Friday, June 6, 2014

    1. Your Spiritual Smoothie
    2. What if Catholics comply?
    3. Exceptionalisms
    4. Time’s up!


Buddhism is simply a supplement to your current religion or something that can be tacked on to your personal patchwork quilt of spiritual beliefs. Buddhism has become an add-on: an energy boost in your spiritual smoothie.

(Joanna Piacenza)


Michael Gorman asks an important question, Will Catholics Comply?, and projects the consequence if the answer is “yes”:

Sometime soon, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in the Hobby Lobby case … Catholics in particular have an interest here: The number of institutions sponsored by and otherwise identified with the Catholic Church is very large, and the Catholic bishops have spoken out clearly on the matter … But what if the justices do not give relief? What then?

In a statement of March 14, 2012, entitled “United for Religious Freedom,” the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that the mandate requires Catholic institutions to “act against Church teachings.” In a statement of April 12, 2012, entitled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty said that the mandate will “force religious institutions to facilitate and fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching.”

And at the conclusion of their general assembly in November 2013, the U.S. Bishops issued a “Special Message,” passed unanimously, in which they reaffirmed earlier claims and said, “As the government’s implementation of the mandate against us approaches, we bishops stand united in our resolve to resist this heavy burden and protect our religious freedom. . . . We seek to answer the Gospel call to serve our neighbors, meet our obligation to provide our people with just health insurance, protect our religious freedom, and not be coerced to violate our consciences.” These are strong words expressing a strong and clear position.

If, after the bishops have claimed that conforming to the mandate would involve acting against Church teachings, Catholics then conformed, we would be sending a very clear message to the present administration, and to future administrations as well: When we say that something is against our teachings, it doesn’t mean that we won’t do it—all it means is that someone has to threaten us first. We may speak truth to power, but we give power the last word. Our conscience is for sale, and the only thing left to discuss is the price. Future administrations may wonder how heavy a fine they will need to levy to get Catholics to fall in line, but they’ll know in advance that it’s just a question of finding the right market price. In short, conforming would set a terrible precedent. There’s no doubt that it will lead to further restrictions on the freedom of the Church and of Catholic institutions.


Wall Street Journal headline with no apparent ironic intentions: Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional: Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home.

Can you say “Indispensable Nation,” “Iraq,” “Afghanistan,” and “Patriot Act”?


 Your 15 minutes of fame have expired, Jefferson. Go home.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.