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On this day: Kings

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On this day, "they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell downe, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, Gold, and Frankincense, and Myrrhe."

--from the King James Bible, four centuries old this year.

In her Christmas message twelve days ago, Queen Elizabeth II described the King James Bible as a "masterpiece of English prose" and the "most vivid translation of the scriptures". The "glorious language of this bible" has influenced all English speakers, Christian or not, Anglican or not.

Click here to read the story of the Magi from the King James Bible of 1611, digitized for the 400th anniversary. (Enter 2 for the chapter, then double-click to enlarge the page.)

Morning Briefing

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US protests over treatment of diplomat in Vietnam
Roughed up U.S. official was meeting with Catholic priest held in house arrest.

Clergy abuse in Delaware: Maryland parish victim settles
Case had been set to go to trial this week. $1.7 million settlement

Milwaukee Catholic schools feel funds are safe from bankruptcy filing
But hurting schools face more uncertainty.

Discovery Channel teams with Catholic church in look into demons
"The Exorcist Files" set to air in the spring

Fr. Cutie: Too little, too late

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Fr. Albert Cutie, the Miami priest who left the priesthood after the paparazzi caught him with his girlfriend on the beach, is in the news again. Now an Episcopal priest, husband (to said girlfriend) and actual father to a teen-aged stepson and infant daughter, Cutie has released a "tell-all" book this month.

Nothing in "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love" will surprise veteran church watchers and reformers:


  • A number of priests are involved in heterosexual and homosexual relationships, in part because celibacy makes them lonely and starved for intimacy.

  • Some bishops are hardly the pastoral shepherds they should be to their flocks, including their priests.

  • Many in the church hierarchy are only concerned with the church's image in the sex abuse scandal.

The new Mass translation: More than just words

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COLUMN

Check out Dominican Fr. Paul Philibert’s article in this week's issue of America magazine to learn why the new translation of the Roman Missal is catching flack for more than just bad grammar and antiquated English.

Philibert makes the case, respectfully but forcefully, that altering the words of consecration of the cup from "It will be shed for you and for all" to "It will be shed for you and for many" is a significant shift in emphasis from the accepted theological notion that Jesus died to save all people, not just a select number, however defined.

WikiLeaks: Israel wanted to keep Gaza economy 'on brink of collapse'

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Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse" during an Israeli blockade of the area, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily and released by WikiLeaks Wednesday.

The information in the leaked Nov. 3, 2008 cable seems to contradict official declarations -- made by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert -- that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip wouldn't unduly target ordinary Palestinians.

From the Reuters report (via Haaretz):

"As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge," one of the cables read.

Israel wanted the coastal territory's economy "functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis", according to the Nov. 3, 2008 cable.

The Vatican Library goes digital

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The Jan. 3 issue of The New Yorker has a fascinating article by Daniel Mendelsohn about the Vatican Library and its conversion to 21st century technology.

The article gives an overview of many of the unique manuscripts that library possesses. And it provides a glimpse of its efforts to modernize -- i.e., put the collection on line -- over the past several years.

Turns out the library has been closed for three years while this process took place under Msgr. Cesare Pasini, its current Prefect. The author gives him credit for understanding both the needs of the scholarly community and the concerns of the Curia.

If you are visiting Rome, the library recently re-opened.

Hepatitis scare from Christmas Eucharist

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From yesterday's New York Post:

Hundreds of worshippers may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus while receiving Holy Communion at a Long Island Catholic church on Christmas morning, officials said.

An unidentified person who handled the communion wafers could have transmitted the illness to parishioners at two Masses on the holy day, authorities said.

The possible spread of the virus occurred at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in Massapequa at the 10:30 a.m. and noon Masses on Dec. 25.

The Nassau County Department of Health said anyone who received the bread wafers should report for inoculation at the church this week. A department spokesman declined to provide details, citing privacy concerns.

"Individuals may be at risk," said Sean Dolan, a spokesman for Diocese of Rockville Centre.

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In This Issue

August 28-September 10, 2015

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