The Common Good

Blog Posts By Daniel Burke

Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 1 week ago
Every Christian knows the story: Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. But what did he do on Saturday?That question has spurred centuries of debate, perplexed theologians as learned as St. Augustine and prodded some Protestants to advocate editing the Apostles' Creed, one of Christianity's oldest confessions of faith.Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and most mainline Protestant churches teach that Jesus descended to the realm of the dead on Holy Saturday to save righteous souls, such as the Hebrew patriarchs, who died before his crucifixion.
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 5 weeks ago
Strapped for cash and staff, Rick Santorum has enlisted a ragtag but politically potent army to keep his campaign afloat: home-schoolers.Heading into today's Super Tuesday, Santorum was urging home-schoolers to organize rallies, post favorable features on social media and ring doorbells on his behalf."Santorum has been very aggressive in reaching out to the home-schooling community, especially in the last month," said Rebecca Keliher, the CEO and publisher of Home Educating Family Publishing.Drawing on his experience as a home-schooling father of seven, the former Pennsylvania senator has also sought to rally enthusiasm by pledging to continue that course in the White House.  "It's a great sacrifice that my wife, Karen, and I have made to try to give what we think is the best possible opportunity for our children to be successful," Santorum said during a March 1 campaign stop in Georgia. "Not just economically, but in a whole lot of other areas that we think are important — virtue and character and spirituality."
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 6 weeks ago
A Virginia judge has ordered seven congregations that broke from the Episcopal Church to return all property to the local diocese — from valuable land to sacred chalices — by April 30.The Diocese of Virginia had wanted the properties returned by March 30, a week before Easter. But Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows agreed to give the breakaway congregations more time.In a closely watched case that reached the Virginia Supreme Court, Bellows ruled in January that congregations had the right to leave the Diocese of Virginia, but not to take church property with them.
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 6 weeks ago
Mitt Romney has trounced Rick Santorum, an ardent Catholic, among Catholic voters, but Romney's support among evangelicals has wavered thus far in the GOP presidential primary, according to a new analysis of exit poll data.Though he won evangelicals in two states, in general Romney has performed 15 percentage points better among non-evangelicals, according to an analysis released March 2 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Exit poll data is available in seven of the 11 states that have held primary contests to date, according to the Pew Forum. More detailed religious affiliations are available in six of those states.White evangelicals formed more than a third of all GOP primary voters in each state except for Nevada (24 percent) and New Hampshire (21 percent). Romney, a Mormon, won the evangelical vote in those two states, and nearly tied for first in Arizona and Florida. But he lost the evangelical vote badly in three states: Michigan, Iowa and South Carolina.Somewhat surprisingly, Santorum has not won the Catholic vote in a single state in which data is available, according to the Pew Forum.
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 6 weeks ago
The Senate on Thursday defeated a Republican-led bid to insert a broad religious exemption into a federal mandate that requires most employers and health insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage.The largely party-line vote was 51-48 in favor of tabling an amendment that Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., had offered to a federal transportation bill.Blunt and other Republicans had argued that the measure would protect the religious liberty of institutions such as Catholic charities and hospitals that object to contraception on moral grounds."It's not just the Catholic Church," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said during the floor debate on Thursday. "It's a moral and religious issue that should not be interfered with by the federal government."
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 6 weeks ago
The question now is whether these breakaway groups signal a seismic shift in American Protestantism, or just a few fissures in the theological terrain.In some ways, the rifts are nothing new. American Protestants have been splintering since Roger Williams left Plymouth Colony in the 1630s, said Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University.Yet the schisms counter a 20th-century trend in which ethnic and regional Protestant groups merged to form big-tent denominations such as the ELCA and PC(USA). "What we may be experiencing at this point is the limit of that movement to draw a lot of diversity under one umbrella," said Ammerman, author of Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and Their Partners.
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 8 weeks ago
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for a Mormon who baptized the late parents of famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. But despite calls this week from Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel (and others) to rethink the controversial rite, the church is unlikely to drop it entirely.Latter-day Saints trace posthumous baptism to the Apostle Paul, who wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:29, "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" Mormons believe that Joseph Smith, their faith's founding prophet, restored the apostolic practice after centuries of neglect by mainstream Christians. Proxy baptism was also Smith's answer to a classic Christian conundrum: What happens to people who, through no fault of their own, did not join the church during their earthly lifetime? Should they be barred from heaven?Mormons believe that vicarious baptisms give the deceased, who exist in the afterlife as conscious spirits, a final chance to join the Mormon fold, and thus gain access to the Celestial Kingdom. To Mormons, only members of the LDS priesthood possess the power to baptize.
Posted by Daniel Burke 2 years 9 weeks ago
Editor's Note: The following aritcle was written in 2008, around the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal document that reinforced the Catholic Church's ban on artificial birth control. Some say Pope Paul VI predicted the dangers of loosening sexual morals: widespread divorce, disease and promiscuity. Others say he cracked open a culture of dissent that has seeped into every corner of the church.Either way, more than 40 years after Paul VI released ``Humanae Vitae'' on July 25, 1968, the papal encylical banning most forms of birth control continues to be a flashpoint in the Catholic Church.Earlier this year, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said Humanae Vitae set up ``a direct conflict between many people's experience ... and the authority of the church.''