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Priest cleared of porn charges sues for defamation

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Fr. Mark Gruber, who is a Benedictine monk and anthropology professor, was suspended from teaching at St. Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa., last year by Archabbott Douglas Nowicki. Bishop Lawrence Brandt suspended Gruber's priestly functions after Nowicki and other St. Vincent officials told the bishop that Gruber had downloaded child pornography on a college computer, according to a lawsuit.

Six months later, an oil disaster still spreads across the Gulf

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Oct. 20 marks the six month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that caused the nation's worst environmental disaster.

Reporter Rocky Kistner has been covering the spill and its aftermath on the Natural Resources Defense Council's Web pages. His most recent report is interesting reading about the ongoing impact on people's lives.

The 'Had it' Catholics, Part II

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Tom Roberts' recent piece "The 'Had it' Catholics" has been attracting more comments on our Web site than we can keep up with.

It seems readers are intrigued by the by the central phenomenon of the story: that Catholicism is experiencing the largest loss of faithful of any religious denomination in America.

Now, Peter Steinfels over at Commonweal is weighing in on the subject with a massive exploration of what he calls 'The American Church's Crisis of Attrition.'

After looking into all sorts of reasons -- from all sorts of angles -- for why Catholics are leaving the church in such high numbers, Steinfels highlights what he sees as the key problem with the crisis: that the church hierarchy is simply not acknowledging it exists.

His conclusion is to change that, immediately:

Latina Magnificat: What women know about immigration

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If you have childhood memories of travel, your mother probably figures prominently in the images you carry. Women take care of the details -- the packing, the food, first-aid -- and the needs of the children, physical and emotional.

Try to imagine a mother from Central America getting ready to set out with her daughter on the long journey to the border. Or the women waiting by the phone in Mexico for word that their husband and teenage son have made it across and are somewhere safe.

So You Want to Ride Homer Simpson's Coat-tails?

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The line between evangelizing and commercializing can be a thin one.

The claim by the Vatican newspaper that Homer Simpson is a Catholic is a good illustration.

In these dark days of Vatican history when the Catholic "brand" isn't doing so well, L'Osservatore Romano's embrace of Homer could be a marketing strategy to bolster its image.

Basking in the glow of Homer's popularity won't work, however, unless Rome is ready to accept a form of Catholicism that includes the following features:

Gay marriage. When the law permitted them in Springfield, HJS speedily got himself marrying credentials and opened up a wedding chapel in his garage. Did right well, too.

Church unity, achieved. Homer most often attends services in the Protestant sanctuary of the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy, but has never shown an inclination to place any church, or any religion for that matter, above another. They're all the same for him if there's something in it for him. He even did a brief missionary stint on a South Pacific island.

Conservative Kansas town reduces energy use, saves money

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They don’t believe in climate change. They can’t stand Al Gore. But the residents of the deeply conservative town of Salina, Kansas are committed to saving energy thanks to the Climate and Energy Project.

A fascinating article in today’s New York Times says that the project is aimed at reducing the heartland’s dependence on coal and oil.

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In This Issue

April 10-23, 2015

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