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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.

Maybe that democracy thing did work

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A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted one day after the health care reform bill received a majority of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives found that Americans' emotional responses to the bill's passage are more positive than negative -- with 50% enthusiastic or pleased versus 42% angry or disappointed -- and are similar to their general reactions.

Nearly half of Americans give a thumbs-up to Congress' passage of a healthcare reform bill last weekend, with 49% calling it "a good thing."

Republicans and Democrats have polar opposite reactions, with independents evenly split.

Interpreting the poll results, the Gallup people said: "Passage of healthcare reform was a clear political victory for President Obama and his allies in Congress."

Stupak slams bishops' 'hypocrisy'

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U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, the pro-life Michigan Democrat whose support guaranteed passage of health care reform, accused the U.S. bishops and pro-life groups of hypocrisy for criticizing the executive order that allowed him and other pro-life democrats to vote for the bill.

"The [National] Right to Life and the bishops, in 2007 when George Bush signed the exective order on embryonic stem cell research, they all applauded the executive order," Stupak told the Daily Caller on March 23.

"So now President Obama's going to sign an executive order protecting life and everyone's condemning it. The hypocrisy is great," he said.

Read more here.

Vatican accepts second Irish bishop's resignation

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It seems that the sex abuse scandal in Ireland is already causing serious career advancement problems for the bishops in that country.

CNN reports this morning that the Vatican has accepted its second resignation in four months of an Irish bishop in relation to the scandal. Bishop John Magee of the diocese of Cloyne is the latest to go today after submitting his letter of resignation March 9. Bishop Donald Murray's resignation was accepted Dec. 17.

In a statement on the diocese of Cloyne's website Magge apologized for any role he may have played in the scandal.

"I want to offer once again my sincere apologies to any person who has been abused by any priest of the Diocese of Cloyne during my time as bishop or at any time," Magee said. "To those whom I have failed in any way, or through any omission of mine have made suffer, I beg forgiveness and pardon."

Magee has been bishop of Cloyne since 1987. Before that he served as Pope John Paul II's master of ceremonies.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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