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More School? Now, it's \"optional\"


Color me stunned. It's not up there with Tunisia and Egypt, but there has been a small victory for democracy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Officials have suddenly scaled back on plans to institute an archdiocese-wide plan to expand the school year by twenty days -- with a coincident hike in tuition. The plan was announced last week by the superintendent of elementary schools, after zero consultation with pastors, principals, parents and teachers.

On this day: The Four Chaplains


On this day in 1943 the USAT Dorchester was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat.

The ship, carrying American soldiers to England, went down 90 miles west of Greenland. Of the 904 men aboard, 674 died, including the Four Chaplains: "George Fox, a former Methodist circuit riding preacher; David Goode, a rabbi from York, Pennsylvania; Clark Poling, a Yale Divinity School graduate and a pastor from Schenectady, New York; and John Washington, a Catholic priest serving a parish in Arlington, New Jersey."

-- NPR

Egypt today, Mexico in 1910


The insurgency and possible revolution in Egypt reminds me very much of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, I told my students.

As in the case of Egypt with dictator Gen. Mubarak, Mexico was also ruled for over 30 years by a former military general, Porfirio D'az from 1877 to 1910. D'az like Mubarak ruled with an iron fist and allowed little political opposition if any. D'az’s dictatorship was tied in with a new economic policy that opened up Mexico for outside investments principally from the United States.

New Orleans diocese posts slave record


Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans apologized for the Catholic Church's role in slavery Tuesday as he released a database of early records.

Aymond pointed out that the records for slaves do not use family names, stripping them of some of their humanity -- and also making 21st-century genealogical searches more difficult.

"I apologize in the name of the church because we allowed some of these things to continue. This is sinful. Racism is sinful," he said.

Read more.

'True believers' on Maciel still kicking


Last fall, I wrote a piece on the progress of a Vatican-supervised reform of the Legionaries of Christ, the religious order founded by the late Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, in the wake of revelations that Maciel was guilty of various forms of sexual and financial misconduct.

At the time, I distinguished three currents with the Legionaries and their lay branch, Regnum Christi:

On this day: Candlemas


On this day we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Purification of the Virgin Mary, Candlemas.

"Why do we in this feast carry candles? Because the Gentiles dedicated the month of February to the infernal gods, and as at the beginning of it Pluto stole Proserpine, and her mother Ceres sought her in the night with lighted candles, so they, at the beginning of this month, walked about the city with lighted candles. Because the holy fathers could not extirpate this custom, they ordained that Christians should carry about candles in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and thus what was done before to the honor of Ceres is now done to the honor of the Virgin."

--from a Sermon of Pope Innocent XII, quoted in Curiosities of Popular Customs and of Rites, Ceremonies, Observances, and Miscellaneous Antiquities, by William S. Walsh, J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1897.

Morning Briefing


Today's top news: School closings! Snow disrupts Catholic Schools Week in New York, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas -- whew. Ontario, Canada. I stopped looking after that.

Two 'symbols of hope' in Iraq, plans for a university and a hospital in northern Iraq

Miami-Dade County, Fla. HCA, the for-profit national hospital chain, to buy Mercy Hospital

Commentary: Nicholas Kristof’s column, “Doctors versus doctrine,” falsely sets up division in the Catholic Church where none exists

Va. may extend statute of limitations for abuse

Gay lesbian coalition asks Vatican representative to condemn anti-gay violence in Uganda


Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Roman Catholic organizations that support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society, today asked the Most Rev. Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, to condemn violence against lesbian and gay people in Uganda.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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