Saturday 23rd August 2014

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Shriver Report: No Cigar

February 23, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

Now that the dust has settled on her break-up with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver is back working at NBC News. She is also the force behind a think-tank called the Center for American Progress and The Shriver Report, a web site that describes itself as “a multi-platform nonprofit media initiative led by Maria Shriver that seeks to modernize America’s relationship to women.” Its goal is to “convene influential voices and bold ideas from across the cultural spectrum” in order to “document the most significant societal trends and transformations in American life and the impact they have on women.”
W. Bradford Wilcox observes, in the online edition of National Review on February 22, that the latest edition of Shriver’s web site, A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink, “has garnered positive notice in liberal circles for advocating a progressive agenda — encompassing everything from expanded family leave to a higher minimum wage — that is designed to help women and children struggling to make it in modern America.”
Bradford Wilcox disagrees. He calls the report “surprisingly regressive.” His objection is based on the report’s push for the “government, business, and other institutions” to accommodate themselves to what The Shriver Report calls the “profound change in the makeup and reality of American families.” The report is talking about single motherhood; its recommendation is for society to “adapt to this change and deal with it.” In other words, to find ways to provide for single mothers the support system that used to be provided by the nuclear family.
I have found myself tempted at times by such thoughts. I can remember being at a restaurant near New Haven, Conn., on an afternoon a few years ago, after graduation ceremonies had taken place at a local high school. I was struck by the sight of table after table of minority families celebrating the occasion, mothers, grandmothers, aunts — and no fathers. Everyone was happy and proud. The missing fathers seemed irrelevant. The families were well-clothed, well-fed, confident, and at ease with themselves. This was the new mainstream in that neighborhood, the new definition of family, one that did not include a father. It was clear to me that, whether I liked it or not, this situation was not going to change anytime soon.
The question is how we should respond as a society to that change. The Shriver Report calls for us to “embrace the reality that, for a substantial and growing share of poor and minority women, childrearing is primarily women’s work.” Wilcox writes, “The report would have the nation make its peace with the growing share of families headed by single mothers — now about 24 percent of families.” What that means is that the country needs to accept an expanding welfare state, one that will provide housing, food stamps, income assistance, support for college educations, and medical care for these families, which cannot be expected to provide for themselves in the manner of a traditional nuclear family of old.
It is this scenario that Wilcox calls “surprisingly regressive.” He sees it as a surrender, one that accepts that poor children will “remain stuck in an intergenerational cycle of poverty, without the same shot at the American Dream as their more affluent peers.” He is convinced that expanded government programs cannot replace the father in these homes and that these children “are less likely to enjoy the shelter, security, and economic resources of a two-parent home.” To support this position, he points to a new study from Harvard economist Raj Chetty that calls family structure “the strongest and most robust predictor of economic mobility for lower-income children across the country.” Wilcox argues further that the “Shriver Report’s public strategy of accommodating single-parent families only locks children into the very poverty that Shriver decries.”
Maria Shriver would disagree, of course. She would argue that her report does not seek to make permanent the dependency status of single-mother families. She would insist that the expansion of government assistance she is calling for is meant as a temporary measure, as a bridge that will one day lead the children from fatherless homes to become productive and self-supporting members of society. The question is whether that claim is realistic; or if increased government assistance will lead to a comfort level with single-mother families that will make it the new normal. I keep thinking of those families at graduation day in the restaurant near New Haven. There was no sign of any urgency in that room to change the understanding of a family to the two-parent model of the past.
No one with a heart or a conscience would recommend that the children from single-mother homes live like the urchins in an Oliver Twist movie. But someone with a heart and a conscience would also see the danger of placing obstacles in the way of the children from these homes ever becoming productive members of society. It is putting our heads in the sand to deny that an overly generous array of government programs can do that; that they can become a crutch. It is not enough for a government program to mean well. If it does more harm than good we have to face that fact.
Wilcox is convinced that Maria Shriver’s report is an example of a program like that, one that it will do more harm than good. He writes:
“Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress are clearly motivated by the noblest of intentions: to lift an estimated 70 million women and children in America out of poverty and economic insecurity. But unless they pay more attention to articulating and advancing an agenda that will also strengthen two-parent families, their intention is not likely to be fully realized. That’s because genuine progress in advancing gender equity, equal opportunity for all Americans, and child welfare depends on finding a way to renew the equality and stability of men’s connection to family life — especially in the poor and working-class families where marriage is in retreat. In other words, the nation’s most vulnerable women and children are not likely to push ‘back from the brink’ of economic and social marginalization until we can renew their ties to men and marriage.”
Of course, finding a way to do that is America’s version of the riddle of the sphinx. It calls to mind Winston Churchill’s quip about Russia being “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” It would require a moral reawakening that would rival any of the “Great Awakenings” in the American past.
Anyone know how to bring that about?

