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Finding Christ at Christmas

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“I mean no disrespect,” the student asked in class, “but, did Jesus really exist?”

Hate to say it, but real or not Jesus is rapidly fading from the scene. Today’s culture wars take direct aim at Christianity. Try finding religious Christmas cards. Or, check out your choices for an Amazon gift card. Snow flakes, trees, birds, but no Mary, no Magi, no Jesus.

Rome's checkbook strategy on women religious

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Seems the Vatican heard how Catholics are incensed over its inquisition of U.S. women religious. Some say Pope Benedict personally asked Archbishop Joseph Tobin, the new Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, to undo the mess caused by his Congregation’s Apostolic Visitation of U.S. women’s institutes.

The Cross, the witch, and The New York Times

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The Celtic cross on the beer bottle caught my eye. The full label depicted a witch burning.

No one is complaining about the cross, only about the witch.

The witch-burning label caught the eye of Vicki Noble, co-author of the “Motherpeace Tarot Deck” and publisher of the journal Snakepower. Well known among Wiccans as an expert in goddess spirituality, astrology and shamanic healing, Noble began an e-campaign challenging the label.

Just Catholic

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It’s not too much to say when NCR asked me to write in its pages I nearly hurt myself jumping at the chance. I grew up with NCR’s light shining on the issues -- especially the Catholic issues -- of the day. Now I am in the august company of writers I’ve read for ages -- Eugene Kennedy, Joan Chittister, Richard McBrien -- along with newer, younger voices in Catholic commentary.

Nature vs. nurture

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I was always told that you’re not supposed to discuss religion or politics in polite company. That was before gay marriage became the item du jour.

Polls indicate about half the US population favors legal protections for same-sex couples. Gay marriage is another story. Not so many support it.

Real educators teach students how -- not what -- to think

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Last spring, two knock-down, drag-out academic fights made the news. At the University of Illinois, a part-time religion professor lost his job for presenting Catholic teaching on homosexuality. At Catholic Seton Hall University in New Jersey, a tenured political science professor raised hackles for proposing a course on gay marriage.

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In This Issue

October 10-23, 2014

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