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Feb. 24, St. Ethelbert, King of Kent

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Today is the feast of St. Ethelbert, King of Kent, a descendant of Hengist, who led the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes into England.

Ethelbert was born in 560. He was a worshipper of Odin, but in 588, when he married Bertha, a daughter of King Charibert of Paris, as part of the nuptial agreement, he agreed to permit her to continue practicing her Christian faith. Bertha brought a chaplain to England with her, and King Ethelbert gave him an old church at Canterbury.

The pope and climate change deniers

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John Gehring, the communications director for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good who sometimes write think pieces for us, was a "guest voice" on the Washington Post's On Faith blog over the weekend.

His piece begins:

The Pope vs. climate change deniers

The recent blizzard of bunk coming from climate change deniers giddy over the recent Snowmageddon that paralyzed the nation's capital is a classic case of putting ideology and politics before science. While the overwhelming body of evidence from experts points to human causes exacerbating climate change - this means extreme weather and more intense storms not only rising temperatures - some politicians can barely contain their joy at the recent deep freeze.

More snippets from a conversation with Mother Millea

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Last week I published the bulk of a Feb. 16 interview with Mother Mary Clare Millea of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the sister in charge of a Vatican-sponsored apostolic visitation of women religious in America. For space reasons, a few bits of that interview were left on the cutting-room floor. Given the wide interest in the subject, however, I’ll pass along here a few sections which didn’t survive the editing process, but which nevertheless contribute to the record.

These questions and answers all come from the same Feb. 16 interview with Millea at the U.S. headquarters of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hamden, Connecticut.

* * *
I was talking yesterday with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and he made the argument that it’s a mistake for American Catholics to compare today’s numbers on anything, including religious life, with the peak period of the 1950s, because historically that peak was an aberration. Do you agree?

U.S. Bishops to go to Haiti

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NCR has learned that the USCCB Sub-Committee on the Church in Latin America is establishing a special advisory committee to assess the on-going relief work in Haiti. As part of the effort, a delegation of bishops will be traveling to the island next week. The USCCB will be announcing the new committee and the visit soon.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, who chairs the subcommittee, will also head the advisory panel. It will also include Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, the Archbishop of Boston, who first served as a bishop in the Caribbean in the 1980s and has extensive contacts there. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando and Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn Guy Sansaricq, the only Haitian-America in the USSCB will also serve on the advisory committee. Some members of the group will head to the island next Monday to assess the work being done and what additional efforts can be achieved.

'Don't leave tracks while you purchase the election'

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A Talking Points Memo has reported that K&L Gates, the Washington lobbying firm, has alerted its corporate clients on how to best use trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce as channels to dump unlimited amounts of cash directly into elections, while shielding their own corporate interests.

The death spiral for democracy in America continues.

The K&L Gates alert comes in the wake of last month's U.S. Supreme Court "Citizens United" ruling, which essentially took the lid off all corporate election campaign spending, and in the short haul, has only added more cynicism to our governemtn processes.

The "Public Policy and Law Alert" on the impact of the court's ruling, prepared by two lawyers for K&L Gates and posted on the firm's site last week, notes that, thanks to disclosure rules, corporations could alienate their customers by spending more on political campaigns -- especially because they could become the target of negative media coverage. So better to channel the big money.

Feb. 23, St. Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr

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Today is the feast of St. Polycarp, c. 69 - c.155, "one of the 'Apostolic Fathers,' the generation of bishops who received their teaching direct from the apostles or disciples themselves."

"It was the commemoration of his martyrdom that established the custom of celebrating the anniversary of a martyr's death, seen as the dies natalis, the 'birthday into heaven.'"

--Butler's Lives of the Saints

Scranton, Pa., gets new bishop

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Monsignor Joseph Bambera has been appointed the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, the Vatican announced this morning.

The pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Mary of Czestochowa churches in Archbald, the Rev. Bambera has run the daily operations of the diocese for the past six months as delegate to interim leader Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia.

He replaces Bishop Joseph F. Martino, whose six-year term has been described as "stormy." See Why did the bishop of Scranton, Pa., resign?

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