+    +    +

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues. The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

The “Closure Crisis” Within The Church.

(RNS) What happens to a community when a Roman Catholic school closes its doors? That’s the question Nicole Stelle Garnett and Margaret F. Brinig, two Notre Dame law professors, pondered as they studied closures in Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. There were 7,000…Continue Reading

Satanists Return Stolen Host to Archbishop Coakley

The organizer of a Sept. 21 black mass surrendered the consecrated Host, one day after the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City filed a lawsuit for its recovery. by CNA/EWTN NEWS 08/21/2014 OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City’s archbishop voiced relief that Satanists…Continue Reading

Slain journalist James Foley on praying the rosary in captivity

August 20, 2014 08:45 EST By Catherine Harmon The news broke late yesterday that Islamic State jihadists executed freelance journalist James Foley and posted a video of his beheading. Foley, 40, had been missing for two years while covering the conflict in Syria.…Continue Reading

Black Mass Organizers Face Lawsuit Over Stolen Host

Oklahoma City, Okla., Aug 20, 2014 / 11:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Organizers of a satanic black mass slated to take place in Oklahoma City next month face a lawsuit on grounds that the consecrated Host used for the sacrilegious event…Continue Reading

Archbishop of Mosul: ‘I Have Lost My Diocese to Islam; You in the West Will Also Become Victims of Muslims’

At our pro-Israel rally on Sunday, leaders from across the world warned the crowd of the impending threat of Islam to America. One million Christians have been killed or have had to flee Iraq because of persecution by jihadists. But…Continue Reading

Pope Francis profoundly saddened by death of three relatives in traffic accident

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has learnt of the tragic death of three of his relatives in a traffic accident in Argentina and is “profoundly saddened.”  The Director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope had…Continue Reading

The present, future, and quality of Catholic online education

An interview with Patrick Carmack, President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, about Catholic online education, technology, and Great Books August 15, 2014 07:48 EST Patrick S. J. Carmack, J.D. is the President of the Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, and the founder…Continue Reading

Pope makes silent anti-abortion statement in South Korea

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Pope Francis has generally avoided hot-button “culture war” issues like abortion, arguing that the church’s doctrine on the sanctity of life is well-known and that he’d rather emphasize other aspects of church teaching. But he made a strong,…Continue Reading

Pontifical Council For Interreligious Dialogue Slams Islamic Caliphate Crimes And Barbarism

Caliphate militants are responsible for inhumane actions like public executions, humiliation of women, and terror towards Christians, Yezidis and members of other religions. The Vatican body calls on Islamic religious leaders and governments to condemn these crimes and prosecute their…Continue Reading

Incoming Roman Catholic Springfield bishop on gay marriage: ‘God made us male and female’

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, will be installed as the ninth bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, on Aug. 12 at 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral, with a public reception at…Continue Reading

Liberia: Nun dies of Ebola virus, two missionaries ill

A nun working in Liberia has died of the Ebola virus. Sister Chantal Pascaline worked with the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God. She died in Monrovia on Saturday. Two colleagues from the same order, Spanish priest Father Miguel…Continue Reading

