Saturday, November 29, 2008



At 99 years of age, united with her Lord on November 18, 2008.

Founder of the Washington Catholic Interracial Council.

Organized the participation of her parish in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Prefect of the Parish Sodality

Member of the St. Augustine Parish Council

Founder of the St. Augustine Parish Black History Week Celebration.

Beloved wife of the late Walter A. Jones.

Tireless advocate for social justice.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pauline J. Jones Scholarship Fund, c/o St. Augustine Catholic School, 1419 V St. NW, Washington, DC 20009.

Friday, November 28, 2008


President Elect Barack Obama and his family distributed food Wednesday at St. Columbanus Catholic Parish in Chicago. They spent an hour working as volunteers for Catholic Charities, handing out chickens, potatoes, bread and other Thanksgiving food to families who otherwise would be in need.

Many of the poor and homeless -- some of whom come for food every Wednesday -- screamed in disbelief as they entered the parking lot of St. Columbanus Church at 71st and Calumet Drive and realized the reason they had been wanded by the U.S. Secret Service was because Obama, his wife and daughters, were standing there ready to pass out the food usually handed out by volunteers.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 , stood beside their father also handing out food in the 43-degree weather beneath the elaborate 99-year-old stained glass windows of St. Columbanus church. Obama wore a leather jacket while Michelle and the girls were bundled in winter coats and hats.

The President Elect said it was important to bring his daughters because, "I want them to know how fortunate they are and that they have to give back."

The pastor of the parish, Father Mark Eyerman expressed his appreciation of the President Elect for helping with the Thanksgiving program. But he was not the only one in the parish thankful for the Obamas.

As he finished handing out the chickens, the President Elect turned and looked up at the windows of St. Columbanus School where the pre-K through 8th graders were furiously waving and screaming from their second- and third-floor windows. The President Elect then shook hands with Catholic grade school students ecstatic to see him.

According to the Sun-Times, the President Elect said "Hey Michelle, look," he pointed as she waved back. "We've got to go in there and say 'hi' to those kids," much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, which frowns on spontaneity.

The Secret Service asked school officials to bring the school's 300 students down to the assembly hall. The enthusiasm of the Catholic school children was off the charts as Obama entered the room and attempted to shake hands with the children as young as five and pre-Kindergarten. Some grabbed onto his leather jacket sleeves and would not let go, trying to climb up in his arms.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Religious Extremists Attack Obama

Religious extremists are making the following attacks on the President Elect this week:

“aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic"

[Obama is] "the direct opposite of honourable black Americans," he is a "House Negro"

“We weep over the violence concealed behind his rhetoric and that of Joseph Biden and what appears to be that of the majority of the incoming Congress.”

[the election was a ] “a cultural earthquake”

"new face of America only masked a heart full of hate"

You can sort out for yourself which hatemongers made which statement. Regardless, none of them have a place in a serious discussion among a free people governing themselves.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


As a response to the current economic crisis, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have issued statement of strong support for the Campaign for Human Development annual collection. Read their entire statement here.

The CCHD Collection will be held in most parishes this coming Sunday, November 22 & 23. Please do everything you can to promote the collection. For more information and CCHD resource materials click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pope Expected to Welcome Obama at Vatican

Breaking news reports indicate that the Holy Father will receive President Barack Obama at the Vatican early this summer. This may even have been discussed in the telephone conversation the Holy Father and the President Elect had recently.

Many American Catholics are very pleased with the warm relationship being developed by the President Elect and His Holiness so soon after the election. Normal protocol usually puts these matters off until after the inauguration, but both men seem to have an interest in each other and a desire to move beyond the standard formalities.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lay Catholics Take Lead in Changing the Conversation on Abortion

Catholic voters' shift
Why the flock disregarded some bishops' advice and helped sweep Barack Obama into office
By Patrick Whelan and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
November 16, 2008

Catholics voted decisively in this month's election for Barack Obama, 54 percent to 45 percent, according to exit polls. This was a big reversal from four years ago, when Catholics favored George W. Bush by 5 percentage points. Now the debate is on. The U.S. Bishops, meeting last week in Baltimore, wrestled with the implications of election results that showed Catholics rejecting the dictates of the most conservative and outspoken bishops, who urged parishioners to vote Republican.

