The view from a pew

A guest post by Steve Banko


This is getting harder for me and by “this” I don’t mean writing these essays.  I’ve always been able to write.  But I’ve always also been able to reason and to think and much of what is happening in my Church is making it harder for me to be a believer.

The hideous sexual abusers who have ravaged our young Catholics and punched holes in our confidence in the cloth are one thing.  Hardly a day goes by without another revelation of massive abuse: 300 priests in Pennsylvania, a thousand or so in Ireland, several dozen in Western New York, another hundred in Boston. Continue reading

Don’t rain on my parade

“Nobody, no, nobody is gonna rain on my parade!” (Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl)

So Donald J. Trump wants a parade. He went to Paris last July to see the Bastille Day parade and decided that America needs a big ceremony like that. Trump the showman.

When you think about large military displays you might think autocratic; dictatorial; crazed military leader. Such events have been big in Europe. Hitler used to stage them regularly. So do the Russians, the Chinese and the North Koreans. That’s not too great as far as role models are concerned. Continue reading

The Republican commitment to enacting Trumpcare comes to a fork in the road; In Memoriam, Father Vincent M. Cooke, S.J. and Bill Mariani

So this is what all the waiting was for? A warmed over hybrid of Obamacare and the House “repeal and replace” bill is all the United States Senate Republicans could come up with? They hid in a secluded room for weeks to produce this?

I’ll give them this: amending Obamacare is hard and complicated work. Who knew? Continue reading

A conversation between Pope Francis and Donald Trump

As part of his tour of the Middle East and Europe, Donald Trump met today with Pope Francis at Vatican City. It was the first meeting for the two men.

Politics and Other Stuff was provided with a transcript of the meeting by an unnamed source who has direct knowledge of the meeting and who passed on the information in exchange for anonymity. How I got this before the New York Times and the Washington Post I don’t really know. The meeting took place in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican. Continue reading

The Pope, Congress and a presidential campaign

With all the crazy obsession about Donald Trump, it is hard to think of something to top that media frenzy. Enter Pope Francis, stage left.

CNN had a new poll out Sunday that showed Trump fading a bit but we are not done with all that stuff just yet. What that poll shows, as I noted in last week’s post, is that the outsider/right-wing dominates the Republican Party. The poll numbers of Trump, Fiorina, Carson and Cruz combined total 60 percent Republican support. Add in Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee’s numbers and you have 69 percent. The “establishment” side of the candidate field (Bush, Rubio, Christie, Kasich) is right near the 20 percent or so that those candidates showed in last week’s Fox News numbers. Scott Walker leaves the race as hardly a blimp on the radar screen. His former opponents are going after his donors more than his voters. Continue reading