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Priest allegedly fathered child of teenage girl

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The Diocese of Allentown, Pa., was recently sued by a couple who said their daughter was seduced by a priest who was a chaplain at a Catholic high school.
According to a report in The Morning Call of Allentown:

"A Roman Catholic priest allegedly seduced a 17-year-old girl while she was a senior at a Catholic high school in Reading into a sexual relationship that resulted in her giving birth at age 19, according to a civil lawsuit filed by her parents in Berks County Court.

"According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito was removed as chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and pastor of St. Joseph Church in Reading after the parents secretly video-taped him having sexual intercourse with their daughter in the basement of their home in November."

Read the entire story here.

Parish Closings

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About two weeks ago, I visited my hometown of Lockport, N.Y., for my 50th high school class reunion. DeSales High School: Class of 1960! Who would believe it? Nostalgia struck me big time when I looked at our yearbook and realized that John XXIII was pope at the time! Ah, for those days of open windows and new thinking! My classmates, I must say, have never lost their taste for that era.

But parishes are closing in Lockport, and I discovered just how sad, upsetting and divisive that can in a place like Lockport (diocese of Buffalo) when parishes have a long history in the community.

Bishops lead aid convoy to flood victims

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News from Catholic News Service

Catholic, Protestant bishops lead aid convoy to Pakistani flood victims

MULTAN, Pakistan (CNS) -- A Pakistani Catholic bishop and his Protestant counterpart led a convoy of food and bottled water to southern Punjab province, where five districts are submerged under floodwaters.

The Asian church news agency UCA News reported that Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan and Anglican Bishop Alexander Malik of Lahore began their trip Aug. 26 with a prayer at the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer, Multan, before traveling more than 100 miles south to a camp for survivors in Khan Bela. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti also joined the convoy with an additional six trucks of relief items.

"This is our diocese. We have seen death with our own eyes in visits to flood-hit areas," Bishop Francis told flood victims on their arrival. "We came through these deadly waters to bring you food and show you that we care."

"We are all Pakistanis and stand together amid this crisis," Bishop Malik said.

The two bishops then went among the many tents to give out relief packages to survivors.

VOTF Chicagoland's open letter to the pope

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Shortly after the piece headlined "Some bishops questioning clerical culture" was posted, I received an email from Anne Brennan of Voice of the Faithful Chicagoland about an open letter the group had written to Pope Benedict XVI in which they compare clerical culture with a deadly cancer threatening the church.

Whether one agrees entirely with the group's views, or its suggestions for correcting the abuses of the culture, it is a worthy contribution to the discussion, which I find occurring increasingly.

I'll have more on the subject in the future. Meanwhile, the full text of the Voice of the Faithful letter and contact information is pasted in below.

Attacks on 14th amendment callous, inhumane

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In the last few weeks conservative Republicans and Tea Party activists have proposed changing the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment declares that all persons born in the United States are citizens of this country.

What these conservatives really want to do is change the amendment to prevent U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants from gaining U.S. citizenship. This is how low the anti-immigrant nativists have stooped. They claim that one of the main reasons why undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. is to have babies -- the so-called "anchor babies" -- that will allow parents to gain legal status through their children.

There is no evidence that this is why these immigrants cross the border.

'Green wants to conquer'

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We hear a lot about “tipping points,” those places at which momentum becomes irreversible, in connection with looming environmental challenges such as climate change. The Earth now spins toward many points of no return, reputable scientists say. Opinions vary as to how long it will take or whether indeed we have already passed through them.

“The tipping points are falling like dominoes,” said Albert Bates, founder of the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology, at a conference I attended last year. “We are losing. We need to sprint.”

Needed for that sprint are eco-tipping points, levers that dramatically reverse environmental decline and set in motion restoration and sustainability.

There are indeed many pioneering projects and efforts around the world that are not technological fixes so much as returns to ways humans have employed for hundreds of thousands of years or to ways and means that nature herself uses.

Here’s one that Bates presented involving the new/old science of permaculture.

The abuse crisis, drip by drip

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The story out of the St. Louis area today is an example of what Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has termed "the drip-by-drip, never ending revelation about child sex abuse and the disastrous way it was handled."

In a recent release, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that, according to a civil case filed in St. Louis County Court, Bryan Bacon was a 15-year-old student at Vianney High School in St. Louis in 1985 when Marianist Br. William Mueller cornered him with a knife and rubbed up against him.

The 71-year-old Mueller, now a resident of Texas, has been accused of abuse in 24 civil suits in three states, including allegations he that he used ether to render his former pupils unconscious.

Earlier this month St. Louis County Judge Barbara Wallace ordered that Mueller pay Bacon $500,000 for sexual abuse and/or battery. Today at 1:30 p.m. SNAP plans to picket outside the Marianists' St. Louis office (4425 W. Pine in the Central West End) to bring attention to the case. Vianney is a Marianist school.

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