The putative argument for these bishops was that only Republicans are sufficiently pure on the abortion question. The facts show otherwise. Analysis of abortion statistics over the past 28 years demonstrates that Democrats do a better job of reducing the number of abortions than Republicans. Significantly more progress was made against abortion during the Clinton administration than during any of the three Republican administrations that preceded or followed it.

Overall, the national abortion rate fell about 50 percent faster under President Bill Clinton than it has under President George W. Bush. We conservatively estimate that an additional 274,800 children might be alive today had abortion rates continued to drop during the first five years of the Bush administration at the same rate that they fell during the same period under Mr. Clinton.

In other words, while the Republicans have been focused on laws such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that have not been proved to have stopped even a single abortion, the Democrats oversaw meaningful reductions.

What was stunning about this election is that a number of leading pro-life Catholics, including some staunch Republicans, switched their allegiance to Barack Obama. Law professors M. Cathleen Kaveny, Douglas W. Kmiec and Nicholas P. Cafardi joined groups like ours in vigorously advancing abortion-reduction strategies. Indeed, Mr. Obama included these strategies - such as expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, expanding prenatal care and facilitating adoption - in the Democratic platform for the first time. We believe such strategies have been shown to be much more effective than the Republican focus on promoting the possibility that some abortions in some smaller states might be made illegal if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned someday.

When the Democrats used Catholic language to advance the reduction strategies, Republican operatives, conservative columnists and some bishops accused the Obama advocates of "misusing" the bishops' words to support the more liberal candidate. A few, such as Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City, went so far as to suggest that a trip to hell was the likely outcome for voters who marked Mr. Obama on their ballots.

All this talk about abortion and the need to vote Republican demonstrates what is really at the heart of some of the bishops' concerns: They wanted the Republican to win. But Catholics care about many issues: torture, war and peace, health care, immigration - as well as how to be a good neighbor, how to care for the least among us and how best to work for the common good.

That is what most of the bishops care about too. In fact, bishops have told us in private that they applaud our efforts to advance a Catholic ethos within the Democratic Party. We hope that in the course of their deliberations, these bishops will speak out and recommit to the "faithful citizenship" ideas that represent the heart of Catholic teaching.

This election has demonstrated that American Catholics want leaders who are serious, deliberative and have a sense of gravitas about the questions confronting us. Pope Benedict XVI has reached out to President-elect Obama, and there is a new spirit alive in the Vatican for focusing on the big questions of our day. We stand ready to join our bishops, in this moment of new hope and opportunity, to work for the common good.

Dr. Patrick Whelan, a pediatric specialist, is president of the Catholic Democrats. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland, is on the group's board.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Actually, He is a Very Nice Man

"Catholic" dissident to run for Chairman of Republican Party

Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, a so-called "Catholic" who falsely believes that a person can call himself pro-life and yet support a pro-choice candidate, had declared his candidacy to lead the National Republican Party. It can be expected that Pro-Life groups and conservative Catholics will quickly point out to him that it is a sin to support a pro-choice candidate and selecting him as National Party Chairman would be an insult to millions of orthodox Catholic Republicans.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Wonderful Woman and Catholic Democrat

Pennsylvania's Beloved Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll Dies after battle with cancer

HARRISBURG - Catherine Baker Knoll, nearing the end of her sixth year as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, died Wednesday after a four-month illness involving both cancer and a lingering infection.

Her death came unexpectedly while undergoing physical therapy at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.. She had gone there following several weeks of treatment and observation related to cancer that was detected this past summer. She was treated at Hershey Medical Center and more recently, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

"She fought this illness with the same tenacity she brought to a lifetime of public service," said her son Albert Baker Knoll. "Our mother loved working for the people of Pennsylvania and was proud of the friendship she enjoyed throughout the Commonwealth."

Lt. Governor Knoll previously had served for eight years as State Treasurer, and her successful run in 2002 for the lieutenant governor's office solidified her place in Pennsylvania history as the first woman to serve in that capacity.

Funeral arraignments are pending and will be announced later by family members. Lt. Governor Knoll had three sons, Albert Knoll, Dr. Kim Eric Knoll, and Charles Knoll, Esq., and a daughter Mina Baker Knoll, C.P.A.. Her Husband Charles, Sr., died in 1987.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pope and President Elect Have Conversation

Protocol suggests a formal letter from the Holy See when a new Head of State takes office. If the country in question has formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican, the Cardinal Secretary of State sometimes sends a message when Heads of Government are elected.

