its fair to say Sarah Posner represent that wing as you can see in her post Nine Reasons Why Democrats Shouldn’t Invite Nuns on the Bus to the Convention . I am not sure Pastor Ruddick endorses that view but it's implications need to be thought about.

The major problem is I think there is a rush with judging intent as to the mentions of God in the platform. A actual list  of where its used can be seen here. Some seem fairly innocent and I am sure at all the intent was to spike the GOD football. I mean phrases like “. . .God-given natural resources. . .” which accounts for 3 of the 12 references is pretty common. But I would submit there are reasons why some phrase made added appearances this year. Those are :

 “. . .We offer our Republican vision of a free people using their God-given talents. . .”

“. . .God-given individual rights. . .”

"the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens. . .”

What we are talking about is something I mentioned before. That the mention of GOD serves as a reminder of the LIMITATION of Government. That certain natural rights can not be taken away. Some  American Progressives of course often get the hives when we are talking natural law and natural rights analysis though our country's history is soaked with it.

The opposing forces to this can be seen in a article at the Huff Post today. See The Divine Right: Conservatives, God, Politics and Policy

At the Republican convention, both vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney near the end of their speeches gave God credit for our constitution and the rights it contains. Candidate Romney put it this way, "That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our Creator and codified in our constitution." Candidate Ryan went even further to state, "They are self evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government." We must have missed that lesson in our history book. But, as far as we know, our rights and our constitution were not passed down from on high on a set of tablets. They were painstakingly crafted by our founding fathers after much debate and discussion. The good and enduring work of the founding fathers shows that they definitely had divine inspiration during their deliberations but provides no testimony to divine intervention.

Of course Paul Ryan was not talking about things that came down from tablets. He was talking about about natural law and natural rights .

I expect we are going to hear more GOD talk like in the above mentions. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Part of this is because of the positions of one party.

When one party pretty much opposes any move to that would return the abortion discussion to the States expect God , natural rights , and natural law talk.

When one Party wants to get into the Federal Marriage business and have such things as same sex marriage imposed in all 50 states throught the Full Faith and Credit clause it should be expected there is God , natural rights, and natural law talk.

Finally when one party seems to support through the HHS contraception mandate actions that limit down "religion" and may force people to violate their Conscience expect more God , natural rights, and natural law talk.

As the GOVERNMENT expands we are seeing a CLASH OF "RIGHTS" that are butting up against each other. This is  happening big time in the arena of gay rights and as we see in vivid color reproductive rights.

If gay marriage becomes a "Fundamental Liberty" the clash of rights become epic.Would housing laws for instance prohibit me from discriminating against a gay married couple. As to reproductive rights in order to pursue a living ( Pursuit of Happiness) would I have to offer lets say the morning after pill in my pharmacy? Whatever one's position on those matter that debate and more are coming and it will be pushed at the Federal level.

The fact that we are reminded that some of our basics rights come from God and not Government is a important part of the discussion. It is also still a needed check of Government to boot.

I have a feeling Pastor Alan Rudnick is not saying that all natural law, natural rights, etc discussion is off limits. Though I think many want them to be.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Life Long Catholic Attends First Anglo Catholic Ordinariate Mass In Alabama ( Plus Canon Law Question)

Meg Hunter-Kilmer at  Held By His Pierced Hands -The only life worth living is a life worth dying forhas a very good post on the first Anglican use Mass  celebrated  by the Ordinariate she attended in Mobile Alabama.

The Ordinariate is sort of new thing to say the list and I think as to it's structure and how it functions is going to be an ongoing matter as it is tweaked.

She does a good job of explaining of well it's not a different rite / Church like Eastern Catholics but it's not quite like a Diocese ( but very close) . She also goes into her experience of the liturgy and her experience and viewpoint is very much like mine.

She mentions this :
Now, a lifelong Catholic can’t be a member of the Ordinariate–the purpose is to serve converts. I can, however, attend Anglican use Masses whenever I want to, and believe me, I will. The Latin of the Extraordinary Form is off-putting to me, but I’m beginning to understand when people lament the vernacular of the Novus Ordo. Maybe what we need, though, is a less vernacular vernacular–language that’s comprehensible but clearly sacred. That’s what the Anglican use Mass offers us, and that’s what I’ll be back for.

