Author Archives: Jim Bowman

Jim Bowman covered religion 1968-78 for the Chicago Daily News, since then has written books, articles, etc., mostly on corporate history but also on religion (Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968), and more recently on politics (Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters, —, Kindle). Longtime Oak Park, Illinois, resident, he lives now on Chicago’s North Side, where four of his and Winnie’s six children live close by.

Don’t cave to bullies, alumni say after seminary cancels Fr. James Martin | National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Martin should be invited back, for a debate with the alleged bullies.

Open discussion, folks. It’s what a university is for.

Above all, not having a lightning rod like him alone, as if his was not a highly debatable proposition.

But higher-learning institutions in general are not big on debates of this sort.


Pope Francis creates new Pontifical Institute for marriage and family |

Hoo-boy. Out with the old, in with the new.

Priests guilty of abuse will have no right to appeal, Pope says |


“Perhaps,” he said, “the old practice of moving people” from one place to another and not fully facing the problem “lulled consciences to sleep.”

Why “perhaps”?

Facebook asked what’s on my mind yesterday — no one else was asking — and I said . . .

. . . This “preferential option for the poor” that came out of liberation theology, a S. American philosophy, you might call it, means what for me as non-poor? Besides feeling guilty about it, that is. Ideas?

To which I should add “guilty about things I can do nothing about!”

Quite an important nub here, as beautifully explained by Hayek in Road to Serfdom, which I recommend to people feeling guilty about things they can do nothing about.

An excess of empathy, as the man wrote a book about, published a month or so ago, Against Empathy; The Case for Rational Compassion, is what I speak of.

I am also reminded of a movie scene many decades ago, a black-and-whiter in the ’40s, in which a lone protester standing outside the state prison where an execution is scheduled is asked if he thought his protest would change anything.

The man thought not but said he was there not to change the law but to protect himself from being changed.

Or as the Soc. of Pius X preacher said in Oak Park, also some decades back, when touched by a panhandler we give money out of charity not to change the panhandler but not to be changed: Do it seeing Christ in the beggar and you gain, whether he does or not.

Candidate Pritzker Sept. 7 in the 40th Ward — His plan for a progressive income tax

At North Side Prep on Kedzie last week (Thursday 9/7), governor-candidate J.B. Pritzker let an interesting cat out of the bag, his plan to circumvent the state’s constitutional ban on graduated/progressive income taxation.

He would not try to change the constitution at all, but would raise the presumably flat tax, then give “personal exemptions” to as many as it takes to do graduated/progressive taxation without calling it that.

“I’m running on this,” he said, apparently announcing a platform plank. He would do it without resorting to a constitutional convention, where “too many bad things can happen,” he told an audience of 40 or so citizens in a meeting hosted by 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor.

O’Connor had done the same for candidate Chris Kennedy some weeks earlier (7/7), endorsing neither, he said on both occasions.

Pritzker also said:

* He’s opposed to taxing stock buying and selling, a “La Salle Street tax,” because there’s no longer a pit where signals are given but electronic buying and selling, and it’s “easy” for them to move out of state.

He wants to keep traders here, because of lost “opportunities to tax their incomes.”

* He favors “a public option . . . single-payer” system ” for health care. “We can do it,” he said. “Allow people to buy into a state health plan. It would not cost the state.”

More later on candidate Pritzker in the 40th Ward . . .


Later explanation/clarification from Pritzker campaign: Candidate mentioned and characterized a constitutional convention (wholesale redoing of constitution) in response to a questioner who had raised that issue.

What’s at issue is a constitutional amendment (changing one element), which Pritzker favors but which takes a long time. The flat tax increase-with-“personal [tax] exemptions” — to be legislated so as to achieve the goal of  graduated rates  — was proposed by Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) three and a half years ago.

So it’s his idea,  as Pritzker noted at the September 7 meeting — properly a “meet and greet,” as his spokesperson called it in her helpful explanation/clarification. Asked what these exemptions might entail, the spokesperson recommended asking Harmon.

“Gonna need a scorecard pretty soon with all these tax proposals,” said a commenter on the Capitol Fax site at the time Harmon announced his plan. Does get complicated.


Humanae Vitae Comes Under Fire |


All-bets-off boys and girls are on the job.

Also known far and wide as progressives.

Que sera Sarah? | National Catholic Reporter

Here’s an articulate, well-written, often condescending, hard-nosed description of papal and Vatican politics by a true-blue liberal writing regularly for National Catholic Reporter.

I have no trouble believing (for the most part) this account of mutual counter-purpose in which Francis and Sarah are now positioned.

It’s good stuff, if without regard for the needless character of the conflict. My problem is with the conflict as needless. What does Francis have to lose by allowing Latin mass, ad orientem, communion on the tongue and all that?

Unless the novus ordo would be undermined and with it the social justice agenda. Or unless Francis just doesn’t like it; makes his skin crawl — a distinct possibility but something he could offer up in his Morning Offering — and become a better man for it.

Oh, another thing. Is the writer sure about his assessment of traditionalists’ numbers and overall strength? Seems sure of himself, but it’s a big claim. More later (I swear) of this fellow’s columns from Rome.

Oh. Robert Mickens is his name. Has impressive c.v., in addition to his very good writing.

Pope Hopes Trump Will Rethink DACA Decision on Pro-Life Grounds

Could be a deal here. Trump rethinks DACA on right-to-life grounds, Francis rethinks his free-maket hostility on right-to-prosperity grounds. Or maybe his suspicions of Latin mass and priest facing the people on freedom-of-worship grounds.

Just trying to be helpful.

NatCath Register has story: Pope Hopes Trump Will Rethink DACA Decision on Pro-Life Grounds |

Nearly 50 Groups Denounce Southern Poverty Law Center

Great was the fall of this once noble operation:

Founded in 1971 as a non-profit legal advocacy group, the SPLC began nobly, battling and winning against racist factions like the Ku Klux Klan.

But over the years, the SPLC began to shift ideologically and is now widely-regarded as “an attack dog of the political left.” Detractors allege that at its base, the center’s turn to the left is less about principle than it is about money.

Since its founding, “The SPLC has … established itself as the nation’s most prominent hate-group watchdog,” notes Politico writer André Chung. “It has also built itself into a civil rights behemoth with a glossy headquarters and a nine-figure endowment, inviting charges that it oversells the threats posed by Klansmen and neo-Nazis to keep donations flowing in from wealthy liberals.”

Their discoveries multiply, often with alarming miscalculation:

Cornell University law professor William Jacobson has condemned the SPLC for pursuing a decidedly partisan political agenda under the banner of civil rights. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he said.

“For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson notes. “It taints not only the group or person but others who associate with them.”

Bad cess to them in their current transmogrification.

We may be witnessing a turning point in the Trump presidency | New York Post

This Michael Goodwin anticipating my very thoughts, more or less expressed moments ago an an email to a friend. I can show you the email, but it would show me writing hours AFTER Goodwin published.

That important point made, I can only congratulate him. The Donald is not gonna take s–t from losers — something like that. In any case, his Republican opponents have been asking for this. No need for him to fall on a sword for them.

What hath the electorate wrought? We can only ask, remaining confident that it’s worlds of difference from what we had the last eight years. Worlds.

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