Kurtz: New Catholic Teachers Shouldn’t Be Afraid

A group of about 750 Catholic school teachers, principals and Jefferson County school officials crammed into pews and chairs at St. Gabriel Parish in Fern Creek Friday morning for a mass service to ready the staff for the coming year.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav calls for support for Ukraine

pope510

2014-08-23 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) In a letter addressed “to the Catholic episcopal conferences, tо the world’s religious and political leaders, (and) to all people of good will,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych, speaks about the extremely difficult situation in Ukraine. “For nine months,” he says, “Ukrainians have been on an…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Calls Parents of James Foley

foley

American Journalist Was Murdered by Islamic State This Week Rome, August 22, 2014 (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves Pope Francis has called the parents of James Foley, the American journalist who was killed by the Islamic State (ISIS). In an email to ZENIT, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed that the Holy Father telephoned John and Diane Foley. Although no details were given as…Continue Reading

The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 On Welfare

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. All rights reserved.) +    +    + A total of 109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded “means-tested programs” — also…Continue Reading

Democracy And Despotism

By DONALD DeMARCO Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America was recognized from the first as a political treatise of the first order. It remains today, according to scholars of American history, as the most perceptive and penetrating work of its kind. The author does not idealize democracy. His intention was to show “to those who…Continue Reading

The Ivy League Admission Process

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK If watching the Ivy League grads in the Obama administration and the State Department has led you to question the caliber of modern Ivy League universities, you may be onto something. (Can you picture these Valley girls and pajama boys in the same room with Vladimir Putin’s aides?) William Deresiewicz, the…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Strange World Of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of 900 of the best quotes from The Birth Control Review, organized by topic, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) +    +    + Introduction About 25 years ago, I bought a complete set…Continue Reading

Christians In The Mideast… Experience A Modern Calvary

By JOHN J. METZLER PARIS — The headlines seem from another era, if not century: that of Christian persecution by militant Islamists in the Middle East. Yet the modern political responses to this age-old conflict appear ambivalent about what’s emerged as an organized attempt by the militant Islamic State to impose a caliphate both on…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Creeds

By DON FIER In last week’s column, we laid the groundwork to begin an in-depth exposition of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that we, as Catholic Christians, are called to believe: the one, true faith we profess in the Creeds of the Church. For it is in the formulas of the Creeds that, “through the centuries,…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I saw a letter-to-the-editor recently that asked why, if a member of the Mafia is to be excommunicated for cooperating with murder, then why isn’t a member of any group that murders unborn children (or enables the killing, e.g., politicians who vote for abortion bills) also excommunicated? The editor made no comment, but how would you respond to this…Continue Reading

Living According To The Word

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Jer. 20:7-9 Romans 12:1-2 Matt. 16:21-27 In the second reading today, Jeremiah cries out to the Lord in his loneliness and pain, saying that the Lord duped him and that he had allowed himself to be duped. This is because the word of the Lord brought him derision…Continue Reading

Memorial Of St. Alphonsus Liguori… Marian Catechists Strive To Imitate The Mother Of God

By RAYMOND CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: Raymond Cardinal Burke is the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. He delivered the homily below on August 1 at the Marian Catechist Consecration Weekend, held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, Wis. (The readings for August 1, the Memorial of St. Alphonsus Liguori, were: Romans 8:1-4;…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

By CAROLE BRESLIN This month the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the death of Pope St. Pius X who had so many things in common with the last few Popes. Like Pope Francis, he had a special affinity for the poor — especially since he came from a poor family. Like Pope John Paul II, who updated the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Maximilian Kolbe

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the Final Discourse, our Lord speaks to His disciples at the Last Supper about union with Christ, union with the Father, and the coming of the Holy Spirit with the theme of love woven throughout the night’s sharing. “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading