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Washington Front
Finding Hope in a ‘Messy’ World
September 29. 2014
John Carr
President Obama recently said, “If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart…. The world’s always been messy. We’re just noticing now in part because of social media.” Excuse me, but the problem is not increased awareness. The world is broken and bloody in ways far beyond “messiness” as usual.
From August:
Obsession Disorders
August 18-25, 2014
John Carr
Last October in America, Pope Francis warned the church against being “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. Washington, especially the religious right and secular left, shares this obsession.
Immigration Impasse
June 23-30, 2014
John Carr
In Washington, conventional wisdom is widely shared and often wrong. After the 2012 elections, the consensus was that immigration reform was one priority which could be accomplished on a bipartisan basis. In early June, the consensus is that this is almost impossible because of opposition in the Republican House. Let’s hope the conventional wisdom is wrong again.
An Empty Spring
May 12, 2014
John Carr
This spring in Washington, the cherry blossoms came late and quickly faded, but partisan posturing for coming elections is in full bloom. What is missing is Congressional action to deal with a stagnant economy, divided nation and a violent world.
Closed City
April 7, 2014
John Carr
If you watch television, Washington is not only dysfunctional, but also depraved and dumb. In “House of Cards,” on Netflix, power is pursued for its own sake; if you get in the way, you end up dead or destroyed. In HBO’s “Veep,” the vice president is completely self-absorbed and empty-headed. ABC’s “Scandal” is full of double lives and brutal violence. We’re a long way from President Bartlet of “The West Wing” and not even close to “Mr. Smith Goes to...
When in Rome
March 10, 2014
John Carr
President Obama will meet Pope Francis on March 27. The first African-American president will meet the first Latin American pope. Barack Obama and Jorge Bergoglio were outsiders, a new senator and an old Jesuit with, it appeared, little chance that they would lead the most powerful nation and religious institution on earth. Both were elected as reformers, committed to change in Washington and the Vatican. The president was Time’s person of the year and a...
Beyond Red and Blue
February 10, 2014
John Carr
The silence has been broken. I have often deplored lack of public discussion of U.S. poverty. Prodded by Pope Francis and the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, leaders are responding to the pope’s indictment of an “economy of exclusion and inequality.” With his words and example, Pope Francis has started conversations on the airways and the Web, in politics and our homes, about “people [who] find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work,...
Capitol Exhortations
December 23-30, 2013
John Carr
In a “Washington read,” people scan the index of a book and then read only the pages involving themselves. Here is a Washington read of some of the political challenges in Pope Francis’ exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.” (The pope’s words are italicized.)
What You Can Do
November 18, 2013
John Carr
If cynicism is the sin of our age, then ongoing paralysis in Washington is a huge occasion of sin and a temptation to despair. Washington is “de-moralized,” unable to launch its health care Web site, keep government functioning, enact budgets or pass immigration reform. Washington is “de-moralized” by a House faction that paralyzes their party and the nation with disdain for compromise and for government itself.
The Francis Factor
October 21, 2013
John Carr
On Oct. 1, a standing room only crowd of 750 filled Gaston Hall at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural dialogue of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. What brought them? Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington and the university’s president, John J. DeGioia, and an impressive panel certainly offered insights. But that was not what filled the hall. It was the Francis factor. They came to hear about Pope Francis...
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