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Take the St. Francis pledge on Earth Day this week

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Earth Day, recognized annually on April 22, is 40 years old this year.
It's a perfect occasion to remember that The St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor was launched one year ago under the auspice of the Catholic Climate Covenant. Over the past year, thousands of Catholic individuals, families, schools, parishes and organizations have pledged to Pray, Learn, Assess, Act and Advocate as part of their commitment.

Join them this week. Take the Pledge.

World people's summit on climate change takes place this week in Bolivia

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The search for common ground on climate change between the United States and nations like China at the Major Economies Forum last weekend focused on industrial needs … but a totally different conversation is getting underway in Cochabama, Bolivia, at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

Following the perceived failure of the COP15 climate change talks in Copenhagen last year, Bolivian President Eva Morales called an alternative civil-society conference. It is taking place this week in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, bringing together indigenous groups, NGOs, scientists, activists as well as government delegations. More than 15,000 people have gathered in the small Bolivian town of Cochebamba from April 19 to 22. Morales expects the conference to give a voice to the poorest people of the world and to encourage governments to be far more ambitious following the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

Harvard student opines on state-church law

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Are states too deferential to the Catholic church and its code of canon law? asks Olivia M. Goldhill, an editorial writer for The Harvard (University) Crimson.

In Punishment for the Pope? Blind acceptance of canon law is wrong, Goldhill writes, "Perhaps to arrest the pope is a step too far, but the Roman Catholic Church should know that its jurisdiction does not supersede that of national justice systems."

New bishops for Miami; Springfield, Ill.

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Pope names new archbishop for Miami, new bishop for Springfield

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., 59, as archbishop of Miami and accepted the resignation of Archbishop John C. Favalora, 74, who has headed the archdiocese since 1994.

The pope also named Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, 57, as bishop of Springfield, Ill.

The changes were announced April 20 in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States.

'Now is the time to start reforms'

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The international movement, We Are Church, issued this media release:

Now is the time to start reforms long overdue

"We are Church regrets that the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's election is so much tarnished by the deep crisis our Church at present is undergoing.

"We are Church appreciates the present activities of the Pope combating paedophilia in the Church. Benedict’s tragedy is caused by the fact that he started it too late, too weakly, and that he is not supported enough by all cardinals, bishops, and the Roman Curia. ... Now the five years of the pontificate of Benedict reveal more and more the fundamental weakness of the whole system of the Roman Catholic Church - its hierarchical constitution, "two-class society" priests/laity, the Roman centralism. ...

Connecticut's Torts

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The bishops of Connecticut have urged their parishioners to fight a proposal in the legislature to lift the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of minors. In the current climate, of course, this looks like just another example of the hierarchy trying to escape responsibility for their criminal neglect of the abuse.

To be clear, the bishops are wrong to oppose the proposal: One of the things we have learned about the sexual abuse of minors is that if often takes the victim years to admit that the abuse occurred, still less come forward and seek justice. There is a balance to be drawn between justice for the victims and the understandable fear of criminal prosecutions undertaken so long after the fact, but as a society – and most certainly as a Church – we should come down on the side of justice for the victims.

Munich vicar general reportedly says he was forced to take the fall for Cardinal Ratzinger

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Updated April 23: NCR obtains correspondence: retired vicar general denies pressure in Munich pedophile case

The cleric who last month took responsibility for moving a known pedophile priest into ministry in the Munich archdiocese in 1980 after the priest was allowed into the archdiocese by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is now reportedly saying he was pressured into taking the blame for that decision.

Vicar General Gerhard Gruber last month referred to the decision as a “serious mistake” and said he was solely responsible for the decision. After speaking once about his "mistake" to the Associated Press, Gruber disappeared from public view. I was in Munich at the time and tried to reach him several times, but always unsuccessfully.

But today we find Gruber in the news once again.

It is being reported that Gruber has said he took the fall only after coming under huge pressure from unnamed Catholic Church sources to take responsibility in order to “take the pope out of the firing line”.

K¸ng writes to world's bishops

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Theologian Fr. Hans Küng has written a letter to the world's bishops. (I found it on the web site of the Irish Times, but it carries a New York Times Syndicate tag line.) He begins: "On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I am making this appeal to you [the world's bishops] in an open letter. In doing so, I am motivated by my profound concern for our church, which now finds itself in the worst credibility crisis since the Reformation. ... "

"I want only to lay before you six proposals that I am convinced are supported by millions of Catholics who have no voice in the current situation.

1. Do not keep silent ...

2. Set about reform ...

3. Act in a collegial way ...

4. Unconditional obedience is owed to God alone ...

5. Work for regional solutions ...

6. Call for a council ...

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October 10-23, 2014

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