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A religious test for political candidates?

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With the midterm elections fast approaching, this week’s "Interfaith Voices" features Damon Linker, who has written a fascinating new book called The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders.

His thesis is simple. With more and more candidates and office holders filtering their policy preferences through the lens of their religious beliefs, it is no longer off base to question candidates’ views of the divine.

Voters scream for help reveals deeper problems

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This is yet another election year that belongs to "the angry voter." But angry about what? Research highlighted in the New York Times says it's not unemployment or the deficit -- the real frustration comes from the kind of society we've grown into and are leaving to our kids.

In his Times online column, political reporter Matt Bai cited this startling fact: if the Republicans take-over Congress in the November elections, it will mark the third consecutive presidency in which control of Congress has flipped -- a first in this country's already volatile political history.

Listen in on A Nun's Life

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I just received an e-mail from Sr. Maxine Kollasch. Maxine and Sr. Julie Vieira, both Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters from Monroe, Mich., are the driving forces behind the web site, aNunsLife.org.

They do a lot of things on aNunsLife.org: a blog, podcasts, a vocations discussion board, a 24/7 chat room and more.

A recent initiative is a live audio broadcast called "In Good Faith," which features guests who are nationally known for their ministries and discuss spirituality, religious life and discernment.

The show airs on the first Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. EST.

Vatican offices for clergy, charity get new leaders

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Pope appoints new heads to Vatican offices for clergy, charity

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appointed new heads for two Vatican offices, naming Italian canon lawyer, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah as president of the Vatican's charity-promotion agency, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

Pittsburgh priest honors seal of confession, removed from ministry

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday on the strange, profiles-in-courage worthy story of Benedictine Fr. Mark Gruber, who honored the seal of confession to the point of losing of his job.

From the piece:

A former student of the Rev. Mark Gruber has told both state police and canonical investigators that he downloaded pornography on the priest's computer. He says that Father Gruber knew that, but couldn't say so because he had sacramentally confessed that sin to the priest before the pornography was discovered. Priests are forbidden to reveal the contents of a confession under any circumstance.

But the former student has spoken with Father Gruber's canon lawyers, state police and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Gruber's suit says that on Dec. 15, the young man gave a sworn statement to the priest's canon lawyers, for the case that his Benedictine superior filed against him in Rome. He said he had downloaded pornography, and then confessed doing so.

Invest in local communities

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Somehow we manage to both disparage our humanity and exalt it at the same time.

We are told by TV evangelists that we are unworthy, abject sinners. Low self-esteem and depression are epidemic, especially among teens. There is widespread interest in angels and UFOs, beings that will perhaps save us from ourselves. We don’t really feel good about our humanness. We’re always trying to improve. Self help books are legion in bookstores.

On the other hand, our human-centered theologies zero in on the relationship between God and humans, to the exclusion of all else. We see ourselves as the pinnacle of things, the last word on the subject of life forms. We see the whole universe as just a backdrop to the salvation drama between God and us humans.

Churches are for praying, not campaigning

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As a service to clients, Catholic News Service regularly reprints and makes available a "sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press." Here is its latest offering, an unsigned editorial titled "Churches are for praying, not campaigning" which appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of the Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Providence.

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In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015

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