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What's in a name?

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Kudos to Call to Action's young adult group for changing their name. While the new name "CTA 20/30" won't win any awards for cleverness, it was chosen by the young adults themselves and suggests they have something to contribute now, unlike their previous moniker, "Next Generation."

"The name not only better identifies that this program is for Catholics in their 20s and 30s, but also reflects Call To Action's clear commitment to intergenerational equity: the desire for all generations of Catholics to work together for a better church," said CTA Executive Director Jim FitzGerald in an email to members.

FitzGerald himself fits into that age category. See more about his opinions on young adult Catholics here.

Earth Healing is the best internet eco-spirituality site

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One of the best Web sites on eco-spirituality is EarthHealing created and maintained by Kentucky Jesuit Fr. Al Fritsch of Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest. Fr. Fritsch and his helpers have created an internet-based interactive service to address eco-justice questions and the current economic order, avoiding physical conferencing via air travel with its heavy carbon footprint.

"Our principal service is to offer a Daily Reflection on pertinent subjects. This website began in 2004 and will continue as long as materials are available and funding permits. The weekday reflections cover a variety of simple living topics and the weekend writings include homilies and other sacred issues. A variety of essays and poems appear here as well."

The daily reflections are archived on the site. There is also an archive of wonderful reflections on eco-sprituality through the seasons. The daily reflections are always accompanied by a photo depicting some part of the natural world.

Irish church in turmoil after Vatican rejects resignations

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In refusing to accept the resignations of two Irish bishops implicated in a government report of mishandling the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Dublin, Pope Benedict XVI, or others more hidden that we collectively refer to as “the Vatican,” seem determined to turn all rationality on its head.
Since the crisis clearly went global several months ago we’ve heard unprecedented verbiage from the Vatican, words that seemed to convey deep sorrow and a desire to be transparent and accountable in this awful tragedy.
The words seemed reassuring, they were words that we all thought we understood. But moves like this make them inexplicable, beyond ordinary understanding and not in any way that would suggest they carry God-like qualities.

The Billionaires' Give-away

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Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have recruited 40 fellow billionaire families to give away half their treasure to charity. Good?

My immediate response isn't to jump for joy. I would first like to know where they intend to deposit their fortunes. For every Bread for the World there is a L. Ron Hubbard foundation; for every World Vision, a non-profit Dress for Success. Whatever else this pledge may be, it isn't a "widow's mite" expression of sacrificial giving. It's a safe, comfortable gesture with potential for ego-enhancement, though that doesn't mean it can't serve a meaningful purpose.

It reminds me remotely of the financial heavyweights in my home town.

I grew up in a small New England industrial city where furniture magnates extracted millions from cheap immigrant labor and in return bankrolled the public library, the hospital and a showcase indoor-outdoor swimming pool.

Journey Into America: the challenge of Islam

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Rarely have I read a book that is as timely, informative and engaging as Journey into America: the Challenge of Islam by Dr. Akbar Ahmed, considered one of the foremost Islamic scholars in the world.

Beginning in 2008, he and his young research team set out across America, visiting at least 75 cities and 100 mosques as they talked to thousands of American Muslims, and interviewed non-Muslims on their views of Islam.

It was an anthropological study, so the data is reported in dozens of fascinating stories that underline the key findings. Dr. Ahmed and two members of his young research team are the lead guests this week on Interfaith Voices. (The show will be posted by Friday, August 13).

A major theme running throughout the book is relevant for those of all faiths, including Catholics.

Dr. Ahmed and his team sought to understand how Muslims see themselves as part of America, and how non-Muslim Americans see Islam. So they asked the pivotal question: What does it mean to be an American? They asked that question across the country, and developed a typology of “American identities:”

    July heat is dangerous, deadly for undocumented immigrants

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    July was the second-deadliest month on record for undocumented workers crossing from Mexico into southern Arizona by foot, with 59 bodies ending up at the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office.

    The Arizona Daily Star reported Tuesday that the busy month filled the medical examiner's two refrigerated storage spaces, prompting officials to put a 55-foot refrigerated trailer in service to house additional bodies. The month's total of those who perished ranks second only to the 69 deaths recorded by the office in July 2005.

    "I hope that people - no matter which side of the immigration debate they are on - agree that individuals dying in our community is an absolute tragedy and that something needs to be done about it," Kat Rodriguez of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos told the Star.

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    November 21-December 5, 2014

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