A post after another long day. A few good pieces to look at on the net. A marvellous article by Cardinal-designate Dolan on Obama's attack on the freedom of conscience, published in the Wall Street Journal. He makes a very good point about the selective nature of the present administration in the US when it comes to religious liberty:
"The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease."
As someone once said to me: "They will respect every other religion except the Catholics, to be anti-Catholic is still part of being respectable in the US". As Philip Jenkins once called it: anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice. Too true. I see that the White House is in denial: typical.
Talking with some people here, I asked if Obama would lose the election: they think not. People here, they say, care little for his foreign policy and the issues such as abortion and freedom of religion and conscience are just too conceptual for many: the economy and people's personal situations tend to decide whether a candidate is elected or not. The economy is improving little by little, if it gets better before November Obama will get the credit.
The lack of a good opponent will also ensure Obama's re-election, they say. None of the Republicans seem promising, and many Americans do not trust them when it comes to economics and jobs. The elderly are fearful that the Republicans will tamper with their healthcare - Obama's plan insures they will have cover - so they will vote for him to protect themselves. While no Republican has come out and said they will not touch the elderly's cover, none of them have reassured the elderly either.
What about the Catholic votes? I asked. The Church has been too close to the Democratic Party for too long, many will vote Obama because of that connection. Many Catholics cherish the unions, Obama and the Democrats have supported the unions, the GOP has a tense relationship with them. Many Catholics have no problem with Obama's HHS bill - they contracept, they abort, they sterilise: their consciences are fine with that - the bishops will be unable to rally them in a fight for religious freedom.
What about the Afro-American community. Despite their support for Obama, they are worse off now than they were before he was elected. Many of them are torn, I'm told: some will vote for him because he is black, but those who have lost faith in him will not turn out to vote at all.
Many Americans will not vote for Obama, but they will not vote for a Republican either. I asked these people to predict: they couldn't: it's too close to call - just don't presume Obama will lose.
Other news. According to newspaper reports, the new Nuncio has arrived in Ireland. God bless him in his mission to the Church in Ireland. I got some texts today which tell me that a Papal visit to Ireland may again be on the cards.
And some good news; the Causes of five Catholics have been opened and are being filed with the Congregation of the Causes of Saints. The new Servants of God are:
Fr Pedro Arrupe (1909-1991) former Superior General of the Jesuits [biography].
Benigna Cardoso da Silva (1928-1941) a Brazilian child who was murdered as she tried to defend her chastity - she is being proposed as a martyr.
Sr Mary Rosina Gladman (1922-1964), a professed sister of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart - she was beheaded while working as a teaching sister in Papua New Guinea, perhaps a martyr also [article].
Maria Elizabeth de Oliveira (1951-1965), a Brazilian child renowned for her holiness.
And Maria Rachele Ventre (1939-1995), a lay woman from Bologna in Italy. She was a musician and singer, renowned for her work among young people [biography, her foundation].
Back to work - more prep for tomorrow's shoot. We are also on Fr Mitch Pacwa's live show tomorrow night (Wednesday) - say a prayer that all will go well. Thanks.