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Korean paper: 'We were intoxicated under a holy spell'

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Like a fine wine, the aftertaste in Seoul, South Korea has been overwhelmingly positive in the three days since Pope Francis left following his five-day pastoral visit.  The media has been aglow with praise.

Francis touched the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, believers and non-believers as well.

One example, an essay a professed atheist, professor of sociology at Seoul National University, Song Ho-keun, wrote in the Korean JoongAng Daily. Staff the JoongAng translated Song’s essay into English.

The West Bank is on the verge of explosion

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I received the following email on Wednesday from a Sister of St. Joseph whom I respect and trust. She, in turn, received this message from Dick Platkin, a member of the group Jews for Peace. He is currently visiting Israel and the West Bank. Here's the essence of what he says, in brief:

I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bank is on the verge of explosion.

Former Detroit archbishop, Vatican insider Cardinal Szoka dies

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Word comes this morning from the Detroit archdiocese that Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka, archbishop of Detroit from 1981 to 1990 and overseer of the Vatican City State under Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, died Wednesday. He was 86.

NCR senior analyst Fr. Thomas Reese recently reviewed Szoka's role at the Vatican:

A House of Strangers

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The LCWR assembly has come and gone without any apparent change in the status quo in the scrape between itself and the Vatican. The hard talk was presumably reserved for the closed sessions. Theoretically this permits a more open discussion but it's usually at the cost of further diminishing honest confrontation. In similar settings I've observed, secrecy has rarely emboldened truth-telling but itself induces another layer of fear. But I don't know what happened behind the LCWR closed doors.

Father of ferry boat victim in 38th day of fast

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Last think I did before leaving Seoul today was visit Kim Young-oh, the Hyundai plant assembly line worker who was in the 38th day of a fast aimed at forcing an official independent government-sponsored investigation into the sinking of the ferry boat, Sewol, which took the lives of  306 Koreans last April.  Kim lost his 17-year-old daughter, and he says he will fast until Parliament passes the legislation the families of the ferry victims’ want.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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