We all thought it was very kind that the Holy Father went beyond the normal protocol and sent a personal letter to the President Elect, congratulating him on his election.

Now, the Vatican has confirmed that an additional, extraordinary step has taken place. The Holy Father and the President Elect spoke by telephone yesterday. The new Administration is getting off to a very good start.

(By the way, our sources in the Obama campaign revealed to us the Pope's telephone number. It is: "Et cum spirtu-tu-oh." hahaha.)

Monday, November 10, 2008


Click here to find out how to get your 2008 Victory T-shirt:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008


Catholic Charities USA sent a congratulatory letter to President-elect Obama yesterday; the contents are included below:

November 5, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama,

As president of Catholic Charities USA, let me congratulate you on your election to the presidency of the United States. You have inspired many people through this historic election.

We at Catholic Charities USA look forward to working with you to alleviate the need of so many of our fellow citizens. For over 280 years we have provided human services on this continent. Last year we served over 8 million people. We have done so in partnership both with the government and private sector. I know that you share our commitment to these "least among us" and I hope that we can continue to work together to empower people to overcome the bondage of poverty.

Be assured of our prayers for the success of your leadership so that God will grant you wisdom and strength for the enormous responsibility that you now assume. As you know, our Biblical roots call us to build a land of justice and peace where the disenfranchised will be valued and find opportunity. We stand ready to work with you in that endeavor.

My sincere congratulations!

Fr. Larry Snyder

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI Congratulates Barack Obama on His Election

Pope sends congratulatory message to Obama

Pope Benedict XVI sent a personal message to President-elect Barack Obama yesterday, congratulating him and offering his prayers for Obama and for all the people of the United States.

Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, Vatican spokesman, said the pope congratulated President Elect Obama, his wife and family, and "assured him of his prayers that God would help him with his high responsibilities for his country and for the international community." The pope also prayed that "the blessing of God would sustain him and the American people so that with all people of good will they could build a world of peace, solidarity and justice." Asked if the pope mentioned any specific issues he was concerned about, Father Lombardi responded, "peace, solidarity and justice." The message to Obama was sent through the office of Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, also sent a message of congratulations. Plans are already underway at the Vatican to send a formal message for the Inauguration in January in addition to the Holy Father's personal message of yesterday. In past years, the Vatican custom has been that the pope congratulates a new U.S. president only when he formally takes office, so there was great appreciation for the Holy Father taking the special step of sending a personal message of good wishes.

Others joined with the Holy Father and Cardinal Betrone in sending positive messages about the election. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, headlined a very positive commentary saluting the President Elect, entitled "A choice that unites." Vatican Radio called the election of Obama a "historic day" for the United States. Asianews, a Rome-based missionary news agency, ran under the headline: "I'm happy for the victory of Barack Obama." Written by Father Piero Gheddo, a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, the commentary listed three reasons for satisfaction at the result:-- Obama will give a positive impression of the United States at a time when "America is seen in a bad light and even hated throughout the world."-- The election of the first black U.S. president offers a lesson on racial equality, especially for Europe. It is an extraordinarily encouraging sign for black people around the world, who have often faced humiliation, it said.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

"People are coming together around a simple truth - that we are all connected, that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper. And that it's not enough to just believe this - we have to do our part to make it a reality"

- Senator Barack Obama, A Politics of Conscience, June 23, 2007, Hartford CT

The day is here. Americans have the wonderful opportunity to elect the leader of our nation. We believe that Barack Obama and Joe Biden present the better option. We will soon see if the American citizenry and the Catholic faithful agree with us.

But, let us remember that in the end, we have four very honorable and decent people seeking the top offices of our nation. Our disagreements with Senator McCain and Governor Palin are on many of their policy positions. There are even some matters where we believe they have the better position than Senator Obama. Senator McCain is a hero to us. He had led a life that has shown great love of our nation. Governor Palin is a true reformer who took on corruption in her own party.

It is a wonderful thing for a free people to govern themselves. America is blessed to have four very patriotic and able people. We are voting for Obama, but whatever the outcome, God has already shown His favor and love to our great country. God bless America. May God preserve the Republic. And may Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States, continue to intercede for our native land.

