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Pope should read SNAP letter

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The wrap-up of the Year of the Priest celebration is colliding with the ongoing fallout from the spreading priest sex-abuse scandal, setting up an unlikely gathering of forces in Rome.

One of the groups on hand is the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, better known as SNAP, the group formed by survivors and that has been advocating for survivors and for church transparency since very early in the scandal. As might be expected, the group has been vilified by some in the U.S. hierarchy. Its members have been prohibited from conducting programs on church property and it has been generally marginalized in official church circles.

That's unfortunate. Because no matter how deeply one might disagree with a tactic employed here or there, the fact remains that no group has been more conversant with the scandal, its effects and its causes than those actually abused by priests.

Who Wants California?

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Harold Meyerson is spot-on in his analysis of the difficulties facing newly nominated GOP candidates Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Both women spent gobs of money to win their primary elections in California, and they have gobs to spend. But, money is not enough to win a GOP primary in the Golden State. You also have to move so far to the right, it is nearly impossible to get back to the center by November.

The Tea Party Wins in Nevada

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Be careful what you wish for is an admonition that suddenly applies to both parties. In Nevada, the Tea Party candidate for the GOP Senate nomination, Sharron Angle, scored a significant victory over two more mainstream opponents. She will now take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid’s campaign was thrilled at the prospect. Angle’s views on a number of subjects are far outside the mainstream: She wishes to abolish the Energy and Education Departments and to privatize Social Security. This last will not go down well with older voters who have moved to Nevada for its climate and lower cost-of-living, secure in the fact that their Social Security checks would provide them at least a decent retirement. Many of those same older voters saw their 401ks and other forms of private retirement accounts get wiped out in the past few years, so it is doubtful that privatizing Social Security will sit well with them.

A priest and his kids

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There’s a buzz of excitement in our parish lately. A new priest is set to join us on the first of July -- and everyone can’t wait to hear all about his children.

Don’t mean that metaphorically. Like we would use, say, “flock.” Our new parish priest has kids. Of his own. From his marriage.

According to early reports circulating the pews, he joined the priesthood late in life, after his wife passed on and his children were grown. He’s served at other parishes in the Los Angeles area, and has a great reputation.

This is becoming more common, as the church reaches out in new ways to attract more priests to the fold. A Jesuit friend of mine comes from the same background – he commited to the priesthood after his wife’s untimely death. His two sons were (and are) very supportive -- he is a fantastic priest.

I get a kick out of him in a few ways: 1) I love watching people’s faces when he starts to talk about his children, his wife, his career and his marriage. 2) And I love calling him and hearing crying infants in the background, when he’s been recruited to help babysit for his grandchildren -- just to give the kids a bit of a break.

Traps and booms

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Breton Sound, La. -- This is what it is all about. In the foreground are crab traps. They should be out in the water at this time of year. Instead, they are sitting on the dock. Meanwhile on the boat, deckhands are preparing to set off with a load of oil restraining boom.

I spent the morning out along Bayou La Loutre in St. Bernard Parish, La. An oil disaster response staging area has been set up here on Breton Sound.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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