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Newspaper editorial outlines track to universal health care


Check out the Baltimore Sun's editorial on universal health care.

The author, James Burdick, takes a different tack on the Supreme Court decision. This Johns Hopkins surgeon sees the court's focus on the mandate as a tax as a positive move. He sees it as a means toward developing true universal coverage.

As he points out, even conservatives recognize the federal government's unlimited constitutional power of taxation, so there is little chance the court could ever find such activity unconstitutional.

Chicago activist who fought for political, social reform dies


John Hill, who battled for political and social reform in Chicago for some 35 years, died June 16.

Ordained in 1950 as a Chicago priest, he worked closely with Msgr. John Egan, eventually heading his own organization, the Alliance to End Repression. From the 1960s through the 1970s and beyond, the alliance continually challenged Mayor Richard J. Daley, the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County court system, exposing fraud, racism and incompetence. Hill left the active priesthood in 1973 but continued his ministry as before, often working hand-in-hand with Protestant and other social activists.

He later moved to Michigan, worked at Notre Dame University for the Center for Law and the Handicapped and later in South Bend, Ind., with foundations and organizations seeking to improve housing opportunities for the poor. In declining health in recent years, John is survived by his wife and son.

The tribute below was written by Judi Heikes, a longtime friend and co-worker of John Hill.

A Memory of John Hill

By Judi Heikes

Five myths about the Affordable Care Act debunked


Bill Keller of The New York Times takes on the five most common myths about the Affordable Care Act and quickly douses them with the truth:

1. Obamacare is a jobs killer. The Congressional Budget Office, and the experience in Massachusetts with Governor Romney's universal healthcare law contradict this myth.

2. Obamacare is a federal takeover of health insurance. Simply a lie. The new law delivers 30 million new customers to private health insurers, coupled with aging baby boomers joining the Medicare rolls.

3. The unfettered marketplace is a better solution. "Ten percent of the population accounts for 60 percent of the health outlays," said Davis. "They are the very sick, and they are not really in a position to make cost-conscious choices."

LCWR leader asks if Catholics can have 'questioning mind'


The head of the group of U.S. sisters which has come under harsh Vatican scrutiny said today that a key question facing the faithful is "Can you be Catholic and have a questioning mind?"

Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), made the comment today during an extended interview on the popular public radio program "Fresh Air."

While audio of the conversation, which was between Farrell and NPR host Terry Gross, is not yet available, NPR has posted a selected transcript of some of Farrell's remarks.

In the parts of the interview posted on the NPR website, Farrell directly addresses the Vatican's condemnation of her organization, which represents some 80 percent of women religious in the U.S.

Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles


July 22 is the Feast of Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles. Devotion to Mary of Magdala has grown steady in recent years.

From the Pray Tell Blog, we learn that "the early centuries remembered here primarily as the “apostle to the apostles” (apostola apostolorum). The Eastern churches to this day celebrate her as the “eis-apostola,” the apostle-like one."

Pope John Paul II in his 1988 encyclical Dignitatum Mulieris affirmed her as “Apostle to the Apostles,”

As Ed Conroy noted in a 2005 essay for NCR (See Resurrecting Mary Magdalene: Historians, mystics and artists debate her significance amid a new surge of popular devotion):

Struggling to find the energy to resist


The New York Times has another editorial about massive production problems, delayed deliveries and cost overruns, this time in the F-35 and F-22 fighter airplanes.

It's discouraging. I've been protesting military spending for a long time. The best demonstrations I helped plan and organize were in the '80s at the then-world headquarters of General Dynamics in St. Louis. We vigiled every Monday at noon for about four years. To mark some big military contracts and other appropriate days, we did street theater, a couple of 48-hour vigils at Thanksgiving, a children's party the Monday after Christmas, solemn prayers on Good Friday, and we risked arrest on the day of the corporate annual meeting.

GOP corrupts the US democratic system


Nothing is more destructive of the American governing system today than the tens of millions being poured into state and federal electoral campaigns by a few handfuls of super invested wealthy individuals, nearly all of it in secrecy.

Why the darkness? What is there to cover but selfish greed?

The GOP minority, in another destructive act, blocked democratic principles by stopping a bill that would force disclosure of those funneling in millions to campaigns, all of it aimed at subverting the common good.
Why this obstruction?

Read about this disgrace and weep.

Meet Pat Perriello, NCR Today's newest blogger


I am excited to be joining the staff of NCR's blog. My history with the National Catholic Reporter goes back to its origins during the 1960s: I was at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. It was the heady days of Vatican II. There was much excitement and hope for the future of our church. NCR appeared on the scene and became the rallying cry for everything that we believed could make the church more relevant to its people.

Together with NCR, we moved from turning the altar around, coming up with English translations of the parts of the Mass, folk songs being written for liturgical celebrations, etc. We watched each document emerge from the council and marveled at the language and how it signaled a new understanding of the truths of our faith.

I slipped away from NCR for a number of years, raised a family and pursued a career. In the last few years, I have rediscovered it and found it still exciting, innovative and challenging as it relates to our church in the 21st century. Unfortunately, I can't say that the church has kept up with the demands of the time, but has chosen to retrench in so many areas.

LCWR president talks to NPR tomorrow


The head of the group of U.S. sisters which has come under harsh Vatican scrutiny is to appear in a rare interview on a popular NPR radio program Tuesday.

Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), is set to appear on the popular NPR program "Fresh Air," according to the program's Twitter feed.

The program, produced by radio station WHYY in Philadelphia, is known for its extended interviews between guests and host Terry Gross.

The interview comes nearly three months after the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released an official critique of the sisters' group, which represents some 80 percent of U.S. women religious.

In a document known as a "doctrinal assessment," first released April 18, the Vatican congregation said there was a "prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith" in the group's programs and ordered it to revise and place itself under the authority of three bishops.


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August 15-28, 2014


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