A Nuanced Opening Look at Pope Francis

By: Saturday March 16, 2013 11:00 am

In all the writing and (for lack of a better word) pontificating about the new pope, one area of discussion that has some of the most misinformation and misunderstanding has to do liberation theology and the new pope’s relation to it in the 1970s as the supervisor of Jesuit priests at the time. Sifting through some of the profiles of Bergoglio, done by people who understand both the church and Argentina, paints a portrait of the new pope that shows a deep compassion for the poor, disdain for those who seek to puff up their own importance (both outside and inside the church), and also a leader who requires obedience from those he leads.

At this point, everyone is reading tea leaves, including me. With that said, and given the possible other candidates who were mentioned as Benedict’s successor, I’m mildly optimistic about Francis. A pope who isn’t automatically bound by how things were done before, and who sticks up for the poor, single mothers, and those on the margins, has a lot to teach some of the rest of the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

 

Petraeus Affair Shows Dominant Power of Government Surveillance State

By: Tuesday November 13, 2012 8:50 am

This David Petraeus sex scandal has, as is usually the case, launched thousands of columns claiming to understand intimate details about the mental states of everyone involved, striking moral tones about who can be blamed and what it means for the moral fabric of family life in America, the military, what have you. But the really interesting and important aspect of this story is the degree to which the FBI completely abuses the public trust, apparently for no more a reason than a favor to a friend.

How Long Must We Trust Generals on Afghanistan?

By: Thursday March 15, 2012 6:00 am

In the wake of the miseries we have inflicted on the people of Afghanistan over the last 10 years, including the recent massacre, President Obama said Tuesday that he met with, and has extraordinary confidence in, General John Allen, the commanding general. We kill Afghanis so routinely that they no longer take to the streets when after a massacre, and we make stupid mistakes, like bombing weddings and insulting their religion and their sense of honor. But, the President trusts the generals in charge.

Catholic Bishops Want More Concessions

By: Saturday February 11, 2012 9:00 am

While some are calling yesterday’s change of policy with regard to contraception coverage a win-win for both the Catholic church and the Obama administration, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops does not see this as a win. Instead, they see it as one small little step, and they are pressing for much, much more.

The first amendment’s protection of religious liberty is not a license for religious organizations or individuals to disregard any law or regulation they don’t like. If the White House wants to end this fight, that’s the argument they’re going to have to make to the public. Instead, they have allowed the USCCB to set the terms of the debate, and the USCCB is quite happy to continue doing so.

This isn’t over, folks. Not by a long shot.

Obama Announces National Security Shuffle

By: Thursday April 28, 2011 12:19 pm

President Obama announces the already leaked shuffle of his naitonal seucrity team. DCI Leon Panetta replaces Bob Gates as Secretary of Defence; Gen. David Patraeus replaces Panetta as head of the CIA. Gen. John Allen will take over for Patraeus in Afghanistan.

Obama Shakes Up National Security Team: Panetta to Pentagon, Petraeus to Head CIA

By: Wednesday April 27, 2011 6:21 am

In a series of national security moves, the White House will nominate Leon Panetta to become the first Democratic Secretary of Defense since William Perry in 1996. Panetta will replace Robert Gates at the Pentagon. Current Afghan war commander David Petraeus will replace Panetta at the CIA. And Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was ambassador to Iraq under President Bush, would move to Afghanistan to become the Ambassador there, replacing Karl Eikenberry. Crocker has also served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is one of the most experienced diplomats in the foreign service. Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen would replace Petraeus as the commander of the war effort in Afghanistan.

Pope Benedict’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

By: Tuesday June 29, 2010 6:50 am

It’s been a bad week for Pope Benedict. From Italy to Belgium to Washington DC, courts everywhere seem to be taking a hard look at some of the activities of the Catholic church, and they’re not liking what they’re seeing. Worst of all, from Benedict’s point of view, is that the events of the last eight days are but a foretaste of the weeks to come.

First They Came for the Nuns, But I Didn’t Speak Up Since I Was Not a Nun

By: Friday June 25, 2010 5:20 pm

It’s never been particularly easy for strong women to use their gifts within the Roman Catholic church’s hierarchical structure and their understanding of the separate roles prescribed for men and women. These days, though, it’s getting even harder — and the debate is not something that affects solely Roman Catholics.

Look at the ongoing health care battle, where the USCCB continues to fight inside and outside the church, to impose their beliefs on the entire US medical system.

Instead of Speaking With the Passive Voice, Benedict Needs More Active Bishops

By: Saturday April 3, 2010 9:02 am

In dealing with the current crisis in the Roman Catholic church of child abuse by its priests, the symptom the church is confronting is the abuse, but the underlying disease is a love of power. So long as Benedict addresses only the symptom and not the disease, real healing cannot occur. He called for “decisive action” and “complete honesty and transparency” in his letter to Ireland. A good place to start might be for more bishops to offer their resignations, and for Benedict to start accepting them.

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