Talking about the Things That Matter Most on Feb. 12
The Best of Kresta in the Afternoon
4:00 – Haiti: 4 Weeks Later
Nearly one month after a powerful earthquake brought this country to a halt, Haiti is tumbling headlong through a crisis that has not begun to abate, with evidence everywhere that current relief efforts are falling short. Despite the good intentions of the United States and the world community, weary relief workers say the coming weeks will severely test the resolve of those foreign contributors and the resourcefulness of a Haitian government that remains all but invisible. Pressure will grow on a fledgling food distribution network backed by U.S. soldiers that so far has largely managed to deliver only rice. From surgery to shelter to sanitation to schooling, the needs are vast and the international commitment unproven. Jim Cavnar brings us up to date on the situation and the work of Cross International Catholic Outreach.
4:20 – The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion and Culture
Penned by the leading intellectual in the American Catholic hierarchy, the book The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion, and Culture, by Francis Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago brings together some of the most influential writings on the Catholic vision—not just the Church itself but of the relation and unity of all people. Weaving together intellectual insight and personal wisdom, this investigation offers a luminous Catholic vision of communion, illustrating the Church’s relation to numerous religions as well as the secular world. Drawing from both the author’s observations of Catholicism in cultures around the globe and countless theologians’ perspectives—including Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Thomas Aquinas, and Francis of Assisi—this analysis demonstrates how to recognize the self-giving, liberating God who provides freedom from the competitive, oppressive gods of secular modernity. Cardinal George is our guest.
4:40 – A Deacon’s Retreat
Pope Benedict XVI’s inspiring first encyclical contains the passage, “The good pastor must be rooted in contemplation. Only in this way will he be able to take upon himself the needs of others and make them his own.” The Institute for Priestly Formation seeks just that. The Institute’s programs exist to help diocesan seminarians and priests become “contemplatives in action,” i.e., to learn how to pray in such a way that they meet God in the midst of everyday busyness and are thus able to help the people of their parishes and dioceses do the same. To that end Deacon James Keating, Director of Theological Formation for the Institute, has written a self-directed retreat for deacons in the Catholic Church designed to lead the deacon into silent adoration and deeper appropriation of his call from Christ to become a deacon.
5:00 – Kresta Comments – New Ways Ministries
The president of the US bishops' conference has issued a reminder that New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group that works with homosexuals and lesbians, "has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church." Cardinal Francis George of Chicago added that New Ways Ministry fails to provide "an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching." "Like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of church teaching," the cardinal observed, New Ways Ministry does not speak for the Catholic faithful. The group's founders, Sister Jeanine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, were warned by the Vatican in 1999 that their public statements on homosexuality contained "ambiguities and errors." They were ordered not to speak or write on the topic-- an order that Nugent has observed but Gramick has defied. New Ways Ministry issued a statement of its own claiming to be "astonished" by Cardinal George's public caution and complaining that the group was not notified that the cardinal would be issuing such a statement. Al has experience with the group and tell us about them.
5:20 – Marriage, Prop 8, and the Battle for Hearts and Minds
Should the pro-marriage votes of Catholics, Baptists and other people of faith in California be disregarded as irrational, “discriminatory” and unconstitutional? That’s the extraordinary question being asked in a federal lawsuit argued on behalf of two same-sex couples to overturn Proposition 8, the 2008 measure passed by 52% of California voters to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. During two and a half weeks of rapid-fire testimony in San Francisco, the plaintiffs’ legal team worked to build a case claiming that Prop. 8 should be thrown out, in part, because it was swept to victory on a tsunami of “irrational” religious “prejudice and hostility,” generated by discriminatory “messaging” put out by a broad coalition of Mormons, evangelical Christians and Catholics. We caught up with Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage at the Legatus Summit last week. We share that interview with you now.
5:40 – Pope’s Intervention on Britian “Equality Bill” Stirs the Pot
Pope Benedict told a group of bishops last week that the equality bill before Britain's Parliament might force it to hire gays, violating church doctrine, among numerous other moral problems. The bill seeks to address a host of inequalities, from low wages to women to limited educational opportunities for the poor. Britain's parliamentarians are mulling a radical equality law that its sponsors claim has the power to reshape the country into a fairer, less class-driven and discriminatory society. But in some circles in England the bill is stirring unease because, in its quest for equal treatment for all, it appears to require private organizations to make hiring decisions that conflict with their deeply held beliefs. British Catholic journalist Joanna Bogle weighs in.