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God to meet His Voice?

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What does God sound like?

Anyone who grew up in the New York metropolitan area between the mid-1950s through the early parts of this decade knows the answer: Bob Sheppard. The long-time New York Yankees public address announcer, 99, died at his Long Island home July 11.

No matter how bad or good the Yankees were during the 1970s, the kids playing ball at Edgemere Park in Long Island, particularly the Met fans, knew our American League rivals had us beat at one position every home game. Sheppard, a university-level speech professor by profession, announced games at the old Yankee Stadium for more than 50 years (1951-2006).

It was his vocal manner, both regal and accessible, and his tone, sonorous yet sophisticated, that set him apart, that led those kids playing baseball or softball on long summer days to imitate him. “Batting sixth, number 24, Joe Feuerherd,” I would slowly and clearly intone, as if it was Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth approaching the batter’s box.

“Number 24.”

European interest in Chicanos/Latinos

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I have recently returned from Ireland and Spain where I attended conferences on Chicano literature. There is growing interest in both countries and, in fact, throughout Europe about the Chicano/Latino experience and, in general, about the minority experience in the United States.

As more Third World migrants enter Europe and European countries struggle to cope with the changing demographics, scholars are looking to see how the United States has managed its own population diversification, where since 1970 the large majority of immigrants have come from non-European sources and primarily from Mexico, Central America and Asia. About 50 percent of all immigrants to the United States are from Latin America.

'Women & Spirit' update

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We have received some queries about “Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America,” the traveling exhibit that looks at the lives and contributions of women religious in America from when Catholic sisters and nuns began arriving in what would be the USA in the early 18th century up through today.

The exhibit is a project of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Here is the schedule:

U of I prof canned for teaching Catholic teachings

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University of Illinois fires professor for teaching Catholic theology

The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism after a student accused the instructor of engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees with the church's teaching that homosexual sex is immoral.

This will not be the last we hear on this matter.

Rich are biggest mortgage defaulters

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Ever since we've been hurled into this massive recession-depression (pick one or use both), I've heard repeatedly from my conservative Republican friends that the federal government's mortgage lenders enabled the working poor to take on too much mortgage debt for the sake of homeownership, thereby leading to huge defaults by the poor and middle class.

However, this New York Times story paints a different picture. Namely, that the rich have stopped paying their mortgages at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population. Interesting.

Don't know whether to laugh, cry or scream!

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Sit down. Get calm. You need to be in a cool place for this news. According to a July 9 report from Catholic News Service, the Vatican is preparing to update its norms for dealing with sex abuse of minors by priests. But -- in the same document -- it says that the “attempted ordination of women” is as grave an offense against the sacrament of Holy Orders as is pedophilia! Both are “delicta graviora.”

Yeah, I know. It’s hard to believe, but that’s what they are saying. They are equating the ordination of women with the rape and torture of children.

An interesting reflection on Pierce's essay

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On Friday, I called attention to a thoughtful and provocative essay by Charles Pierce written for the Boston Globe Magazine.

One of those responding, Nancy Dallavalle, who teaches at the Jesuits' Fairfield University in Connecticut and writes a blog, links to a longer response she wrote with a particularly interesting observation from a woman's point of view. It's the kind of Catholic exchange and critique that, it seems to me, benefits the larger community.

Writer Charles Pierce on remaining Catholic amid the chaos

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A fundamental rule of his Catholicism, says Charles P. Pierce, Boston Globe magazine writer (and the guy many may know as the wise-cracking half of a weekly conversation on the NPR show "It's Only A Game") is "nobody gets to tell me I'm not Catholic."

Don't get the impression, though, that this piece, written for this Sunday's Globe, is all wisecracks and fun. It is a deeply moving and insightful essay by a cradle Catholic. It will undoubtedly resonate among many who have had similar experiences and realizations as our lives were shaped through Catholic institutions and practice.

"The sexual-abuse scandal, then," he writes "erupted within a church that already was struggling with serious demographic pressures. The scandal placed the doubts of much of the laity into sharp relief. Many Catholics are out of patience with intramural church solutions that seem to do little more than push the cases down the road and keep in place the sclerotic institutional structure and the paranoid mania for secrecy that allowed the corruption to flourish in the first place.

Spirituality Replacing Religion

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A new widely cited report from LifeWay Resources states that 72% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 consider themselves to be "more spiritual than religious" Washington Post’s Joan Ball examines the trend of young Christians leaving the dogmatic faiths with which they were raised and moving toward a more “organic expression of their faith”, arguing that it is an effort to distinguish themselves from the structures they believe "give Jesus a bad name".

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December 5-18, 2014

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