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Call for a commission to clean up 'the sex abuse mess'

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Could an independent commission clean up 'the clergy sex abuse mess'?

Jesuit Father -- and sometime NCR contributor -- Raymond Schroth offered the idea in an online column New Jersey Star Ledger last week and the idea was seconded in an op-ed column in the Washington Post guest column by retired attorny Gerald T. Slevin today.

But what if the Pope does not decide to set up such a commission?

Slevin writes:

Andrew Sullivan Needs Loads Less Hubris

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Andrew Sullivan has taken issue with my charge that the press is doing a poor job reporting on the role of then-Cardinal Ratzinger in the case of Father Stephen Kiesle of Oakland. It is notable, of course, that he does not actually rebut any of the examples I give, nor cite any of the documents in question to make his own case. With Mr. Sullivan, it is all sweeping, breathless judgment: “At best, [the 1985 letter] convicts Ratzinger of negligence and indifference to priestly child-rape, seeing everything through the Vatican's bureaucratic, institutional lens, concerned far more about protocol and authority than about defrocking a priest long ago known to have tied two boys up and raped them.” But, as I noted, the documents sent to Ratzinger do not mention “child-rape” and what Sullivan dismisses as a concern about protocol can as easily be explained by other concerns.

Pulitzer cartoonist takes on Catholic sex abuse issue

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Mark Fiore, whose animated political cartoons appear on SFGate.com, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. It is the first time since the category of editorial cartooning was created in 1922 that the Pulitzer has gone to an artist whose work does not appear in print.

Thought folks might appreciate his recent take on the Catholic sex abuse saga.

Mich. Dems still split over abortion

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The Michigan Deomcratic primary race to replace retiring Rep. Bart Stupak has "the same internal party fissures that dogged the lawmaker during his battle over abortion funding in the health care bill," CQpolitics.com reports today.

An early front runner is Connie Saltonstall, a former county commissioner who is an abortion-rights proponent. But, CQpolitics.com reports, "Stupak’s decision not to seek a 10th term has generated interest from a crop of state legislators in the district’s Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula regions, who hew more closely to Stupak’s brand of socially conservative, populist politics. Most are opposed to abortion rights."

Path to sustainable bioenergy will require a new roadmap

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The National Wildlife Federation has released a new policy paper - "Growing a Green Energy Future: A Primer and Vision for Sustainable Biomass Energy" - that concludes that the U.S. can do much more to improve the conservation and environmental performance of bioenergy production.

The new report calls for strong agriculture and energy policies that create jobs, curb global warming pollution, enhance national security, protect wildlife and uphold soil and water quality. Harvesting plant-based crops to produce energy to power cars, homes, businesses and communities has long been recognized as an important strategy for helping the nation transition away from fossil fuels and toward an economy based on clean, renewable sources of energy.

Visit the following webpage and scroll to the bottom to download the report.

A powerful story of forgiveness

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In this season of betrayal, death and mercy, a powerful act of forgiveness jump off the pages of a city newspaper and really hits home.

"Had Noel Pumarejo given his wife's murderer a piece of his mind in court today, no one would have faulted him.

Instead, speaking at a podium in an emotional Manhattan sentencing, Pumarejo gave the man who'd senselessly stabbed his beloved Sandra a bible and a piece of his soul.

"God is going to be with you," Pumarejo sobbed, his hand on a boxed bible and his eyes on David Andrango, 32, who slaughtered his wife over $10,000 in missing gold when they worked together at an Upper East Side boutique three years ago.

"Just read this bible, and come to him, and save your soul. God bless you, David," he told the killer."

April 13, St. Hermenegild, Martyr

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Today is the feast of St. Hermenegild, eldest son of Levigild, the Visigothic king of Spain, and his first wife, Theodosia. Levigild shared his kingdom with his sons, placing Hermenegild on the throne at Seville.

Hermenegild and his brother Recared were Arians like their parents and like their stepmother, Gosvint, but when Hermenegild married Ingondes, a Catholic, her example and the "instructions and exhortations of St. Leander, bishop of Seville" caused the Arian Hermenegild to be "received into the church by the imposition of hands, and the unction of chrism on the forehead".

Commissioner seen as likely outcome of Legionary investigation

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tAs a Vatican-sponsored investigation of the Legionaries of Christ reaches its end-game, the leading hypothesis in Rome appears to be that Pope Benedict XVI may appoint a special “commissioner” to lead the order through a period a reform.

tThe appointment would, in effect, amount to a compromise between total suppression of the Legionaries, as some of the order’s fiercest critics have suggested, and a papal “certificate of good conduct,” as some of its Vatican backers had initially hoped.

tWhile it’s not clear what might happen with the order’s current leadership team under this scenario, an April 13 piece in Corriere della Sera suggested that a commissioner would have “full powers” to make decisions in the name of the pope. Though it’s considered likely that Benedict XVI would tap someone from outside the Legionaries, others have suggested that a commissioner could be named from among those Legionaries not tainted by the scandals surrounding the founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

Ordination observations

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On Saturday I attended the latest ordinations by the Womenpriests group in Chicago, which I also wrote about in the most recent issue of NCR. Bishop Joan Clark Houk of Pittsburgh ordained Janine Denomme of Chicago and Marty Meyer-Gad of Minnesota as Roman Catholic priests.

Some observations:

* It was a beautiful spring day; Ebenezer Lutheran Church was packed; and the choir and music was spectacular.

* Attending were friends and family of the newly ordained, but also other supporters of women's ordination. Not everyone was comfortable being seen there. After I shook the hand of a familiar-looking woman at the Sign of Peace, I asked her if I knew her. She shook her head and said, "No, not going there." (Perhaps she recognized me as an NCR columnist/reporter?)

* Sadly, Denomme, who is being treated for Stage 4 colon and liver cancer, had to leave the ceremony during the Liturgy of the Word. But women bishops are flexible! Houk left the sanctuary to lay hands on and anoint Denomme, who was resting in an upstairs room. The entire congregation lifted their hands to pray for her.

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September 12-25, 2014

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