This is an area that might be and I suspect will have to "tweaked" formally in Canon Law at some point. In fact maybe there is some informal discretion with Bishops right now.

If the Anglo Catholic Ordinariate is going to survive and thrive it's going to have to be Mission based . Being Mission based should be something we all do but it's a huge part of the Anglican Patrimony. We right now have the following  scenarios:

- Life Long Catholics that have spent considerable amount of time in Anglican Use Parishes and wish and need to transfer into the Ordinariate . If they serve in leadership in the Parish it seems that's a problem coming if the Anglican Use Parish transfers into the Ordinariate.

- What happens when a "Baptized " lapsed Catholic rediscovers this Faith through the Anglican Patrimony of the Ordinariate.Its seem appropriate for all parties he be allowed to come under the Ordinariate jurisdiction.

-What happens when a "life long"  Catholic marries someone in the Ordinariate. Its seems appropriate they should be able to come under the Ordinariate jurisdiction if he or she wishes after some process.

-What if a "life long" Catholic  develops a devotion to this Anglican Patrimony over a period of time wishes to switch.

It is not exactly a quick process for a Latin Rite Catholic to become a Eastern Rite Catholic . That is of course for the spiritual protection of the person and to prevent abuses. Still there is a process.

I think in the future  for sake of souls and the future of the Ordinariate we are going to have to deal with this in a more formal way. We don't have to deal with that now perhaps , but I think it is coming.

Pope Benedict Appoints Fort Worth Bishop Kevin Vann To Diocese of Orange California ( Various Links)

Update - Whispers has the Bishop's statement at his press conference in California plus some other observations.

Update 2-
Bishop's Statement to The Faithful and Friends of the Diocese of Fort Worth

Statement from the Diocese of Fort Worth on Vann Appointment to Diocese of Orange.

Huge loss for Texas ( which  by this movement has 3 Sees vacant - Tyler, El Paso , and now Fort Worth) Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth has been named Bishop of Orange County out in California. You know the place with that Crystal Cathedral we just bought. . BY THE WAY Bishop Vann took a great interest in that Cathedral just a few weeks ago hmmmm. )

Rocco Palmo has a good initial  post up just after this was announced in Rome at  For Orange, A Moving Vann – B16 Taps Fort Worth for Crystal Chair . As Rocco notes this  is  2012's most significant handover of an American see in terms of size. In other words pretty huge and important.

Sad news for Catholics in the Diocese of Fort Worth and the entire Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex as they wake up this morning. However great news for Catholics out in Orange County out on the West Coast.

Bishop Vann and his growing Diocese of Fort Worth has been a subject of great interest to me on this blog.

First for those concerned about Catholic patrimony in our architecture see my recent post Restoration and Expansion of Sacred Stained Glass In Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth ( Poor Man's Scripture )

To say the least Bishop Vann has been a huge friends to the  new Anglo Catholic Ordinariate and for Anglo Catholics coming to home to Rome for some time. One of the oldest Anglican Use Parishes in the United States is in his Diocese.

On the Vocation Front he has held his on with a current vocation class of  31 seminarians.

His affirmative Orthodoxy is on display for all to see. For instance please notice that he just brought in the growing FOCUS campus college ministry movement to his Diocese via the University of North Texas.

These are just a few thoughts I have had at first. However the Roman Noon appointment meant 5 a.m my time. Since I kept spelling FORT Worth as FORTH  Worth 4 times in this one post for some odd reason  I am going back to bed.

Look for updates on this post later in the day. We got some time since it appears the news conference releases shall be joint and done at same time in both Dioceses. ( 1 p.m. Central Time )

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Bishop of Madison Wisconsin Private Prayer Answered - From 6 Seminarians to 32 Studying for Priesthood

Good vocation news from the Diocese of Madison Wisconsin!! They now have 32 men is some stage of seminary. When appointed the fourth Bishop of Madison in May of 2003, they had no more than six seminarians studying for the Diocese of Madison.

According to this article The vision will not disappoint  the Bishop had "private and prayerful desire (never made publicly known) that there would be 30 seminarians studying for the priesthood before the 10th anniversary of his arrival in the diocese."

There are many reason credited for this turn around and it involves a lot of people and finally huge doses of the Holy Spirit. However it appears many credit Eucharistic Adoration.

