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Pax Christi awards teacher of peace, video from event

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- In a room crowded with supporters from across the country, Pax Christi USA awarded its annual Teacher of Peace Award last night at a gathering here during the School of Americas Watch vigil.

Jim Albertini, the recipient of the award, heads the Malu Aina Center, a Hawaiian school and farm which focuses on nonviolence education.

Speaking to those gathered for the event, Albertini, who is also known for creative acts of civil disobedience, offered humorous advice to those considering civil resistance.

Recalling an incident when counter-protest against an action he participated in turned violent, Albertini told the crowd "never to picket with something you would mind getting hit over the head with."

The ceremony took place on the second floor of the conference center where the SOA Watch sessions are occurring. On the floor below the U.S. Army was hosting a gala, named the St. Barbara's Day Ball. St. Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen.

The pope and Palin: Two views on health care

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I just came across a report on Sarah Palin’s new book about the same time I caught up with a CNS report on Pope Benedict’s talk on health care that was read at the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry. The conference was held at the Vatican.

One of the brief passages cited from the Palin book was her take on health care and its reform.

The contrasts in the language underlying the two views, create, in my view, a stunning and graphic lesson in the difference between public policy that is based on a kind of religion of individualism and policy that takes into consideration the larger, common good.

(For a deeper consideration of the pope's speech and how it may intersect with health care politics in the United States, I highly recommend looking in on the piece by David Gibson on the Politics Daily Web site.)

SOA vigil opens, organizer calls for 'change in foreign policy'

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Arriving in caravans from across the country, thousands of students and activists are expected to converge here over the next few hours as the annual School of the Americas Watch vigil begins and continues through the weekend.

The vigil, now in it's twentieth year, commemorates the deaths of the Salvadoran Jesuit martyrs and thousands of other Latin Americans with a weekend that is part conference, part prayer meeting, part protest, and part activist reunion.

On Friday and Saturday students and activists will hear from speakers, attend breakout sessions, and party to folk music. On Sunday the weekend culminates with a procession and prayer vigil outside of the gates of the Fort Benning army complex, located here.

NCR will be following the conference throughout the weekend with short story updates, photo slideshows, and video clips from the events. Stay tuned to NCRToday for coverage.

Dead Zone

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People keep hanging up on me these days. OK, it only happened twice. I am used to my calls getting dropped. But for someone to hang up on me? The nerve!

A couple of weeks ago I got a text message that told me I had won a gift card from Wal-Mart and told me to call an 800 number to claim it. My scam alert turned on, but an 800 number seemed fairly innocuous. The woman who answered had an Indian accent and my alert went up a notch.

Bishops' head: Changes to Mass translation 'minor'

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The outgoing head of the U.S. bishops' committee in charge of the implementation of the new Vatican-approved English translation of the Roman Missal released a statement today addressing reports of last-minute changes to the translation.

In the statement, Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Paterson, N.J. diocese called the changes "minor" and akin to a "copy edit."

The statement comes a week and a half after a scathingly critical report of the changes, seemingly written by a group of highly professional scholars, was sent to English-speaking bishops’ conferences around the world.

The report alleged that the final Vatican version of the new English translation made numerous departures from the Vatican’s own translation rules and changed almost countless texts that had previously been approved.

The statement was made on the U.S. bishops' conference Web site this morning. Serratelli, who served as the chairman for the U.S. bishops' committee on divine worship, was formally replaced by his successor, Archbishop Gregory Aymond of the New Orleans archdiocese, at noon today.

Political change requires a new 'moral center'

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Jim Wallis of Sojourners is right on target again in a blog series he has written, titled "It Takes a Movement: The Next Steps."

In the last installment of the six-part series, Wallis challenges people of faith to create a “moral center” of power that can help steer our country forward.

This at a time when our leaders -- Democrats, Republicans and President Obama himself -- seem unable or unwilling to rise to meet the crises our country faces.

Wallis courageously takes on controversial issues and shows where religious folk on the left and right can find common ground for acting: People of faith want to reduce the numbers of abortions in American, he writes, “not with symbolic amendments or criminalizing desperate and tragic choices—but by preventing unwanted pregnancies and supporting low-income women.”

We must promote healthy families, Wallis says, not by scapegoating gays and bullying gay teens, but by “creating policies that build a culture of support for families.”

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August 28-September 10, 2015

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