Tuesday, April 30, 2013

American Soccer Finally Dominates !! At Rome and The Vatican ( WSJ Article )

The Clericus Cup is becoming a nice spring time annual Catholic story. Especially since the Americans are now doing so well ! ( Note I think the Australians are also on our team ) .

The Wall Street Journal ran a nice article on " our team " of Catholic Seminarians in Rome at American Team Reigns in This Devout Soccer League 

My favorite line was the observation they looked more like Marines than seminarians.

Kim Daniels New Spokeperson For President of Catholic Bishops Can't Be Easily Pigeon-Holed

Cardinal Dolan made a rather significant appointment today that got some attention. That is making Kim Daniels of Catholic Voices his Spokesperson.

The main media avenue that this is being digested from is the David  Gibson article of the Religious News Service .

Gibson I suspect put some teeth on edge right off the bat by calling Catholic Voices " a conservative media lobby " which I am not sure they  really view themselves that way at all. Also the fact that he just seemed to highlight Daniels political links for the most part has been seemed as unfair by some.

I think there has been some overreaction to the the Gibson piece but I do understand the concerns that some have that she will be portrayed as some right wing GOP party establishment hack. Something I am pretty sure Dolan would not want.

 Two good posst on Kim Daniels and what makes here tick. For a very good piece written by Katheryn Lopez  see A New Voice for U.S. Bishops & Women in the Catholic Church

There was also quite a " Defense " of the appointment by a Michigan Catholic Lawyer Conor Dugan on his facebook page today of the appointment. Other Catholic notables such as Patrick Deneen also show up in the comments to register their assent to the pick. Also David Gibson himself shows up and engages some criticism of this piece that some have. I thought it might be good to post that facebook entry because I think it is very informative.

Tonight, I'm going to post something a little longer than normal. David Gibson asks whether the bishops have found their "attractive, articulate, intelligent spokeswoman" in a woman appointed today as the spokeswoman for president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The short answer is that they have. Kim Daniels, the new spokeswoman, is all those things and much more. Unfortunately, it seems that the meme surrounding this appointment is the following: Bishops appoint arch neoconservative, former Sarah Palin advisor as USCCB's President's Spokesman.

Rarely, has there been a more reductive attempt at capturing the truth of something or someone. Let's state the facts first. Kim did serve as an advisor to Sarah Palin (post-2008 election) and she has worked for the St. Thomas More Law Center. (And we should hope that more people of her caliber serve people like Palin and organizations like the TMLC.)

To end there, however, is to fail, utterly fail, to grasp the great blessing bestowed upon the Bishops Conference in this appointment. These facts serve to caricature and to categorize someone who defies such caricature and categorization. If the media fail to go any farther than this, they will be doing a great disservice and failing to get to the truth of the matter.

Unfortunately, even good folks like Deacon Greg Kandra are following the theme here. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/04/usccb-hires-sarah-palin-advisor-as-cardinal-dolans-spokesperson/ (Though I see he has updated his post.)

I know Kim well. Kim and her husband David Daniels have been friends for many years. I've been blessed to break bread with them numerous times, to go see Juno together, to attend the Extraordinary Form Mass together, to meet great people at gatherings at their house, and receive wonderful life and career advice from both of them. To categorize Kim as some neoconservative neanderthal -- even assuming such a caricature is fair to those who would identify as neoconservatives -- is ridiculous and horribly inaccurate. (And I do not identify as a neoconservative but as a Schindlerian after David Schindler and his work.)

Rarely, have I met a person as thoughtful, insightful, curious, and interesting as Kim. This is a woman through whom I met Patrick Deneen and Chad and Sara Pecknold. (Patrick and Chad can hardly be characterized as neoconservatives at peace with our liberal democracy.) This is a woman who lent me her copy of Bill Kauffman's "Ain't My America." (Kim, I still need to read it.) She's the friend who tried to convince me to come to the first Front Porch Republic Conference. In short, Kim is not a mindless conservative who affirms the greatness and inerrant nature of the American Republic. She's someone sympathetic to Deneen and David Schindler and their criticisms of American liberalism. She's someone who thinks deeply about the deepest things. If there were anyone we'd want advising our bishops, this is the woman. She's forceful and thoughtful, hardly a shrinking violet, who will likely educate our bishops as much as they educate her. She will point out flaws in their reasoning and help them to make better arguments and better proposals to our citizens. She is EXACTLY what our bishops need and rather than running with stories about how a former Palin advisor is now advising and speaking for Cardinal Dolan, we should be extolling the great virtues she brings to this position -- virtues which I have no doubt she will bring to bear in a good and positive way in this position.

The other aspect of Kim that I greatly respect is that she is not one to sit on the sidelines. Her involvement as an advisor to Sarah Palin and as a lawyer for the St. Thomas More Law Center are examples of this. I don't want to speak for Kim, but I have no doubt that she better than many sees the flaws of someone like Sarah Palin or the TMLC. But she's not someone paralyzed by the less than perfect. She saw opportunities with Palin and TMLC to promote the common good and she did so. It would be easy for her to sit on the sidelines and offer criticisms. She's offered criticisms and also tried to put her deepest beliefs into action in the public arena. This storm over Palin will pass, but we shouldn't let it cloud what is an extraordinary choice by the USCCB. American Catholics were blessed today and THAT should be the story that dominates the headlines, not an association from a number of years back. In Kim Daniels we Catholics have gotten a thoughtful and well-spoken evangelist, not an ideologue or some rigid joyless person. Deo Gratias for this great gift.

Vatican Still Unsure On How To Treat Pope Francis Weekday Mass Homlies

Sandro Magister has a interesting piece up on how   people are trying to deal with the rather new thing called the daily " public " Papal Homily. See The Spell of Pope Francis .

In dealing with recent remarks that the Pope said as to the " Vatican Bank" in his homily Sandro Magister says in part :

.....Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio delivers these morning homilies completely off-the-cuff. And the passage reproduced above is the literal transcription provided a few hours afterward by Vatican Radio.

But that same day, in reporting on the same homily in another way, "L'Osservatore Romano" left out the aside: “But there are those guys at the IOR. . . Excuse me, eh?”

