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Obama Getting Back on Track

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I noted yesterday that President Obama’s speech was off-target, although I liked his interest in the Rite of Blessing of the Fleets. But, there was another religious angle that he has failed to deploy effectively: Religious groups nationwide are deeply and profoundly concerned about environmental protection. Groups like Faith in Public Life have held conference calls with religious leaders in support of climate change legislation. The USCCB is on board. Last January, in his annual World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the entire speech to the need to protect the environment.

Note to Obama speechwriters: Instead of “eco-system” and “environment” say “Creation.” Voters who are animated by environmental concerns are already with the President. But, the word “creation” resonated with those religiously motivated swing voters who voted against Kerry in 2004 and for Obama in 2008.

A new worst-case scenario?

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"It seems we've found a new worst-case scenario," says Sharon Astyk at ScienceBlogs writing about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mother Jones (Is the BP Gusher Unstoppable?), The Slatest (Worst-Case Oil Spill Scenario Terrifies Readers) and Gawker (What if We Can't Stop the BP Oil Leak? The Nightmare Scenario) all picked up on a lengthy guest post on The Oil Drum, a respected group blog about the future of energy edited by engineers, physicists, and energy analysts. The posting says basically: We ain't seen nothing yet.

According to the post, the pressure building in the oil reserve that the Deepwater Horizon rig was tapped into is building and may soon erupt through the ocean floor.

That would send 150,000 barrels of oil a day into gulf waters.

Cardinal George and Sister Carol on Health Care

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NCR Senior Correspondent John Allen, in a fine piece of reporting, talks to the key players in the health care discussion: Cardinal Francis George, Sister Carol Keehan, Bishop Robert Lynch. Allen is covering the Catholic Health Association meeting, but his piece goes beyond the tensions between CHA and the bishops over each's interpretation of how abortion is treated in the legislation to deeper issues that are sure to be with the US Church for years to come. Find the story here.

Liturgy Changes in 2011

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Religion News Service reported yesterday that changes in the liturgy of the Mass, specifically the awkward translations of certain prayers, are slated tentatively for late 2011. The date was announced by Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., a former member of the U.S. bishops' liturgy committee. He indicated that the date is not firm, but "it is very possible, however, that the date will be the First Sunday of Advent 2011."

Just to put this in context, these are the translations of various Mass texts that many US Catholics -- bishops and liturgical experts alike -- oppose, and are likely to raise a lot of questions in the minds of folks in the pews. (The questions, in fact, are already being asked. My fellow blogger, Dennis Coday, passed on last week a request from a reader looking to join a group or alliance working to postpone the new translation.)

I’ve followed this story as it developed, and it boggles my mind that translation questions are not left to native speakers of a language ... in this case, English.

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August 15-28, 2014

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