March 7, 2018

With every ritual post-shooting “national discussion,” I grow more weary of saying the same things, and wary of suggesting that anything may be different this time.  We seem every time to be stuck in a vicious cycle in which public horrors provoke much noise and little action (legislatively or otherwise), having accepted these periodic and increasingly frequent tragedies as the cost of what we think is freedom.  At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly hard to deny that we have… Read more

March 4, 2018

In his weekly appearance on the PBS NewsHour, and his frequent role of sensible centrist, David Brooks recently made a case for an even-keeled, incrementalist approach to gun control (that part of the conversation starts at about 7:45 in this segment). Brooks spoke about the need to “take the temperature down” and not to “ramp up the culture war” in order to move a few congressional Republicans toward “realistic gun legislation” on practical grounds.  He has a point: there is… Read more

February 25, 2018

Hi everyone! Tomorrow, Monday, February 26, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is leading a national call-in day to urge Congress to take action to protect the Dreamers (immigrants brought to the US at a young age and protected from deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) from deportation by working out a legal solution to their situation. PLEASE participate in this call-in tomorrow. It will only take a few minutes, and of course you do… Read more

February 25, 2018

Two administrative notes for our readers.  First, I believe that I have resolved some long standing issues with comments on our blog.  No one has been blocked, and we were not ignoring your comments:  they were vanishing down a rabbit hole that I could not get into.  I want to apologize to our readers and my fellow bloggers for this. I now have better control over moderation, and I hope that this will not be a problem in the future. … Read more

February 17, 2018

The federal budget proposal released this week is in some ways a predictable reflection of the twisted priorities of a global superpower: yet more military spending at the expense of aid to the country’s poorer citizens.  And in a further twist, a particular concern about potential cuts to SNAP and Medicaid was expressed in a brief segment on my local NPR station – by a head of veteran housing services. Just let the irony of that sink in.  For all… Read more

February 14, 2018

As a lifelong lover of books, I’ve often encountered authors whom I really can’t say I like that much– and yet, I keep on reading them. And sometimes, if I read them long enough, I eventually grow to respect and even enjoy them. For me, one of these writers is the great British fiction writer and essayist C.S. Lewis, known best for his Christian apologetics. As a child, I loved Lewis – indeed, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe… Read more

February 12, 2018

Mark Shea wrote a post on his blog some time back where he basically disavowed any involvement with Catholic Tribe Right. Knowing Mark as I do, I knew it was not that he was becoming any sort of lefty, per se – he is by temperament and sensibility more righty than lefty – it was more that he could no longer abide the contortions the Catholic Right had to do to justify their tribal priorities.  During the Bush administration, Mark… Read more

January 20, 2018

Many years ago I wrote a post on survey data from the Guttmacher Institute on use of Natural Family Planning.  To quote from my lede: The report finds that only 2% of Catholic women use natural family planning, and that this number does not vary significantly when frequency of mass attendance is taken into account.   The figure rises to 3% among married Catholic women. This provoked an interesting discussion going in several directions, one of which was challenging the numbers… Read more

January 9, 2018

Over the past year at least, we’ve heard plenty of discourse about the divisions plaguing our country. While government policies such as the end of the DACA and TPS programs threaten to break up families by deporting people for whom the US is the only home they’ve known, families of US citizens are divided by politics and ideology, to the point that people’s differences impede connection and conversation. I’m sure that many readers of this blog found the holidays difficult…. Read more

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