This disparity between the radio and the newspaper of the Holy See is an indication of the uncertainty that still reigns at the Vatican on what kind of media treatment to give the weekday homilies of the pope, the ones that he delivers at the 7 a.m. Mass, in the chapel of the residence where he is living.

To these Masses are admitted a selection of the public, different each morning. And among those present on April 24 a fair number were employees of the IOR.

These homilies of the pope are recorded in their entirety. But they do not undergo the procedure for his official discourses, when it comes to the parts improvised off-the-cuff.

That is, they are not transcribed from the audio recording, cleaned up in thought and expression, then submitted to the pope and finally made public in the approved text.

The complete texts of the weekday homilies of pope Bergoglio remain secret. Only two partial summaries of it are provided, by Vatican Radio and by "L'Osservatore Romano," redacted independently of one another and therefore with a greater or lesser extent of word-for-word citations.

It is not known whether this practice - aimed both at safeguarding the pope's freedom of speech and at defending it from the risks of improvisation - will be maintained or modified.

The fact is that what becomes known of these semipublic homilies is by now an important part of the oratory typical of Pope Francis

Twitter - Savior or Wrecker of Western Society ?

Last night my Bishop came for his Year of Faith to our Parish. I think I am going to try to devote a post to that later since it was very worthwhile. However I did could a laugh that he indeed picked up on my "hint" that he should join some of his other Bishops on the twitter.

On that note not all people are fans of the twitter and that goes for one person at the Weekly Standard. Thomas Hill at First Things responds with Three Cheers for the Twidiocracy .

I also might add an fourth cheer. I have that a good number of people that write articles of some importance that are also on the twitter will often respond to something you wish to comment on about. Further I have noted quite a few religious leader on the twitter when respond to an observation you make. I think that is productive too.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tennessean Newspaper on the Religious Angle of the Duck Dynasty Family

I enjoy Duck Dynasty . The show really grew on me after the first season and I got to like it more and more. Plus it is a Louisiana product that portrays a part of the state I am from in a positive light. I generally wonder how much "reality" are in some of these reality shows so I am often a critic. I think Duck Dynasty trikes a nice balance. It is also sort of neat that I know people that actually have known this family for decades. As they tell me what you see as to the family values and love they portray is pretty accurate.

Get Religion looked at story from the The Tennessean that really got the religious angle of the family right that is often in the background of the show itself. See A ‘Duck Dynasty’ profile that actually gets religion

Pope Francis Twitter Account Goes Over 6 Million

My Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport Michael Duca  is making his Year of Faith visit to my little ole Parish tonight. I have talked to him before about getting on the twitter. I might use this article on the growth of the Pope Francis twitter account as a lead in to encourage such a move.

See from Vatican Insider Pope’s flock of followers on Twitter shoots to six million . It is also pretty neat that the Pope's Latin twitter account has a nice following as they point out.

Why Are Evangelicals Maybe Underrepresented Among the Legal Elite ?

Dan Crane over at the Center for Law and Religion looks at this Are Evangelicals Underrepresented Among the Legal Elite?

He defines Legal Elite as "
federal judges (Supreme Court and the most prestigious federal circuits); top legal jobs in the executive branch (Solicitor General’s office, White House counsel, etc.); law professors at top-ranked law schools; and various talent pools that feed into the upper echelon of legal jobs (i.e., student bodies at elite law schools; Supreme Court clerkships)."

I think he is correct to think that this is a pretty big problem. It is striking that sense the rise of the Evangelical in politics from the Christian right to the Jimmy Carter Democrats that they seem to have hit a roadblock here.

I strongly think this is because of what he points out is the limited Universe where the applicants come from. This is one reason why when ever there is a high profile SCOTUS or Federal Appeals Court confirmation hearing I wish Senators would push for a tad more diversity in Law Clerk hiring. That is beyond the Ivy League and a few other schools that have maintained their hold on the keys of the Kingdom.

The possible lack of Evangelicals in the legal elite points to a wider problem that I think has real world  consequences .

Why On Catherine of Siena 's Feast Day So Many Feminist Like Her

It is the Feast Day of , St. Catherine of Siena and Crisis takes a look at why so many Feminists find her to be a favorite.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Priests Forbidden To Give Last Sacraments & Comfort To Boston Marathon Injured and Dying ?

No words.

How Return to Confession & Catholic Values Made The Irish Good American Citizens and Christians ( Dagger John )

I have even discovered this excellent piece Archbishop John Hughes of New York even later than Elektratig but I am glad I did. This is a fascinating piece  and gosh does it have various lessons that can be applied to groups and problems today.

What I found interesting was while the Archbishop understood that past persecution and treatment by the English by have left the Irish in a horrific situation that was not enough. Neither was just speaking out and working out against anti Catholicism.

Here is a part :

In 1845 Hughes began to face his greatest challenge. That year the potato crop failed completely in Ireland, and the Great Famine struck, lasting until 1849. The worst famine in the history of Western Europe, it brought complete social collapse to Ireland and caused some 2 million Irish to flee to the United States between 1845 and 1860, not primarily for religious freedom and economic opportunity but to reach a place where they might eat. Most arrived at the port of New York after crossing the Atlantic on what they called “the coffin ships.” As Thomas Sowell so vividly describes this journey in Ethnic America, the Irish packed into the holds of cargo ships, with no toilet facilities; filth and disease were rampant. They slept on narrow, closely stacked shelves. Women were so vulnerable to molestation that they slept sitting up. In 1847 about 40,000 died making the voyage, a mortality rate much higher than that of slaves transported from Africa in British vessels of the same period.

In New York they took up residence in homes intended for single families, which were subdivided into tiny apartments. Cellars became dwell-ings, as did attics three feet high, without sunlight or ventilation, where whole families slept in one bed. Shanties sprang up in alleys. Without running water, cleanliness was impossible; sewage piled up in backyard privies, and rats abounded. Cholera broke out constantly in Irish wards. Observers have noted that no Americans before or since have lived in worse conditions than the New York Irish of the mid-nineteenth century.

Hughes harbored no illusions about the newcomers. “Most move on across the country—those who have some means, those who have industrious habits,” he observed; “on the other hand, the destitute, the disabled, the broken down, the very young, and the very old, having reached New York, stay. Those who stay are predominantly the scattered debris of the Irish nation.” Lost in a land where many didn’t want them, violent, without skills, the Irish were in need of rescue. This was Hughes’s flock, and he was prepared to be their rescuer.

