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Dead Zone

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People keep hanging up on me these days. OK, it only happened twice. I am used to my calls getting dropped. But for someone to hang up on me? The nerve!

A couple of weeks ago I got a text message that told me I had won a gift card from Wal-Mart and told me to call an 800 number to claim it. My scam alert turned on, but an 800 number seemed fairly innocuous. The woman who answered had an Indian accent and my alert went up a notch.

Bishops' head: Changes to Mass translation 'minor'

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The outgoing head of the U.S. bishops' committee in charge of the implementation of the new Vatican-approved English translation of the Roman Missal released a statement today addressing reports of last-minute changes to the translation.

In the statement, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Paterson, N.J. diocese called the changes "minor" and akin to a "copy edit."

The statement comes a week and a half after a scathingly critical report of the changes, seemingly written by a group of highly professional scholars, was sent to English-speaking bishops’ conferences around the world.

The report alleged that the final Vatican version of the new English translation made numerous departures from the Vatican’s own translation rules and changed almost countless texts that had previously been approved.

The statement was made on the U.S. bishops' conference Web site this morning. Serratelli, who served as the chairman for the U.S. bishops' committee on divine worship, was formally replaced by his successor, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the New Orleans archdiocese, at noon today.

Political change requires a new 'moral center'

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Jim Wallis of Sojourners is right on target again in a blog series he has written, titled "It Takes a Movement: The Next Steps."

In the last installment of the six-part series, Wallis challenges people of faith to create a “moral center” of power that can help steer our country forward.

This at a time when our leaders -- Democrats, Republicans and President Obama himself -- seem unable or unwilling to rise to meet the crises our country faces.

Wallis courageously takes on controversial issues and shows where religious folk on the left and right can find common ground for acting: People of faith want to reduce the numbers of abortions in American, he writes, “not with symbolic amendments or criminalizing desperate and tragic choices—but by preventing unwanted pregnancies and supporting low-income women.”

We must promote healthy families, Wallis says, not by scapegoating gays and bullying gay teens, but by “creating policies that build a culture of support for families.”

Local reaction to Kicanas controversy

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I've read a lot of reaction and analysis about the controversial USCCB election over the past days (some of the best of it right here and here on this very blog), but one of the most interesting was a true local reaction from a blogger for the Tuscon Citizen who used to work for the diocesan newspaper there.

Says "God Blogger" Renee Schafer Horton:

First, Kicanas is about as “liberal” as I am pope. He’s a moderate that leans slightly right. Trust me, I used to write for the Catholic paper here, and as a columnist, my views were moderate and leaning slightly left. I’ve spent plenty of time chatting with him about various issues and more times than not, Kicanas sides with (or at least gives in to) the more “conservative” wing of the Church.

She gives him "the liberal test":

START nuclear weapons treaty needs support now

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This from the U.S. women religious social network:

The fate of New START hangs in the balance. The ratification of the treaty signed by the presidents of the US and Russia on April 8 is dependent on its being brought to the Senate floor for a vote during the lame-duck session that starts November 15. Major efforts are being made to bring it to a vote but it won’t be done unless it is clear that New START has the 67 votes necessary for ratification. The Senate has already held 18 hearings and four briefings.

Tony Danza interrupts priest at New York funeral

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In the "you can't make this up" column is this story from the New York Post:

It could have been a funeral-home scene out of a "Sopranos" episode. At the wake for crime author Philip Carlo, Tony Danza angrily interrupted the priest, claiming he was talking too much about God and not enough about the best-selling biographer of mass murderers, including Richard Kuklinski and Richard Ramirez, during his eulogy.

A source at Thursday's wake at Peter C. La Bella Funeral Home in Bensonhurst said the priest -- "who said he was a substitute priest from a federal prison, which made some people smirk -- started to ramble on and on about religion, quoting the Bible and making mourners uncomfortable.

"Tony, who was one of Carlo's closest friends, walked right up to the priest and said angrily, 'Excuse me, but this is not about you. It's supposed to be about my friend, and if you can't do that, maybe you should let someone else speak!'

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