Grant, O Lord, heavenly rest to the soul of Madelyn "Toot" Dunham and may light perpetual shine upon her.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Sunday

It was an interesting Sunday, right before the election. Our friends at Catholics United have launched a national campaign to protect the faith by preventing the distribution of unauthorized material on church property, particularly church parking lots. An extremist Republican who is also a priest has been caught on tape telling his political operatives to violate the authority of the canonical pastor of a parish if he forbade material in the parking lot. From the reports I have heard, Catholics United has had success.

However, where I am volunteering, our pro-life Democratic congressional candidate planned to distribute materials in church parking lots. I had some unease about it for the same reasons Catholics United has. However, I don't find it unacceptable to have an open forum. Since when I arrived at the church lot the Republican were already there, I felt it was acceptable to distribute our material. Being tardy also allowed me to put our Democratic fliers on top of the GOP ones, giving us the better visibility when Mass goers returned to their car.

I made a point to say hello to the two Republican volunteers from whom I was not far behind. They were friendly, kind and civil. I made a joke to one of them "well, folks will have lots to read after Mass!"


Well, not that dramatic. A police officer pulled up to my Republican friend and told her to stop distributing fliers. He cited an anti-littering ordinance. He later spoke to me and made the same point, nicely and politely. My Republican friend and I both chatted briefly. She was unhappy and felt she had a First Amendment right to be distributing, but we both decided not to question the officer's authority. I would not be surprised if the parish made a request to the police department.

Now, I am a loyal Democrat and no fool. I hung around for a while to make sure my Republican friends didn't come back after the police and I had left. Sure enough, another guy showed up and started passing around brochures. I took the ones he left on my car. It was two of the pamphlets the right wing nut case Randall Terry and his Operation Rescue produced. The theme was that it was a sin for a Catholic to vote for Barack Obama.

My Democratic colleagues and I pondered what we should do. Resume distribution? Take them off the cars? Call the police?

In examining the brochure, we consulted with a long standing member of the parish and our superiors at Headquarters. All of us agreed that we should do nothing to impede their distribution. The Randall Terry pamphlets were so wonderfully inflammatory we were all convinced they would backfire. We even considered helping to distribute them!!!! (but did not).

The lack of civility by some of our opponents is frustrating and can be hurtful. It is comforting to remember, however, that all evidence is that the public rejects this type of rhetoric. Those who engage in it only hurt their cause and help ours.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama Continues Lead With Catholic Vote

Obama Winning the Catholic Vote

Republican Outreach to Catholics Falls Flat

Surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press show that Catholics are saying the support Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of 54% to 34% - a twenty point lead. The survey was taken October 23-26. This is a remarkable advance from the September 9=14 survey which had the Catholic vote as 45% Obama, 44% McCain. All of you who have volunteered with your parish or diocese Catholics for Obama organization have done great work, producing these stunning results.

Even among white, non-Hispanic Catholics, the support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has grown, taking him from a 13-percentage-point deficit in late September to an 8-point lead in late October.

The Pew data shows the largest part of the shift was among white Catholic independents, with only modest changes among white Catholics who identify as Republicans or Democrats. Independents are the voters one would expect to shift the most in the midst of a presidential campaign.

This suggests that the Catholic outreach efforts for McCain has been effective at keeping Republican Catholics on board, but a disaster when it comes to reaching out to politically independent Catholics. Fortunately for the Democrats, these hard conservatives Catholics are not known for self-criticism so we can count on them making the same mistakes in the future, alienating rather than winning votes.

John Green, Senior Fellow in Religion and American Politics, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life was asked how has Obama, a black Protestant, succeeded with white Catholics in 2008 in a way that Sen. John Kerry, a white Catholic, did not when he was the Democratic nominee in 2004? Green responded:

I think there are some special things about the Obama campaign that may be contributing to this white Catholic shift and may, in fact, lead to white Catholics giving Obama a majority on Election Day. Obama talks much more comfortably about his faith than Kerry did during the 2004 campaign. And Obama talks about it in a way that connects in a fairly straightforward fashion to Catholic social teachings on economic issues. And if one adds other issues that Obama has championed, such as opposition to the war in Iraq, there are a number of key points that white Catholics may find very cogent on religious grounds.

A final difference between 2004 and 2008 may be the more intensive campaigning within the Catholic community on behalf of Obama. New organizations, such as the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, have been very active alongside older groups, such as Pax Christi and Catholics for Choice. The revival of a “religious left” in national politics has been an important feature of the 2008 campaign.