New York’s Irish truly formed an underclass; every variety of social pathology flourished luxuriantly among them. Family life had disintegrated. Thomas D’Arcy McGee, an exiled Irish political radical, wrote in The Nation in 1850: “In Ireland every son was a boy and a daughter a girl till he or she was married. They were considered subjects to their parents till they became parents themselves. In America boys are men at sixteen. . . . If [the] family tie is snapped, our children become our opponents and sometimes our worst enemies.” McGee saw that the lack of stable family relationships was fatally undermining the Irish community.

The immigrants crowded into neighborhoods like Sweeney’s Shambles in the city’s fourth ward and Five Points in the sixth ward (called the “bloody sixth” for its violence), which Charles Dickens toured in the forties and pronounced “loathsome, drooping, and decayed.” In The New York Irish, Ronald Bayor and Timothy Meagher report that besides rampant alcoholism, addiction to opium and laudanum was epidemic in these neighborhoods in the 1840s and 1850s. Many Irish immigrants communicated in their own profanity-filled street slang called “flash talk”: a multi-day drinking spree was “going on a bender,” “cracking a can” was robbing a house. Literate English practically disappeared from ordinary conversation.

An estimated 50,000 Irish prostitutes, known in flash talk as “nymphs of the pave,” worked the city in 1850, and Five Points alone had as many as 17 brothels. Illegitimacy reached strato-spheric heights—and tens of thousands of abandoned Irish kids roamed, or prowled, the city’s streets. Violent Irish gangs, with names like the Forty Thieves, the B’boys, the Roach Guards, and the Chichesters, brought havoc to their neighborhoods. The gangs fought one another and the nativists—but primarily they robbed houses and small businesses, and trafficked in stolen property. Over half the people arrested in New York in the 1840s and 1850s were Irish, so that police vans were dubbed “paddy wagons” and episodes of mob violence in the streets were called “donnybrooks,” after a town in Ireland.

Death was everywhere. In 1854 one out of every 17 people in the sixth ward died. In Sweeney’s Shambles the rate was one out of five in a 22-month period. The death rate among Irish families in New York in the 1850s was 21 percent, while among non-Irish it was 3 percent. Life expectancy for New York’s Irish averaged under 40 years. Tuberculosis, which Bishop Hughes called the “natural death of the Irish immigrants,” was the leading cause of death, along with drink and violence.

Inflamed by this spectacle of social ruin, nativist sentiment grew and took a nastier, racist turn, no longer attacking primarily the superstition and priestcraft of the Catholic religion but rather the genetic inferiority of the Irish people. Gifted diarist and former mayor George Templeton Strong, for example, wrote that “the gorilla is superior to the Celtic in muscle and hardly their inferior in a moral sense.” In the same vein, Harper’s in 1851 described the “Celtic physiognomy” as “simian-like, with protruding teeth and short upturned noses.” Cel-ebrated cartoonist Thomas Nast constantly depicted the Irish as closely related to apes, while Orson and Lorenzo Fowler’s New Illustrated Self-Instructor in Phrenology and James Redfield’s Outline of a New System of Physiognomy gave such ideas the color of science.

By 1850 the New York City lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island) was filled with Irish, most of them probably hallucinating alcoholics. Doctors of the day had a different view, speculating that insanity grew from degeneracy and violation of the moral law. Compounding the problem, according to Ralph Parsons, superintendent of the asylum, the Irish were people of exceptionally bad habits. They were, he said, of “a low order of intelligence, and very many of them have imperfectly developed brains. When such persons become insane, the prognosis is unfavorable.”

Hughes’s solution for his flock’s social ills was to re-spiritualize them. He wanted to bring about an inner, moral transformation in them, which he believed would solve their social problems in the end. He put the ultimate blame for their condition squarely on the historical oppression they had suffered at the hands of the English, which he said had caused them “to pass away from the faith of their ancestors,” robbing them of the cultural heritage that should have guided their behavior. But that was in the past: now it was time for them to regain what they had lost. So he bought abandoned Protestant church buildings in Irish wards, formed parish churches, and sent in parish priests on a mission of urban evangelization aimed at giving the immigrants a faith-based system of values.

With unerring psychological insight, Hughes had his priests emphasize religious teachings perfectly attuned to re-socializing the Irish and helping them succeed in their new lives. It was a religion of personal responsibility that they taught, stressing the importance of confession, a sacrament not widely popular today—and unknown to many of the Irish who emigrated during the famine, most of whom had never received any religious education. The practice had powerful psychological consequences. You cannot send a friend to confess for you, nor can you bring an advocate into the confessional. Once inside the confessional, you cannot discuss what others have done to you but must clearly state what you yourself have done wrong. It is the ultimate taking of responsibility for one’s actions; and it taught the Irish to focus on their own role in creating their misfortune.

Hughes once remarked that “the Catholic Church is a church of discipline,” and Father Richard Shaw, Hughes’s most recent biographer, believes that the comment gives a glimpse into the inner core of his beliefs. Self-control and high personal standards were the key—and Hughes’s own disciplined labors to improve himself and all those around him, despite constant ill health, embodied this ethic monumentally. Hughes proclaimed the need to avoid sin. His clergy stated clearly that certain conduct was right and other conduct was wrong. People must not govern their lives according to momentary feelings or the desire for instant gratification: they had to live up to a code of behavior that had been developed over thousands of years. This teaching produced communities where ethical standards mattered and severe stigma attached to those who misbehaved.

The priests stressed the virtue of purity, loudly and unambiguously, to both young and old. Sex was sinful outside marriage, no exceptions. Packed together in apartments with sometimes two or three families in a single room, the Irish lived in conditions that did not encourage chastity or even basic modesty. Women working in the low-paid drudgery of domestic service were tempted to work instead in the saloons of Five Points, which often led to a life of promiscuity or prostitution. The Church’s fierce exhortations against promiscuity, with its accompanying evils of out-of-wedlock births and venereal disease, took hold. In time, most Irish began to understand that personal responsibility was an important component of sexual conduct.

