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April 21, Mark Twain

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"I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: 'All right then, I'll go to hell' --and tore it up."

-- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapter XXXI

Huck struggled with his conscience. Should he write to Miss Watson and tell her where her runaway slave was being held? He knew he must. Even though he was "brung up wicked", Huck knew that helping Jim escape would mean "everlasting fire". He knelt down and tried to pray. He even wrote the letter. But then he "got to thinking over our trip down the river".

USCCB to Reporters' Rescue

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The USCCB’s Office of Media Relations is scheduling a one-day seminar for members of the media to instruct them on the provisions of canon law and how that law relates, or doesn’t to civil laws. The seminar will focus specifically on how these laws relate to cases involving the sex abuse of minors by clergy. It is scheduled for May 25 and is being co-sponsored by the Canon Law Society of America.

Examining the crisis

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A new blog on NCRonline.org

What does it mean? What happens next? When will this end? What can we do? We hear these questions and more from many readers trying to make sense of the exploding sex abuse scandal, now involving the Vatican.

To help readers examine these questions more deeply, NCR has opened "Examining the Crisis," a new blog on NCRonline.org. We will post commentaries, opinion pieces, and yes even a homily or two, about the issues we, as church, must confront. We offer these pieces as a way to begin to move beyond the current phase of reporting of the crisis.

The first piece has just been posted: Turn this dreadful moment into a graced moment, by Fr. Michael Ryan.

Take the St. Francis pledge on Earth Day this week

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Earth Day, recognized annually on April 22, is 40 years old this year.
It's a perfect occasion to remember that The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor was launched one year ago under the auspice of the Catholic Climate Covenant. Over the past year, thousands of Catholic individuals, families, schools, parishes and organizations have pledged to Pray, Learn, Assess, Act and Advocate as part of their commitment.

Join them this week. Take the Pledge.

World people's summit on climate change takes place this week in Bolivia

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The search for common ground on climate change between the United States and nations like China at the Major Economies Forum last weekend focused on industrial needs … but a totally different conversation is getting underway in Cochabama, Bolivia, at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

Following the perceived failure of the COP15 climate change talks in Copenhagen last year, Bolivian President Eva Morales called an alternative civil-society conference. It is taking place this week in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, bringing together indigenous groups, NGOs, scientists, activists as well as government delegations. More than 15,000 people have gathered in the small Bolivian town of Cochebamba from April 19 to 22. Morales expects the conference to give a voice to the poorest people of the world and to encourage governments to be far more ambitious following the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

Harvard student opines on state-church law

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Are states too deferential to the Catholic church and its code of canon law? asks Olivia M. Goldhill, an editorial writer for The Harvard (University) Crimson.

In Punishment for the Pope? Blind acceptance of canon law is wrong, Goldhill writes, "Perhaps to arrest the pope is a step too far, but the Roman Catholic Church should know that its jurisdiction does not supersede that of national justice systems."

New bishops for Miami; Springfield, Ill.

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Pope names new archbishop for Miami, new bishop for Springfield

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., 59, as archbishop of Miami and accepted the resignation of Archbishop John C. Favalora, 74, who has headed the archdiocese since 1994.

The pope also named Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, 57, as bishop of Springfield, Ill.

The changes were announced April 20 in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States.

'Now is the time to start reforms'

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The international movement, We Are Church, issued this media release:

Now is the time to start reforms long overdue

"We are Church regrets that the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's election is so much tarnished by the deep crisis our Church at present is undergoing.

"We are Church appreciates the present activities of the Pope combating paedophilia in the Church. Benedict’s tragedy is caused by the fact that he started it too late, too weakly, and that he is not supported enough by all cardinals, bishops, and the Roman Curia. ... Now the five years of the pontificate of Benedict reveal more and more the fundamental weakness of the whole system of the Roman Catholic Church - its hierarchical constitution, "two-class society" priests/laity, the Roman centralism. ...

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July 18-31, 2014

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