The very talented Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's choice for Supreme Court justice is, as you've probably heard, a Roman Catholic and the product of Catholic schooling.  As a result, the unfortunate question "How Catholic?" was bound to come up.  (Frankly, the only person who can ask that, as far as I'm concerned, is your priest, your spiritual director, or God, and not in that order.)  David Gibson looks at how that question is being tackled by some Catholic commentators, over at Pontifications.  Gibson also provides a Catholic roundup here.  Peggy Steinfels at Dotcommonweal puckishly notes that the nomination, which, if confirmed, would lead to six Catholics on the high court leads to the following conclusions: "A) Just proves Catholics are all over the place, or (B) The end of civilization as we know it, or (C) Your choice."  Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe also rounds things up at Articles of Faith.   Paulson quotes another blog on the Chicago Tribune, which in turns quotes M. Cathleen Kaveny, professor of theology and law at Notre Dame and a blogger at that (ahem) other blog, Dotcommonweal. 

Here's Paulson quoting the Trib's blog, which I'm not going to quote since it's a good one:  "Cathleen Kaveny, law professor at the University of Notre Dame, said a sixth Catholic in the High Court would illustrate how entrenched the church has become in the U.S. A sixth Catholic with views like Sotomayor's also would put the American church’s diversity on display. 'My guess is she’s very much operating in accordance with the commitments of the Catholic social justice tradition which is emphasizing … inclusion, solidarity, justice to those least among us,' Kaveny said. 'It’s strand of American Catholic teaching that is somewhat distinct from other Catholic teaching but not incompatible. People emphasize different aspects."