Since alcohol was such a major problem for his flock, Hughes—though no teetotaler himself—promoted the formation of a Catholic abstinence society. In 1849 he accompanied the famous Irish Capuchin priest, Father Theobald Mathew, the “apostle of temperance,” all around the city as he gave the abstinence pledge to 20,000 New Yorkers.

A religion of discipline, stressing conduct and the avoidance of sin, can be a pinched and gloomy affair, but Hughes’s teaching had a very different inflection. His priests mitigated the harshness with the encouraging Doctrine of the Sacred Heart, which declares that if you keep the commandments, God will be your protector, healer, advisor, and perfect personal friend. To a people despised by many, living in desperate circumstances, with narrow economic possibilities, such a teaching was a bulwark against anger, despair, and fear. Hughes’s Catholicism was upbeat and encouraging: if God Almighty was your personal friend, you could overcome

Of course much of this is out of fashion today and is the talk of "recovering Catholics " Though one can make an argument I think the "recovery " is not all that grand.

Strange Challenge For Christians - Wear An Atheist T - Shirt

The Friendly Atheist highlights this sort of strange challenge at Challenge to Christians: Wear an Atheist T-Shirt and Gauge Reactions

The person behind this idea goes on to say :" If a person comments (friends, family, church members, strangers) you’re not allowed to divulge which religion you actually are, or explain yourself in any way. You must only listen to what they say and respond with “I’d rather not talk about it!” "

I think if friends, family or my fellow church people saw me wearing as a practicing Catholic wearing an Atheist T-shirt  they would no doubt ask me why I was wearing an atheist T-Shirt and would engage me for obvious good reasons. Not seeing any "persecution" in that . Besides that  when you become an walking billboard for something the purpose often to promote  a viewpoint. They want feedback !!

The Friendly Atheist says there are bonus points if you do this in the South. The comments are sort of amusing as to all the imagined responses to that. I suspect most people would not comment at all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Will Pope Francis Inspire LAY Catholics To Be With People In Prisons ? Looking at New Orleans

Pope Francis as a Cardinal made an interesting observation on the clericalisation of the laity . Father Bradley recently posted what thoughts on the matter here just a couple of weeks ago.

“There is a problem, and I’ve said it many times before: the temptation of clericalisation. We priests tend to clericalize the laity. We don’t realize it, but it is like our [clerical state] being contagious. And the laity – not all, but many – ask us on their knees to clericalise them because it’s more comfortable to be an altar server than the protagonist of the way [of life] of the laity. We don’t have to fall into that trap. It is a complicity that is sinful. Neither to clericalise nor to ask to be clericalised. The lay person is a lay person and has to live like a lay person with the strength of baptism, which renders him capable of being leaven of God’s love in society itself, to create and sow hope, to proclaim the faith, not from the pulpit but from his or her daily life. And carrying the cross like we all do. The lay person’s cross, not the priest’s cross. Let the priest carry the priest’s cross. God gave him shoulder enough to bear it”.

As some one that sometimes thinks the Altar looks like a 5 pm Baton Rouge traffic I think I get what he means.

I thought of this when I was reading about how the Archdiocese of New Orleans is really pushing for the Catholic Lay faithful to be involved in Prison work. The Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese had a nice piece on this at Ministry provides caring presence to inmates .

Pope Francis made some huge headlines when he had Holy Thursday Mass at a youth Prison. I am willing to bet a good many people in Prison work were hoping the Laity might take a cue from this. This is sadly an area for whatever reason many Evangelical and Protestant laity put us to shame.

It's also seem to be something Christ seem to think was very much of the laity's business.

First Real Workable 3D Printed Gun Closer Than We Think ? How Will Faith Communities Respond

I have talked about the 3 D Printing of guns before and it appears that reality may be here much quicker than people thought.

Prof Josh Blackburn has a post up over comments Cody Wilson , that troublesome Texas College Student and head of Defense Distributed , made a couple of day ago  at a conference in New York. See Coming Soon: 3D-Printed Handgun.

If successful this could be the new "shot heard around the world " as we become so much closer to having every person in the world that has access to the internet having access to near instant gun production.

The Governments seem behind the 8 ball on this  , and so are Faith Communities and Churches that are for various forms of gun control. As to the Church it might have to totally rethink laws it promotes to restrict gun access in light of this technology. Some avenues to restrict gun possession might become very obsolete very fast.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Asking " Liberals " - Is Compelling People To Make Cakes For Gay Weddings Really Worth It ?

Hopefully today ( looking more like tomorrow )  I am going to do a substantial post on what in my view is a very concerning statement from some major religious leaders in Rhode Island. See this article and link as to some important parts of the new Rhode Island Same sex marriage legislation.  "No more exemptions" RI faith leaders write to legislature .

I hope to make an argument that straight folks,  LGBT , people of Faith and of no Faith at all , should perhaps have concerns too of the viewpoint of these religious leaders. Hopefully if it is  read  ,by some unlikely chance , by  greater and more influential minds than me it  raise some important issues that at least need to get a hearing.

However before I get to that I saw something related to the thoughts I hope to expound on via the CENTER FOR LAW AND RELIGION FORUM .   See Dan Crane 's post which also can be applied to the related florists and wedding photographer controversies Gay Wedding Cakes and Liberalism .

He says in part about wedding cakes compelled by the force of law :

...Alas, liberalism is losing out in the culture wars.  The gay wedding cakes battles are representative of a wider disease that infects people in both camps—invoking the power of government to endorse and enforce one’s world view on matters of sexuality and identity.  Rather than just saying, “I’ll take my business elsewhere,” the impulse is to call the attorney general’s office in support of one’s position, as though law and politics were the appropriate fora for deciding the morality of sexual identity and practice.

The predominant forces in both camps are pushing anti-liberal agendas.  In 2004, the Virginia Legislature passed a statute invalidating private contracts between gay people if they replicated the incidences of marriage.  Conservatives continue to resist political settlements on same-sex marriage that would shift marriage decisions from the state to individuals and private communities.  On the other side, progressives are fighting to enshrine their views in marriage and antidiscrimination laws and school curricula.  In the Chik-fil-A flap last summer, progressive politicians around the country threatened zoning prohibitions or other deployments of state power to fight the forces of “hatred and intolerance.”

