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\"Lost,\" faith and community

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Last night, I headed out to the movie theater to watch an interview with some TV producers: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the guiding hands of ABC's "Lost," appearing in "Times Talk Live" as part of the publicity blitz leading up to the series finale Sunday night.

The tension between faith and empiricism has been a "Lost" theme from early on, and last night's discussion turned to the idea of faith several times. Sometimes "Lost" has dealt with religious themes overtly, but more often it's been presented in sci-fi metaphor.

Lincoln, Nebr., Catholics call out their bishop

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The intrepid souls of Call to Action Nebraska were out front of the Lincoln diocese this week, pleading/demanding that Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz participate in the annual sex abuse audits conducted by the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Lincoln Diocese is the only one in the United States that refuses to participate in the audit system established in 2002 to address the issues of sexual abuse of children by clergy.

Read the local story here: Catholics clash over lack of participation in sex abuse audit

Bishops have bill to fix health reform flaws

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This just in from the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference: Bishops Urge Congress to Support Bill to Remedy Abortion, Conscience Flaws in Health Care Reform Law

The bishops say H.R. 5111 will apply the Hyde Amendment to new funds and thus fix "profound flaws" in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Here's the first part of their press release:

WASHINGTON -- Congress should support a bipartisan bill that will remedy the abortion and conscience flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), according to the Chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

In a May 20 letter to Congress, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said PPACA was an important step toward ensuring access to health coverage for all Americans but was “profoundly flawed in its treatment of abortion, conscience rights, and fairness to immigrants.”

Out of the Mouths of Babes

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Most everyone has by now seen the video clip of First Lady Michelle Obama speaking with students at a Silver Spring school. One of the girls said that her mother was worried because “Barack Obama is taking away everyone who doesn’t have papers” and then she disclosed that her mother did not have papers. Out of the mouths of babes.

I suppose there will be some whose ideological blinders will keep them from feeling a basic empathy with the child’s plight. I am sure such people will be on Fox News around the clock.

Dublin archbp. warns of 'strong forces' in church working against truth

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In an article titled Martin warns again of strong forces but 'it's not the Vatican', The Catholic Herald of London reports that Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin "reiterated his warning of 'strong forces' in the Catholic church which do not want the truth about clerical sex abuse to come out -- but failed to identify them."

Sr. McBride: Intent to kill?

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I have a confession to make. Catholic moral teaching has me utterly confused.

It's the recent news of a Mercy Sister's decision to allow an abortion to take place that has brought the confusion upon me. And I think Sr. McBride, who let doctors in a Phoenix hospital go forward with a procedure to separate an 11 week old fetus from her mothers womb in late 2009, must have been faced with something similar to my confusion.

Here's some background. I live at a Catholic Worker House. As part of our way of life here we try (and frequently fail) to live out Christ's mercy. Two of our guideposts are Matthew 5 and 25, particularly the bits that say 'love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you' and 'what you do for the least of these, you do for [Christ].'

The call to be a mystic

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The 20th-century Catholic theologian Karl Rahner said that if the church doesn't recover its mystical dimension then it has nothing to offer to the future. We are all called to be mystics. What does that look like? Here's my list of some characteristics:

1. The mystic celebrates relationality. The universe and planet from which we come are woven-together fabrics, made up of interconnections, mutual dependencies and relationships. We exist in the midst of a living web. The mystic know then the necessity of friendships, of the acceptance of brokenness and loss, of maintaining intimacy with the natural world that can teach important spiritual lessons. The mystic trusts that since life is indeed a complex web of interconnections, that nothing is ever really lost. Ultimately, every difficulty too is an opportunity.

Homosexuality in Africa

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Many news outlets are reporting on the gay couple in Malawi who face harsh prison sentences, (See Gay Malawi man vows to become a martyr rather than give in to homophobia.)

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries.

The Pew Forum recently completed a 19-country survey on religion in sub-Saharan Africa. The survey found that 98% of adults in Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia say that homosexuality is morally wrong.

Check it out.

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September 12-25, 2014

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