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Hope from the Bronx for a sane Catholic center

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Overcoming polarization in the church often feels like the Catholic equivalent of bringing peace to the Middle East. Everybody pays lip service to it, and from time to time some bold new initiative is rolled out, but longtime combatants who have watched such efforts come and go generally feel in their bones that the reality is permanent war.

tIf peace is going to break out, therefore, it probably won’t be those veterans who make it happen.

Activists gather in Kansas City to resist nuclear weapons plant

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a saying from the movie Field of Dreams that's become an almost unrecognizable part of the popular lexicon: "If you build it, they will come."

Of course, in the film the phrase refers to a crazy scheme somehow pulled-off by the the main character: building a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa cornfield to allow long-dead ghosts of baseball greats to play the sport they loved for the first time in decades.

For the past two days I've seen something of that crazy scheme come alive -- just not exactly in the way that the builders in this particular case might have liked.

Coming from across the nation by bus, train, and caravan, 60 activists gathered this weekend here to resist the building of a new nuclear weapons production facility, scheduled to be the nation's first construction of such a site in 32 years.

Tom Fox tweeting live as LCWR president speaks in Dallas

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NCR editor Tom Fox is tweeting live from Dallas this afternoon as outgoing Leadership Conference of Women Religious president Marlene Weisenbeck speaks to their annual national assembly.

Check out Fox's Twitter account to see the updates as they come in. His username there is @NCRTomFox and his page can be found at twitter.com/ncrtomfox. If you tweet about the event use #LCWR so we can follow along!

Here's a sample of what Fox has 'tweeted' so far:

At 11:40 AM CDT: LCWR President to assembly: You cannot imprison the Word of the Lord.

At 11:42: LCWR President Weisenbeck's farewell address a multimedia expression.

At 11:43: Weisenbeck: Call to hope as prophets, artists, beakers and lovers.

At 11:52: Women are leaving the LCWR annual gathering feeling confident, re-empowered in solidarity, grounded in gospel faith.

At 11:56: LCWR members appear grounded, founded in a "love relationship with Christ," says LCWR president.

Editor assesses state of church in Ireland

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For those interested in Catholics overcoming theological and ideological divides, Ireland might provide an example of how to achieve such agreement, admittedly amid difficult circumstances.

The series of government reports in recent years outlining widespread abuse of youngsters by priests and a broad coverup of the crimes by the hierarchy have united people from widely varying points on the ecclesial spectrum, according to Michael Kelly, deputy editor of The Irish Catholic, an independent national publication. From movements left, right and center, he said, people in this overwhelmingly Catholic country are saying: “‘This is not working. We still want to hold our orthodoxy and be traditional Catholics but we also want to find a new way of being church,’” he said in an Aug. 4 phone interview.

LCWR marches against death penalty

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Dallas
Some 600 women religious began their last day of a three-day conference here with a public demonstration against the death penalty. Carrying signs and wearing visors reading "LCWR: Nuns for life," they left the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Dallas and walked to a nearby plaza where they held a prayer and protest session.

The number of executions in the United States has decreased from 98 in 1999 to 52 in 2009. Twenty-four, down from 37 in 1999, of the 52 executions in the U.S. took place in Texas in 2009. Moreover, only nine Texas death sentences were given in 2009, down from as many as 48 in the late 1990s, according to an LCWR death penalty paper.

Texas now has executed more than 450 people since 1982 out of some 1,200 executions nationwide since 1977. Currently there are more than 330 people on Texas Death Row; nationally there are some 3,270 such inmates.

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