Where are the liberals?  Where are the people willing to say: “As much as possible, let’s not decide these questions in the arena of the state.  Let’s let them play out in families, churches, religious communities, social networks, friendships, businesses, and private associations.  Let’s resist the impulse to make these kinds of divisive moral and religious questions political questions.  Let’s not fight another Thirty Years’ War.”
Let me try to preempt some likely objections with two concluding observations.

First, a liberal disposition cannot be confined to circumstances where one disapproves of someone else’s conduct but it causes no harm to others—because that’s an empty set.  It’s child’s play for lawyers, philosophers, and economists  to demonstrate that almost anything one person does affects other people.  When the baker refuses to make the wedding cake, it imposes real distress, humiliation, and inconvenience on the person requesting the cake.  Conversely, having to make the cake would impose real offense and moral indignity on the baker.  Liberalism doesn’t depend on a view that one of the parties really isn’t hurt, any more than free speech depends on a view that words can never be hurtful.  Liberalism is a disposition that says “the state must let pass these sorts of harm—they do not rise to the level of force and fraud where state intervention is justified.”

Second, to espouse liberalism isn’t to pretend that the state never has to make political judgments on issues of sexual orientation.  Since the state runs the military, it must decide whether gay people can serve in the armed forces.  Since the state regulates adoptions, it must decide whether gay people can adopt.  And there are of course other examples.  But the fact that it is sometimes unavoidable for the state to wade into these thorny issues does not justify the state wading in when it doesn’t have to.  The great project of liberalism is to strive continually for resolutions that don’t involve the state deciding divisive issues of  meaning and morality that require choosing between contending world views.  This isn’t always possible, but it’s possible much more of the time than it happens.

Calling all liberals . . .

Again read it all.

I think there is lot more going on here besides the gay marriage issue. One being that some people view things just through " Positive " liberty  legal viewpoint than the old " negative " liberty viewpoint. I think  it's safe to say for instance that Cathy Grossman at USA today sees the whole wedding cake issue through the lens of " Positive " liberty only .

More on those issues later.

However I got to think that Prof Crane's concerns are valid and might even have a substantial audience among many that support Same Sex Marriage. It's hard to contain these things and one wonders what precedents set today will effect other matters tomorrow. This is a major concern if one has the idea that perhaps governments reach is not unlimited

LSU ' s Practice Of Monitoring Athlete's Social Media To Be Crime Under Proposed Law ( Updated )

UPDATE - Reporter McGaughy  informs me that the part making this a CRIME has been taken out. It would still be prohibited .

Its always interesting to see what new proposed laws seem to catch steam in various State legislatures around the country. No doubt this year that includes new proposed laws that  prohibit employers ,public universities and others from violating internet privacy. In the last couple of weeks alone we have seen this in both Arkansas and Utah.

These laws affect many people and very much so the College Athlete . In fact a whole cottage industry has grown up to help Universities monitor what their athletes and some of the well troublesome things they might say on a variety of social media.

The problem is that sometimes the way this is done becomes down right invasive . Deadspin looked at this issue and a good bit of that article looked at LSU policy and what it demands of their athletes as to their various social media accounts. See Don't Say "Colt 45" Or "Pearl Necklace": How To Avoid Being Busted By The Facebook Cops Of College Sports.   

Also see page 7 & 8 of the LSU Student Athlete handbook

Well that very well might change because of the Louisiana Legislature. See Social media, email privacy bill sails through House committee .

Its pretty clear from the bill language  ( see section 1954 ) that little app is going to have to be gone with the wind in the future if this bill passes because violation of such will be a misdemeanor a with a fine up to one thousand dollars.

Secretary of State John Kerry Wants Eastern Orthodox Seminaries To Reopen In Turkey

I am very glad he is pressing this issue !! First Thoughts has John Kerry Wants More Seminaries . . . in Turkey

Cardinal Ravasi's Remarks At the Religious Freedom Conference Held By the Vatican

The Vatican held a very important conference last week on Religious Freedom whose speakers came from varied faiths.and backgrounds  . For instance former NBA star Vlade Divac and singer Gloria Estefan were there.
See here for the speakers and agenda. I am going to keep my eye out for English translations of the panels.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Vatican Radio Interview Bishop Vásquez of Austin And West Texas Parish Priest On Tragic Explosion

The town of West Texas is one of those interesting small American small towns you run across that make you ponder the history of an area. It has a strong Czech presence so much so that the explosion that rocked the town has the Czech Ambassador to the USA heading to the town down to give support.The picture above is from the Westfest that is held each Labor day to celebrate their heritage.

It is also an town in area of Texas that has a strong Catholic presence for such a small town. Vatican Radio pretty quickly had a nice article and radio interview with  Bishop Valdez of the Diocese of Austin and Father Ed Karasek, the pastor of St. Mary’s Assumption Catholic Parish in West .See Catholic community helps in wake of Texas explosion .

The Catholic Charities web page for West Texas assistance is located here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why Is The Pope Francis Daily Mass Homily Not Appearing On Vatican Web SIte ?

One of the more interesting things about the Pope Francis Pontificate so far is that he is doing a daily Mass that has a lot of attendance and gets more press. This includes his homily !!

In fact if this continues we could have Pope Francis being  in the news more than any other Pope so far. In other words there is a real Pope angle everyday for the media to cover.

This has I suppose it's up side and down sides. So far it's been I think a plus. That being said I could perhaps see a Bishops viewpoint there are times the Vatican needs to recede a tad.

Regardless some Catholics are asking why are  the full transcripts  not available ? See Please, Holy See communication officials, make up your minds about the Pope's weekday sermons! 

At some point the press honeymoon with Pope Francis is going to end and I expect we shall go back to the practice of taking some Papal quotes out of context to get headlines.  This is likely to happen a good bit when the Pope is is increasing what he says in a public forum drastically. So the Holy See needs I think to be ready to get the full transcripts up .That is helpful and indeed necessary when Catholics on the internet can counteract some perhaps unfair reporting.

Archbishop Chaput Has Not "enjoyed " Leading the Archdiocese of Philadelphia So Far

But there is not doubt in my mind he is the man for that difficult job. See Archbishop gives stark, frank assessment of archdiocese at Philos dinner

Rod Dreher Makes Case For Louisiana Expats and other Small Town Expats To Return Home

I thought this was a rather nice article by Rod Dreher in the Business Report .

