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Easter Vigil: Know when to hold 'em

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Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

On this Holy Saturday we enter the dark interval between death and promise. I am running out of words, a good sign, for we are approaching a threshold where logic ends and mystery begins. The Holy Week story was always there, written long before the events we will review in the grand sweep of salvation history recorded in the lectionary readings for tonight's solemn Easter Vigil.

Know when to fold 'em

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Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

The real question for Good Friday is why Jesus, with victory over evil within his grasp and backed by absolute power, chose to be struck down in apparent defeat?

To our modern sensibilities, schooled by violent sports and the permanent war on terror to accept the axiom that "winning isn't everything -- It's the only thing," Jesus' death on Good Friday was a disaster.

Holy bubble! Churches struck down by foreclosures

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Eastertime generates a number of interesting stories about the state of religion and congregations in the U.S. Reuters has a story describing the financial turmoil affecting Protestant churches.

Foreclosure proceedings against U.S. churches have nearly tripled since December 2007.

A growing number of U.S. churches, which are defaulting on loans, facing foreclosure and even declaring bankruptcy at an unprecedented pace.

"It's happening to virtually every church," said the Rev. Grainger Browning, senior pastor of Ebenezer. "At a recent meeting with the 100 top pastors in the country, it was amazing how all of us were facing some sort of challenge with the banks."

Long considered among the safest of borrowers, churches gambled on real estate at a time when credit copiously flowed and lenders were startlingly lax.

No Longer Just an American Problem

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On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews said, “what floors me, I thought that this was just a problem of a particular couple of generations perhaps, of priests that had this problem, and they were getting away with covering it up in the United States and Ireland. And it turns out that it is a world-wide problem, and it is getting everywhere and it is not going away.”

Faith & Science in DC

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During the 2008 GOP primaries, in one of the debates, Jim VandeHei asked Senator John McCain if he believed in evolution. The Senator paused for a moment before answering. While no man knows the heart or mind of another with certainty, I think it is safe to venture the guess that in the moment of hesitation, Sen. McCain was entertaining a political doubt, not a scientific one. Finally, he answered, “Yes.”

The correct answer, of course, would have been to point out that the question is a flawed one. One does not “believe” scientific theory, one demonstrates it. That is the point. Yet, the debate between those committed to science and religion often suffers from such confusion. Thankfully, there is an antidote at hand.

Fools rush in

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Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

Gandhi once observed that if God were to come into our hungry world, it will surely be as bread.

Passover focuses the entire Jewish community on a meal, sustenance for the journey from slavery to freedom in a promised homeland where plentiful food would be the most tangible sign of God’s love. Wealth, someone else has said, is the power to eat, and this simple measure divides our world into nations so well fed they battle obesity and other nations where “food security” is the main preoccupation of the majority of the population. El Salvador is one of these.

Most viewed stories in March

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Looking for a Good Friday vigil?

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Here's note just received from Voice of the Faithful

National Vigil of Sorrow

Good Friday is a day of sorrow and mourning for the Catholic Church. On this solemn day, we stand in solidarity with victims of clergy abuse and, as Pope Benedict requested of the faithful in Ireland, devote ourselves to the healing and renewal of the Church. We call on our pastoral leaders to say “Stop the Hiding; Start the Healing.”

Members of Voice of the Faithful will gather in Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. We will pray together as we stand in support of the survivor community. The clergy abuse scandal has plagued the Catholic Church for far too long. It is time for accountability and transparency from the leaders of the Church, an apology is not enough. We invite everyone to join us for all or part of this special national event.

New York City
- St. Patrick's Cathedral, 12pm - 3pm

Boston
- Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 12pm - 3pm

Chicago
- Holy Name Cathedral, 3pm

Washington, D.C.
- Cathedral of St. Matthew, 12pm – 1pm

Click here for more details.

The sinuous, slithery ones and us

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I saw it before my brain lobes even registered I’d seen it. Its beige coils striped with deep russet hourglass shapes blended well against brown leaves, yet a mere glimpse as I approached sent a spark down my spine at light speed that jerked me back like a horror-struck puppet on a string even before my cerebellum announced to my awareness that I’d almost vexed a venomous copperhead by stepping on it.

My brother Bob and his wife Sue live in the Missouri Ozark forest. They wake spring mornings to bluebird serenades outside their window and evenings watch the moon rise through the fragrant native pines.

Every summer for the past dozen years, though, they’ve been plagued by copperheads. Last June I met one of them up close.

A half dozen or more of these beautiful (but somewhat dangerous) snakes at a time slither near their house on very warm evenings, coiling up on the steps leading to their front porch, even draping themselves over the loops of garden hose that hang nearby.

Bob tries to relocate them by means of a garden hoe and a covered bucket. When he finally loses patience with the outbreak, he kills them with a shovel.

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July 18-31, 2014

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