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Kathleen Parker Goes Off the Deep End

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As conservative opinion writers go, Kathleen Parker is far from the worst. But, she must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday because her contribution to this morning’s Washington Post is truly loathsome.

Her target is Cong. Bart Stupak whom she accuses of being a Judas to the pro-life cause. It should be clear from the venom being spewed at him, noticeably all by Republicans, that the cause Stupak “betrayed” was not the pro-life cause but the defeat-health-care-at-all-costs cause. But, Mr. Stupak never signed on to that latter cause, did he? He said that his conscience needed to be satisfied that the Hyde Amendment restrictions on federal funding of abortion were present in the final bill. When he looked at the Senate language, he said it was too ambiguous. He agreed to vote for the bill when the President agreed to sign an Executive Order that clarified those ambiguities.

Maybe that democracy thing did work

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A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted one day after the health care reform bill received a majority of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives found that Americans' emotional responses to the bill's passage are more positive than negative -- with 50% enthusiastic or pleased versus 42% angry or disappointed -- and are similar to their general reactions.

Nearly half of Americans give a thumbs-up to Congress' passage of a healthcare reform bill last weekend, with 49% calling it "a good thing."

Republicans and Democrats have polar opposite reactions, with independents evenly split.

Interpreting the poll results, the Gallup people said: "Passage of healthcare reform was a clear political victory for President Obama and his allies in Congress."

Stupak slams bishops' 'hypocrisy'

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U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, the pro-life Michigan Democrat whose support guaranteed passage of health care reform, accused the U.S. bishops and pro-life groups of hypocrisy for criticizing the executive order that allowed him and other pro-life democrats to vote for the bill.

"The [National] Right to Life and the bishops, in 2007 when George Bush signed the exective order on embryonic stem cell research, they all applauded the executive order," Stupak told the Daily Caller on March 23.

"So now President Obama's going to sign an executive order protecting life and everyone's condemning it. The hypocrisy is great," he said.

Read more here.

Vatican accepts second Irish bishop's resignation

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It seems that the sex abuse scandal in Ireland is already causing serious career advancement problems for the bishops in that country.

CNN reports this morning that the Vatican has accepted its second resignation in four months of an Irish bishop in relation to the scandal. Bishop John Magee of the diocese of Cloyne is the latest to go today after submitting his letter of resignation March 9. Bishop Donald Murray's resignation was accepted Dec. 17.

In a statement on the diocese of Cloyne's website Magge apologized for any role he may have played in the scandal.

"I want to offer once again my sincere apologies to any person who has been abused by any priest of the Diocese of Cloyne during my time as bishop or at any time," Magee said. "To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon."

Magee has been bishop of Cloyne since 1987. Before that he served as Pope John Paul II's master of ceremonies.

Germany to form government clergy sex abuse panel

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Munich, Germany

I met with an archdiocesan official here this week who said he could not speak on the record but insisted the church officials can investigate past clergy sex abuse cases on their own -- and truthfully. This official essentially said, "We can be trusted to do a competent job." I replied that competent or not, no one would trust the results short of a truly independent outside investigation.

Now, it seems, the early stages of such an investigation are taking root.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet is meeting today and plans to establish an expert panel to respond to the sex abuse allegations that have erupted here since January.

The proposed panel is to be led by the ministries of Justice, Family and Education and will meet April 23. It is to include 40 experts from the government, the church, charities and educational institutions.

Merkel has said that the panel should examine past abuses and should also reevaluate Germany's current statute of limitations on sex crimes.

It appears church officials are not going to have it their way.

'Sex abuse cover-up was intuitive, needed no Vatican direction'

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This author argues that a clerical stuctural order of secrecy has existed throughout the church and so no Vatican order was necessary to cover up the clergy sex abuse scandal. "An explicit Vatican policy that demanded secrecy in the sex abuse matters would be much easier to overturn than a culture which took it for granted."

"No ban may have been intended on denouncing the crimes to civil authorities, but neither was any explicit ban necessary. The denunciations never came. In Catholic terms, the church was structurally sinful."

Try if they like, inevitably the force for an assessment for examination, from inside and out, is only bound to grow. Without such a assessment, the church is likely to continue to implode as the once faithful walk and take their children and money with them. With an honest evaluation, leading to structural change and accountability, there is hope, that an instrument for preaching the light of the gospels will not perish from out lands.

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April 11-24, 2014

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