......That might be what set the hotheaded undergraduate editorialist I was on fire. But truth to tell, as folks who lived through that dismal era of Louisiana politics can attest, it could have been any number of things. Whatever the catalyst, the point of the incendiary piece was to say goodbye to all that. The cynicism of our politics, the populist scorn for excellence, the economic storm and stress that Louisiana institutions seemed incapable of dealing with, and so on—all these things signaled to my generation of college students that we didn't have much of a future here at home.

Five years later, after the failed Roemer Revolution, and having had to vote for the Lizard to keep the Wizard from becoming governor, I fulfilled my own Daily Reveille prophecy. I quit my job at The Advocate, loaded up a U-Haul Gentle-Ride van, and lit out for the East Coast, never to return...

The case for coming home-The nationally known author explains how culture played a key role in his decision to return to Louisiana.

How Gosnell Might Cause A Regime Change In Abortion Politics and Coverage

James Taranto has a good column up at the Wall Street Journal on this today.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Plight of Pro Life Journalists and Law Professors the Same ? Gosnell Coverage

The Gosnell abortion doctor trial is thankfully getting the attention it deserves now. An important side issue is being discussed also. Is the fact that a good bit of the media in powerful positions actually playing a big part in some stories not getting covered and when they are the slant give.

Mollie Hemingway has a good post related to this today . See WPost demonstrates how not to respond to Gosnell critiques, again . After reading that must read stop by and read Ross Douthat's piece in the NYT that I also think is related Balance and Bias .

I was thinking today how the situation of Law Professors and Journalism that reach the height of their profession and thus have great influence are similar.

Not too long ago Professor Michael Moreland who is Vice Dean at the e Villanova Law school asked this simple question.  . That is why  Why Is There So (Relatively) Little Good Scholarly Work on Abortion?

Law Prof John Breen at the Loyola Law School school game back with a very alarming and depressing bas on personal experience. See A Partial Answer to Michael Moreland’s Question .

He said in part :

...I would say that the relative lack of quality in pro-life legal scholarship is due to the relatively small amount of pro-life legal scholarship overall, and that this in turn is due to the enormous disincentives faced by those potential pro-life scholars seeking to become law professors as well as those academics seeking tenure, promotion, and advancement.

When I was first thinking about a career as a law professor, I spoke with my teacher and mentor Mary Ann Glendon.  She gave me a lot of helpful advice, e.g. that I should be open to teaching in different parts of the country, that I should identify the specific courses I would like to teach and think about how I would teach them, etc.  She also said that no matter how enthusiastic I was about teaching, prospective schools would judge my candidacy on how productive they thought I would be as a scholar so that I should work hard to publish some law articles before entering the job market.  Here she warned me “Don’t write about abortion.  Your goal is to get hired and most faculties will not hire someone who is pro-life.  Write about something that interests you but is not especially controversial.  Indeed, I would advise you not to write about abortion until after you have tenure and are at a school where you could see yourself spending the rest of your career.”
Because I was acquainted with Mary Ann’s own writings on the subject, and since I had written my third-year paper on abortion at Harvard under her direction, I was somewhat puzzled by this advice.  But she assured me that the bias in the academy was enormous and a real impediment to entry into the profession.
I took her advice to heart and succeeded in obtaining a teaching position.  Moreover, as she suggested, I did not begin to write on the subject until after I received tenure at a school where I felt comfortable, knowing even then that it would likely foreclose some career opportunities that might otherwise be open in the future.  I have always been thankful for Mary Ann’s guidance, and I have passed on this same advice to young lawyers who have sought my counsel as they contemplate a career in law teaching. .....

That sad and practical advice is coming from Mary Ann Glendon one of the more respected legal voices in the United States.

So basically a good bit of  Law Profs life is hiding his views if he is pro life. So while he or she might have something important to say they spend their lives writing on water rights law or something until they are established.

Its hard not to see perhaps the same social, political, and cultural dynamics with people in the journalism club.

As we have seen with Law Profs this situation leaves a lot to be desired.

Pope Francis - Reform of Leadership Of Group Representing USA Nuns Will Continue

I suspect people have been waiting for some signs where this was going .

Father Martin of the now famous #whatnunsmeantome hashtag has some thoughts . See Pope Francis, the CDF and the LCWR

Friday, April 12, 2013

What Will Protestant Churches That Support Abortion Say About Gosnell Horrors

Finally after a year of pleading it appears the media can no longer ignore the murders that happened at the abortion clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell in  Pennsylvania .

 The trial transcript is now just to horrific beyond words to ignore and the pro lifers as well as anyone just interested in humanity is pressing the media to finally cover this.  See 9 Things You Should Know About the Gosnell Infanticide and Murder Trial.

I intend to take on how the media has treated this case later. But in this post I am very interested in what the religious response will be among those Faith Communities that support abortion rights. That is for instance those that are members of  Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Mark Tooney looks at this from the United Methodist Church viewpoint at Kermit Gosnell’s Abortion Trial and United Methodists . 

As he correctly notes the United Methodist Church still has a viable pro life presence and in fact is trending there more and more in their official positions. So I expect many Methodist pro lifers will use this as an opportunity to examine some things and press for change.

However what about about other Protestant faith communities of the RCRC where the pro life  witness is not as viable and for all practical purpose shut out. That will be an interesting story to watch as this trial continues to unfold.

Pope Francis Says Democracy of The Dead Has A Say - Tradition and Scripture

Pope Francis talked to the Pontifical Biblical Commission today. Full transcript here at  Pope: The unbreakable unity between Scripture and Tradition 

He said among many things : "Respect for this profound nature of Scripture conditions the very validity and effectiveness of biblical hermeneutics. This results in the insufficiency of any interpretation that is either subjective or simply limited to an analysis incapable of embracing the global meaning that has constituted the Tradition of the entire People of God over the centuries, which “in credendo falli nequit" [cannot be mistaken in belief – ed](Conc Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. VAT. II, Dogmatic Cost. Lumen Gentium, 12)."

I might comment on something  relating to this and Pope Benedict's thoughts on the matter later. I want to get a few other Catholic Scripture blogs take.

