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Urban Mystic at the Crossroads: the video

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Today in 1992, four Los Angeles Police Department officers were acquitted of the beating of Rodney King and Los Angeles erupted in rioting. The beating of King, which had been video tapped, the trial and acquittal were seminal events in the history of race relations in this country.

Last year I interviewed the Rev. Scott D. Young about his annual pilgrimage to the site of the flash point of the civil unrest following the acquittal of the police officers in the Rodney King case.

Kids Around the World See a New Role for Royalty

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ABC News, like every other news network, is fixated on today's royal wedding. In one of the seemingly endless series of preparatory stories, Diane Sawyer and the ABC news team interviewed children in England, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Islamabad and Moscow. They asked these groups of 7- and 8-year-olds what they think it's like to be a prince or a princess.

Thoughts on communion denial

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Yesterday's news about a Texas boy with cerebral palsy being denied the Eucharist in a first Communion Mass is awful on a number of levels.

First, the reporting in the ABC news piece is shoddy and illustrative of why we need actual religion reporters in our newsrooms: "The important ceremony means the child has been embraced by the church community. And it is accompanied by traditional family celebrations and gifts."

Really? That's what First Communion is? The knowledge of the various sacraments or rites of particular faith groups is Religion Reporting 101, folks, and the ABC team didn't show up for class.

Beatifications and Politics

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E.J. Dionne wrote a very insightful column in today's Washington Post (April 28) calling for a fast track to sainthood for Pope John XXIII. He acknowledges that church politics put Pope John Paul II on a "fast track" to beatification, while noting that Pope John XXIII's beatification was kept on a slow track, and completed only when paired with the beatification of the super-reactionary Pope Pius IX.

WikiLeaks suspect now 'medium custody' prisoner

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FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, whose treatment in custody has spurred protests from supporters and human rights groups, is now considered a “medium custody” prisoner and is allowed three hours of recreation a day, the U.S. Army announced this afternoon.

The announcement came at the end of a morning press tour of the facility here where Manning is being held. NCR was part of the tour, which included about a dozen representatives from local, national, and international press organizations.

Manning was moved to the Joint Regional Correctional Facility here April 20 from the Marine brig in Quantico, Va. where he had been held since July, 2010.

The conditions of his imprisonment at Quantico spurred the wide-ranging protests. While at the Virginia facility, Manning was placed into solitary confinement for 23 hours each day and forced to wear only a suicide-proof smock each night.

Father Pfleger and obedience

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If Cardinal George’s suspension of Father Michael Pfleger was meant to shut him up, so far it seems to be working. Plenty of folks have been speaking out—mainly hurt and angry parishioners—about the letter the outstpoken Chicago priest received yesterday, but Pfleger has declined to speak to the media.

In the sternly written letter—which the archdiocese gave to Pfleger, the parish and the media—George officially suspends Pfleger from his duties as pastor of St. Sabina Parish on Chicago’s South Side. The straw that broke the bishop’s back seems to be Pfleger’s public remarks that he would leave the Catholic Church if reassigned.

"If that is your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish," the cardinal wrote.

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