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Thoughts on Ross Douthat’s Portsmouth Institute Speech and Pope Francis’s Role in a Divided Church (With Video)

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat expects divisions within the Roman Catholic Church to avoid coming to a head for many decades, but it will depend on Pope Francis’s understanding of his own role in the world and on whether Catholic progressives follow the path of American progressives in pushing fundamental transformation.


End of the Sessioner #1: The Firefighting Bills and the Withering Away of Rhode Island Democracy

Unfortunately, some members of the General Assembly want to reinforce the marginalization of democratic control over public services that is sadly acceptable to both union leadership and to Rhode Island’s insider and managerial elites, via a pair of bills that would deny elected municipal authorities the power to set policies concerning platoon structure and overtime policy. Instead of making decisions, civil authorities would be reduced to asking for deals when trying to exercise basic command authority in these major areas. Try to imagine a system like this working further down the chain-of-command where, for example, a captain has to make a deal with members of his platoon when he wants something significant done. It wouldn’t work very well.

In Rhode Island parlance, this is frequently labeled as an issue of “management rights”, but that is an overly business-bourgeois conceptualization of the problem, and fails to capture the true magnitude of what is at stake. The real issue is whether we are a society where basic democratic control is exercised over the government chain-of-command or we are something else and something worse.

Full post below the fold….