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New Congress means we have to work harder for social justice

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It has taken me some days to recover from the recent midterm elections. I had hoped that the Democrats could hold the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. This was not the case in the House.

Everyone can do Monday morning quarterbacking about why the Democrats did so poorly. My regret is that social justice issues, so important to many Catholics -- as they should be to all Catholics -- will now be put aside or even rolled back.

For example, the attempt to overthrow the Obama health insurance reform, to me, is an anti-social justice issue. How can anyone, especially Catholics, not support the effort to get some 40 million Americans -- many of them also Catholics -- needed health insurance?

With respect to job creation, it is clear that the private sector is not doing enough to produce jobs. If anything, many employers are selfishly laying off employees. As a result, we need more of a federal stimulus to create jobs.

The right to work is a social justice issue, but I’m afraid that nothing will be done along these lines with Republicans, many of them Catholics, who seemed to be unconcerned about the unemployed.

Why not torture when you can just cover it up?

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As he's been making the media circuit to promote his new book, former President George W. Bush has been repeatedly defending his administration's use of torture.

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly over at the Commonweal blog has a fascinating round-up of two reactions from journalists to Bush's interviews.

The common theme among the two? Torture is easy to pull off: The mainstream media won't pursue the story; no one will try to expose the cover up.

As O'Reilly puts it:

The failure of the Obama administration to follow through on its tough talk about restoring the rule of law is based on the same lesson the Bush administration learned: in terms of optics, there is no downside to covering up torture. And as long as you can get away with covering it up, there’s nothing stopping you from going ahead with torture.

What does this say about the U.S.' human rights record?

The most efficient ways to curb climate change

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You have $1 million to spend on abating climate change. How would you spend it to get the most for your money? On more energy-efficient technologies? On raising fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles? On research for wind power generation?

According to a recent paper by David Wheeler and Dan Hammer, climate change experts at the Center for Global Development, the best strategy would be to spend that money on a combination of family planning and girls’ education in developing countries.

Data in their paper shows tonnage of CO2 that could be abated for a one million dollar investment. Family planning and girls' education combined save 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide being hoisted into the upper atmosphere, while measures like an emphasis on solar energy or hybrid cars save only 35-40,000 tons apiece.

Bowed or bended?

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Every morning the bishops' conference media office tweets the readings of the day. (They condense the readings into a 140 character message.) Today's tweet reads: "The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; the LORD loves the just. The LORD protects strangers."

I was wondering (See: New beef about revisions in the revised Roman Missal), if that should be corrected to read "The LORD raises up those who were bended down."

Groups call to lobby bishops

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I just received this notice from FutureChurch. I reprint it in its entirety.

Friends...

We just received the urgent message below from the folks at "What if We Just Said Wait?" requesting that we contact our bishops TODAY, before their November 13 bishops meeting.

Ask them to delay implementation of the Roman Missal translations because "it has become clear that an already compromised text is in a state of complete disarray." (see full text below)

Morning Briefing

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Fixing CCHD

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We ran a couple news stories last week about reforms being made at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (See: Bishops defend Catholic Campaign for Human Development), and Michael Sean Winters told us what is right about CCHD (See Catholic identity demands the work the CCHD promotes).

Here's a couple comments about what is wrong with CCHD: Bishops play defense on anti-poverty initiative.

Michael Hichborn, a spokesman for Reform the CCHD Now, called the anti-poverty program "philosophically flawed right from the outset."
"It never addresses sin as the root cause of poverty, which means it never addresses Christ as a remedy," he said.

The Religion News Service story that quotes Hichborn doesn't specify the sin that causes poverty. Perhaps he means structural sin, for example, predatory loans, redlining neighborhoods, underfunded school districts, or wage theft?

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March 27-April 9, 2015

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