Cardinal Dolan Appoints New Head & Members To National Review Board On Sexual Abuse

These seems like some quality picks. See their short bios here at Cardinal Dolan appoints new chairman of National Review Board

Getting Married At St Peter's In The Vatican- Easier & More Common Than You Think

This is a fun short video . See Saying 'I Do' at St. Peter's Basilica, a dream come true for some .

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kentucky Unitarian Pastor Confused Appears On Her Right To Marry Same Sex Couples

Which of course she had last week last year or last decade. See from the Friendly Atheist  Unitarian Pastor: If My Religious Liberty is Protected, Then Don’t Refuse My Right to Marry Same-Sex Couples .

At issue as to this PR stunt appears to be some displeasure at the passage and the related override of the  Kentucky Gov' veto of a bill that protects religious liberty.  I am not exactly sure what the uproar is since since it pretty much mirrors the The Federal  Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 . Note the Republic has not fallen.

Regardless no is trying to take her right or her Church's right to marry or whatever they wish to call it away.

One point on an assertion the Friendly Atheist makes

He says"So discrimination against gays, lesbians, atheists, Muslims, and everyone else who doesn’t believe what the Christian majority does is about to become commonplace in the state." .

That is strange assertion and I not sure meets reality. In fact in a age of misguided over broad " anti Shari " laws such a law gives more protection not less to non Christian religion from the Christian majority.

If Someone Is a Real or Fake Catholic Nun Dispute Show Ups In Federal Court

Kinda of an interesting Court case that went up to the Seventh Circuit  Federal Court of Appeals resulting in an opinion by Judge Posner. See

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Catholics Get To Know Your Southern Baptist Ally & Friend Dr Russell Moore

There is some interesting differences on how the Southern Baptist Convention operates versus the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. 

In the USCCB there is a very important position called the executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. That person is very much involved in the public square work of the Catholic Church. That is currently held by Dr.  Jonathan J. Reyes . However besides for those in the weeds most Catholics don't know who that is. Cardinal Dolan on the other hand who is President of the USCCB  everyone know !! He is much more the public face.

In the Southern Baptist Church the situation seems reversed. Its seem we don't often see the President of the Southern Baptist Convention in the media and on the front lines on some issues as much as we would expect. However the person that heads the  President-elect of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission which had been held by Dr Richard Land is much more the public face of the Convention on political and related issues . Why this is so I don't know but it is. That position is now going to be held by Dr Russell Moore and many Catholics could not be more pleased .

Catholics need to get know  Dr Moore because in many ways we are going to have a lot riding on how successful he is . I really recommend this First Thoughts post from this morning Russell Moore: “I don’t like to think in terms of culture wars.”

Dr Moore is one of my most favorite Southern Baptist to read. It is really worth it to spend some time on his blog Moore to the Point  to get a sense of the man.

He also has a very productive personal and working relationship with Roman Catholics. This can be seen in his work with Robert George and other Catholics.

I suspect the media is not going to know what to do with Dr Moore. You can expect a different tone perhaps coming from this office  but he can also be tough as nails. He is I think very politically astute in a time when it's needed.

Dr Moore and his Catholic counterpart Dr Reyes are from a new generation that are the product of Evangelicals and that John Paul era working together. We have differences and we don't paint them over. But we also have a lot of common concerns and goals.

In the years ahead how Dr Moore does his job is going to have a huge effect on if Catholics can maintain such things as their religious liberty. I am tad more hopeful since he is in that position.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher On How the Methodist Faith and Church of England Interact

First Things has so many good articles up today and I hope to highlight a few. There is a rather important one I think Catholics concerned about the public square should pay attention I want want to get into later

But first there was an excellent article here on Prime Minister Thatcher ( let her Rest in Peace ) and her views of the Methodist Faith In the Church of England. See The Baroness Thatcher on Methodism and the Church of England .

Congress Folks Uses Rutgers Basketball Scandal To Pass Federal Anti Bullying Legislation

Never let a good crisis go to waste as they say and members of both political parties are quite good at having the opportunity pass. Sadly this often means in the hit of the moment a lot of BAD LAW is passed.

See from F.I.R.E FIRE in New Jersey's 'Star-Ledger': Federal Bullying Law Not the Answer to Rutgers Basketball Scandal .

Should The Little Sisters of the Poor Be Subject to HHS Contraception Mandate ?

In a very good post  Kevin Walsh  , associate professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law , looks at this. See Must the Little Sisters of the Poor implement the HHS Mandate?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pope Francis Makes First USA Bishop Appointment - Bishop Michael Jackels to Dubuque

And its a rather big one !!

Rocco Palmo  has a pretty good overview at "If You Build It, He Will Come" – For First US Nods, Francis Looks to Lincoln

School Choice Movement Having Trouble With Relics of Anti Catholicism in State Constitutions

The Catholic Thing has a good post on how the school choice movement is running into a roadblock in many states. A roadblock that is in many state constitutions and has it basis in America's anti Catholicism. See School Choice as Social Justice

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do John Hopkins Students Need To Be Protected From " Gruesome " Pro Life Pictures ? - Historians Chime In

The denial of student organization status to the John Hopkins pro life group Voice For Life ( VFL ) by the Student Government Association is starting to get more and more attention. Related to that is the rather jaw dropping endorsement of that view by the John Hopkins  student newspaper of all things. See It’s not a matter of Freedom of Speech .

To where it said in part among many other WTH things :

This case revolves instead around the fundamental duty of the University to protect its students from undue harassment. VFL is not appealing to the Judiciary Committee for the sake of freedom of speech. It is applying, rather, to receive University sponsorship for potentially offensive behavior.
Rubber fetuses and plastered photos of aborted babies on the Breezeway infringe upon the University’s Anti-Harassment Policy, which precludes an activity which is “so severe or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment.” Students at a private university on University-owned grounds should not be forced to view images of fetuses on school property.

F.I.R.E whose mission is partly to protect First Amendment values on campus noted this is an 180 from the newspapers position just two years ago.

