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The courage to oppose nuclear bomb makers

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Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn’s recent statement questioning the wisdom of a major new weapons plant in Kansas City Mo. could provide a model for dioceses throughout the country where government and private enterprise prepare the most hideous devices of modern warfare.

The statement, largely a catalogue of papal and catechism teachings against the development of modern machines of war, is consistent with Finn’s ardent opposition to abortion and his advocacy of other life issues.

While NCR has certainly been critical of Finn’s management style and ecclesiological priorities, on this matter we applaud the courage it requires to take on a local major employer as well as the local political establishment.

Finn knows the sting of public rebuke and derision when taking unpopular moral positions. But no one questions your citizenship or patriotism for opposing abortion because that position can be chalked up to religious conviction, and it’s what the culture has come to expect from the Catholic community.

Kansas City Bishop questions local nuclear weapons plant

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Calling the continued creation of nuclear weapons a “grave moral danger,” the bishop of the local Catholic diocese released a statement this afternoon asking officials to reconsider the construction of a new major nuclear weapons production facility here.

The statement comes a week before local and state dignitaries are due to hold an official ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility Sept. 8 and two weeks after 14 activists -- many self-identified as Catholic -- were arrested at the construction site for a nonviolent peace action.

The new plant, which will make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.

In his statement Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City - Saint Joseph diocese calls for officials to “make a decision for all of humanity: that one day this facility may be transformed from a producer of weapons into a producer of goods that benefit all mankind.”

$600,000 stolen from Des Moines diocese

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Catholic News Service reports:

More than $600,000 stolen from Des Moines Diocese in bank-related fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNS) -- Thieves electronically stole more than $600,000 from a Diocese of Des Moines bank account on two days in August, the diocese and the bank involved said.

As of Sept. 2, $202,000 had been recovered by the bank, according to Anne Marie Cox, director of communications for the diocese.

The theft occurred Aug. 13 and 16 after thieves illegally obtained information on the diocesan accounts at Bankers Trust and electronically transferred funds to "numerous recipients" across the United States, the diocese said in a statement Aug. 26.

Bankers Trust reported the transfers to the diocese Aug. 17 and diocesan financial officials immediately asked the bank to close the targeted accounts, Cox told Catholic News Service.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the thefts. As part of its probe, FBI agents took several diocesan computers.

The diocese is cooperating with federal agents, Cox said. She declined further comment Sept. 2, citing the ongoing investigation.

Philadelphia grand jury report available as audio book

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In 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury released a 418-page report of a three-year investigation into the Philadelphia archdiocese and the sexual abuse of minors. The grand jury concluded that two former archbishops orchestrated a systematic cover-up spanning four decades that managed to successfully shield from prosecution 63 priests who had sexually abused hundreds of children.

Now that report is available as an audio book from Cherry Hill Publishing under the title: The Philadelphia Report.

Here's a review of The Philadelphia Report by the Midwest Book Review:

The Philadelphia Report
Honorable Lynne Abraham, District Attorney
Cherry Hill Publishing
24344 Del Amo Road, Ramona, CA 92065
www.CherryHillPublishing.com
9780984375929 $19.95 unabridged MP3 CD
9780984375912 $29.95 abridged audio CD
9780984375936 $39.95 unabridged audio CD

Celebrating a bishop-elect in San Francisco

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I spent some time in San Francisco earlier this summer and wherever Catholics were gathered, the buzz was about bishop-elect Msgr. Robert W. McElroy, who will be ordained to the episcopacy Sept. 7. As auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, he is expected to be named Vicar for Pastoral Life.

It would be a fitting job, if everything that’s being said about him is true. In this age when a certain amount of healthy Catholic skepticism is often the norm, people on all parts of the ecclesiological/political spectrum just gushed about McElroy’s intellectual and pastoral genius.

“He’s always the brightest bulb in the room,” said one Jesuit, and we know members of the order don’t loosely confer intellectual superiority to someone outside “the Society.” And I heard that phrase more than once.

Ads counter anti-Muslim bigotry

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From Religion News Service:

Muslim group releases ads to counter wave of bigotry

By Adelle M. Banks

WASHINGTON -- A Muslim advocacy organization has released public service announcements -- including one featuring a Muslim firefighter who responded on 9/11 -- as part of a campaign to fight recent anti-Muslim bigotry.

“Muslim Americans were among the victims and also Muslim Americans were among the first responders,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations at a Wednesday (Sept. 1) news conference at the National Press Club.

“We also should acknowledge that 9/11 hit us all hard and we should not allow those who seek political and religious division in the United States to win,” Awad said.

One of the public service announcements features Hisham Tawfiq of the New York Fire Department, tearfully recalling how he learned his firefighting colleague was missing after the attacks on the Twin Towers.

“I'm a New York City firefighter and I responded to 9/11 and I am a Muslim,” he said in the ad.

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