The Catholic Diocese of Spokane must raise more than $800,000 this fall to pay sex abuse claims. From the Seattle Times.
From the Dallas Morning News:
"As Mexico prepares to celebrate the bicentennial of its independence from Spain and the 100th anniversary of its revolution today and Thursday, many Mexicans are questioning how much liberty and opportunity they really have in a country racked, again, by bloodshed and still plagued by poverty.
Catholic News Service ran a story this morning quoting the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican that a U.S. pastor's threat to burn copies of the Quran has damaged the image of the United States.
"The deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act," said the ambassador, Miguel H. Diaz.
CNS reported that the expressed plans by a small Florida Pentecostal church to burn the Quran Sept. 11 represent "disrespectful acts" and in no way reflect "the sentiments of the American people or the U.S. government," he said in a written statement Sept. 10.
The ambassador's remarks came after the Florida pastor, the Rev. Terry Jones, announced he had called off the event, even though later he said he was going to "rethink" that decision.
"The U.S. government condemns the on-again, off-again plans" by the small evangelical group, Diaz said. "The mere threat by a pastor of a small Florida church has already damaged the image of the U.S."
Diaz's comments were the latest in a series of condemnations by international church leaders and officials.
Catholic bishops in Iraq and Pakistan joined a growing chorus of international religious leaders denouncing the planned burning.
With the aim of resisting the use of deadly unmanned drones by the U.S. military abroad and the hope of sparking some sort of public dialog, 14 peace activists go on trial today for an action they committed at a Nevada air force base.
The trial comes about a year and half after the April 2009 action and after charges against the activists were at first dropped and then reinstated.
The activists, known together as the 'Creech 14,' walked onto the grounds of Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nev. on Holy Thursday 2009 and offered the Air Force personnel they met there bread and water as a sign of peace as they started a prayer vigil. After about an hour at prayer they were arrested and taken into custody.
Among those in the group is Jesuit Fr. John Dear, who wrote about the witness and trial in his latest column on the NCR website.
Kathy Kelly, another in the group and coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, talked about the action yesterday on the syndicated radio and television program Democracy Now!.
I joined a media teleconference this morning that marked the official opening of Catholics for Equality, the stated purpose of which is "to mobilize the 62 percent of American Catholics who support freedoms for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Catholics for Equality and an affiliated foundation will channel that support into action for legislative, political and cultural change."
Current American anti-Muslim bias is being commonly compared to 19th century anti-Catholicism. I think that's sloppy history.
Hateful behavior against belief in general is inexcusable in a society that espouses free speech and religious liberty wherever it happens. And it has happened in every time, whether against free-thinkers, Mormons, Catholics or Jehovah's Witnesses.
While violence against innocent newcomers and non-conformists is always wrong, the fears that underlie those hostilities are often distinctive.
Was the fear of Catholicism itself in the 19th and 20th centuries irrational, based purely on a blind defense of Protestant theology and democratic values?
Surely it was in part. Since the Reformation, Rome had been the symbol of the anti-Christ in many Protestant circles as well as a threat to a young nation whose ethos was democratic and Protestant.
But as the Notre Dame historians point out in their piece in the latest New York Review of Books, those fears were also grounded in concrete foundation. Popes in the latter half of the 19th century railed against egalitarianism and democracy in a frenzied reaction to Europe's revolutionary forces.
Quick follow-up to my blog yesterday, about the patterns of right-wing rage that spring up after the election of Democratic presidents. A new book has just hit the shelves, by Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch. The title: The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama.
Bunch -- also a senior fellow at the left-leaning research group Media Matters -- notes, too, that right-wing radicalism and Democratic presidents are often two peas in the same political pod, but makes special note of one new element: mainstream acceptance.
tFallout from the threat by a Florida pastor to burn copies of the Qur’an on the 9/11 anniversary has reached into the faraway province of Kashmir in India, where Muslim separatists have seized the occasion to launch violent protests directed both against the government and the province’s tiny Christian minority.
A Christian school in the town of Tangmarc in Kashmir has been burned down, fortunately with no one inside and no injuries. At least 19 people reportedly have lost their lives, however, in the broader wave of violence currently gripping Kashmir.
Today the Italian daily La Stampa carried an interview with Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of the Diocese of Jammu and Kashmir, which numbers 16,260 faithful.Elampassery spoke about the threats Christians in his corner of the world face, and how the Qur’an-burning crisis has aggravated them. The following is an NCR translation of the interview.
Are the Christians of Kashmir a target because of Pastor Jones?
The comments section of a post about Newt Gingrich over at the Commonweal blog yesterday reveals an interesting factoid: This weekend the former Speaker of the House will be hosting a book signing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Details about the event can be found at Gingrich's website here.
Personally, I find the choice of venue to be more than a little concerning. I'm not a fan of Gingrich, but more importantly I don't think politicians of any stripe should be able to use church property -- especially such a high profile church as the Basilica -- to sell books or espouse their views.
But I can see where others might disagree. It's tricky territory.
What do you think?