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National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

Today's message is from
Contributor Melanie Lidman

'Waiting for Superman'

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The Los Angeles Times' observant and opinionated journalist Steve Lopez is often irritating but always honest about life in the city of angels. In Sunday's paper Lopez recounts his visit last Friday to A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. Duffy reacted negatively, as would be expected, to the L.A. Times recent investigation and values-added formula analysis of teachers. Los Angeles Times published on its website a database of names and grades of teachers in the L.A. Unified School District , the largest in the nation in terms of students. Duffy organized a march by union members at the Los Angeles Times building and even canceled his subscription to the Times in protest.

Fr. Felix's selfless service

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From the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

While most of the Catholic world had its eyes on the Pope's trip to the U.K., in Hawaii, "A crowd of people poured out of the yellow Yamaguchi school bus and surged into the church like the tide. They rented the bus to take them from Waialua all the way to Kaimuki on a Thursday evening to attend the funeral of their beloved priest. Some people flew in for the funeral from Kauai, because he was their beloved priest for 24 years. For the last several years, he was Kalaupapa's humble, sturdy priest, too.

A Catholic response to anti-Islamic prejudice

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The recent controversy over the construction of an Islamic community center in the area around Ground Zero in New York City has elicited a good deal of anti-Islamic expressions and unfortunate prejudice toward both Islam as a religion and to Muslims as a people. I suspect that some Catholics have given in to such unfounded fears.

As Catholics, we should be accepting and respectful of other faiths especially since we know or should know of the virulent anti-Catholic movements in the history of the United States such as in the 1850s by groups such as the Know-Nothings against Irish Catholics. Despite the gains and integration that many especially Euro-Catholics have made in the country, I suspect that there is still in some circles a residue of anti-Catholicism.

Pope calls church to be 'humble' model on abuse

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
London

tIn his final act before departing the U.K. for Rome, Pope Benedict XVI has challenged the Catholic church to “humbly” present itself as a model for all society in the protection of children and young people from abuse.

tIt marked the fourth time the pontiff has addressed the sexual abuse crisis during his Sept. 16-19 trip to Scotland and England. The crisis has not taken on the same dimensions here as in the United States, Ireland, Germany, and other countries, but it nevertheless formed an important subtext to the trip.

tThis was the first time the pope has explicitly suggested that the experience accumulated by the Catholic church over the last decade could be a model for the wider world.

“Your growing awareness of the extent of child abuse in society, its devastating effects, and the need to provide proper victim support should serve as an incentive to share the lessons you have learned with the wider community,” Benedict said.

“Indeed, what better way could there be of making reparation for these sins than by reaching out, in a humble spirit of compassion, towards children who continue to suffer abuse elsewhere?”

Hijacking or setting him free, Benedict loves Newman

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
London

tIn the final act of his four-day trip to the United Kingdom, Benedict XVI travelled today to Birmingham to formally beatify the great English theologian and apologist Cardinal John Henry Newman, praising him as an apostle of “the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society.”

tWhile Benedict's enthuasiam for Newman was obvious, with whom the pope shares a passion for the life of the mind, critics charged that the pontiff has tamed Newman, obscuring his critique of papal authority and his openness to change.

Benedict finds unlikely ally in British PM

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
London

tIn Rome, Pope Benedict XVI has not always been the luckiest of pontiffs. Just as he seemed to have put a controversy with Jews over a Good Friday prayer for conversion behind him, a cause célèbre over a Holocaust-denying bishop broke out; just as he seemed to be coming to grips with a mushrooming sex abuse crisis in Ireland, a fresh one in Germany exploded.

tOn the road, however, Benedict’s fortunes often improve dramatically.

Polarized opinion on pope fills London streets

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
London

tThe papacy has always been a polarizing force around the world, but you rarely get as clear a physical demonstration of that fact of life as the streets of London offered today.

At roughly the same time that some 80,000 pumped-up youth thronged Hyde Park for a prayer vigil with Benedict XVI, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 secularists and atheists, gay rights activists, victims of sex abuse and others marched through the city for a “Protest the Pope!” rally.

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