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No doubt

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What if, as human beings, we could erase all doubt? Would that make us better people? That’s the central focus of a new branch of American psycho-analysis called "Positive Psychology" -- it's sort of a Tinker Bell solution to life's worries: if we just believe hard enough, it will all work out.

Time to preach about the 'common good'

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Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus was at Glen Beck’s event on the Mall last Sunday, asking people why they attended. A quote from one woman she interviewed stunned me. “…My freedoms are lost. To be able to preach anywhere we want, to have God in our schools, to drive any kind of car we want and if I want to drive a gas guzzler, I can, if I want to eat a lot of sugar and salt, and I shouldn’t be forced to buy medical care… to be able to burn the kind of light bulb I want…the list goes on.”

A Prayer for Creation

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The Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) is staging a "Green Pilgrimage" in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, Sept. 1-5, to foster what Pope Benedict XVI described as "binding respect for the divine gift of creation" in a telegram to organizers.

As part of the "Green Pilgrimage," an ecumenical prayer service is being held this evening in the Cathedral of St. Pölten, Austria. The following is the English text of a "Prayer for Creation" which is being read during the service. (The citations of "CV" refer to Pope Benedict's social encyclical Caritas in Veritate.)

A Prayer for Creation

Almighty God, who created heaven and earth and all they contain, come to our help at this historic moment in humanity’s journey from heaven to earth.

You are beyond all things. All things praise you, and all things give honour to you, both things that have intellect and those that do not.

The desires of all human beings are common to all, common are the groans of all those who surround you; anything that moves in the universe is thanks to You.

Mother Teresa's birthplace gets a makeover

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In Mother Teresa's own words:

"By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

Now her birthplace, Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia, is getting a makeover.

"Its charms are many, but architecture is not usually seen as one of them. Rebuilt after an earthquake in 1963 wiped out most of the city, Skopje, the capital of the ex-Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, was for years characterized by ugly concrete blocks and strange empty spaces. But earlier this year Nikola Gruevski's conservative government produced a video that revealed the full ambition of “Skopje 2014”, its plan for a radical reinvention of the city center."

A Vatican lion who defied conservative/liberal labels

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Generally speaking, the Vatican is an environment that doesn't exactly encourage individuality. Officials typically move in the shadows, subjecting their own styles and passions to the corporate interests of the Holy See. When you find a personality that shines through even here, therefore, you know you’ve got a live wire.

For the last decade, that’s unquestionably been the case with Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, who stepped down on Wednesday as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, a position he had held since November 2001.

The courage to oppose nuclear bomb makers

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Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn’s recent statement questioning the wisdom of a major new weapons plant in Kansas City Mo. could provide a model for dioceses throughout the country where government and private enterprise prepare the most hideous devices of modern warfare.

The statement, largely a catalogue of papal and catechism teachings against the development of modern machines of war, is consistent with Finn’s ardent opposition to abortion and his advocacy of other life issues.

While NCR has certainly been critical of Finn’s management style and ecclesiological priorities, on this matter we applaud the courage it requires to take on a local major employer as well as the local political establishment.

Finn knows the sting of public rebuke and derision when taking unpopular moral positions. But no one questions your citizenship or patriotism for opposing abortion because that position can be chalked up to religious conviction, and it’s what the culture has come to expect from the Catholic community.

Kansas City Bishop questions local nuclear weapons plant

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Calling the continued creation of nuclear weapons a “grave moral danger,” the bishop of the local Catholic diocese released a statement this afternoon asking officials to reconsider the construction of a new major nuclear weapons production facility here.

The statement comes a week before local and state dignitaries are due to hold an official ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility Sept. 8 and two weeks after 14 activists -- many self-identified as Catholic -- were arrested at the construction site for a nonviolent peace action.

The new plant, which will make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.

In his statement Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City - Saint Joseph diocese calls for officials to “make a decision for all of humanity: that one day this facility may be transformed from a producer of weapons into a producer of goods that benefit all mankind.”

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