The End of Prayer Shaming: Posted by East Catholic High School, Dec 22, 2015
The End of Prayer Shaming: Posted by East Catholic High School, Dec 22, 2015
CNN is not the customary locale-of-choice for a catechesis on Catholic social doctrine. But that’s what Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, offered viewers of a CNN national town hall meeting on the evening of August 21.
Challenged with a semi-“Gotcha!” question by Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Erica Jordan, who not-so-subtly suggested that Ryan’s approach to healthcare reform, tax reform, and welfare reform was in conflict with the Church’s social teaching, the very Catholic Speaker replied that he completely agreed with Sister Erica that God is “always on the side of the poor and dispossessed”; the real question was, how do public officials, who are not God, create public policies that empower the poor and dispossessed to be not-poor and not-dispossessed?
Congressman Ryan then laid out an approach to alleviating poverty and empowering the poor that seemed to me entirely congruent with the core Catholic social ethical principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. Solidarity with the poor is a moral imperative, Ryan agreed, but solidarity should not be measured by inputs—How many federal dollars go into anti-poverty programs?—but by outcomes: Are poor people who can live independent and fruitful lives being helped by our welfare dollars to develop the skills and habits that will enable them to be self-reliant, constructive citizens? The moral obligation of solidarity is not met by programs that perpetuate welfare dependency.
Speaker Ryan is a longstanding advocate of decentralizing and (as he puts it) “customizing” social welfare programs. That means abandoning one-size-fits-all attempts to address poverty and looking to the states, where a lot of the creativity in American government resides these days, for approaches that actually empower the poor, because they treat poor people as men and women with potential to be unleashed, not simply as clients to be maintained. Proposals to decentralize social welfare programs and give the states the funds necessary to conduct all sorts of customized efforts to empower the poor—crafted so that each “fits” the vast array of distinct circumstances we find in impoverished America—strike me as a sensible application of the social doctrine’s principle of subsidiarity. That principle, first articulated by Pope Pius XI in 1931, teaches us to leave decision-making at the lowest possible level in society, closest to those most directly affected by the policy in question. Paul Ryan thinks Washington doesn’t have to decide everything; Pius XI would have agreed.
The fact that poverty remains a serious problem in the United States after the federal government has spent $22 trillion dollars on social welfare programs over the past fifty years should have taught us all something about the complex problems of empowering the poor. No one with any sense or experience imagines that he or she has the silver-bullet answer to poverty in all its social, cultural, economic, and political dimensions; I know my friend Speaker Ryan doesn’t think he does.
But unlike those who insist on measuring an official’s or a party’s commitment to the poor by inputs rather than outcomes (an approach that tends to instrumentalize the poor and render social welfare policy a cash transaction rather than a human encounter), Paul Ryan and reform conservatives like him are willing to face the fact that there is no direct correlation between magnitude-of-dollar-inputs and success-of-human-outcomes when it comes to anti-poverty programs. Inner-city Catholic schools (the Church in America’s most effective social welfare program) demonstrate that time and again: They spend less than the government schools, and their students learn much more—and not just in quantifiable, standardized-testing terms.
America needs many serious conversations in this age of the demagogic tweet and the rabid talk-radio sound-bite. One of them is about the scandal of poverty amidst vast wealth and the empowerment of the poor. That conversation is not advanced when, as happened after the CNN broadcast, smug partisans attack a serious Catholic public official by suggesting that he’s deficient in both his moral commitment to the poor and his understanding of Catholic social doctrine. Paul Ryan is no more the reincarnation of Simon Legree than Sister Erica Jordan and her fellow Sinsinawa Dominicans are the reincarnation of Ingrid Bergman/Sister Mary Benedict in The Bells of St. Mary’s. Keeping that in mind would help foster the thoughtful debate that the Speaker, and the country, would welcome.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
One of Trump’s nominees for appeals court is Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame Law School professor and a Roman Catholic. Democrats Feinstein, Hirono, and Durbin made her religious convictions an issue during her confirmation hearing.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse noted that this line of questioning violated the Constitution’s religious test clause.
Durbin said that, because Barrett has been “outspoken” on the topic of “how a person with strong religious beliefs becomes a judge and looks at American law”, the questions were legitimate.
I think it’s more to the point to say that Democrats can’t stand conservative Christians, especially not the Catholic ones, and that they have zero qualms about making religion an issue when it suits them. You KNOW they’d be screaming bloody murder if Republicans asked a Muslim jurist how his faith would influence his judicial conduct.
Remember when long-time Leftist Sonia Sotomayor said she’d be a good SCOTUS judge, because she was a “wise Latina”?
Obama et al. didn’t care that she had never issued any important decisions, made a name for herself as a legal scholar or particularly respected jurist, and that 60% of her lower court decisions had been overturned on appeal. They only cared that she could be relied on to ignore the law in favor of promoting Progressive causes.
Barrett herself said, “It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction. My own personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”
Not that they believed her. Personally, I think they assume everyone is as willing to prostitute themselves for politics as they themselves are.
