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When welfare-to-work doesn't work

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Network, the Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, has been monitoring the effectiveness of the so-called "welfare-to-work" laws since Bill Clinton made welfare reform a keystone of his presidency in 1996. Network recently released its latest evaluation and found that in today's economic climate, the programs are severely lacking. See TANF Tested: Lives of Families in Poverty during the Recession (TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

John Gehring, who blogs at Faith in Public Life, called Network's report "sobering," and he suggested that it "should be read by any elected official or citizen concerned about our nation's fraying social safety net."

The elderly scamming the elderly

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Financial abuse of older people is increasing as more seniors are being lured into investments that are unsuitable or outright swindles, according to lawyers and advocates for the elderly, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its July 19 issue.

A likely reason is the significant number of older adults who have substantial wealth and possibly diminished cognitive abilities as well, said a report by MetLife Inc.’s Mature Market Institute, a research organization focused on aging.

Church's teachings on birth control reason many have left the church

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A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life cites that half of American Catholics who have left the church found the church's teachings on birth control as a reason they left. In the pill's 50th. year, the Catholic church is acknowledging the anniversary with increased abstinence advocacy, and for some couples, it is changing their minds. Niraj Warikoo of The Detroit Free Press discusses the tension between natural family planning and artificial contraceptives in his article Forget contraceptives, go natural, church teaches.

LDS Church neutral on immigration

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All this week on his Distinctly Catholic blog, Michael Sean Winters is looking at immigration reform from a faith perspective. (See this and this.)

The Catholic bishops are on record as sayng 'Current immigration law fails to meet the moral test of dignity'. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has taken particular interest in the issue (See: Common ground sought for immigration solutions.)

How are other religious groups approaching immigration? New America Media reports that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wants to remain "neutral."

Pontifical seminary gets first fulltime female prof

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UCA News reports:

Seminary gets first fulltime woman staffer

PUNE, INDA -- India’s first Catholic woman to become a fulltime seminary professor says she would work to present the Bible in “a new and meaningful” way.

Assumption Sister Rekha Chennattu was appointed professor of Sacred Scripture in Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), a major Indian seminary based in Pune, western India.

Her appointment was confirmed mid-June by the Congregation for Catholic Education with the approval of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Sister Chennattu, 46, told ucanews.com that she was “excited” about the prospect of “preparing ambassadors for Christ.”

The nun joined the seminary faculty to lecture on Scripture in 1996. She has a Licentiate in Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, and holds a doctorate in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

She is also the first woman to head the Department of Scriptural Studies at JDV, Church officials said.

Faith and AIDS work

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Here is a companion piece to the CNS story we posted to our website yesterday: Catholic AIDS expert: Study lends credibility to faith leaders' work.

This comes from Ecumenical News International:

Faith leaders warned on statements about HIV and AIDS

Vienna -- Faith leaders can play a key role in the fight against the HIV pandemic if their public statements help combat stigma and discrimination, a meeting of faith groups in Vienna in advance of the 18th International AIDS Conference has heard.

"Religious leaders have the trust and confidence of their communities and can help break these barriers and create a more supportive environment," the Netherlands AIDS ambassador Marijke Wijnroks told a 17 July multi-faith conference in the Austrian capital.

Wijnroks acknowledged that faith communities have been "on the frontline of the response to HIV and AIDS".

Online petition protesting pope's visit removed

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British government removes online petition protesting pope's visit

By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service

LONDON -- The British government has removed from its website a petition protesting Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 visit to England and Scotland.

The petition had urged the British prime minister to dissociate the government from the pope's "intolerant views" and not to support the state visit financially. The secularist coalition Protest the Pope sponsored the petition, which had attracted more than 12,300 signatures.

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