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New Vatican Vietnam appointment spawns confusion

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The Vatican late last month announced that Pope Benedict would soon name "a non-resident representative" to Vietnam, a highly unusual move that seems to have divided local Catholics and taken some Vietnamese church leaders by surprise.

"In order to deepen the relations between the Holy See and Vietnam, as well as the bonds between the Holy See and the local Catholic Church, it was agreed that, as a first step, a non-resident representative of the Holy See for Vietnam will be appointed by the Pope," the Vatican said in statement.

Vietnam has Asia's second-largest Catholic population and has been holding talks with the Vatican for years on forging diplomatic ties.

“I’m really confused,” said Father Jean Baptiste Huynh Cong Minh, an aide to
Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City reportedly told a local paper , “because this morning when I met with the cardinal he seemed to know nothing about the move either.”

Quote of the Day

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Religion News Service offers this as the quote of the day:

Quote of the Day: Presbyterian Church (USA) Moderator Cindy Bolbach

“Who poses the greatest threat -- Larry King, who's been married seven times, or a gay couple in Washington, D.C., who have been together for 62 years and who got married two weeks ago?”

-- Cindy Bolbach, the newly elected moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), quoted by Presbyterian News Service. Changing the church's definition of marriage to include gay and lesbian couples is among the resolutions being debated at the church's General Assembly in Minneapolis.

Vatican to heighten women's ordination sin level

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The Catholic News Service reported this morning in soon to be released documents, updating norms dealing with priestly sex abuse will also come heightened penalties for the "attempted ordination of women." Such acts, it said, would be on the list of the most serious crimes against church law, or "delicta graviora," CNS quoted Vatican sources as saying.

Toxic effects of Deepwater Horizon spill beginning to be seen in Gulf

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According to the Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Lower Mississippi Riverkeeping Web site, the BP oil spill's toxic effects are beginning to be seen. A compilation of reports and articles from newspapers and blogs report that scientists are frustrated too by the lack of data about the toxic effects of the spill.
According to EPA's latest analysis of dispersant toxicity released in the document Comparative Toxicity of Eight Oil Dispersant Products on Two Gulf of Mexico Aquatic Test Species , Corexit 9500, the dispersant used by BP, at a concentration of 42 parts per million killed 50 percent of the mysid shrimp tested and at a concentration of 130 parts per million killed 50 percent of the silverside fish tested.

UPDATED: Vatican appoints head of Legionaries of Christ

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The Assocaited Press is reporting that Pope Benedict XVI has named Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis as a special delegate to lead the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ.

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis is currently president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Born in Sonnino, Italy, Sept. 19, 1935, he is a member of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles.

More information from CNS: Pope names Vatican canon lawyer to head Legionaries

U.S. women religious leaders, take notice, take heart

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The Leadership Conference of Women Religious meets next month in Dallas for their annual gathering. Some 800 women will gather with their leadership, their congregations, and their missions under dark clouds, set there by the Vatican.

It will be a time -- all too short -- for serious discernment. And courage.

With this in mind, allow me to direct the attention of women religious everywhere to the talk, posted today, by Cape Town Bishop Kevin Dowling on the NCR web site.

Dowling sees our church in a clear and discerning manner and this bishop's wisdom shows that the deep concerns of women religious are not theirs alone, but extend to church prelates. And who knows how many other Dowlings are there out there who are not yet finding the means to speak out?

Women, take notice -- and take heart.

Consider the words with which Dowling ends his address. Consider his spirit when you gathering in Dallas next month:

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