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Why were Perlitz' charges dismissed?

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It came a shock the week before last when a federal judge dismissed all charges in the government's high-profile prosecution of Douglas Perlitz, a graduate of Jeusit-run Fairfield University in Connecticut. The government had charged Perlitz with using an internationally known youth charity in Haiti that he founded to give him access to boys with whom he could have sex. Perlitz was well connected with Connecticut Catholics.

New report on the effects of climate change on U. S. water supplies

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Climate change will have a significant impact on the sustainability of water supplies in the coming decades.

A new analysis, performed by consulting firm Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), examined the effects of global warming on water supply and demand in the contiguous United States. The study found that more than 1,100 counties -- one-third of all counties in the lower 48 -- will face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming. More than 400 of these counties will face extremely high risks of water shortages.

The document is available in .pdf form on the site.

Provocative meditations on science and religion

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Readers interested, as I am, in the intersection of faith and religion with modern science should be aware of physicist and science writer Chet Raymo's Science Musings blog. Raymo's weekly Science Musings appeared in the Boston Globe for 20 years. The column offered informed and provocative meditations on science as a creative human activity and celebrated the grandeur and mystery of the natural world.

Raymo's essays have taken to the Web. His postings will appeal to visitors who value reliable empirical knowledge of the world, yet retain a sense of reverence and awe for the complexity, beauty, and sometimes terror of nature.

How the Editorial Solutions Fit the Problem

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This week's NCR editorial on the dilemma faced by American sisters defines the problem superbly and eloquently.

But I don't think its proposed solutions go far enough.

On the plus side, it asks for boldness by the Leadership Conference for Women Religious in standing up for its record and courage by bishops who support sisters them to step up and voice their advocacy in public.

Also, echoing a widespread effort, it encourages Catholic lay people to let Rome know how much the sisters have enriched Catholic life in America.

Two problems arise.

The first, and the more important, is that the editorial doesn't call for a protest against the sexism behind the crisis. Asking for character witnesses is fine, but inadequate, when the root of the crisis goes unmentioned.

What links the clerical sex abuse of children and the investigations of sister? I believe it is sex. A distorted view of sex that opens the door to both kinds of mistreatment.

Others more qualified than I am could trace the origins origins of this sexual development that has made both women and children into sexul objects who can be exploited in different, sometimes, overlapping ways.

Madoff investors brace for lawsuits; Redemptorists could be affected

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As I reported on February 11, 2009, with the assistance of NCR's Editor at Large, Tom Roberts, the Redemptorist Fathers of the Baltimore Province lost a substantial amount of money invested for years with Bernie Madoff.

"The Redemptorist Fathers of the Baltimore province may have to “reduce, suspend or cancel” some of their ministries because of “significant” losses they suffered as clients of Bernard Madoff, the New York financier charged with defrauding thousands of investors in an elaborate Ponzi scheme."

Besides an initial statement, the Redemptorist's immediately lawyered-up. I spoke at length with the Redemptorist's lawyer, who made a curious argument as to why he wouldn't tell me the actual amount of the investment loss. He compared my question to asking my neighbor how much my neighbor has in his checking account. In addition, the lawyer then began making an incredible argument under the U.S. Constitution that a religious order has a Free Exercise of Religion right to secrecy. I'm not kidding.

Religion at the airport

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If a Catholic should pull out rosary beads on an airplane, or a nun or a monk went through airport security in a religious habit, it would probably not raise suspicions. Many, if not most, security agents are familiar with these symbols.

But what about a Sikh turban or ceremonial dagger? Or a Muslim head scarf? Or what about the Jewish teenager who boarded a plane at La Guardia airport in January 2010 and began to pray by taking out his Teffilin, a set of small prayer boxes that are wrapped around the arm and head. To the flight attendant, it looked suspicious, like he was strapping himself in cables or wires. The pilots decided to land the plane…..and the 17 year old became known in the media as the “Teffilin Terrorist.”

Maryknoll statement on SOA

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Thanks to Maryknoll Father Joe Veneroso for acquiring the statement from the Maryknoll order about their decision to cut funding to the School of the Americas Watch, which I posted about yesterday here.

A few comments:

* Apparently the decision was made in May, though not communicated to SOA Watch until recently. So it had nothing to do with the recent Vatican statement about women's ordination.

College Students Chosen and Trained to Advise Bishops

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Six universities and colleges have been asked to partner with Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University and the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management to address the growing challenge of keeping talented young adult Catholics engaged in church leadership roles following their graduation from university.

The program, ESTEEM–Engaging Students to Enliven the Ecclesial Mission—debuts this fall at St. Thomas More, Yale, Michigan State University, Stanford, Sacred Heart University, and UCLA.

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September 12-25, 2014

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