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Update: South Bend bishop not meeting ND president about gay alumni club

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In a blog Aug. 17 I reported receiving a news release from Thomas Field, a member of a gay and lesbian alumni club of Notre Dame, in which Field said he had been informed by an official of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese that Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, head of that diocese, would discuss the club’s request for official recognition by the university when he meets with the president of Notre Dame this fall.

If you go back to that blog, you will find Field has posted a note there saying that after he sent out the news release he received a voice mail response from Rhoades saying the news release was wrong – the bishop will not be discussing the club’s request with Holy Cross Fr. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president.

Eating with the seasons means eating better

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A walk through the produce section of a supermarket might leave you thinking we can have all kinds of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables year-round,at least until you actually bite into that January strawberry from South America.

These days, most produce in supermarkets comes from California, Florida, and other states with longer growing seasons, or is shipped in from other countries thousands of miles away. This is true even in the spring, summer, and fall, when local fruits and vegetables are available.

In order to survive journeys of over a thousand miles, most produce comes from varieties that have been bred for durability rather than flavor and nutrition. Most produce is also picked before it's truly ripe because ripe fruits and vegetables are more easily damaged in transit and rot more quickly. Unripe produce, however,hasn't yet reached its peak of flavor and nutrient content. Moreover, fruits and vegetables begin losing nutrients as soon as they're harvested, so more time spent in transit means less nutritious food.

Robert Kaiser urges revolt in the Irish Church

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The headline reads: Tell bishops "to get the hell out of our cathedral," says writer. The story in the Irish Independent is about writer Robert Blair Kaiser, known to many NCR readers, a long time church writer who covered the Second Vatican Council for Time magazine.

Kaiser is never one to overly engage in subtleties, but this piece catches him at an especially fiery moment, a speech he gave at a conference in Ireland. Kaiser said he was not attacking the faith, but rather the "special and corrosive tyranny that popes have been exercising over Catholics everywhere".

The Islamic center in New York: international implications

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I am appalled by the crazed rhetoric coming from people who oppose the construction of that Islamic Cultural Center two blocks from Ground Zero in New York. It is ill-informed and often inflammatory. On the part of many candidates for office, it is nothing more than a blatant attempt to exploit ignorance and fear of Islam to get votes.

And although a lot of ink has been spilled on both sides of this controversy, there is one factor I have not heard mentioned. The United States -- as a result of an act of Congress -- has an official Commission on International Religious Freedom. Every year, its members assess and grade the state of religious freedom in other countries around the world, with severe criticism aimed at several every year. Many of those criticized annually are predominantly Muslim nations.

If we were to prevent construction of this Islamic Center, how could we dare to stand in judgment of the rest of the world when it comes to religious freedom? We would be hypocrites of the first order. And in one act, this would undermine all our efforts to build positive relations with the Muslim world.

From the streets of Philadelphia

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I spent some time recently reporting a story in the Kensington area of North Philadelphia (gunshots are heard often, residents say, and two men were shot the night I was there across the street from the house where I was staying) and had the opportunity one morning to meet Sr. Margaret McKenna.

She was conducting a Bible study that day for 20 or so addicts in various stages of rehabilitation, all part of the New Jerusalem Community, which she’s been running for the past 20 years. More on her and her work in the future. (In addition, she’s an award winning urban gardener and offered some wonderful home-made apple pie made with apples from a tree in her back yard.)

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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