Politics

The New Secular Puritan Covenant

Thanksgiving brings back memories for Americans of the Pilgrims and Puritans, carrying out their “errand into the wilderness” to build a “city on a hill,” surviving that first bleak Massachusetts winter of 1620-21. As a kid, I remember that cutting out Puritan hats from black construction paper and taping them to the school windows was [...]

Liberalism, Conservatism, and Catholicism

We all talk about liberalism and conservatism, and about liberal and conservative Catholics, but what does it mean? Some say it doesn’t mean much at all. They say these are labels attached to arbitrary and even contradictory collections of positions. Liberals say they want lots of freedom and lots of regulations. Conservatives say they want [...]

Dear Bishops, Now Is the Time

Originally Published in Crisis September 2008 The statements made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joseph Biden on Meet the Press have provided a wonderful, even providential, opportunity to present the Church's teaching on abortion and explain its foundational importance to Catholic moral and political teaching in general. Already many bishops have [...]

Personally Opposed, But…Some Important Distinctions

Recent decades are rife with “opposed, but...” statements from Catholic politicians who maintain that they do not wish to “force” their own personal opposition to abortion on their constituencies.  Must they then stand aside, with their hands folded, while pro-abortion politicians grant a “license to kill” to pregnant mothers and medical practitioners? It is high [...]

Politics, Virtue, and the Intellect: When Rulers Fail to Rule Themselves

In contemporary political systems, every citizen can vote no matter what his level of intelligence or relation to virtue. Some of the worst political systems have high turnouts on elections days. The worst rulers also want to be popular.

People Say the Darnedest Things

Those of you past a certain age may remember the old Art Linkletter show “Kids Say the Darndest [sic] Things.” The one I still remember was when Linkletter asked a little boy if he looked like his daddy. “No,” replied the boy innocently, “I look like the mailman.” Well, adults say the darnedest things, too. [...]

Obama’s Racial Politics

There's been a heap of criticism placed upon President Barack Obama's domestic policies that have promoted government intrusion and prolonged our fiscal crisis and his foreign policies that have emboldened our enemies. Any criticism of Obama pales in comparison with what might be said about the American people who voted him in to the nation's [...]

Can the Bishops Win This Battle?

This past September, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the USCCB, sent President Obama a letter that was long overdue. “I write with a growing sense of urgency about recent actions taken by your Administration that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage,” the archbishop [...]

Green Fiascoes and Boondoggles

A barrage of news headlines on the Solyndra scandal continue to remind us that President Obama made green jobs one of his administration’s priorities. Those headlines also reveal this initiative to have been a costly mistake. The bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar-panel manufacturer that has collapsed despite receiving half a billion dollars from the federal [...]

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development: Reform or Bust

For many years now, Catholics across America have been asked by their local parishes to contribute to a variety of causes, mostly to help the less fortunate. As Catholics we are called to live the gospel and to practice the corporal works of mercy. This includes aiding those who are in need of basic necessities: [...]

The Witness of Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography, Sam Tanenhaus, Modern Library, 1998, 638 pages, $20   It was early December 1948, and Congressman Richard Nixon was in the midst of the first of his "six crises." For the moment this particular crisis was in recess, and a supremely satisfied Nixon was posing for pictures. In his hands was [...]

Can Cain Keep Flouting the Cardinal Rules of Politics?

  Herman Cain, beleaguered by charges of sexual harassment, was all over Washington last week — an odd choice of venue, considering that the Iowa precinct caucuses are now just 58 days away and the New Hampshire primary 65. But as I learned when I sat next to Cain Friday morning during a long-scheduled taping [...]

The End of Religious Liberty?

The sense of religious liberty is being lost in America, warned Archbishop José H. Gomez in a recent article. Writing in the On the Square section of the Web site of the magazine First Things, his Oct. 25 piece noted that both courts and government agencies are increasingly overriding conscience rights when other rights or [...]

Politics vs. Economics

They say "all politics is local." But economic decisions impact the whole economy and reverberate internationally. That is why politicians' meddling with the economy creates so many disasters. The time horizon of politics seldom reaches beyond the next election. But, in economics, when an oil company invests in oil explorations today, the oil they eventually [...]

Obama Is Just ‘Being There’

  Which past leader does Barack Obama most closely resemble? His admirers, not all of them liberals, used to compare him to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Well, Obama announced his candidacy in Lincoln's hometown two days before Abe's birthday, and he did expand the size and scope of government. But no one seriously compares [...]

NATO is Obsolete

  Defense Secretary Robert Gates went to Europe recently to announce that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization may have a "dismal future" and that before long, American leaders "may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost." Why does he make that sound like a bad thing? "Watch out! We may [...]

Hell, Heaven, and Progressive Catholics

With another presidential election looming, it won’t be long before many self-described progressive Catholics start issuing countless statements about numerous policy issues. Though many such Catholics sit rather loosely with Catholic teaching on questions like life and marriage, their “relaxed” position on such issues is belied by their stridency on, for instance, economic matters. Woe [...]

How to Kill the Housing Market

  And you thought things couldn't get worse on the housing front. The U.S. housing market is in the worst shape since the Great Depression, and now the Obama administration's solution is to impose new rules that would banish 60 percent of current homebuyers from the market. The proposed Mortgage Qualification Rules are the result [...]

Government Decisions Versus Private Decisions

Two unrelated news stories on the same day show the contrast between government decisions and private decisions. Under the headline "Foreclosed Homes Sell at Big Discounts," USA Today reported that banks were selling the homes they foreclosed on, at discounts of 38 percent in Tennessee to 41 percent in Illinois and Ohio. Banks in general [...]

The Leaders We Deserve

  Nobody is perfect. Anybody can be weak when the opportunity presents itself. Even habitual offenders against prevailing mores can be treated with indulgence; after all, they are only human and besides, they happen to be amusing or admirable in other ways, or they have a difficult background to contend with, or... Some people feel [...]

Draw the Line at TSA Groping

  A “Woman Screams for Help After TSA Molestation,” and the “Texas Pat Down Ban May Be Back.” Those are just two of the headlines that appeared last week as summer travel picks up—as do concerns over excessive airport security. How much indignity are you willing to endure if told it’s for safety’s sake? Would [...]

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