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Bishop Olmsted's ultimatum

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We just posted a story about Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted's ultimatum to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center: Follow my orders or lose my endorsement.

Mike Clancy, a reporter for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, broke the story yesterday. He subsequently agreed to write a story for us. We didn't rush to post the story, because we wanted to see if we could get deeper into the story after the initial flurry that inevitably follows the breaking of a story like this.

Circus performers at the Vatican

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This from "Michael Sean Winters' "Can't Stop Laughing" Department.

Four acrobats took their circus act to the Vatican yesterday, performing for Pope Benedict during his weekly general audience. The men took off their shirts as they came on stage to begin their show, which lasted a few minutes. They lifted each other in acrobatic poses, keeping balance with their bodies supported only by their arms, at one point creating a human tower. The pope looked on, and at the end of the performance he clapped and briefly got up as he greeted them. The group is called the Pellegrini Brothers and were invited as part of a convention on circuses organized by the Vatican's office for migrants.

Morning Briefing (corrected)

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I fixed the links that were broken. Sorry for the inconvenience.
           --Dennis

Phoenix: Church role in St. Joseph's Hospital care debated

Phoenix: Readers chat with Republic reporter about bishop's order

Seoul: KKorean priests lose confidence in their cardinal

Lawrenceville, Ga.: Church set to buy land, Waste transfer station once proposed for area

Detroit, Mich.: Churches offer services for those feeling blue

WikiLeaks source held in solitary confinement for seven months

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Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to the international organization WikiLeaks, has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for the last seven months, reports Glenn Greenwald in an article for the online magazine Salon.

Manning, who was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command July 5, is suspected of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video -- which shows an U.S. Apache helicopter attack which led to the deaths of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists -- and U.S. diplomatic cables.

In isolation, Greenwald reports, Manning is barred from exercising and has been denied access to even "a pillow or sheets for his bed."

Amdist it all, "the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation."

Punk rocker joins Irish classical singers in Christmas recording

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Finally, some good news coming out of Ireland. From the Catholic News Service (Dublin):

The Irish trio of clerical classical singers The Priests has teamed up with former hellion and punk rocker/Irish folk singer Shane MacGowan for a recording of "The Little Drummer Boy."

The track, also known as "Peace on Earth," was always going to be included on The Priests' third album, "Noel," but mindful of the success of the 1977 recording by Catholic crooner Bing Crosby and glam-rock star David Bowie, the clergymen thought a collaboration with another singer might provide a counterpoint to their classically trained voices.

"Our management told us Shane was available and we were delighted by the idea," Father Eugene O'Hagan, one of The Priests, told Catholic News Service.

A gifted songwriter, MacGowan, former lead singer with The Pogues and later a band named The Popes, became widely known for his alcoholic binges both on and off stage. His song "Fairytale of New York," recorded in 1987, is the Christmas song most requested and played on radio in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Morning Briefing

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Phoenix bishop warns hospital on health-care rules, The bishop wants the hospital to give him more oversight of its practices

Stockton diocese pays two siblings $2M, abused as children by Oliver O'Grady

'Deliver Us from Evil' priest arrested in Ireland, Oliver O'Grady had been arrested in the Dublin

Rochester, N.Y.: Church leader joins state’s stem cell ethics panel

Dissident: Cuba won't let me accept rights prize, Guillermo Farinas' hunger strike helped pressure Havana into releasing political prisoners this year

Letter to the Editor: Catholics and the 2010 election

Afghan youth, US veterans teleconference

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This is one of the effects of war, it makes people rough and violent.
                       --Afghan youth speaking during
                       Advent teleconference with a US veteran.

Every Sunday in Advent from 1-2 p.m. eastern time, Afghan youth and U.S. veterans have been sharing their experiences of war and occupation in a remarkable series of tele-conferences that are free and open to the public.

Popular British writer walks to repent homophobia

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British Christian writer Symon Hill is walking away from his homophobic ways.

In an effort to pray, reflect, and ask forgiveness for those harmed by his prejudices, Hill will walk nearly two hundred miles from Birmingham to London beginning in June 2011. Along his route, he will speak to whatever churches welcome the opportunity to be in dialogue with him.

Hill, who converted to Christianity in his late teens, admits that his motivation for actively campaigning against same-sex relationships was due in part to his desire to fit in at the church he had joined.

Read his full statement here.

Invitation for NCR readers in NYC

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NCR web columnist Phyllis Zagano, who is also Senior Research Associate-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Hofstra University, is part of a panel today at Fordham University.

Avery Dulles and the Future of Theology
Book Forum

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | 6-8 PM
Fordham University | Lincoln Center Campus
Pope Auditorium | 113 West 60th Street

Free and Open to the Public
RSVP: CRCevent@fordham.edu, (212) 636-7347

The publication of Avery Cardinal Dulles: A Model Theologian by Patrick W. Carey will be the point of departure for this forum. A distinguished panel of theologians will discuss and debate the future of theology in light of Cardinal Dulles’s work. They will look at the questions that Dulles asked and didn't ask, the answers he gave as a potential foundation for future Catholic theology, and the significance of his method and style for addressing pressing theological issues.

MODERATOR
Aristotle Papanikolaou, Associate Professor of Theology and Co-Founding Director, Orthodox Christian Studies Program, Fordham University.

PANEL:

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