James Martin, SJ

Comments

Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 9:01am
I think what Fr. Z said gets at the heart of what is really going on: "I am pretty sure that, among other motives, this is also part of a conscious agenda. This White House, and those who seek to be its satraps, are doing their best to subvert institutions and some high profile public Catholic figures in order to drive a wedge between different groups of Catholics.  They especially want to cleave off the strong Catholic bishops from the rest of the squishy Americanized Church.  They do so by seeming to embrace an important but logically secondary set of common objectives so as to neutralize the deeper foundations of a true Catholic influence in the public square." You can read the rest here: [url=http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/05/wedges/]http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/05/wedges/[/url]
Anonymous | 5/28/2009 - 8:38pm
No, I would not accuse Pope Benedict as being a pharisee.  He states that the Ordinary Rite is the ordinary form and the Extraordinary is being allowed for those who have been somehow hurt by the reforms of the liturgy. However, there are those who want to move the church backwards in the hope that the Extraordinary rite will become the ordinary rite. Go visit any ''trad'' site online and you will be surprised.  It's all about worship of religion. They're arguing that the eucharist can't be ''confected'' if yeast or honey are added, how Vatican II and Pope Paul directives were misinterpreted (history revisionism), arguing that we must receive on the tongue because this is the most respectful way to receive and apostolic (its not), that we should kneel for communion (contrary to Council of Nicaea canon # 20), how the novus ordo is corrupted, how it's deficient, how the extraordinary is the true liturgy of the early ancients because that's the way it's always been (big lie, Tridentine rite only goes back to 1570), that we must have ad orientum of the priest which is startling considering that most churches (outside Byzantium Rite) are not built on an east/west axis and so on, and on and on ad infinitum. Pope Benedict doesn't trash the Ordinary Rite but many (most?) Trads make it an obsession to trash the novus ordo in the hopes, as they say, to replace it with a rite they claim is ''the sweetest thing this side of heaven''. Concerning SSPX (and other trads who behave like them) Pobe Benedict said it best: ''Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions''  I couldn't have said it better.  I may be wrong, but it's my understanding that the Motu Proprio is not permanent but has a 5 year limit then it may be renewed or not
Anonymous | 5/28/2009 - 9:56am
Dr. Dale, Would you lump Pope Benedict XVI in with your accusastion against "extraordinary rite type of pharisees"? By the way, no need for the "quotes" around extraordinary rite.  Such a thing actually does exist.  
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 10:11pm
Commentators are now quoting Father Z?  Father Z?  You've got to be kidding!  Thanks, but no thanks Patrick.  I do not care to read anything from these ''extraordinary rite'' type of pharisees.
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 9:35pm
Mr. Miller, it is sinful to associate her political stance with her personal practice and make conclusions unless you have direct information.  Also, show us in the plain language of the Constitution where the unborn are protected.  Such a reading would seem to indicate that until birth the fetus is not recognized unless the Congress picks another point (which it has not).  Privacy is the right to be left alone by the government.  It is the essence of the 9th Amendment, due process and equal protection.  Don't take my word for it, though, re-read the confirmation transcripts of Chief Justice Roberts.
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 5:23pm
The only good news about her appointment is that she is not Diane Wood and does not have a pro-abortion trail. As for being very talented, well as one of the most overturned judges that case is hard to make. Once overturned unanimously.  There is a good change the Supreme Court will be overturning another of her cases with the month.  It was identity politics that made her the choice not that she was the most qualified. I just pray that she will defend the Constitution and thus defend life instead of finding abortion in privacy rights. I also pray that like Justice Thomas that she comes back to the faith while on the Court since she seem to be lapsed or a Christmas/Easter Catholic now.
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 2:01pm
The sad fact of the matter is that somewhere quite a few people are going through every association she has to turn things up, like attendance at a march for life or similar such event or any donation that might have gone to the Cardinal's Appeal, which supports the NY Pro-Life office.  If anything is found, the chorus of voices from the abortion lobby may become deafenning, although I hope better from my side of the aisle than Harriet Myers got from hers. I expect it likely that she is pro-life like Alito, Roberts and Kennedy and very unlikely that she is pro-life like Scalia and Thomas.  If that much can be garnered, she is an acceptable nominee - since the logic behind the Scalia and Thomas arguments on Roe is flawed.  Granting rights to the unborn cannot be inferred based on equal protection precisely because there is plain language in the Constitution that says otherwise - therefore Congress must act to grant such rights.  Scalia's view that the states should rule on this is in error, since the states are not constitutionally competent under the 14th Amendment to say who is in and who is out on status - that is why we have a 14th Amendment.  If Scalia would bother to read Garrett Epps book on the drafting and ratification of the amendment, he would see that the proponents believed in a radical, rather than a limited reading, of the amendment.  Epps even talks about how Scalia's interpretation of their thinking is in error.  Thomas view violates both precedent and plain language tests.  If the pro-life movement got beyond either of these positions, it could pass something to the liking of Alito, Roberts and Kennedy.  Scalia, Thomas and Sotomayor would likely join in if Congress stated that legal recognition started at some point prior to birth.  Ginsburg and Steven might not join, but Breyer might.  Of course, if the opinion were unanimous the question would be considered settled and National Right to Life would have to shut its doors for lack of anything to do.
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 10:56am
Regarding Peggy Steinfels' conclusions: Could be A) it appears some who profess to be Catholic believe the unalienable Right to Life for every Human Being that is endowed by their Creator from the beginning, is not a Universal Truth but rather a "Catholic" belief that one should not impose on others. (Catholic meaning Universal aside, note reaction to Judge Noonan's remarks at the University of Notre Dame in this regard and loud applause following) This would also be consistent with those who profess to be Catholic who recognize The Absolute Truth v those who follow a truth they see as relative. Could be B), although I certainly Hope not since many appear to still be sleeping. I choose C), "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph."-Our Lady of Fatima    I Pray this happens sooner rather than later. The Truth is out. the question is, are we following The Christ, The Word of The Living God?
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 10:02am
Fr Z? and patrick? think "This White House, and those who seek to be its satraps, are doing their best to subvert institutions and some high profile public Catholic figures in order to drive a wedge between different groups of Catholics. ' Wow what an example of group paranoia.. The White House is busy trying to drive a wedge between the Taliban and Al Queda. But maybe what you see is that Catholic Taliban is annoying them .... like fleas and Rush are annoying..    
Anonymous | 5/27/2009 - 9:51am
With the possibility of six Catholics on the bench, we can certainly say Catholics are in the mainstream (we can say this with 5 justices already, but this is further proof) and are no longer a persecuted class.  This then raises the question of whether Catholic schools have served their purpose and are no longer needed.  Should resources be spent on schools when the money can be used to serve the poor and used to support the important work of the Church?  Are Catholic schools passe?  I say this as a product of Catholic education. 
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