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The Vatican's legal strategy in U.S. abuse suits

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The Associated Press and CNN is reporting that the Vatican's U.S. lawyer Jeffrey Lena is to appear in a Louisville, Kentucky, court today to file a motion Monday denying that the church issued a document mandating secrecy in the face of abuse allegations, as many victims allege. CNN says:

"The Vatican's motion also will argue that bishops are not employees of the Holy See, exempting the Vatican from legal culpability in cases of alleged abuse in the U.S. ...

"Whether or not the Vatican succeeds in getting the Louisville case dismissed based on those arguments will likely have implications for church abuse lawsuits across the country -- including two other suits that target the Vatican -- at a time when allegations of abuse and cover-up are dogging the church worldwide."

As soon as we have more news on this, we will post it here.

An antidote to Islamophobia: christian history

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Do you have a friend who constantly links terrorism to Islam? Who even thinks that violence is in the DNA of Islam?

You might give that friend the gift of a new book by the noted church historian, Philip Jenkins. It’s called: Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years.

The fading WASP

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Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting story, That Bright, Dying Star, the American WASP, about the long decline of the influence of the Protestant elite.

"The fact that we're going to zero Protestants in the [Supreme} Court may not be as significant as the fact that [Elena Kagan's] appointment perfectly reflects the decline of the Establishment, or the WASP Establishment, in America," said David Campbell, associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame."

With so many Catholics at the pinnacle of office - in politics and business, are we at a tipping point ourselves?

Signs of the times

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There's a Jesuit priest here in Los Angeles who anxiously needs a little Hugh Hefner in his life. And, no, that's not what I'm talking about.

The priest is Fr. Greg Boyle, a local hero for the lives he's saved from the vise-grip of gangland -- placing homeboys and homegirls in jobs, getting them counseling, keeping them on the straight line to something resembling a better life. His organization -- Homeboy Industries -- helps 12,000 young men and women move away from the violent life each year.

Watching old movies

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It seems that just about everyone has a few favorite movies they can watch over and over. I caught one of my favorites on television the other evening - director Tom McTiernan’s 1990 The Hunt for Red October. It is the first in novelist Tom Clancy’s series about the Catholic educated Soviet-era analyst-turned-president Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin here, then Harrison Ford took over). Even though the film was released as the totalitarian Iron Curtain was disintegrating, the intelligent cat-and-mouse game between the captain of a Soviet nuclear sub and Jack Ryan and a US nuclear sub still makes for great viewing no matter how many times I see it.

Take me out to the Ballgame

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I coached my share of terrible CYO basketball and baseball teams so I’ve got some sympathy for Michael Kman, the onetime basketball coach of Our Lady of Lourdes in Enola, PA who now faces criminal charges for trying to fix some games. Apparently Kman thought his team was not getting a fair shake from the referees so he offered them $2,500 to ensure victory.

When I coached my kids’ teams we were so bad that the refs and umpires always tilted toward us – mostly out of sympathy – though it never made any difference in the outcome. We always, or almost always, lost. In fact, it would have cost me more than $2,500, much more, to put a game in our win column.

But there was one game where this was not the case.

I was coaching my youngest son’s seventh grade baseball team and we were to play, ironically enough, Our Lady of Lourdes (this one from Bethesda, MD.)

Unforeseen consequences

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Church closures spell hard times for candle maker

By Rick Moriarty, Religion News Serivce

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- One of this city's oldest candle makers is planning to slash its work force in part because of decreased demand from a shrinking number of Catholic churches to buy its products.

Emkay Candle told its 46 employees that as many as 38 of them will be laid off in 90 days. That would leave just eight people to make candles at the company, which has been making them at the same location since its founding in 1925.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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