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Bishops name new head to Latin America office

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Press Release from U.S. bishops' conference:

FATHER JUAN MOLINA NAMED DIRECTOR FOR CHURCH IN LATIN AMERICA

WASHINGTON -- Trinitarian Father Juan J. Molina has been named associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of National Collections and director for the Church in Latin America. Father Molina is currently serving as policy advisor for Latin America and Global Trade in the Office of International Justice and Peace at USCCB and previously served as advocacy program coordinator in the Southwest regional office of Catholic Relief Services.

A new phase for religious life?

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I just returned from a wonderful five-day meeting of the Loretto Community in St. Louis. It focused on ministries and was entitled "Working with a Jubilee Heart." (We're getting ready to celebrate our 200th anniversary as a community in 2012.) We've come a long way since those early days on the Kentucky frontier, but we're still boarding new wagon trains and looking over new horizons into the future.

One of those horizons is our exploration of a new "cosmological phase" of religious life.

On this day: Bd. Joana of Portugal, O.P.

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On this day we commemorate Blessed Joana, Princess of Portugal, daughter of King Afonso V and Isabella of Coimbra.

Joana was born in 1452, heiress to the throne of Portugal. She wanted to become a Dominican nun, but her father and her brother pressured her to marry. There were offers from Richard III of England and Charles VII of France, among others.

Uganda's \"Kill the Gays\" bill returns to Parliament's table

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The Ugandan bill that would impose the death penalty on some gays and lesbians was scheduled to be debated today. By chance, however, a walkout by female members of Parliament because of a dispute over an unrelated bill cancelled the debate.

"We were saved by the lack of quorum," said Frank Mugisha, the director of the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda. Mugisha and others believe that the bill might have passed today because so many members of Parliament were in favor of it.

Theologian loses license

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The Tablet (of London) is reporting today that:

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, has withdrawn theologian David Berger's missio canonica. After outing himself as a homosexual in April 2010, Mr Berger was fired from the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas last August for sharply criticising the Church for its "hypocritical and bigoted" attitude towards homosexuality.

Last year, Berger published a book, Der heilige Schein. Als schwuler Theologe in der katholischen Kirche (The Holy Illusion: A Gay Theologian in the Catholic Church), and gave this interview to Der Spiegel: The church's homophobia and its shift to the right.

Bush Catholic Seeks $200 Million from Karl Rove in RICO Suit

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Last July, in this space, I wrote that “if you want to spend a strange afternoon, google ‘Scott Bloch’ and just see what pops up. Too weird for words.”

Don’t say you weren’t warned – and it’s getting stranger yet.

The Washington Post reports today that Bloch, former “Special Counsel of the United States” under George W. Bush, has filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit against Karl Rove and others seeking $200 million in damages. Even in a town where it takes a “billion here and a billion there and pretty soon we’re talking about real money,” that’s real money. Prison sentences of the kind Bloch recently received, it seems, do not make the heart grow fonder.

Presbyterians lift ban on gay clergy

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HT to the Religion News Service Blog:

After all the fights, all the ink that's been spilled, all the churches that have been torn in two, the fight over homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church (USA) is more or less over after the church ratified a move to rescind a de facto ban on gay clergy.

[RNS'] own Dan Burke will have more on this later today. A Presby pastor who was tried and acquitted for marrying two lesbians calls it the "moral awakening of mainstream Christianity."

NCR will post Burke's piece from Religion News Service as soon as it is available.

Dennis

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