This past week, we started our fall classes at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As I have done for the last several years, I am teaching our large Introduction to Chicano Studies class with over 500 students. This class is focused on the history of Chicanos/Latinos in the United States. The great majority of students in this lower-division class are new freshman of which about 70 percent are Chicanos/Latinos.
Bloomberg News reports: "The Vatican has yet to formally commit to financial transparency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said one week after Italian magistrates opened a probe into its bank for alleged violations of money-laundering laws."
Earlier stories from NCR and CNS are here:
An interesting interview with "Foreign Policy" editor Josh Keating on the issue of Vatican sovereignty, in light of the new Vatican bank scandal and lawsuits surrounding the sex abuse cover-up.
Keating points out that the Vatican is not really a state in that it has no fixed population and controls virtually no territory. Yet the Holy See's sovereignty and observer status at the UN give it a voice in international debates over issues like birth control, abortion and homosexuality--not to mention diplomatic immunity from prosecution.
He makes a compelling argument that it may be time to rethink the Vatican's status, while admitting that it's nearly impossible to have it removed.
Listen to the interview on NPR's "Worldview" here.
Catholic Relief service announced today that CRS President Ken Hackett, who has led the development and relief agency since 1993, will retire in January 2012. The CRS board of directors have begun a search for Hackett's replacement.
Below is the opening paragraphes of the news release. Here's a link to the full text: Catholic Relief Services Begins Leadership Transition
It's the usual story -- priest takes money from parish accounts.
What's interesting here is that the Wisconsin state attorney general is pursuing the case. Here in Connecticut, the popular state attorney general Richard Blumenthal has never pursued million dollar plus priest thefts, though he's had plenty of opportunities in the diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.
It remains a mystery as to why Blumenthal has sat on his hands for so many years on this particular type of theft. Blumenthal is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. senate.
To be sure, Fr. Marr is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
While Israeli bulldozers rolled out across the West Bank yesterday, marking an end to the freeze on settlement construction and possibly the Middle East peace talks, seven Jewish activists and two journalists sailed toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of that region.
This morning the Israeli navy intercepted the British-flagged Irene, a tiny 33-foot catamaran carrying what the activists described as "symbolic aid" for the Palestinian Territory. The mission's organizers said in a statement on their website www.Jewishboattogaza.org:
The occupied Gaza Strip's territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore.
The statement reports the activists were taken to the Israeli port, Ashdod.
The New York Times reported yesterday that the CIA launched a record number of attacks in a single month using unmanned aerial vehicles in the mountains of Pakistan during September.
The unmanned drones, as they're known, are operated remotely from the U.S. and are used to target specific people or groups. This month the CIA has launched 20 attacks on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the most since January when the agency launched 11.
The news comes just a week and a half after 14 activists -- many of them Catholic -- went to trial for an action they committed in April 2009 to protest the use of the drones abroad.
The activists, who walked onto Creech Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nev. and held a prayer vigil on Holy Thursday, claimed in a court memorandum that the attacks are akin to "extrajudical killings" and disproportionately kill civilians.
Surprising prosecutors, Clark County, Nev. Judge William Jansen delayed a verdict in the case for four months so he could study the issues at hand.
A few points from the Times report:
Congratulations to (NCR Today blogger) Muareen Fiedler and her team at Interfaith Voices. They won First Place in the category "Radio Religion Report of the Year" from the Religion Newswriters Association.
Here are links to the winners. Below is a summary report from Religion News Service.
Autumn is full of good things, as the year ripens and begins its slow decline into winter. Mornings now the grass is spangled with dew; even the omnipresent spider webs can be seen more clearly with their dewy covering.