Conclave is coming, and by hook or by crosier, we’ll have a new Pope before Passover. Papal elections can spell change for the congregations of the world’s largest church, so we talked to a priest to get a handle on things. Joseph Palacios is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and the founder of pro-gay-marriage group Catholics for Equality. He is on leave from his diocese in Los Angeles.
The current media frenzy over Paul Ryan seems to boil down to two things: his fiscal conservatism and his broad-shouldered good looks. Not since John F. Kennedy has a White House hopeful caused such a handsome fuss—Ryan, with his stiff-bristled black hair, aquiline nose, and earnestly furrowed brow has all the lean good looks of an early 20th century prize fighter in the back bar rooms of the Lower East Side.
The Obama administration took some hits last week after it announced that employers with religious affiliations would not be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's mandate to cover preventive services without a co-pay—including contraception. At TheWashington Post, E.J. Dionne* was quite peeved at the administration's insensitivity to the Catholic Church. Yesterday, the White House set up a news media conference call with senior administration officials to go over the decision's basic talking points.
Andrew Sullivan points us to this rather extraordinary interview Anderson Cooper did with Renee Ellmers, the Republican nominee for United States Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District. Elmers got some national attention by running an ad about the Islamic center near Ground Zero, which conflates "Muslims" and "terrorists," and asserts that the Islamic center is a "victory mosque" meant to cheer the tragedy of September 11. The interview has lots of alarming stuff, including when she implies that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf might be a terrorist ("We don't know).