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Fr. Charles Curran draws fire for SMU lecture

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Fr. Charles Curran is an easy target. To those who readily dismiss him as a dissenter from official teaching, he wears a large bull’s eye on his chest. There’s no need to discuss what he’s writing or saying first. Just take aim and shoot. For others he remains one of the few, in a church in which theological speculation has become an exercise to avoid if you want to stay out of Rome’s sights, willing to ask and explore difficult questions.

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Editor's note: Read NCR's account of Curran's lecture -- Curran: How bishops challenge abortion laws is 'flawed'
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The latest incident involving Curran, reported here, involves a lecture he is scheduled to give Thursday at Southern Methodist University, where he has been teaching since 1991.

Attention NCR Readers in Minnesota

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NCR readers in Minnesota, here's your invitation:

Town hall-style meeting Oct. 27 to address church’s teaching on marriage

Two [St. Paul-Minneapolis] archdiocesan priests will address Catholics’ questions about the church’s teaching on marriage and family Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. John the Baptist in New Brighton.

I am not advocating that NCR readers stage a Tea Party style shout-down, but it might be good to have a few astute questioners in the audience.

Venezuela: Jesuit on hunger strike over indigenous land

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A Spanish Jesuit priest, in Venezuela, Fr José Mar'a Korta Lasarte, 81, has been on hunger strike for seven days to demand the protection of a forest reserve measuring some 295,280 hectares in the northwestern state of Zulia, near the Colombian border, which is the ancestral home of several indigenous communities.

Fr Jose told reporters: “Today, indigenous peoples are mistreated…and if human beings are excluded, I am ready to give my life for them”.

John Dear questions military service, Archbishop Chaput lauds it

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In his column on our Web site today, Jesuit Fr. John Dear explores, through biblical analysis, Jesus' total commitment to a nonviolent life.

Dear's conclusion is simple and succinct: Jesus was nonviolent. Period. And we should be too.

Contrast that with this: Yesterday, Archbishop Chaput of the Denver archdiocese addressed Catholic cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Among the many points he made in the speech, the archbishop told the cadets two main things: that being a soldier is a moral good and that, in their career, the cadets can take up the mantle of "Christian moral leadership."

Per the first point, Chaput said, quoting Russian Christian writer Vladimir Solovyov, "Until the spirit of malice brought into the world by Cain disappears from human hearts, the soldier 'will be a good and not an evil.'"

Per the second, Chaput said:

Any room for trade-offs in CCHD? Leaders say no.

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WASHINGTON -- At a teleconference this morning introducing a review report on the funding rules of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a reporter asked what happens if CCHD faces a “hard choice” or trade-off that involves a funding request for a valuable project fully in accord with CCHD principles, but the group making the request is in conflict with church teaching in some other area unrelated to that grant request.

Vatican opposes death penalty for Tariq Aziz

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The Vatican today released a statement in response to the decision by an Iraqi court to impose the death penalty on Tariq Aziz, a Chaldean Christian who was the international face and voice of the Saddam Hussein regime.

The following is an NCR translation of the statement from Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson.

Vatican Statement

“The position of the Catholic church on the death penalty is well known. It’s hoped, therefore, that the sentence against Tariq Aziz will not be executed, precisely in order to favor reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and justice in Iraq after the great sufferings it has experienced.”

“Regarding a possible humanitarian intervention, the Holy See is not accustomed to operate in a public fashion, but through the diplomatic means at its disposal.”

Court gives go ahead in UK's biggest sex abuse suit

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The biggest set of abuse claims against the Roman Catholic church of England and Wales advanced today. An English high court ruled that Middlesbrough diocese was responsible for a residential care home where 142 ex-pupils are suing for abuse. The diocese faces claims totaling $12.6 million. Roman Catholic church facing £8m payout over child abuse claims

Cholera comes to Haiti

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Yesterday, Denise Grady at The New York Times took a look at the cholera epidemic in Haiti:

The cholera epidemic in Haiti is likely to grow and persist, and will probably reach the Dominican Republic, health officials said on Monday, as they rushed to distribute medical supplies in hopes of keeping ahead of the disease’s spread.

“Now that cholera has established itself with a strong foothold in Haiti, it is clear to us that it will not go away for several years,” said Dr. John Andrus of the Pan American Health Organization at a news briefing Monday in Washington

And Deborah Sontag had a report on the 'fear and misery' associated with the horrible disease:

Scores of children and adults are doubled over or stretched out on every available surface, racked by convulsive stomach disorder or limp with dehydration. Buckets sit by their sides, intravenous solutions drip into their arms. Life hangs in the balance, yet there is a sober, almost eerie calm.

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