Daily Links, March 13: Bishops, Buddhists, and Red Bull

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We've often written about how the bishops seem to focus on certain areas of Catholic teaching while keeping quiet in the public square about others. Vox Nova today offers a great overview of the bishops' inconsistent approach to Catholic teaching on key topics in recent years. And here on our blog, Meghan Murphy-Gill recaps how the church has been consistent in one area: it's attitude toward gay and lesbian Catholics.

Which brings us to the ongoing saga of Barbara Johnson, who was denied communion recently at her mother's funeral. The Washington Post looks at how Johnson's past study of Buddhism--which supporters of the priest who denied her communion claim is a justification for his actions--has influenced her life as a Catholic. Bryan Cones explains why, under canon law, that justification for turning her away in the communion line still doesn't hold up.

And back to the bishops, they've urged a day of fasting in support of their crusade against the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate requiring health care plans to include contraception coverage. Meanwhile the faculty of a Catholic college--the people whose lives are actually affected by the government's law--have written a letter that disagrees with the bishops's stance. “The American bishops have accused the Obama administration of attacking religious liberty in mandating insurance coverage of contraception,” says the letter from faculty of John Carroll University in Cleveland. “On the contrary, we believe the insurance mandate is driven by a concern for women’s health.”

Meanwhile in Peoria, Illinois the former employees of Catholic Charities' foster care program are doing just fine under their new banner of the Center for Youth and Family Solutions. They still have the same employees doing the same work, and serving the same foster children, but no longer have the "Catholic" label attached to their name, meaning their work will continue in spite of a state law that now requires foster and adoption services to consider placing children with same-sex couples. Presumably the organization also won't have any reason not to follow the HHS insurance mandate.

A few more interesting reads for the day: Lisa Fullam at dotCommonweal looks at changes in the attitudes of priests and the laity, sex abuse victim advocates SNAP face legal challenges from Catholics, and church leaders in South Africa are angry about a new commercial for Red Bull that features Jesus.

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