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Morning Briefing

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Nashville Dominicans Part II

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The problem with the magnified attention given to the Nashville Dominicans -- the latest being a approving piece by National Public Radio -- is that it carries a silent agenda in addition to an obvious one.

The obvious one is to record the life and faith of a community of nuns that has unquestioned integrity and value all in itself. The print, radio and television reports capture an interesting story of women preserving a way of life that is sincere and grounded in solid convictions. Journalists rightly note this development.

That part is clear and well-founded.

What goes unspoken, however, is that these accounts usually ignore the attack by those who advocate conservative women's communities against the forms of religious life that emerged from Vatican II. Unwittingly, perhaps, the media are taking sides in a struggle that launched the investigations by Rome aimed at rolling back those emerging forms. Those investigations continue even as the Vatican takes steps to dispel fears of a crackdown.

Controversial Super Bowl commercial

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While this football fan is still reveling in yesterday's Green Bay Packer victory over "Da Bears," others already have their eyes on the Super Bowl. Cranky Catholics protesting a proposed commercial, that is.

A submission in a commercial contest created by Doritos and Pepsi depicts a pastor with a declining flock that magically increases when he starts distributing Doritos and Pepsi for communion. (The version on Pepsi's website here is edited to feature just Doritos.)

The 'What's Happenin' Nuns

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National Public Radio, like most media, find the Nashville Dominicans and their cohort of other traditional sisters, simply irresistable. The Nashvillians come gift wrapped in nostalgia and fading stereotype: flowing white habits, communing together like a spiritual summer camp, endlessly mirthful and dedicated to ideals that reporters are glad to see that a few, at least, are preserving.

Harvey, founder of Courage, dies

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Fr. John F. Harvey, founder and executive director of the Courage, an officially sanctioned ministry to Catholics with same-sex attractions, died Dec. 27 in Elkton, Md. He was 92 and had been an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales for 73 years.

A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for tomorrow (Dec. 31) at 11:15 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Wilmington, Del. Interment will be at he Oblate Cemetery in Elkton, Md.

On this day: St. Egwin

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On this day in 717, St. Egwin, the third bishop of Worcester, died at Evesham Abbey.

The life of St. Egwin included kings and their children, a vision of the Virgin Mary, two pilgrimages to Rome, and miraculous animals -- a sow whose secret place for giving birth became the site of Evesham Abbey and a fish that carried a key in its belly from the Avon to the Tiber.


R. O felix Egwine, jam de tua gloria secure, nostris miseriis amans impende per Christum; excusa mala fecimus, et obtine bona quæ poscimus.
V. Ut cruciatus infernorum evadere possimus, et Dei aspectu tecum gaudere.

--from Matins for Dec. 30, Feast of the Deposition of St. Egwin

Click here to see a picture of St. Egwin with the fish, the fetters, and the key.

Facing financial scandals, pope creates new Vatican watchdog

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New law also criminalizes environmental pollution

Against a backdrop of criminal probes related to alleged financial misconduct both in the Vatican Bank and at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican’s wealthy missionary department better known as “Propaganda Fide”, Pope Benedict XVI today created a new in-house watchdog to promote compliance with international rules against financing terrorism, money-laundering, insider trading and market abuse.

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In This Issue

July 17-30, 2015

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