St. Katharine Drexel was the first person born a U.S. citizen to be made a saint. And what a saint she was!
Born into a wealthy family in 1858, when St. Katharine got older she took a vow of poverty, founded a new order of religious sisters, and devoted her great wealth to serving those discriminated against in the U.S., namely Native Americans and African Americans.
In the early 20th century, this got her into a lot of trouble, especially with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK was not only notoriously anti-black, but also anti-Catholic. So you can imagine how they felt about Catholic sisters helping blacks!
One thing that St. Katharine’s order did was open up schools for Native American and African American children.
In 1922, a local KKK group turned against one of their schools in Beaumont, Texas and “threatened to tar and feather the white past[or] at one of Drexel’s schools and bomb his church.”
So what did the sisters do? They prayed, of course!
And here’s what happened, according to one telling of the story: “The nuns prayed and days later, a tornado came and destroyed the headquarters of the KKK killing two of their members.”
The result? “The Sisters were never threatened again.”
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants his social network to fill the role that churches and social clubs once did in communities.
Uhhhhhhhhhhh … only if you think churches are just social clubs. Sheesh.
For an interview with Pastor Robert Jeffress about Zuckerburg’s ideas, see embedded video @ http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/30/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-can-fill-churches-role-bring-people-together-communities
There is currently a bit of a rift in the democrat party over pure ideology vs. trying to be inclusive. Some have argued that the party should welcome pro-life candidates in an effort to appeal to evangelicals they assume are upset with president Trump. Of course, this is all simply a façade to fool people into thinking they have softened their view on the slaughter of innocents. Then there are the hardliners who steadfastly insist there is no place in the democrat party for anyone not wholly approving of abortion at any point up until the moment of birth.
There are no ‘moderate’ democrats anymore. Haven’t been for some time. The Obamacare vote proved that. They all just have different price tags. Bart Stupak and a few pro-life democrats were reticent to sign on to the healthcare law at first. Had he remained steadfast it is a certainty he could have gotten millions of grateful citizens for heading off the coming disaster. In the end he settled for a worthless promise from Obama there would be no federal funding for abortion. This promise was forgotten the minute they cast their votes. The next election Stupak and almost all his coalition were voted out by people incensed by their cowardice. The democrat party is a pit of vipers and should be shunned by people of faith. Liberalism is their religion and abortion is their sacrament.
Hillary Wants to Preach
Religion is playing a big role in Clinton’s post-election tour. What does she have to gain from sharing her faith now?
Hillary Clinton wants to preach. That’s what she told Bill Shillady, her long-time pastor, at a recent photo shoot for his new book about the daily devotionals he sent her during the 2016 campaign. Scattered bits of reporting suggest that ministry has always been a secret dream of the two-time presidential candidate: Last fall, the former Newsweek editor Kenneth Woodward revealed that Clinton told him in 1994 that she thought “all the time” about becoming an ordained Methodist minister.
The Ghost of Hillary Still Haunts Evangelicals
She’s gone. It’s time to stop fighting the old war. It almost never fails. When I’m asked to speak to Evangelical audiences about politics, I can predict the reaction to the speech based almost entirely on the age of the audience. If a Christian is older than me, he’s often angry. If younger, usually grateful.
Younger Evangelicals (and younger conservatives more generally) saw Hillary as a corrupt choice for president. She was no more honest than Trump, but unlike Trump she was actively hostile to religious liberty and increasingly radical in her support for abortion. That’s bad enough, of course, but older Evangelicals were carrying a full quarter-century of baggage into the fight. Beginning in 1991, she wasn’t just at the center of scandal after scandal, she was on the wrong end of the culture wars, and she was an icon of the brand of arrogant, condescending feminism that most Christian conservatives openly despise. And she was in our face for decades.
Stop Calling Jesus a SocialistIt must be said that Jesus was and is not a socialist by anyone’s definition, save those of his revisionists. The Gospels do not speak of a heavenly economy of democratic access. Instead, they speak of the Kingdom of God as the advent of an impending regime change whose topsy-turvy standard of behavior threatens the lives of the unprepared. Where Jesus stands in the face of government saying his kingdom is not of this world, those aligned with him, the corpus mysticum, stand as a historical reminder that power itself is fleeting and its programs destined for collapse.
WashPost Hypes Poll: Christians ‘Far More Likely’ to Dismiss the Poor as Lazy Bums
This poll from the Post and the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation is three months old, taken from April 13 to May 1. This is not just a poll question; it’s begging for overgeneralization, with “the poor are mostly lazy” being judged by liberals as akin to “Muslims are mostly terrorists” or “Catholic priests are mostly child abusers.” As a citizen, I’d refuse to answer that on the grounds that it’s used to cast aspersions – conservative voters live in a world of ugly, unproven stereotypes.
It also implies that most Christians are largely bad Christians if they don’t favor a government-organized redistribution of wealth. Liberals, including liberal journalists, often suggest private donations to the poor somehow don’t imply Christian values half as much as supporting government action toward the poor.