The names of the men in the above picture are:

Above, Bishop Robert C. Morlino, center, and Fr. Paul Ugo Arinze, diocesan vocation director (second row, left), pose with the men studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Madison, from left, first row: Paul Schultz, Andrew Showers, Daniel Bayer, Andrew Teeter, Chahm Gahng, Luke Syse, and Peter Lee; second row: Peter Carey, Phil Klaas, Deacon Vincent Brewer, Deacon Garrett Kau, Steve Petrica, and Richard Hess; third row: Tyler Dickinson, Daniel Button, William Van Wagner, Scott Jablonski, Tafadzwa Kushamba, Chris Gernetzke, and Jared Holzhuter; fourth row: John Winkowitsch, Vocations Office Summer Intern Michael Wanta, John Paul Schiedermayer, Aaron Downing, James Leeser, Matthew Schumacher, Austin Steffen, and Grant Theis. Pictured at right are seminarians who could not make it to the summer gathering: Joseph Baker, Scott Emerson, Gabriel López-Betanzos, Clint Olson, and Drew Olson. For more on vocations to the priesthood and religious life, see the Vocations special pull-out section in the print edition of the Catholic Herald. (Catholic Herald photo/Kat Wagner)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why the Religous Liberty and Freedom Debate Is More Heated Today

Bill Tammeus a  Presbyterian elder and  former Faith columnist for The Kansas City Star , has written a column at the National Catholic Reporter Why the vitriol when discussing religious liberty today? In his post he hearkens back to perhaps the more "civilized" days of 1988 in his view.

Now let me say at this outset  civility is needed in the religious liberty debate as well as many other issues.

Still I wanted to engage this piece on some other points.

Time always makes us look at the past in a more rosy light. I would contend the religious liberty battles have got more heated. Of course back in 1988 this creature called the social media did not exist which makes a difference. We have gone from the opinions of a few pushing the debate to voices of thousands that have a tweeter account / web site pushing the debate.

Still there is no doubt times have changed. Many of us that are trying to defend religious liberty wonder how we got to this position in such a short period of time. I would submit that perhaps for the famous Bob Jones case most religious liberty battles were of a different subject matter. Lots of can we pray at a Football game or post the ten commandments in a courtroom type thing. I am not saying those cases were not important , but they are nothing like we see today.

For instance we have :

- Of course the infamous HHS Contraception mandate in which now a major nationwide business is suing on since  they don't want to have to pay for abortion inducing drugs.

- We have troublesome over broad anti shari laws being passed by State Legislatures.

- We have an administration that shocked many by advocating in front of the Supreme Court is no specific ministerial exception based in the religious clause of the First Amendment  .

-We have an mosque in Tennessee that had to fight tooth and nail to get a house of worship built.

-Also in Tennessee we have one of America's most premier private university trampling on religious freedom values.

-In a sign of things to come as to "discrimination" issues we have the Elane photographer case in New Mexico.

On that note respected religious law scholars and activists already know we are already engaging in a new front as to religious liberty and being able to be licensed to do one 's vocation in life.

The list could go on and on. In other words we are dealing with religious liberty  concerns that have a more added urgency than the sort of can a High School graduate mention God in her graduation speech.

So how did we get here from the days of 1988 where there seemed  to be much more consensus on the topic.  Why are we  if  Ross Douthat is indeed correct “Defining Religious Liberty Down”

 First  I would recommend Another Coalition for Religious Freedom? No matter your opinion of George Weigel there is no doubt we seem to be light years from the huge Bipartisan effort that passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1992.   Related to that is the observation of  Professor Robert Vischer at this NCR article Professor Vischer on New Conscience Regs where he said in part :   One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods. As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights.

That was one full display this year at the Democratic convention. We have gone from a line of legal cases that says the Government is not competent in making intimate choices on contraception to now a Party wanting it mandated. We have gone from the Democratic talking point of abortion being safe , legal, and rare to Government paid forabortions for any reasons it appears.

Last but not least are the Churches are not in the same boat as to this issues. It needs to be recalled that four  leading Protestant fatih communities  involved with a very important  advocacy and lobbying group thought the HHS mandate did not go far enough. That is  it did not go into the four walls of the Church itself.

The words are more heated because much more is being attacked and under siege.

Returning to Bill Tammeus piece let me engage a few parts of his concerns.

