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Danneels latest symbol of a culture in need of reform

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Some will be surprised at the revelation that Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium urged a victim who was abused by his uncle, a bishop, to remain quiet, accept a private apology and allow the bishop to retire and not “drag his name through the mud.”

Secretly made recordings of meetings among the cardinal, the victim and the perpetrator leave little room for Danneels to explain his way out of his own words. He didn’t call the police, he didn’t immediately seek removal of the bishop, he didn’t act immediately to find out whether there had been other victims.

Ten most toxic fish

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Food & Water Watch just released its 2010 Smart Seafood Guide.

Why it's worth checking out: While some guides only address human health issues (like mercury) and environmental problems (like overfishing), Food & Water Watch also considers seafood's socioeconomic impact. "For example, lobster is a a key part of the economy up in Maine," says Marianne Cufone, director of Food & Water Watch's fish program. "Knowing that fact is really important to some consumers." The guide is also searchable by taste and texture, which makes it easy to use for recipe substitutions.

To see Food & Water Watch's "dirty dozen" list of seafood that failed to meet at least two of the group's criteria, click here.

The taming of Martin Luther King

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In this Orwellian era, when a TV entertainer like Glenn Beck is able, if only for a day, to somehow claim to advance the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. while urging listeners to flee from churches that preach social justice, a major reality check is in order.

Beck isn’t the only one, however bizarre his interpretation, who sees the King legacy wrapped up in his dream speech, which Beck says he is out to “restore and finish” with his rally at the Lincoln Memorial today. Most of the culture refuses to get near the most powerful lines of King’s prophetic life.

From previous pieces in NCR:

King’s is a challenging and complex legacy, one that continues to confront the conscience of this country, particularly as we continue to deal with matters of racism and discrimination. Unfortunately, what doesn’t get talked about much is the absolute centrality of nonviolence to his approach to social reform and how that conviction influenced his view of the conduct of the United States in the wider world.

Priest allegedly fathered child of teenage girl

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The Diocese of Allentown, Pa., was recently sued by a couple who said their daughter was seduced by a priest who was a chaplain at a Catholic high school.
According to a report in The Morning Call of Allentown:

"A Roman Catholic priest allegedly seduced a 17-year-old girl while she was a senior at a Catholic high school in Reading into a sexual relationship that resulted in her giving birth at age 19, according to a civil lawsuit filed by her parents in Berks County Court.

"According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito was removed as chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and pastor of St. Joseph Church in Reading after the parents secretly video-taped him having sexual intercourse with their daughter in the basement of their home in November."

Read the entire story here.

Parish Closings

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About two weeks ago, I visited my hometown of Lockport, N.Y., for my 50th high school class reunion. DeSales High School: Class of 1960! Who would believe it? Nostalgia struck me big time when I looked at our yearbook and realized that John XXIII was pope at the time! Ah, for those days of open windows and new thinking! My classmates, I must say, have never lost their taste for that era.

But parishes are closing in Lockport, and I discovered just how sad, upsetting and divisive that can in a place like Lockport (diocese of Buffalo) when parishes have a long history in the community.

Bishops lead aid convoy to flood victims

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News from Catholic News Service

Catholic, Protestant bishops lead aid convoy to Pakistani flood victims

MULTAN, Pakistan (CNS) -- A Pakistani Catholic bishop and his Protestant counterpart led a convoy of food and bottled water to southern Punjab province, where five districts are submerged under floodwaters.

The Asian church news agency UCA News reported that Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan and Anglican Bishop Alexander Malik of Lahore began their trip Aug. 26 with a prayer at the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer, Multan, before traveling more than 100 miles south to a camp for survivors in Khan Bela. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti also joined the convoy with an additional six trucks of relief items.

"This is our diocese. We have seen death with our own eyes in visits to flood-hit areas," Bishop Francis told flood victims on their arrival. "We came through these deadly waters to bring you food and show you that we care."

"We are all Pakistanis and stand together amid this crisis," Bishop Malik said.

The two bishops then went among the many tents to give out relief packages to survivors.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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