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Implications of 'whistleblower\" saint

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For an institution that deals so much in symbol, the church has chosen Mother Mary KacKillop as a candidate for canonization who brings with her an unusual and timely depth and richness. MacKillop was an Australian once excommunicated by her bishop for denouncing clerical sexual abuse.

Talk about a saint for our times. Jesuit Fr. James Martin plumbs the implications of the canonization in a wonderful essay on the America Magazine blog.

Time Warp: First World War to officially end Sunday

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For the 'news that you thought ended a century ago' file:

The Daily Telegraph in the UK reported yesterday that the First World War will officially end on Sunday, almost a century after the guns stopped firing.

The end of the war comes with the final payment of $94 million from Germany to Belgium and France as mandated in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.

92 years later, another reason to appreciate the devastation and incredible consequences of war.

Prevalence of Suicide

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Suicide is a tragedy. These days newspapers are replete with suicides.

A student a Rutgers University in N.J. just committed suicide, as did a student at Fordham University in New York City.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, has had a "wave" of student suicides.

A report was just issued in which the U.S. military is failing to reduce suicide among the enlisted.

A British rugby star, who tested positive for use of a human growth hormone, just committed suicide.

'Tell them to come to the church'

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NCR readers will be seeing some full page ads in the paper for a conference on immigration in San Antonio next Jan 12-14. And if you are a regular to this Web site, you can't miss the colorful banner ad for the same conference at the top of this page. The conference is being hosted by Celebration magazine, the worship resource of the National Catholic Reporter. I am Celebration editor, and I will be writing here in the coming weeks to tell how this conference came about and why I think it could be crucial in the life of the church and for our country as we struggle with the question of immigration reform.

Living in a church -- literally

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With massive numbers of Catholic parishes closing around the country, diocesan owners have been selling off church buildings and lands. Occasionally, the property converts into another use. But what happens when a church building is bought and the new owners literally move in?

The Wall Street Journal's real estate section has a picture slideshow of such a case.

In this case, St. Mark's Methodist Church (a National Historic Landmark), located in Brookline, Mass. was converted into condominiums. Sharon and Paul Olean bought a three floor unit in the 19th century church.

A new semester, new promise

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This past week, we started our fall classes at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As I have done for the last several years, I am teaching our large Introduction to Chicano Studies class with over 500 students. This class is focused on the history of Chicanos/Latinos in the United States. The great majority of students in this lower-division class are new freshman of which about 70 percent are Chicanos/Latinos.

Vatican Bank lacks transparency

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Bloomberg News reports: "The Vatican has yet to formally commit to financial transparency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said one week after Italian magistrates opened a probe into its bank for alleged violations of money-laundering laws."

Earlier stories from NCR and CNS are here:

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