But what I find so distressing is that so many of the more aggressive religious participants in that debate have lost sight of some foundational principles on which religion obligates them to operate.

First -- and always -- they are obliged not to make religious liberty, however it's defined, an idol. All sin ultimately is idolatry. It's why the first of the Ten Commandments -- "no other gods before me" -- is first..

I wish there was names associated with these aggressive religious participants and a body of work we could reference to check out this claim of idolatry. I have no seen that among the more serious of the participants in this debate. But on that note it's worth looking at what Prof Garnett who played a role in the Bishop's statement had to say in response to a similar perhaps charge at A response to Morning's Minion on the Bishops' Religious Freedom efforts

...With respect to your [concern that the Bishops' statements have been too nationalistic]:  On the one hand, I do think there are some aspects of American constitutionalism that are distinctively good, and my sense is that the Church has recognized as much.  (In various documents, for example, our separation-of-powers and checks-and-balances structures are praised.)  And, I think that the teaching in Dignitatis Humanae owes a lot to the American experience with religious freedom, warts and all.  That said, and obviously, religious freedom is a human right, not an American right; it is a gift from God, not from James Madison.  Still, I think it’s fine for a document, written by American bishops and addressed to Americans primarily, to highlight the centrality in the American experience – at least in its aspirations – of religious liberty.  True, in an academic paper, one would want to complicate the narrative, but the basic point is sound, and worth emphasizing:  Religious freedom is protected by modern democracies, true, but it was (at least aspirationally) protected here, first.  This something that we can celebrate, and try to live up to....

Returning to the article :

Pope Benedict XVI was right when he said that "when religious freedom is acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root." But part of religious freedom is the freedom to decide what religious freedom means. Its meaning cannot be dictated from above.

I am not exactly sure where that is going. But it should be recalled how we got here at least as to the HHS Contraception mandate. That is a rule making body bypassing many political avenues to where what "religious freedom means" could be discussed to just decreeing it. They were the ultimate "above" at least as to this matter..

Thus, many of those standing tall for religious freedom today seem not to have made room in the discussion for what Catholic social teaching calls the common good. The great Hebrew Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann has it right when he says that "the great crisis among us today is the crisis of 'the common good,' the sense of community solidarity that binds all in a common destiny -- haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor."

And who are these people and what body of work are we referencing. It seems rather vague and to be honest I have not seen that.

However the writer is correct that civility is needed in this debate. However the flip side of that coin is the more heated language is in part because much more is at stake. If we moot our words to a degree where its sounds like we are dealing with minute  details of the Columbia Free Trade Act I am not sure that is a service either.

Some Cheers and A Qualified Jeer For Catholic Bishops New Executive Director For Social Justice Issues - Jonathan J. Reyes

I posted on some rather big news in USA Catholic land at  Background on New Catholic Bishops Executive Director For Social Justice Concerns - Jonathan J. Reyes

So far the most noted PUBLIC sort of qualified negative reaction seems to be coming from Mr Winters. See
The Reyes Appointment . I on the whole disagree for the most part , but is an legitimate question he asks as to his resume as it pertains to perhaps the lobbying activities he will be involved in. I do agree with Mr Winters in his post More on Reyes Appointment that  Phil Lawler and Dr. Jeff Mirus should be more careful about implying things about Dr Reyes predecessor Catholicism.

At the very least they are putting their name to the complaints. I am not quite sure the same can be said of those against this appointment. It will be interesting to see how some major secular newspaper articles report on this and what  some "background" voices say

I thought a very good piece was by  Matthew Schmitz at  Jonathan Reyes, the Bishops’ New Man in D.C. Based on what he sees  of Dr Reyes work in Denver Mr Schmitz says :

This is why I find Reyes’ appointment so cheering. His career thus far suggests that he sees the Church’s social conscience—defending the unborn, feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned—as inseparable from the life of prayer and celebration of the sacraments. The bishops should be applauded for appointing a man who seems to understand that true charity never severs the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

I agree . Mr Winters in both his posts says :

And, my friends who worry about the USCCB becoming an arm of the GOP have this to console them: No matter the inner machinations of the conference, those of us who are committed to social justice have 120 years of explicit social teaching on our side.

