President Bush

Former Catholic Relief Services head Ken Hackett will be the next ambassador to

Former Catholic Relief Services head Ken Hackett will be the next ambassador to the Vatican. Photo via RNS.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Catholic Relief Services head Ken Hackett to be the next ambassador to the Vatican.

Hackett replaces Miguel Diaz, a theologian, and he gives President Obama an experienced voice on social justice in Rome where a new pope, Francis, has made caring for the poor a priority.

Hackett’s confirmation came Thursday night by unanimous consent as senators wrapped up loose ends before the summer recess.

No opposition was expected since Hackett has strong ties to both parties; for five years he served on the board of former President George W. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Corporation and he is reported to be close to Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, whose brother is a priest.

Kathy Kelly 03-19-2013
Photo courtesy Kathy Kelly.

U.S. Marines occupy Baghdad, in March 2003, in front of the Al Fanar hotel. Photo courtesy Kathy Kelly.

Ten years ago, in March of 2003, Iraqis braced themselves for the anticipated “Shock and Awe” attacks that the U.S. was planning to launch against them. The media buildup for the attack assured Iraqis that barbarous assaults were looming. I was living in Baghdad at the time, along with other Voices in the Wilderness activists determined to remain in Iraq, come what may. We didn’t want U.S.-led military and economic war to sever bonds that had grown between ourselves and Iraqis who had befriended us over the past seven years. Since 1996, we had traveled to Iraq numerous times, carrying medicines for children and families in open violation of the economic sanctions that directly targeted the most vulnerable people in Iraqi society — the poor, the elderly, and the children.

I still feel haunted by children and their heartbroken mothers and fathers whom we met in Iraqi hospitals.

“I think I understand,” murmured my friend Martin Thomas, a nurse from the U.K., as he sat in a pediatric ward in a Baghdad hospital in 1997, trying to comprehend the horrifying reality. “It’s a death row for infants.” 

QR Blog Editor 05-04-2012

Sarah Posner critiques faith-based initiatives in an article on

“Compassionate conservatism” may seem a relic of the Bush era, but one of its signatures — the so-called faith-based initiatives — quietly persist under President Obama.
Read the full article here
Timothy King 01-20-2012

Newt Gingrich now regularly refers to President Obama as the “Food Stamp President.” Why?

Since late 2007, caseloads for the program formerly known as Food Stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- SNAP) have risen sharply.

These numbers are significant; about 14.2 million more people have started receiving benefits under President Obama. Still, this is just behind the record number of 14.7 million additional recipients added under President George W. Bush.

So, what’s the significance? President Obama has had a lot shorter time in office than President Bush did, should we be worried?

When I look at the numbers, I’m not concerned about the growth of SNAP under President Obama, I’m surprised at it’s growth under President Bush.

LaVonne Neff 08-01-2011

The other day the mail brought an advertisement for something I desperately need (or so the ad suggested). If I ordered it right now, the ad said, I would save a hefty percentage off the usual price. In vain I searched the flyer for the price. None was listed -- not the total, not my monthly payment. I was apparently supposed to place my faith in the kindly marketers and order it anyway.

I guess I should be used to this sort of marketing. After all, that's how our federal government does business. Shall we a. fight a war in Iraq? b. add a war in Afghanistan? c. subsidize medical care for seniors and the poor? d. rescue failed financial institutions? e. subsidize growers of corn and soybeans? or f. fund interstate highways?

Jim Wallis 07-07-2011

Our country is in the midst of a clash between two competing moral visions. It is not, as we have known in recent history, a traditional fight between Republicans and Democrats. It is a conflict between those who believe in the common good and those who believe individual good is the only good.

Eugene Cho 12-29-2010
In light of an unsuccessful campaign to become the president of my middle school as an eighth grader, I have no plans on entering politics and running for political office.
Jim Wallis 09-21-2010
The world needs President Barack Obama to be a global leader on HIV/AIDS.
Aaron Taylor 06-17-2010
Last night I googled the words "drone attacks Obama" to verify if President Obama has indeed increased unmanned
Cesar Baldelomar 05-07-2010
Someone please pinch me. This must be a nightmare. After all, is it possible that, in this land of freedom, one of its states -- which back in 1993 refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.
Ernesto Tinajero 04-02-2010

Hate is easy and the domain of the lazy. This insight came in the darkness of the early morning. I wish I could say that it was due to a Lenten meditation that pierced my own darkness, but alas, it rose as I got up too late to do my study.

Brian McLaren 02-08-2010
It's one thing to go to the "Holy Land" and see where Jesus worked and walked in the past.
Brian McLaren 10-22-2009
I am a loyal supporter of your presidency. I worked hard in the campaign and have never been as proud of my country as I was when we elected you.
Jim Wallis 10-01-2009

Oh no, my eleven-year-old went to his first rock concert this week! Oh good, it was Bono and U2. That would express the feelings of many parents about their child's introductory rock and roll concert experience.

Anyone watching the news over the past couple of months will have noticed a flurry of action from two of the nations in former President Bush's infamous "Axis of Evil." North Korea tested a long-ra
Glen Stassen 05-18-2009
This is a challenge to President Obama and Congress written in light of his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame.
Ron Sider 04-17-2009
If a budget is a moral document, what should be said about the president's proposed budget for 2010? I focus here on what this budget proposal says about justice for poorer Americans.
Chuck Collins 04-13-2009
Where are the prophetic voices on the topic of taxation this April 15?