Susan Kruth in here letter to the John Hopkins newspaper in an effective ways shows the dangers of the both the SGA and the newspapers position. She tackles the objections to the VFL I think quite well. As to " harassment " she notes :

 Finally, The News-Letter stretches JHU’s harassment policy to include speech that does not rise to the legal standard of student-on-student harassment in education. The Supreme Court held in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999) that speech constitutes unprotected harassment when it is targeted, discriminatory conduct “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit.” VFL President Andrew Guernsey clarified in speaking with The News-Letter that the organization planned to “speak to women in a peaceful, non-aggressive manner [and] hand out literature.” To call this harassment is to trivialize real harassment. But even if VFL chose to illustrate its point with gruesome images, those images would remain protected speech. Johns Hopkins students are not children; they are adults. And adults in a college setting do not have a broad right not to be confronted with ideas or images that make them uncomfortable—nor should they .

This reminds me of a rather important case that is happening out in Colorado . That is ‘Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness’.

As Religion Clause noted  in this case th

Colorado appeals court (full text of opinion) enjoined anti-abortion protesters from engaging in certain kinds of protest activity aimed at a church they believed had gone astray.  The injunction applied during periods from shortly before to shortly after church services. The primary portion of the injunction challenged on appeal prohibits defendants from:

displaying large posters or similar displays depicting gruesome images of mutilated fetuses or dead bodies in a manner reasonably likely to be viewed by children under 12 years of age attending worship services and/or worship-related events at plaintiff church.

This has set off a good many alarm bells and a cert petition has taken to the U.S. Supreme Court . These alarm bells have included many factions. See

 Amicus Brief Supporting the “Gruesome Images” Petition, from Liberal Free Speech Scholars  


 Amicus Brief Supporting the “Gruesome Images” Petition, from Religion Clauses Scholars

However this Amicus Brief caught my eye like it has some others. See Amicus Brief Supporting the “Gruesome Images” Petition, from Historians of Art and Photography .

Their summary argument as quoted is :

Photographs, especially gruesome photographs, can speak with a power that text often cannot. Since the Civil War, people have used the photograph’s ability to stir emotion and engender visceral understanding to provoke debate about some of the most important issues our nation has faced, namely, issues of war. Unsurprisingly, many of the most important war images have been “gruesome.” Yet under the Colorado Court of Appeals’ interpretation the First Amendment, these photos would be subject to ban from public display precisely because they are evocative. Because the Colorado Court of Appeals’ opinion presents a threat to an historically-grounded method of expression that lends itself naturally to vibrant debate, this Court should grant certiorari and reverse.

Very true. I hope perhaps these friend of the court briefs in a case thousands of miles away gets viewed by the folks at John Hopkins.

A 17-year-old Boy's Convert Journey Into the Catholic Church ( Diocese of Baton Rouge )

I did not do a lot of Catholic convert stories like I have done past years. I think the Pope Francis news largely competed for space with them in both Catholic and secular papers. So there appeared to be far less press coverage to that this year going into Holy Week.

However from my State I did find this story which is a nice one. See 17-year-old knows where he wants to be now and in eternity

Girls Gone Wild and Catholic College Missionaries At Spring Break ( Avoiding Pitfalls )

FOCUS( Fellowship of Catholics University Students ) had a trip down to Florida for Spring Break.  

Amanda M Teixeira a FOCUS missionary had a post up on it at  How Girls Gone Wild and Trojan Condoms Deepened My Faith . Its an interesting piece because she connects here experience to some pitfalls we as Christians all have as we do our part in spreading the good news.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a very devout Evangelical friend from the Kansas City area. She was going to be taking one of her children out of the very good private Christian school and was  putting her into the public school. Part of the reason was the need to "shake up her world " some and also some worry she was exhibiting some of the pitfalls Christians should avoid as discussed above.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pope Francis Mania - Longer Confession Lines & Uptick In Mass Attendance In Argentina

John Allen , who is on the ground there, has a short post on his observations.

New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson Catholic Generosity Continues- 7 Million To Seminary

The financial generosity of Tom Benson and his wife that own the New Orleans Saints Football team and the New Orleans Hornets ( note they change to the Pelicans this year )  to the Catholic Church has been astounding. I don't how many articles I have seen where the Benson family has given great sums of money to Catholic things within and outside the Archdiocese of  New Orleans.

Now we have this. See from the New Orleans Catholic newspaper a very good article  ) Bensons fund $7M seminary renovation 

Here is a part:

In thanking the Bensons for their gift, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he had not even asked them to come forward. Tom Benson said he and his wife attended a function at the seminary two years ago when he was remarking to a group of seminarians about how nice the first floor of the seminary looked.

“They got me in the middle of the hallway and they said, ‘Mr. Benson, have you ever been upstairs to see how we live?’” Benson said, laughing. “I never did go upstairs. That was enough. It’s really our privilege to be able to do this.”
Archbishop Aymond said the Bensons came to him with the offer to fund the renovations under one condition – that they chair a fund-raising committee to invite others to donate to future projects at the seminary.

“This happens very rarely,” Archbishop Aymond said. “Usually, when you have projects, you’re trying to find people to be generous. The Bensons believe very much in the Catholic Church and very much in the priesthood. They are examples of good stewardship. The real meaning of stewardship is that we realize that everything we have and everything we are comes from God.

Read it all.

Implications of Student NEWSPAPER & Government Denying Recognition of John Hopkins Pro Life Group

I was pretty astonished when I read the editorial stand of the John Hopkins student newspaper on the denial of student organization status for a Pro Life group of students. I was not the only one.

F.I.R.E. likewise was astonished. See Johns Hopkins Pro-Life Group Fights for Recognition, with No Help From its Student Newspaper

What is frightening is this viewpoint is being promoted at both the newspapers and the the schools SGA is coming from some of America's "brightest" and indeed folks that will have some influence in their adulthood.

That we are seeing this more and more at school where because of a variety of reasons their students will become the leaders of their field and community.

Troubling indeed.

Speaking in Tongues Catholics & The Steubenville Rape ( Experts Weigh In )

I and a few other folks in the Catholic ghetto of blogs have commented on this face palm of journalistic piece the last week that was in Salon.

It was so bad it has merited a look today  by the Get Religion watchdogs people that normally don't spend a time looking at opinion pieces. They were not impressed. Steubenville: Ties between rape and ‘fundamentalist’ teens?

Pope Francis First Pope To Tour Area Around St Peters Tomb ?

According to the Vatican he is .

I thought that was interesting. I think if I was Pope that would be one of the first areas I would like to see.