- First, dubbing it the "Holy Smackdown," FOX News hosted a uniquely-placed analyst for context on Wednesday's papal "non-audience" with the Speaker of the House: Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap. of Denver, who took the lead on correcting Nancy Pelosi's Meet the Press comments last August, which were given in the Mile High City on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Released just before the DNC, green-lighted by the Vatican's daily paper and with a long run on the New York Times best-seller list under its belt, Chaput's Render Unto Caesar is currently on its 11th printing.
- Elsewhere, with Lent's coming likely to make the reconciliation lines longer -- and not just at Gotham's upcoming Confess-a-Thon -- Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta sends up a brief vademecum for confessors in his weekly column. On another note from Peachtree Street, the former USCCB chief recently ordained 13 permanent deacons, a "baker's dozen" for the burgeoning local church of 800,000-plus.
- Fresh off the historic Super Bowl victory that's seen his hometown formally re-christened "Sixburgh," Steeler Nation's Bishop David Zubik released these shores' most in-depth reflection yet on the economic crisis earlier this week. Titled The Church Sharing!, the 16-page pastoral focuses on ways the 850,000-member Pittsburgh church "can best support each other in the name of, and with the heart of, Christ in these difficult times." Meanwhile, the 11th bishop of Pittsburgh -- now Washington's Archbishop Donald Wuerl -- has rolled out his latest Lenten pastoral, Belonging to God's Family, this time asking the capital see's 560,000 fold to help bring fallen away members back. "It is time for us to invite them home," the DC prelate wrote in his weekly column accompanying the letter, with a YouTube video still to come. (SVILUPPO: From the newly-dedicated Italian Oratory at the capital's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, ecco video.....
- And from the Man of the Hour -- Archbishop Tim Dolan of Milwaukee -- the latest edition of his running internal meditation for his collaborators, its focus on the image and place of the church as "one big leper colony." As of last sweep, the New York frontrunner remained holed up in his Packerland residence on his customary, long-scheduled pre-Lenten vacation; the archbishop's public schedule resumes on Tuesday.
Given in honor of the South African Anglican primate and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Trinity College -- an institution where, until recent decades, Catholic students were forbidden from enrolling under pain of excommunication -- Martin's address features some potent commentary as it dwells on the twin major themes of the church's evolution "to a new and a different form of presence" in society, and the standards by which its witness in today's context is judged.
Here's the fulltext:
On one final note, tomorrow sees the start of the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, which'll feature two especially key interventions: Sunday's opening homily from the USCCB president Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and Monday's keynote on "Catholic Social Teaching in the Life and Ministry of the Church" from the papal nuncio to these shores, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.
More on those as the texts surface.