Just Call Me the Catholic BuzzFeed?

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

A colleague sent me this BuzzFeed list of interesting items on Speaker of the House John Boehner’s desk, which, in my humble opinion, happens to miss all the interesting items on his desk in the highlighted photo: 

Like the daily devotional:

And the St. Peter statue:

And the mini-book by a Dominican priest on the Holy Name of Jesus:

D.C.’s Donald Cardinal Wuerl’s book on The Mass:

And peeking out from behind his desk lamp, by St. Peter, is St. Thomas More, about whom the speaker recently had a few words to say, mentioning his image in the Capitol building. Here, in close-up:#more# 

Boehner has frequently talked about his faith, including in a commencement speech at my alma mater, but also in beginning his speakership by talking about Ash Wednesday, which is coming up next week (as New Orleans tends to have in mind better than most). Some of the items on his desk echo what he says is the reason he gets up in the morning, with a prayer of gratitude and plea for faithfulness. I point it out because of the way he tends to talk about religion, when he does. Some pols seem to try to mold God into their policy agenda. Boehner seems to try to point toward something higher not as if to imply God’s endorsement, but as a prayer that we might be worthy servants. He seems to do so in a prayerful way, so that politics might have grace. So that representatives of the people might be better servants. 

This year, he seemed to have the fear of hell in mind too, when he ended his opening-session speech with “So help us God.” Or, he might add right about now: Remember you are dust and from dust you shall return