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+Gomez Breaks the Omerta

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“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading,” wrote Archbishop Jose Gomez in a letter to the clergy and faithful of Los Angeles that was released last night. “The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed.”

A Speaker Cancellation to Applaud

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The Diocese of Worcester has canceled a planned speech by Robert Spencer at an upcoming Catholic Men's Conference. Normally, I do not approve of cancelling speakers slated to address a Catholic audience. I find such efforts counter-productive at best and moralistically reductionist at worst. But, there is really no reason to have a speaker who is just hateful, and Mr. Spencer's characterizations of Islam are hateful, extremely so.

Political Stupidity and Shame

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This morning's Washington Post reports that two African-American legislators in Virginia, both Democrats, are considering whether or not to support a GOP-backed redistricting plan that would cram more minority voters into fewer districts, making two districts more likely to elect a minority candidate, but making the eight surrounding districts less friendly to Democrats of any color.

My Favorite Congregational Minister: Rev. Lillian Daniel

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I am sure that there are many issues on which the Rev. Lillian Daniel and I would not exactly see eye-to-eye. But hats off to the pastor at the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, Illinois for confronting the "I am spiritual but not religious" approach to the life of faith. Here is a recent interview she did with NPR. (h/t to David Gibson at Commonweal)

Faith & Secularism: It's Not Just for RCs Anymore

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This article in yesterday's New York Times about the political forces surrounding the issue of secularization in Israeli politics was fascinating. Turns out it is not only Catholics in the U.S. that are navigating the issue of how religion and political culture intersect and, indeed, in Israel all such issues have an urgency because of that country's need for political unity in the face of its external threats. See any parallels to the U.S.?

Africa Faith & Justice Network Anniversary

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The Africa Faith & Justice Network will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion, they are having a big event at the University of Notre Dame at the beginning of March, with Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace giving the keynote. I wrote about this group in the print edition of NCR here.

The Catholic Church & Women

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When you see "The Catholic Church" and "Women" in the same headline, you usually expect something to do with reproduction or women's ordination. But, this article at Millennial, looks at the role Catholic schools can play in combating some of the truly demeaning forces that are directed at young women in today's hyper-sexualized, hyper-commercialized, and hyper-commercially sexualized culture.  

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