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Anti-Catholic Bias

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We all make mistakes. But I encountered the same mistake twice this past week, both instances in the work of British writers and it leads me to believe that their ignorance is at the service of their animus in a way that should give us pause.

In an article at Slate.com, Christopher Hitchens wrote a remarkably uninformed article about Pope Benedict’s involvement with the sex abuse scandal, which Hitch used as an opportunity to attack Pope Benedict XVI. Compared to the writings of my colleague here at NCR, John Allen, well, there is no comparison. Within his diatribe, Hitchens writes of Benedict that ‘he was put in charge of the so-called ‘Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’ (formerly known as the Inquisition).” Ohhh-Ahhhh. The Inquisition. Images of torture chambers and burnings at the stake.

Diocese penalizes homeless aid group

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Remember the Bishop of Portland, Richard Malone, leading the charge to repeal the gay marriage law in Maine? Now he is penalizing those groups that supported gay marriage, denying assistance to an organization that helps the homeless.

Diocese penalizes homeless aid group: The bishop and a national organization end financial support after Preble Street backs same-sex marriage.

We're all Sinead O'Connor now

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In 1992, when Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II, yelling “fight the real enemy” on Saturday Night Live, I was a sophomore in college and properly horrified by her actions. Far from home and grieving for my father, who had passed away several months before, I had found comfort in my faith -- and I was more than a little annoyed with my floor-mates who had insisted I needed to “question” it, in the manner that college students do.

1992 also happened to be the same year that the allegations against Fr. James Porter, a priest in Fall River, Mass., surfaced. The institutional church was successful, at that time, in painting Porter as a “bad apple.” It would be another 10 years before the scope of the clergy sexual abuse crisis became clear here in the United States. And now, another eight years later, the experiences of Boston in 2002 are being repeated in Ireland, in Germany, and in Austria.

Accountability and the Catholic church

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Former GE executive and currently a senior fellow at Harvard Law School and at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and author of the book High Performance with High Integrity, Ben W. Heineman Jr., writes in Business Week (Mar. 24) a compelling, and straight-forward, analysis of Pope Benedict XVI's handling of the priest sex abuse crisis in Ireland: Accountability and the Catholic church

Heineman, a non-Catholic, states:

"Although the Roman Catholic Church is a spiritual entity, it is also a worldly organization, with its own canon law, ecclesiastical courts, and disciplinary procedures. An important question is whether the Church should investigate and discipline severe ethical transgressions of its leaders as do other major organizations, including corporations. It appears that when it comes to ethical and leadership failures, Pope Benedict believes the answer is "no," that the Church—which serves God—should not be held even to the same standards as responsible corporations—servants of Mammon."

They shout. I follow

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My oldest friend Paige was always fascinated by the sea, its lure and lore. When he was a kid, model ships cluttered his room, posters of sail and nautical charts decorated the walls. He read every book he could find about sailing and would rhapsodize about this passionate love and his dreams until we, his friends, got the picture.

It looked like this: Paige on the slippery deck of a battered but sturdy sailboat making its way slowly through an agitated sea under a dark, threatening sky. He is busy reefing sails and securing thick, sodden lines on the deck, making the vessel ready to endure the storm. One arm flung across the sun-cracked paint on the mast, his hands wrapped in the rigging, he surveys the heaving surface of the sea ahead with steady, glittering eyes.

Farmworker Awareness Week, March 28 - Apr. 3

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Farmworker Awareness Week will take place from March 28 through April 3, 2010. This is a nationwide week of action for students, community members, and congregations to raise awareness about farm worker issues during the week of Cesar Chavez' birthday. The week honors his legacy as a leader of the farm worker movement; The National Catholic Rural Life Conference recognizes that day -- March 31 -- as one of their office holidays.

Learn more about farmworker awareness at National Farm Worker Ministry:
Farmworker Awareness Week Ideas for Action

Kathleen Parker Goes Off the Deep End

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As conservative opinion writers go, Kathleen Parker is far from the worst. But, she must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday because her contribution to this morning’s Washington Post is truly loathsome.

Her target is Cong. Bart Stupak whom she accuses of being a Judas to the pro-life cause. It should be clear from the venom being spewed at him, noticeably all by Republicans, that the cause Stupak “betrayed” was not the pro-life cause but the defeat-health-care-at-all-costs cause. But, Mr. Stupak never signed on to that latter cause, did he? He said that his conscience needed to be satisfied that the Hyde Amendment restrictions on federal funding of abortion were present in the final bill. When he looked at the Senate language, he said it was too ambiguous. He agreed to vote for the bill when the President agreed to sign an Executive Order that clarified those ambiguities.

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July 18-31, 2014

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