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WikiLeaks documents implore us to notice war's horrors

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The website WikiLeaks’ release of nearly 400,000 secret U.S. war logs on Iraq, posted amidst the din of midterm elections, represents the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. The release also provides Americans with a mammoth record of a war most of us want to ignore or forget.

No “earthshaking revelations” here, claimed The New York Times in its initial summaries of the documents, known as the Iraq War Logs. Iraqi civilian deaths, the excesses of privatized warriors, the torture of Iraqis by Iraqi troops and police detailed in the logs were stories already reported.

Amy Goodman, co-anchor of the progressive news program Democracy Now!, described WikiLeaks’ latest offering as “a new trove of evidence of the violence and suffering that has befallen Iraqis since the U.S. invasion of 2003.”

The posting of these 391,832 “significant action reports” from U.S. military files may also signify the durability of conscience and its unpredictable emergence even in war.

First-hand report from survivors vigil at Vatican

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While moderating the comments on John Allen's report on Sunday's vigil of sex abuse survivors at the Vatican, I came across something remarkable: a first-hand account of the events from one of our commenters.

The comment comes from Judy Lorenz and has been slightly edited, just for formatting purposes.

It's a wonderful look into what the event meant for those who attended. Have a read:

Back from Rome after traveling there from Bowie, MD. My husband, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, and my daughter attended the candlelight vigil in the Square across from St.Peter's.

While people may think the event was not well attended or did not evolve into what was hoped for -- it was still a very powerful moment in time. Earlier in the day the survivors met, and it was there that we had the opportunity to meet the deaf commnunity who traveled six hours by bus from Verona, Italy. Men and women who were brave enough to face their demon in their own country. A country where speaking ill of "Papa" is risky indeed.

Prayer can stop mountains from moving

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Glenmary Fr. John S. Rausch, profiled in our special issue on ecology last year, reports on a recent prayer gathering near a site in Kentucky where the strip mining of coal was taking place:

"With storm clouds changing the sky by patterns of various lights and darkness, 75 people gathered last September on Pine Mountain near Whitesburg, Kentucky, to pray. The ecumenical gathering called “The Cross in the Mountains” (check YouTube) prayed for a renewal of Appalachian communities on a four-acre prayer site that looked onto Black Mountain where strip mining was eating away part of Kentucky’s highest ridge.

Invitation for Cleveland area NCR readers

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John L. Allen Jr. will speak in the Cleveland area Thursday night.

The Abrahamic Center of Notre Dame College is proud to present a distinguished lecture by John Allen, Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN senior Vatican analyst, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4. The lecture will be held in the auditorium of the College's Regina Hall, located at 1857 South Green Road, South Euclid.

Secular Franciscans declare solidarity with migrants

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A press release:

U.S. Secular Franciscan Order Declares Solidarity with Migrants

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -- The U.S. Secular Franciscan Order declared its “solidarity with migrants in our midst” during its national gathering Oct. 29 at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, AZ.

The national body, representing 14,000 Secular Franciscans across the United States, unanimously approved a statement declaring “some current harsh attitudes towards migration” as intolerable and deploring “the fear and anxiety paralyzing our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

“As Franciscans, we intentionally chose to come to Arizona to stand in solidarity with the migrants in our midst,” the statement reads.

The statement goes on to say:

  • “We endorse the United States Catholic Bishops’ urgent call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, including their strong support for the DREAM act.”

  • “We support and encourage all the humanitarian efforts to assist immigrants who are struggling to survive.”

  • “We pray for peace and harmony, and we always remember in prayer families who are being torn apart.”

Not all saints were sane

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Iurodstvo is the Russian word for the idea of “holy foolishness.” It’s a form of asceticism that has been practiced within the Russian Orthodox church for centuries.

Its practitioners feign madness, Marx brothers-like behavior, in order to provide the public with spiritual guidance. The aim too is to avoid praise and acclaim for perceived holiness. It’s a radical form of humility as well.

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