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Vatican warning system locks on social teaching, nature of theology


Rome -- Since its creation by Pope Paul VI in 1969, the International Theological Commission, composed of 30 theologians from around the world who advise the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, often has functioned as a sort of early warning system for the Vatican’s doctrinal concerns. When the commission kicks around a topic, it can be a hint of things to come – an encyclical, a doctrinal instruction, or something else with real teeth.

On unemployment benefits, where are bishops' voices?


As I watch the news these days, I am reminded of the Religious Right and their frequent allies, the Catholic Bishops. Their usual list of important “moral issues” includes abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc. When there is any chance that politicians will initiate policies in disagreement with their positions, the pulpits are mounted and sirens are sounded nationwide.

But today, they are strangely silent. Yet, we face a true moral crisis -- not on sexual issues -- but on economic issues.

Obama's stimulus pours millions into faith-based groups


On today:

The stimulus bought Castleton United Methodist Church in Indianapolis a new heating and cooling system. In Laramie, Wyo., it bought the Church of St. Laurence O'Toole new windows for the Roman Catholic school it runs. And in Harrisburg, Pa., Christian Churches United of the Tri-County Area spent its $120,000 in stimulus funding on food and shelter for local homeless people.

Read more: Obama's stimulus pours millions into faith-based groups

Walking in Tepecoyo


As I reflect on my Nov. 9-14, trip to El Salvador with a delegation from Loyola Marymount University, I take away an expanded understanding of solidarity and accompaniment.

I had understood solidarity as what I do and how I live my life influenced by the least among us. My encounters last month with women in El Salvador reveal that solidarity includes a willingness to be known by those we would accompany.

Clerical courage in Milwaukee


It has been rare, when writing about the priest sex abuse scandal, to find a member of the clergy who will publicly cut against the instincts of the clergy culture with a call for greater transparency and disclosure. Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle would head the list, so would retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit. Fr. Donald Cozzens has spoken and written with great insight about the flaws of the culture that lead to such wide deception. Msgr. Kenneth Lasch in New Jersey has long been a strong and outspoken advocate for victims.

Solar-powered, electric popemobile? Why not?


From The Seattle Times:

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI would gladly use one as another sign of his efforts to promote sustainable energy and safeguard God's creation.

Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who runs the Vatican City state, said Wednesday that the pope would certainly prefer an electric popemobile to a traditional one. But he says one has to be offered.

His comments came during a presentation of a book on the Vatican's use of solar energy. The Vatican in 2008 installed photovoltaic cells on the roof of its main auditorium and a year later installed a solar cooling unit for its main cafeteria.

The technology has won awards and garnered Benedict a reputation as the "green pope."

Family Research Center: Hate parading as religion?


One of the Family Research Center’s primary activities is opposing any civil consideration for same sex orientation and unions, often using fatuous claims and statistics. That the assertions of the group, deeply rooted in the religious right, are wrong is almost immaterial. The make their claims with a preacher’s thunder and a God’s-on-our-side certitude.

Is it protected speech, even if a concoction of lies and slander, or is it free speech? The LA Times’ Tim Rutten weighs in on the question in a recent column, “Hate Under Cloak of Religion.”

A morning class with Fr. Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries


I had just finished getting some coffee. I was getting ready to cross the street when I saw a light-colored sedan. I quickly realized that inside was my guest speaker for that morning’s Introduction to Chicano Studies class, one I teach with about 400 students. I pointed to the parking spot where my guest could park and where I could give him the parking pass so he wouldn’t get a ticket.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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