The ever-changing religious landscape in Washington

The withdrawal yesterday of former Sen. Tom Daschle as President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services reminded me that the number of Catholic politicians in the new administration and in Congress continues to ebb and flow. Daschle and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary last month, would have been two of the Catholic members of Obama’s Cabinet. Others include former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Agriculture; former Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, Interior; former Rep. Hilda Solis of California, Labor; and former Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois, Transportation.


Some of the Cabinet appointments also affect the number of Catholics in Congress, which we reported on in December. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, named to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is Catholic. Appointed to fill Salazar’s seat was Sen. Michael Bennet, who is Jewish. That keeps the numbers steady in the Senate, with 17 Catholic Democrats and nine Catholic Republicans.

But the changes aren’t over yet. The House seats of Gillibrand and Solis will be filled later this year in special elections. Until then the number of Catholics in the House stands at 96 Democrats and 38 Republicans.

More headlines … (2/4/09)

Items on our clients’ sites in recent days:

Remembering Mike Dubruiel

DNA evidence leads to arrest in theft at archbishop’s residence reaches out to military families

Traditionalist bishop’s Holocaust remarks unacceptable

Guerrilla evangelization in a culture cool to faith

Nurse starts group to humanize health care

Archbishop expresses alarm about growing abortion agenda

Sadness in the Catholic blogosphere

It was with shock and sadness last night that the Catholic blogosphere learned of the death of Michael Dubruiel, the husband of blogger extraordinaire Amy Welborn. Our Sunday Visitor, where Dubruiel had worked in book acquisitions (he most recently was director of the Office of the New Evangelization and Stewardship for the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala.), is “mourning the loss of an OSV family member” this morning.

May he rest in peace.

UPDATE: OSV’s Greg Erlandson wrote a nice tribute to Dubruiel this morning on the OSV blog.