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Cleveland bishop: \"I will not appeal the decrees to the Apostolic Signatura\"

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Bishop Richard G. Lennon of the Cleveland diocese has announced he will not appeal the Congregation for the Clergy's ruling in favor of 12 parishioner groups who appealed to the Vatican to keep their churches open and parishes intact.

"During these Easter days, I often think of Jesus’ first words as he appeared to the apostles after rising from the dead: Peace be with you. I now say, it’s time for peace and unity in the diocese of Cleveland," said Lennon at a press conference this morning.

"I will not appeal the decrees to the Apostolic Signatura. Doing so would prolong the process for a number of years and would create more uncertainty and continue to divide our Catholic community. Therefore, I will move forward and carry out the Congregation for the Clergy’s directives regarding the parishes in an orderly manner," he said.

See where your money goes this tax day

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The White House has given us a great online tool, "Your Federal Taxpayer Receipt."

Put in your Social Security, Medicare and income tax payments. Calculate your receipt.

The receipt will show you how much of your money goes to the Pentagon, to pay interest on the national debt, to veterans' benefits, to health care and so on.

It is very interesting, worth checking out on this tax day -- which is also, by the way, the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

Help Chicago Catholic Charities meet Michelle Obama

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Last week, my Mission Management column focused on the Chicago archdiocese's Catholic Charities' initiative to reduce childhood obesity in collaboration with Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" public awareness campaign. Embedded in that article was a video of kids having fun, dancing to award-winning pop singer Beyoncé's song "Move Your Body."

Chicago's Catholic Charities just submitted a new video about its summer lunch program to the Let's Move video challenge and has been selected as a finalist. The winner is chosen by viewer votes.

Filipino on Saudi Arabia's death row might avoid beheading

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MANILA, Philippines -- A Filipino overseas worker imprisoned in Saudi Arabia might no longer be beheaded after a Philippines-born philanthropist in the United States led the initiative to raise "blood money" for heirs of a man he is accused of killing in self-defense in 2000.

Rodelio "Dondon" Lanuza, held in Dammam Jail in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia, posted a statement online thanking US-based philanthropist and lawyer Loida Nicolas Lewis for helping to raise money through a campaign on Facebook and through other means.

Saudi Arabia's highest court sentenced Lanuza to death by beheading in 2001. He was jailed in 2000, accused of killing a Saudi man he said tried to sexually abuse him, said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, in a statement posted Thursday on the same blog.

Winnipeg archbishop symbolically adopted by aboriginal elders

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"It's been Canada's dirty little secret for 147 years," said Mary Courchene, describing the legacy of residential schools, boarding schools for native Canadians that would Christianize them and teach them French or English. She, herself, is a residential school survivor.

The clerical sexual abuse crisis continues to unfold and shock with new allegations around the world. In Canada, a prominent chapter of abuse is woven into a larger story of colonialism and forced enculturation. Our government and churches believed that the best way to assimilate our First Nations people was to remove children from their homes and put them into residential schools. Too often, the children were victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

The result was entire generations of women and men who were no longer connected to their ancestral heritage. Yet they were not fully accepted into the larger society. The residential schools experience has been blamed for many of the present challenges within our aboriginal communities.

Qualifying the WSJ's conclusions about vocations

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"Traditional Catholicism is winning," blared a headline on a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White.

Whether that conclusion is warranted only time, and what one means by "traditional Catholicism," will tell. It is the claims underpinning the conclusion that merit comment. "There were 467 new priestly ordinations in the U.S. last year, and Boston's seminary had to turn away applicants," read the subhead beneath the declaration that traditional Catholicism was racking up the most points on the ecclesial scoreboard.

The article went on to note that a new seminary was being built in North Carolina and that Boston's seminary was so full it had to turn applicants away. And, it reported, there were 5,000 more priests worldwide in 2009 than there were in 1999.

Problem solved, right?

When I read the piece, which is whipping 'round the ether, I contacted Mary Gautier, senior research associate at the Center for Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.

A reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday

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How can anyone argue against Divine Mercy Sunday?

Divine Mercy is hope wrapped up in a loving God, ever ready to embrace us and forgive even our gravest sins. Believing in God, but not in Divine Mercy, would be a depressing and burdensome faith to bear.

At the core of the Gospel story of the good thief is unconditional love and compassion. Today, you will be with me in paradise. Not, okay your sins are forgiven; now do this and this and this, and you will be saved. But today - now - you will enter into glory with me. Welcome!

Divine Mercy is often associated with the visions and private revelations of St. Faustina. Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to this Polish nun. When he declared the Second Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday, many took it as a papal decree to promote the devotions described in Faustina’s “Diary,” such as venerating the Divine Mercy image and praying the Chaplet.

Morning Briefing

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Most Americans back gun lobby, right to use deadly force

Election 2012 -- Newt Gingrich rents donor list to raise cash

Catholic bishops issue rallying cry for 'religious freedom'. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged every diocese to hold a "Fortnight for Freedom"

A growing number of Seattle’s Catholic parishes are saying “no” to Archbishop J. Peter Sartain’s offer that churches become signature gathering points for Referendum 74, the ballot measure to roll back Washington’s recently passed same-sex marriage law.

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April 11-24, 2014

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