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Liturgy Changes in 2011

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Religion News Service reported yesterday that changes in the liturgy of the Mass, specifically the awkward translations of certain prayers, are slated tentatively for late 2011. The date was announced by Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., a former member of the U.S. bishops' liturgy committee. He indicated that the date is not firm, but "it is very possible, however, that the date will be the First Sunday of Advent 2011."

Just to put this in context, these are the translations of various Mass texts that many US Catholics -- bishops and liturgical experts alike -- oppose, and are likely to raise a lot of questions in the minds of folks in the pews. (The questions, in fact, are already being asked. My fellow blogger, Dennis Coday, passed on last week a request from a reader looking to join a group or alliance working to postpone the new translation.)

I’ve followed this story as it developed, and it boggles my mind that translation questions are not left to native speakers of a language ... in this case, English.

'Cut your oil consumption' tips from the Sierra Club

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One reason the BP oil disaster makes us sick is the news that 11 workers died in the explosion, then the flood of heartbreaking images of dead or dying wildlife and despoiled wetlands coupled with an infuriating sense of helplessness. BP's “handling” the crisis, so there's nothing we can do -- right?

Wrong. Oil has infiltrated our daily lives to an astonishing degree, but that doesn't mean we can't significantly reduce our use of it. Americans burn nearly 20 million barrels of oil every single day, most of it for personal transportation.

Even for the most committed environmentalist, to go completely oil-free overnight would be next to impossible. But taking the first step toward an oil-free future -- by simply reducing our current daily consumption -- is actually incredibly easy. It's also one of the most significant things you can do to wrest control of our energy future back from the Big Oil companies, which have enjoyed cozy political relationships and big government subsidies for far too long.

Volunteers needed

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Catholic News Service sent this out yesterday. Seemed worth passing on:

Congregation invites young women to New Orleans for year of service

By Catholic News Service

NEW ORLEANS -- A congregation of women religious in Cleveland are looking for young women to become agents of change by volunteering a year of service in New Orleans.

Mahony admits protecting abusive priest

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Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles admitted, in a deposition given in February, that he protected a priest he knew had abused children. Read USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman's commentary.

In a subsequent statement on the matter, Mahony repeated a defense he has given numerous times in the past -- that members of the Catholic hierarchy just didn't know enough at the time about the conditions that caused abuse to get rid of priests who sexually molested children.

Obama's Off-Target Speech

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It is a sign of the gravity of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – and of Washington’s better-late-than-never awareness of that gravity – that President Obama gave his first speech from the Oval Office to address the crisis. As always, the President spoke with great eloquence. His appeal to faith and resilience as essential components of the national character was Reaganesque, although it is telling that the rite of the Blessing of the Fleet, to which the President referred, is unique to those parts of America with Catholic roots. The Calvinists who had fleets in colonial New England did not bless their fleets. There is an interesting – and very deep – difference in viewing the relationship of faith to culture to which this cultural fact attests. If I could have a couple of hours with Obama and had Msgr. Albacete with me, we could make him a Catholic by showing why the blessing of the fleet that so moved him is even more profound than he realizes! But that is for another day.

A day in court with anti-Guantanamo protesters

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It is difficult to tell if the acquittal of those arrested in January for protesting the prison at Guantanamo was a victory for free speech or just a lousy job of charging the demonstrators.

In the end, D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan announced: “In my opinion, the defendants were not properly charged in this case” and dropped the charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly. Perhaps it is a bit of both, at least partially an acknowledgement that it is difficult to charge a group gathered, as one of their attorney advisors put it, “at the seat of government to express their grievances” with unlawful assembly.

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