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Don't tread on my union or raise my taxes


"The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll."

The poll also found 71 percent oppose increasing sales, income or other taxes while 27% are in favor that approach.

"The poll results suggest how politically difficult it is to solve budget shortfalls," USA Today says.

On Wisconsin


I am a Wisconsin native. I cheer for the Packers, love cheese (and have been known to wear it on my head) and say "a-boat" for "about." So I've been watching the events in Madison very closely and prayerfully.

I am also the daughter of two teachers--both now happily and securely retired, thanks at least in part to their union. They never made a lot of money, but they had good benefits, again thanks to their union.

And while I know plenty of folks in Wisconsin who supported Republican Gov. Scott Walker--and continue to do so--I have been gratified to see so many non-teachers and other non-government workers outraged at the governor and Republican lawmakers who want to take away collective bargaining rights from employees who are willing to make other concessions. It's union busting, plain and simple.

I've also been proud to see the Catholic Church (in the form of Wisconsin bishops) support workers' right to organize--a longtime Catholic teaching.

The Protestant Stained Glass Ceiling


Some sobering news for those seeking the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

After the stained glass ceiling is shattered, many ordained women find a second glass ceiling immediately behind it.

Such has been the fate of Protestant women worldwide, according to the reports given at a meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva this weekend. The WCC has 349 members, comprised mostly of Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox denominations. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member, but sends delegates to some of its committees.

Even the WCC itself is in need of a “gender policy,” according to council members. In 2009, its central committee complained of a lack of women in senior staff positions.

According to Reverend Gregor Henderson, former General Secretary of the WCC, it’s easier to state gender equality than it is to live it out. “The patriarchy is very resilient,” he admitted.

Budget debate leaves out the least among us


It is morally unacceptable that the Republican dominated House of Representatives is proposing $60 billion dollars in cuts to next year’s federal budget while a couple of months ago it continued the huge tax cuts for the very rich (regrettably supported by President Obama and the Democrats).

Deficit reduction cannot and should not be on the backs of the poor and middle class.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the House proposal would in California, as an example, significantly reduce funds for job training at the very moment we need to provide jobs.

It would cut Meals on Wheels, cut Pell Grants for needy college students, cut funding for k-12 schools, cut federal funds for transportation losing jobs -- along with major reductions in many other areas.

Where is the conscience of the Republicans that they seem to only want to help the rich and let the poor and struggling middle classes fend for themselves?

They respond that dealing with the deficit is the way to help the poor and the middle class. But then why did they allow the tax breaks for the very rich to be renewed since that only adds significantly to the deficit?

Archbishop supports Wisconsin unions


I don’t know if Madison, Wisc. has a “Tahrir Square,” but these days it must seem that the events of Egypt over the past several weeks are being replayed there, albeit in miniature. At least 20,000 protestors have swarmed the state capitol to protest a new budget cutting measure that would cripple public employee unions.

The new Republican governor of the state, Scott Walker, has launched a full scale assault on the right to collective bargaining by public worker unions, with the promise of cuts in benefits, especially health care.

According to the New York Daily News, Walker received a substantial contribution from the infamous “Koch brothers” during his election campaign.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s Archbishop, Jerome Listecki, issued a statement supporting the "legitimate rights" of public employees:

The Church is well aware that difficult economic times call for hard choices and financial responsibility to further the common good. Our own dioceses and parishes have not been immune to the effects of the current economic difficulties. But hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers.

Spanish nun leaves convent over Facebook


It was all over Facebook and the Internet in Sunday: 54-year old Dominican Sr. Maria Jesus Galan, "Sor Internet" as her community called her, was apparently asked to leave her Toledo convent over disagreements about her online activity.

This is after winning an award for digitizing the convent's archives and facilitating online banking to save the sisters from leaving the convent to do business. After 34 or 35 years of religious life (depending on which article you read), she is now living with her mother.

The convent, founded in the 14th century, only got a computer ten years ago.

The Archbishop of Toledo has refused to comment saying it is an "internal matter."

It is difficult to know the whole story and those of us in religious life with computers and access to the Internet are like everyone else: we can let it take over our lives. One would hope, however, that mature religious could come to some understanding so that religious life can be lived in fidelity and relevance.

She now plans to travel to New York and London. Maybe her departure from the convent was coming anyway – or she is making the best of a sad situation.

Benedictine sister kissed Elvis, votes on Oscars


A totally engrossing article by Entertainment Weekly Online writer Thom Geier was posted Feb. 11 about Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voting member Benedictine Mother Dolores Hart. She is a former movie star and Tony-nominated theater actress who once kissed Elvis Presley ("Loving You," 1957).

The article recounts her journey faith journey and decision to become a cloistered nun. At the age of twenty, already fatigued by her fast-paced career, she visited the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut at the suggestion of a friend. She resisted at first, but once there the nuns let her be, and let her sleep. She returned, again and again. She entered in 1963.

And she watches all the screeners the Academy sends her so she can cast her vote.

Hart, a convert to Catholicism who attended Catholic school in Chicago and then Marymount College in Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount University) has some wisdom to share about difficult or "R" rated films. She says the nuns in her community are not shocked by "R" rated films when she shares some interesting ones with them; they are mostly bored by them.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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