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NY Times: Phoenix bishop 'jeopardizes women's lives'

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Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Phoenix diocese is acting as though he has a "public license to jeopardize women’s lives," The New York Times writes in an editorial posted to their Web site late Wednesday night.

Olmsted withdrew the Catholic designation from St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix Tuesday because of a dispute over whether a procedure performed at the hospital last year was a direct abortion.

The Times editorial is titled "A Matter of Life or Death."

From the editorial:

It is hardly reassuring that following the incident at St. Joseph’s, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said Sister Margaret was properly punished and seconded Bishop Olmsted’s stance against providing the abortion, even to save a woman’s life. No one has suggested that Catholic hospitals should be required to perform nonemergency abortions. But as St. Joseph’s recognized, the need to accommodate religious doctrine does not give health providers serving the general public license to jeopardize women’s lives.

Faith In Science Doesn't Always Work Either

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The belief that science has replaced religion as the major judge or truth and falsehood has become a staple of education, both higher and lower. The Enlightenment brought the sovereinty of reason and spawned the empirical method. That big bang set off a juggernaut tht has reshaped Western civilization.

Yet it doesn't work out that way under real life conditions. Note two recent findings from reputable polls: one, from Pew that 40 percent of Americans fit the description of "creationists," thereby rejecting key features of evolution; two, that 48 percent think global warming is "exaggerated," dismissing the assessment of climatologists.

About four in 10 Americans, therefore, are using measuring sticks other than reason or demonstrated results to decide what they think.

Well, you might say, those polls include lots of "uneducated" people. Sure, creationists are 47 percent among high school graduates or less, and 10 points lower for college graduates, but that still leaves between a third and two fifths of college graduates who think Darwin got it wrong. And the biggest gap was between Republicans (52 percent) and Democrats (34 percent).

Baseball card finally pays off

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It was reported earlier in this space that the School Sisters of Notre Dame had auctioned off a rare Honus Wagner baseball card to support their charitable mission.

They had the auction. The problem was, the winning bidder never paid up.

Well, the sisters finally got that card sold.

School Sisters of Notre Dame sell baseball card for $220,000

On [Dec. 20], the Baltimore-based order of Roman Catholic nuns got their $220,000 — the original bid — but have a different collector to thank.

Dr. Nicholas DePace, a Philadelphia cardiologist, wired them the money and owns the card. He's been collecting sports memorabilia for 30 years, and he's a longtime client of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. A staff member at the auction house reached out to him in early December after the winning bidder missed a 30-day deadline to purchase the card, and DePace agreed immediately to buy it.

"God bless him," said Sister Virginia Muller, the former treasurer of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who was entrusted with the card."

The 'Mexican schools'

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A few weeks ago, the White House announced the honorees for the next Presidential Medal of Freedom awards. One of these will go to Sylvia Mendez from Orange County in southern California. Most Americans have no idea who Sylvia is and why she would be getting this major award given to U.S. citizens. She is getting the award really not for herself but for her parents, who along with other Mexican American parents in the early 1940s organized a legal challenge to the many years of public school segregation of Mexican American children in Orange County. Irrespective of where they lived, all Mexican American children had to attend the so-called “Mexican schools.”

Arizona Republic's editoral on Phoenix hospital

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Here are the closing graphs of the Dec. 22 editorial of the Arizona Republic, titled: A parting that was inevitable


Increasingly, however, that interpretation of moral law is in conflict with the best judgment of the hospital's medical professionals. In our view, the hospital's directors have made genuinely good-faith efforts to abide by its agreement with the church.

Ultimately, it is the choices of medical people on the scene who must make the necessary choices, often of life and death, regarding their patients.

St. Joseph's Hospital may no longer be a Catholic institution. But the fundamental Catholic commitment to life will continue resonating through its hallowed halls.

Read the full editorial.

Arms treaty all but certain, peace advocates heave sigh of relief

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The Senate voted 67 to 28 Tuesday to advance a new arms control treaty that would pare back American and Russian nuclear arsenals, reaching the two-thirds margin needed for approval despite a concerted Republican effort to block ratification.

With the vote, it appears clear the treaty will be ratified and peace and anti-nuke advocates throughout the world can, for the moment, breath easier. Sanity is found a super majority in the U.S. Senate.

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January 29-February 11, 2016

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