It is never quite clear what alarms these people about Dr Reyes and what is being unsaid. But I have to think if Mr Schmitz is correct in his observation that does not go against 120 years of EXPLICIT social teaching.

Still as we see more stories on this appointment in both the religious and secular press may I make a radical suggestion. That is consult some folks in the Archdiocese of Denver that actually know and have worked with the man.

Presbyterian College of the Ozarks Files Suit Against HHS Contraception Mandate In Missouri

The unique College of the Ozarks has filed suit against the HHS Contraception mandate in Missouri. There are various links about the lawsuit here at Missouri College Sues Over ACA Contraception Coverage Mandate .

Pope Benedict Has Tricky Problem of Global Balance When Making Next Batch Of Cardinals

Soemthing that could happen as early as November perhaps. Vatican Insider has the details at Consistory could be held in November or February.

A Sample of the Sensationalist Jesus Was Married Headlines From Yesterday

I might do a post later on how much REAL controversy there was among early Christians on this point. Get Religion has a look at the headlines yesterday on this at Christmas comes early with “Jesus’ wife” story


Monday, September 17, 2012

Background on New Catholic Bishops Executive Director For Social Justice Concerns - Jonathan J. Reyes

Updates at bottom-

As I posted earlier I have been a tad under the weather today but a significant hire has got me up to do a post.

 Jonathan J. Reyes, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver since 2009 has been named to head executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) See the USSCB announcement here.  This position is pretty high profile and needless to say is at the forefront  of the Bishops efforts when they are lobbying Congress.

Some might recall the supposed controversy over who would replace John Carr in this position in a recent Washington Post article. See Key ‘moderate’ Catholic, hailed by choir on left.

Therefore it is going to be interesting to see how this appointment is viewed and perhaps more importantly FRAMED by the media that sometimes has a limited roledex as to Catholic voices to consult on these things.

You can look over the most recent Catholic Charities of Denver annual report here on this page  to get a idea of what he has been doing.

In an article written by the then Archbishop of Denver Chaput called Renewing the Mission of Catholic Charities he mention Dr Reyes. He said in part :

Having said all this as a kind of preface, I want to return to the particular focus of my remarks: What exactly does it mean when we say that a social ministry is "Catholic"? Dr. Jonathan Reyes, the CEO of our Catholic Charities here in Denver, gave me the following answer, and it's a good one. A social agency is "Catholic" in two main ways. Structurally, it's an arm of the local Church and organic to her mission. And evangelically, it's a witness to the commandment given to us by Jesus Christ to love God first and above all; and then to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Antother article of interest I saw thjat mentioned  him from last year was Latino leaders’ summit seeks national renewal of faith . Earlier this past yaer he tlaked on the contraception HHS mandate at the Legatus Conference. The video is linked here .

Dr Reyes is a very big part of the New Evangelization that really is going gangbuster in the Denver area. Dr Reyes is currently  part of the St Augustine Institute for instance.
He appears to be a very good hire for this important position.

Update- A writer at America has a first reaction at New Director of USCCB Justice, Peace and Human Development

Also see Christ in the City calls young missionaries to serve Denver's poor via CNA.

A good vid where Dr Reyes talked about the "Catholic Moment" . Start at 40 min mark

Feeling a Tad Under the Wather

Came down with some sort of bug late Saturday night and still feeling blah. Hopefully be posting tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2012

After One Year At the Helm Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia Gives An Wide Ranging Interview To John Allen ( Must Read )

This is really good and interesting stuff. God Bless Benedict for putting him in there.See
Chaput in Philly swims against 'nostalgia and red ink'

Pope Benedict Papal Trip To Lebanon DAY 1 ( LINKS )

I did a pre flight Pope Benedict post a few hours ago here at Pope Benedict Goes To Lebanon Day 1 - Pre Flight Pics , Links, and Resources that has some article and resources.

