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Church's teachings on birth control reason many have left the church

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A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life cites that half of American Catholics who have left the church found the church's teachings on birth control as a reason they left. In the pill's 50th. year, the Catholic church is acknowledging the anniversary with increased abstinence advocacy, and for some couples, it is changing their minds. Niraj Warikoo of The Detroit Free Press discusses the tension between natural family planning and artificial contraceptives in his article Forget contraceptives, go natural, church teaches.

LDS Church neutral on immigration

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All this week on his Distinctly Catholic blog, Michael Sean Winters is looking at immigration reform from a faith perspective. (See this and this.)

The Catholic bishops are on record as sayng 'Current immigration law fails to meet the moral test of dignity'. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has taken particular interest in the issue (See: Common ground sought for immigration solutions.)

How are other religious groups approaching immigration? New America Media reports that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wants to remain "neutral."

Pontifical seminary gets first fulltime female prof

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UCA News reports:

Seminary gets first fulltime woman staffer

PUNE, INDA -- India’s first Catholic woman to become a fulltime seminary professor says she would work to present the Bible in “a new and meaningful” way.

Assumption Sister Rekha Chennattu was appointed professor of Sacred Scripture in Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), a major Indian seminary based in Pune, western India.

Her appointment was confirmed mid-June by the Congregation for Catholic Education with the approval of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Sister Chennattu, 46, told ucanews.com that she was “excited” about the prospect of “preparing ambassadors for Christ.”

The nun joined the seminary faculty to lecture on Scripture in 1996. She has a Licentiate in Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and holds a doctorate in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

She is also the first woman to head the Department of Scriptural Studies at JDV, Church officials said.

Faith and AIDS work

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Here is a companion piece to the CNS story we posted to our website yesterday: Catholic AIDS expert: Study lends credibility to faith leaders' work.

This comes from Ecumenical News International:

Faith leaders warned on statements about HIV and AIDS

Vienna -- Faith leaders can play a key role in the fight against the HIV pandemic if their public statements help combat stigma and discrimination, a meeting of faith groups in Vienna in advance of the 18th International AIDS Conference has heard.

"Religious leaders have the trust and confidence of their communities and can help break these barriers and create a more supportive environment," the Netherlands AIDS ambassador Marijke Wijnroks told a 17 July multi-faith conference in the Austrian capital.

Wijnroks acknowledged that faith communities have been "on the frontline of the response to HIV and AIDS".

Online petition protesting pope's visit removed

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British government removes online petition protesting pope's visit

By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service

LONDON -- The British government has removed from its website a petition protesting Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 visit to England and Scotland.

The petition had urged the British prime minister to dissociate the government from the pope's "intolerant views" and not to support the state visit financially. The secularist coalition Protest the Pope sponsored the petition, which had attracted more than 12,300 signatures.

U.S. government goes secret.

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Want to read a pretty unsettling first paragraph to an important news story?

The following appeared in the Washington Post today.

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.

This \"Egg on the Faceî Won't Wash Off

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Apparently, even some men in the Vatican have had second thoughts about the recent document that put pedophilia in the same category of crimes as the “attempt to ordain a woman.”
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Msgr. Charles Scicluna, who works in the Vatican’s doctrinal department, said on Friday, July 16th that these “crimes” are not comparable under canon law.

"They are in the same document but this does not put them on the same level or assign them the same gravity," said Scicluna. He called sexual abuse a “crime against morality,” and the “attempt” to ordain a woman a “crime against a sacrament.” He did not mention that they are both called “delicta graviora.”

It’s evident that the Vatican has egg all over its theological face with this one. And they’re trying to clean it up.

But it won’t wash. They’ve let too much out of the bag. The original statement told us in new language what they really think about women. Their ridiculous comparison of women’s ordination with pedophilia was actually released to the media, apparently without anyone’s questioning it, and no one in the Vatican pulling it back.

Immigration in Europe Reveals Catholic Principle

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As the immigration issue continues to rage on, the church is often accused of acting simply in its own self-interest. After all, the vast majority of undocumented workers in the U.S. are Catholics from Latin America. But an article in the Los Angeles Times demonstrates that the Catholic commitment to justice for immigrants goes much deeper.

In a report from Rome, The Times focuses on the John Paul II Canteen there, which offers immigrants in the Eternal City a place to sit and have a hot meal. But Italy's immigration issue has nothing to do with Latinos -- there, the majority are Muslim.

As the article points out, Catholics advocate for these immigrants in a way that could actually be seen as against the church's ultimate self-interest. As Pope Benedict has noted, the numbers of native born Catholics are on the decline throughout Europe (including Italy) -- without being refreshed by large numbers of Catholic immigrants. Those immigrants are Muslim, instead.

Interfaith Voices this Week: Black Preaching in America

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It’s a fascinating week on Interfaith Voices. We begin with Martha Simmons, co-editor of a new anthology of African American preaching, from the days of slavery to the present. It’s called Preaching with Sacred Fire. Listening to some of these preaching styles, I was reminded that the liveliest liturgies in the Catholic Church are most often found in predominantly African-American parishes.
t
tThen, we explore the Yoruba religious tradition native to Africa as part of our World Religions 101 series. It has also spread in the Americas, especially Brazil and the Caribbean. Its “mischievous” “gods,” or Orishas, are a delight to hear about.

tFinally, we conclude with Jewish music from the 1940’s through the 1980’s, what is wistfully called “Jews on Vinyl.” Follow this link to listen.

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September 12-25, 2014

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