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An independent abuse commission for the Vatican?

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The Hartford Courant, the Conneticut newspaper published stories on sex abuse by reporters Jason Berry and the late Gerald Renner, has an editorial in this morning's edition: Catholic Church Must Own Up To Shame.

The gist of the piece is:

To regain credibility, the church, all the way to Rome, must candidly acknowledge the extent of the worldwide scandal. It must discipline those who covered up abuse.

Pope Benedict XVI could take a big step toward greater transparency by appointing an independent commission with no ties to the Vatican to conduct an impartial investigation and propose specific steps to reach out to victims, many of whom feel abandoned by the church they trusted.

Download the Story of Stuff faith-based educational program

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The Story of Stuff Project has announced the release of Let There Be...Stuff? - a six-session curriculum that helps teenagers explore the relationship between their consumption, their faith, and the health of the planet.

To celebrate Earth Day, they offerthis resource for free to the first 1,000 houses of worship or faith leaders who sign up to download it.

If you are a minister or lay church leader, youth group or bible study coordinator, you're encouraged to download the curriculum.

Over the past five years, the pace and scope of religious engagement on the environment has accelerated sharply. The Story of Stuff Project experienced this phenomenon first hand when they released The Story of Stuff in late 2007. Almost immediately, faith leaders started calling and writing to ask if they had produced companion educational programs for churches or other houses of worship. Then last year, they partnered with GreenFaith, an interfaith coalition for the environment, to meet this need.

Jeff Anderson on Democracy Now

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When I am running late in the mornings, I can listen to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now on my local community radio station. I was late this morning and got to listen to St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeff Anderson talk with Amy about Docs Implicating Vatican in Sexual Abuse Coverup.

In the evenings, headed home, I tune into KEXS 1090 AM, Catholic Radio for the the Greater Kansas City area.

Gordon Brown's \"Scandal\"

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Michael Kinsley used to say that a “Washington scandal” is when a politician speaks an incovenient truth in public. It turns out that the definition must now be extended to include London.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was unaware that he still was wearing an open mike when he spoke about a woman he had just met. She had attacked him for not doing enough about all the immigrants coming to the UK. He politely pointed out that about one million immigrants come each year from Europe to the UK and a like number make the trip the other way. Once he got inside his car, he was upset by the encounter, and he said the woman was “bigoted.” After the clip made the airwaves, the Prime Minister apologized to the woman.

I wish he hadn’t. I wish he had used the occasion to stick to his guns and to say, yes, there is a great deal of bigotry involved in the discussion of immigrants, both in Britain and elsewhere. The Prime Minister spoke the truth. Where is the scandal in that?

Hanoi appointment could open way for papal trip

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President of the Vietnam Bishops' Conference has been appointed coadjutor to the archbishop of Hanoi, raising speculation, especially in northern Vietnam, that the appointment has been made to ease tensions between the church and state.

It could also be part of ongoing negotiations to open the door in Vietnam for a papal visit next year.

The bishops' conference this week announced that Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon was appointed coadjutor. The appointment of a coadjutor is the first step in a transition of leadership in Hanoi where Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, who has reportedly been ill, has been an outspoken critic of the Hanoi government, espcially in its policy to seize church property for public use.

Health reasons were cited in the unusual appointment. Nhon is 72 and Kiet is 58.

The appointment of a coadjutor bishop older than the ordinary has appeared to some an unusual decision and has provoked press reports of government pressure in the appointment.

Australian bishop: 'authoritarian' church, compulsory celibacy, role of women cannot be brushed aside

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Allow me to share with you some thoughts written recently by an uncommon bishop, Pat Power, the auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn.

He writes with regret that groups calling for church reform are regularly dismissed "as trouble-makers with little love for the Church" when in fact "their hearts are breaking for the Church which they see as drifting further away from the message of the Jesus."

Green Hell?

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Sometimes it pays to listen to those who disagree with us. Spiritual director and writer Carol J. Meyer reviewed a new book for us -- Green Hell, written by Steve Milloy. Meyer does workshops and conferences in religious education, spirituality and personal development

Green Hell
How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life
and What You Can Do to Stop Them
By Steve Milloy
Regnery Publishing
Reviewed by Carol J. Meyer

Taking care of the earth seems like a no-brainer to me, so I was curious about what the opponents could have against it. Well, now I know. If Milloy is at all typical, it comes down to money and freedom. To him, the green movement is too expensive, and might interfere with our current affluent lifestyle, which must be preserved at all costs. And he doesn’t want any greens or government telling him what to do or how he should live.

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September 12-25, 2014

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