Cincinnati mayor John Cranley, a Democrat, touts his Catholicity every election cycle. A proud graduate of St. Xavier (Jesuit) High School, he campaigns at local parishes during festival season and reminds everyone that he is pro-life on the issue of abortion. Last Friday he hosted a post-Obergefell “celebratory same-sex marriage ceremony” for five couples on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, replete with cheers, multi-colored rainbow confetti, and a pronouncement from Cranley. (See local press coverage here and here.) The bishops have had months if not years to prepare responses to predictable scandals such as these. It will be interesting to see what response Archbishop Schnurr has in store.

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The Catholic Courier of Rochester links to a CNS story on the record number of Catholic candidates running for U.S. president in 2016. The closing comments of Mark M. Gray, director of Catholic Polls at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, caught my eye:

“There are some teachings of the church that align with either party platform,” he said. “The church fits in neither party, therefore it is easy to be a Catholic Democrat or Catholic Republican.”

Pope Benedict XVI famously taught that there three “not negotiable” principles Catholics should take to the public square: (1) the defense of human life from conception to natural death, (2) the protection of traditional marriage, i.e., between and man and a woman, and (3) the right of parents to educate their children in the faith.

Easy-peasy for either party, right?

From H.V. Morton’s account of his trip to the catacombs in his classic travelogue A Traveller in Rome, which I review briefly for Amazon:

“One’s first feeling of dismay at finding oneself in this dusty maze of death is soon replaced by an affectionate fellow feeling for those who had lived so long before us and had trodden out the first paths of faith. They must have been much like ourselves. Who can see without emotion the words they wrote when they closed the eyes of those they loved, the words we still use: not the hopeless pagan ‘Vale,’ but ‘Vivas in Deo’ and ‘In pace Christi.'”

Does anyone know the budget for the Catholic Social Action office of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati?

Because they evidently are so flush with cash that they’ve decided to help local Catholics build birdhouses and butterfly sanctuaries in their backyards.

“We had a separate track for parishioners we called the household track. Basically, after some general understanding about church teaching on caring for God’s creation, we split everybody up into facilities track and household track groups,” Stieritz said.

“The folks in the household track took people on a ‘tour of the Joneses house’. They created this scenario where the Joneses made a decision to try to be more environmentally friendly. We walked through their yard and we had a speaker from the Marianist Environmental Education Center who talked about native plants and ways you can create a home for birds and butterflies in your yard. Then we moved into the house — the kitchen, the utility room, and different areas – and talked about how best to conserve energy,” he said.

“Actually, I learned something for myself.” Stieritz said. “I’m currently trying to spruce up my yard in places and I actually found that the native plant talk was very helpful. I’m planning a rain garden for some areas in my yard that puddle up when we get these never-ending rains. There are things you can do that are environmentally sound and that can help you.”

As a side note, you could make a drinking game out of the number of times the words “sustainable” and “carbon footprint” show up in a Catholic Telegraph article these days.

I will believe the environmentalists of organizations like the Catholic Climate Covenant give a rat’s hind-end about “poor people” when they stop measuring them — and the rest of us — via the obnoxious, anti-life yardstick of a “carbon footprint.”

As a prelude to the encyclical, Xavier University invited Cincinnati native Daniel J. Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant in Washington, D.C., to speak in March about the pope’s commitment to the environment.

Environmental concern “is part of what it means to be Catholic and part of what it means to take care of God’s creation,” Misleh said in an interview following his address to about 70 attendees at his alma mater. “The difference between us and some environmental organization is that we believe this is about both people and the planet.”

Often environmental organizations focus much of their work on the planet. “We’re saying this is both about creation and people and especially about poor people because they are the ones who are affected and suffer the worst consequences of environmental degradation and climate change,” Misleh said.

The new June issue of the print edition of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati features a letter from His Excellency Dennis M. Schnurr urging his flock to participate in the fourth annual Fortnight for Freedom. And we should. There’s an ominous feeling in the air right now among serious Catholics. Participating in an event like this one can help us experience the solidarity that goes with being a member of the Body of Christ. My family and I were privileged to assist at the Closing Mass for 2013’s Fortnight at the Shrine Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Here’s an excerpt from Archbishop Schnurr’s letter with some practical ideas:

And now a new concern has arisen. During oral arguments last month before the U.S. Supreme Court on cases related to same-sex marriage, Justice Samuel Alito asked U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrill Jr., arguing for same-sex couples, whether a university or college opposing same-sex marriage could lose its tax-exempt status. Mr. Verrill replied that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is going to be an issue.” If Catholic institutions lose their tax-exempt status, that will greatly reduce their ability to bear witness to the Gospel through the corporal works of mercy.

So what can you do to observe the Fortnight for Freedom?

 Stay informed. Go to www.CatholicCincinnati.org and click on “Preserve Religious Freedom” on the lower right. There you will find up-to-date information and links to the USCCB website.
 Answer the “Call to Prayer for Life for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty” from the USCCB. The “Call to Prayer” asks that Catholics celebrate Eucharistic holy hours monthly, pray the rosary daily, fast, and abstain from meat on Fridays. There is a Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/CallToPrayer.
 In addition, during the Fortnight, attend any special prayer opportunities available in your parish, and participate in Mass on July 4, the culmination of the Fortnight. Prayer is powerful!
 Display the Preserve Religious Freedom yard sign. You may have one from previous years. If not, a limited number will be available through The Catholic Telegraph at a price of two for $1. Although shipping cannot be offered, the CT will arrange pickup points in both Dayton and Cincinnati for those interested. …

Ten years after their publication, is anyone using the USCCB’s United States Catholic Catechism for Adults and the Holy See’s Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Both were released to much fanfare, especially the former, but I don’t hear much about them now. I led studies using both four or five years ago, but I profess to mostly using them for personal reading now.

The USCCB released the adult catechism in a free online version, which is very useful.

Both are also available in Kindle and e-reader versions (see here and here).

Again, is anyone using these resources, either personally or through group study?

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