They didn’t even agree on what they disagreed on

Can you have a meeting of minds when you don’t agree on what you discussed — and neither do news media? President Obama and Pope Francis met for the first time on Thursday, nearly all of it behind closed doors. And their post-meeting statements were so different, they were the focus of some media reports [Read More...]

Why did a Catholic Raven skip White House visit? (updated)

Let’s create a journalism parable. Let’s say that there is a Republican president in office right now, one with ties to a somewhat doctrinaire form of Christianity. So, the day comes when the team that won the Super Bowl — perhaps it’s the Baltimore Ravens — makes its traditional media-friendly visit to the White House. [Read More...]

Pod people: Concerning the IRS and the God squads

It’s a basic fact of life in American politics that nothing fires up the non-profit sector on the political right like the election of a strong president whose voter base is on the religious, cultural and political left. Thus, it’s no surprise that the election of President Barack Obama, an articulate believer from the heart [Read More...]

That all-but-missing detail about Jeb Bush’s life

Catholics here in America have a very intense and interesting relationship with the mainstream press. First of all, there are just so many of them and so many different kinds — with active and inactive, believing and non-believing being the simple points of reference. Second, their sheer numbers make it impossible to ignore Catholics when [Read More...]

Running the White House spin on HHS regulations

If news is ever going to break on your beat, it will break on Friday afternoon, a few hours before you planned to enjoy your weekend. I don’t know why it’s always true, but it’s always true. Or at least, that’s how it works for me. On Friday, the White House announced that there’d be [Read More...]

Got news? White House vs. Little Sisters of the Poor

From coast to coast, the lawyers of religious groups and charities can almost quote the following legal language by heart. This is, of course, linked to the strange — from a church-state separation perspective — Health and Human Services mandate that attempts to create two different levels of religious liberty in the United States. Group [Read More...]

Quote of the year on Catholics and American politics

I don’t know how you feel about anonymous quotes, but, as a rule, I am opposed to them. However, when faced with an important anonymous quote, one of the first questions I always ask as a journalist is, “Who is the author of the piece and does this person have the kind of authority and [Read More...]

Shock: Bishops decide to defend Catholic tradition!

OK, let’s deal with some basic questions about Catholic bishops and politics. In terms of basic journalism language, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released pastoral documents about, oh, nuclear weapons, were these statements doctrinal or merely political? When the bishops speak out on America’s actions abroad, let’s say in Iraq or the Middle [Read More...]


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