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Confederate Pride

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Pride goeth before the fall. Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell thought it a fine idea to reinstate “Confederate History Month” in the Commonwealth, a celebration that had lapsed under the previous two governors. In his initial proclamation, he omitted any reference to slavery and he has now apologized for that omission and sought to correct the mistake.

Hello? The omission of a reference to slavery was only half the problem. The Civil War was an insurrection. It was an act of treason. It did not undermine, it defied the Constitution. Alas, with Republicans in Texas talking about secession (let’ em go, I say), and South Carolina politicians invoking “nullification” and a variety of Southerners invoking “states rights,” McDonnell probably does not want to call the Confederate cause what it was. Shame on them all. And, for the record, if there are two words that have uglier associations in modern American political history than “states rights” I do not know them.

More on Maciel

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[CORRECTED] Jason Berry, who began reporting on sex abuse in the Catholic church for NCR in 1985, has more to tell about the late Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionnaries of Christ. Just last week, after decades of denying it, top officials of the Legionaries of Christ acknowledged that Maciel, sexually abused young seminarians, and they asked forgiveness for failing to listen to his accusers.

After investigating allegations that Maciel had sexually abused young seminarians, in May 2006 the Vatican ordered him to stop practicing his ministry in public and to live a life of prayer and penitence. At the time, Legion officials defended Maciel's declaration of innocence and compared him to Christ for his suffering. Maciel died in January 2008 at age 87.

Berry's newest reporting tracks Maciel's rise to influence in the Vatican. The story is on our Web site: Money paved way for Maciel's influence in the Vatican.

Steppes to a new ewe

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  • A recent study shows 12th-century conqueror Genghis Khan’s direct patrilineal descendants today include 16 million living men who carry his Y-chromosome. In other words, Genghis Khan had about 800,000 times the reproductive success of the average man of his age, an outsize contribution to the gene pool. What was his secret?

  • A spokesperson for a nationwide bookselling chain said half of their sales last year were in the self-help category.



I’m here with author Baba Tang Thiksken. His latest book The Indigenous Can Do No Wrong has hit its tenth week on the best-seller list.

Mr. Thiksken, what would you say has so far been the pinnacle of your career?

T. I’d say it was that unforgettable evening I channeled the world’s best known hunter-gatherer and “old soul,” Genghis Khan.

You chatted with Genghis Khan?

T. In fact, in one of my past lives I was him so the lines through the holographic cinemaplex inside my head were up and running, so to speak.

Morning Briefing

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What's the matter with the Catholic church?

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When Kansas newspaperman William Allen White sat down in 1896 to write his famous editorial about a provincial, stuffy and self-satisfied Midwestern state that couldn’t admit its prejudices, he was addressing his own neighbors and, of course, himself. The question was really, “What’s the matter with us?”

Likewise today, any loyal Catholic who dares to critique his or her church is in the same fix. Emotions are running so high, the only positions one can take on the sex abuse/cover up crisis are as either an enemy of the church engaging in a “vile defamation campaign” (L’Osservatore Romano) or as a staunch hear-no-evil defender of the church. It is better (and safer) to shut up and say nothing.

A new archbishop ñ but will he ìgetî Los Angeles?

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Retiring Archbishop Roger Mahony has had a rough road of late – the sex abuse scandal has left him somewhat sullied, as it has for many other princes of the church.

But the outrage against Mahony among Los Angeles Catholics has been relatively muted – far less visceral than the anger other bishops have faced as the abuse tsunami has traveled the globe. That’s because – for all his problems - Mahony has always felt like “one of us.”

Trampling on the Human Rights of Immigrants

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The fate of comprehensive immigration reform is anybody’s guess. But, the Obama administration does not require congressional action to take swift action with its own Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. And, make no mistake: Urgent, remedial action is necessary.

Over at the Center for American Progress, they detail the atrocities of justice being perpetrated against undocumented workers. An internal government report focused especially on the use of local law enforcement officials in enforcing immigration laws. Other recent reports show other abuses, including the detention of 30 Haitians who were mistakenly put on a plane out of that country. As if they have not suffered enough.

Here is a political issue for the bishops to get their backs up about. Some of the more vocal bishops were unrelenting in their criticisms of the health care reform, often on highly specific, and debatable, points of the law. Here, there is little controversy. The ICE’s deportation methods are obscene. I am hoping to see bulletin inserts from the USCCB next weekend.

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July 18-31, 2014

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