Hobby Lobby

The waiting is over. On the last day of the term the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) released its opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, holding by a 5-4 decision (conservatives vs. liberals) that (certain?) privately held companies do not have to supply forms of contraception under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) which violate the owner(s)’s religious beliefs. Despite all of the hype surrounding the case, including many American Catholics holding it up as a grand showdown over religious liberty, I agree with Eric Posner’s pre-decision assessment in Slate that the case is pretty much a bore. (Posner has some further post-decision thoughts here.)

More on 1962

Since I wrote “1962” a week ago, Fr. John Hunwicke has offered a few posts — peppered with his trademark wryness — on the 1962 liturgical books and slavish adherence to them: “Leading By Example,” “Prefaces,” and “Today…” As usual I find it difficult to disagree with Fr. Hunwicke’s critiques of the 1962 missal and office. In fact, as I made clear in my earlier post, I am sympathetic to individual priests and fraternities gradually shifting back toward certain pre-1962 practices and texts, especially the pre-1955 order for Holy Week.

Blog Contest

Dear Readers: Opus Publicum is having its first — and perhaps only — blog contest to replace the bland grey banner above with something — anything — more eye-pleasing. The only rule I am putting in place is that the image should be original to you and not a scan from a book or something you found on Wikipedia. Submissions of images should be sent to the following e-mail address: venuleius at g mail dot com. The contest opens today and will run until Friday, July 4. The winner of the contest will be given a series of books to choose from and may pick one to be shipped to them free of charge. No, I don’t know which books yet but I will endeavor, to the best of my ability, to throw in some variety.

Also, if you read this blog regularly, please do what you can to spread the word about its new location. If you know of other blogs that used to link to this one and haven’t updated the link, please let them know. Your support and prayers are always appreciated.

Acton Attacks Distributism (Again)

The Acton Institute’s web-log has been serializing Jonathan Witt’s forthcoming chapter from a book on Christian critiques of capitalism. Today’s installment, “The Distributist Alternative,” purports to demonstrate that Distributism is just another highway to the hell of concentrated government authority over the economy — the sort which leads to “crony capitalism.” Without involving myself right now in an excurses on Distributism, let me point out what should be glaringly obvious to anyone who peruses Witt’s takedown with even a half-critical eye: He’s attacking a strawman. That’s nothing new for the Acton Institute and its cohorts. Just last week, during its so-called “university,” Acton offered a course on Distributism taught not by card-carrying Distributists such as John Medaille or Thomas Storck, but rather by an economic liberal, Todd Flanders.

Summorum Pontificum

Traditional Catholics are often accused of being uncharitable and self-righteous when it comes to their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not fall within the traditionalist orbit. In fact, traditional Catholics are routinely accused by other traditional Catholics of being uncharitable and self-righteous when it comes to their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not happen to fall within some very specific traditionalist orbit. Certain folks claim that these divisions are all part of a divide-and-conquer strategy instituted by opponents of tradition. That charge, which isn’t very plausible to begin with, is undermined by the reality that traditionalists possess no shortage of reasons to generate their own divisions without outside assistance. Even the sedevacantists—the most “hardcore” wing of traditional Catholicism—can’t keep themselves together despite their miniscule numbers. It’s really no surprise then that the rest of the traditional Catholic world is fractured along any number of lines: liturgical, ecclesiological, spiritual, aesthetic, and so forth.