It might be helpful to get a visual view of the trip and for that I thank the people who put this together on this page

Places on the Holy Father's Lebanon program other than Beirut are Harissa, Baabda, Bzommar, Bkerké, and Charfet. (All are located within 10-30 miles from Beirut). Harissa is a mountain location a few miles inland from the capital, looking down on the Mediterranean. It is the site of the Apostolic Nunciature, where the Pope will be staying, as well as two major churches.Other than Beirut and Harissa, the other place names are not indicated on the map because they are not population centers. Baabda is east of Beirut and south of Harissa, while Bzommar, Bkerke and Charfet are all slightly northwest of Harissa (nearer the sea. Right photo shows the location of St Paul's Cathedral and the Shrine to our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa

Melkite Greek Catholic Basilica of St. Paul, where, on the afternoon of his arrival, the Holy Father will sign his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that formally summarizes the Special Synodal Assembly on the Middle East held in October 2010

The Pope has arrived in Lebanon. I got a couple of hours of sleep and got up to watch it. He looks rested and in good shape to my eye. His remarks at the airport I think set the right tone and were well received from the crowd from what I could tell. Full text is here Pope in Lebanon: Arrival speech (full text) . I liked this part:
I cannot forget the sad and painful events which have affected your beautiful country along the years. The successful way the Lebanese all live together surely demonstrates to the whole Middle East and to the rest of the world that, within a nation, there can exist cooperation between the various churches, all members of the one Catholic Church in a fraternal spirit of communion with other Christians, and at the same time coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions. Like me, you know that this equilibrium, which is presented everywhere as an example, is extremely delicate. Sometimes it seems about to snap like a bow which is overstretched or submitted to pressures which are too often partisan, even selfish, contrary and extraneous to Lebanese harmony and gentleness. This is where real moderation and great wisdom are tested. And reason must overcome one-sided passion in order to promote the greater good of all. Did not the great King Solomon, who knew Hiram, King of Tyre, consider that wisdom was the supreme virtue? This is why he pleaded to God for it insistently, and God gave him a wise and intelligent heart (1 Kg 3:9-12).

As per custom the Pope does sort of a Press Conference type thing on the plane. The English translation of that is available here.

The Pope spoke and signed the Apostolic exhortation for Middle East today at the Melkite Greek Catholic Basilica of St. Paul . See the full text of his speech here. Of interest to note the Pope took full advantage of the today's Feast day of the  Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the connection to  Emperor Constantine the Great which was interesting. Here is a part :

Providentially, this event takes place on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a celebration originating in the East in 335, following the dedication of the Basilica of the Resurrection built over Golgotha and our Lord’s tomb by the Emperor Constantine the Great, whom you venerate as saint. A month from now we will celebrate the seventeen-hundredth anniversary of the appearance to Constantine of the Chi-Rho, radiant in the symbolic night of his unbelief and accompanied by the words: “In this sign you will conquer!” Later, Constantine signed the Edict of Milan, and gave his name to Constantinople. It seems to me that the Post-Synodal Exhortation can be read and understood in the light of this Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and more particularly in the light of the Chi-Rho, the two first letters of the Greek word “Christos”. Reading it in this way leads to renewed appreciation of the identity of each baptized person and of the Church, and is at the same time a summons to witness in and through communion. Are not Christian communion and witness grounded in the Paschal Mystery, in the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ? Is it not there that they find their fulfilment? There is an inseparable bond between the cross and the resurrection which Christians must never forget. Without this bond, to exalt the cross would mean to justify suffering and death, seeing them merely as our inevitable fate. For Christians, to exalt the cross means to be united to the totality of God’s unconditional love for mankind. It means making an act of faith! To exalt the cross, against the backdrop of the resurrection, means to desire to experience and to show the totality of this love. It means making an act of love! To exalt the cross means to be a committed herald of fraternal and ecclesial communion, the source of authentic Christian witness. It means making an act of hope!

Here are a few articles:
Pope calls for "full rights for Catholics in the Middle East” -Vatican Insider
Syrian refugees in Sabra and Shatila Palestinian camp ask: “Can the Pope do something to help us?” Vatican Insider

I liked this post that focused on a part of the Pope's arrival speech. See The Pope in Lebanon: The links between Lebanon and the Successor of Peter are ancient and deep -RorateCaeli

The New York Times has their first piece up. Pope Benedict Arrives in Lebanon Amid Turmoil
. The comment he looked tired when he got to Lebanon. I got up at 5 am to watch his arrival and he did not look tired to me.

John Allen at NCR  has a important piece here at 'Statehood for Palestine now', patriarch tells pope. I am for a two state solution but count me skeptical that it can occur now , or it will give all these wonderful benefits to the Arab world. End of commentary on that.

I am going to fill out DAY 1 with more stories as they become available and more pics this evening.So check back