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Missionaries of Charity Brothers elect new 'general servant'

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The Union of Catholic Asian News sat down with the new head of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers last week.

Here's a little bit of the interview:

Brother David Roberts, new head of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) Brothers, says they are getting fewer vocations as their simple and difficult lifestyle offers only challenges to the materialistic modern world.

Although aging members and a sense of uncertainty challenges his congregation, the brothers will continue to serve the poorest of the poor as shown by their co-founder Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, he says.

Brother Roberts was elected the new head of the MC Brothers during the congregation’s general chapter held in Kolkata Nov. 15- Dec. 7 for a six-year term.

In the following interview, he shares about his life and plans for the congregation he now heads.

ucanews.com: Why did you join the MC Brothers?

BROTHER DAVID ROBERTS: I always wanted to work with the handicapped. When I was a child, the plight of the mentally challenged shook me. I still recall the joy of being able to help a little boy with no hands work with a computer. He now has a family and work.

Trying to make a papal gamble on evangelization pay off

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ROME -- Popes, like musical composers, tend to weave certain major and minor themes throughout their body of work. If you want to know which compositions they regard as turning points, therefore, look for the ones where they step outside their own skin -- breaking with the instincts of a lifetime in order to accomplish something new.

Religion and adoption

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"International adoptions changing face, identity of American Judaism," said the headline on a Religion News Service article last week. The same could be said of most churches in America these days. When I visit other churches with our Vietnamese-born son and Chinese-born daughter, we almost always spot another family formed by transracial adoption.

The RNS story pointed out that for a religion for which ancestry is so important, Judaism is very accepting of internationally adopted children. "Judaism is a religion, not a race, and we are enriched by the diversity these kids bring," one cantor is quoted as saying.

If Only the World Would Behave as We Do

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John Kerry, the former Senator and Vietnam survivor of severe wounds, was hosting a panel on CSPAN the other day on how militarism has dominated our foreign policy since World War II.

Vietnam. Iraq/Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. All were cited in an assault on JFK's (and to an extent Obama's) notion of America as the world's cop. Still, a trace of American exceptionalism crept in. It probably can't be helped, ingrained as it is so deeply in our bones.

It came by way of Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. He talked about Iran. If Iranians have The Bomb, was deterrence possible? Not if they're rational, he replied in a round about way.

The implication seemed to be that deterrence based on reasonable calculation had prevented war between the U.S. and the USSR. That's basically true.

Even more on tax cut compromise

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Black church group criticizes congressional tax cuts

By Adelle M. Banks

WASHINGTON (RNS) The newly launched Conference of National Black Churches criticized Congress on Thursday (Dec. 9) for linking extension of unemployment benefits to tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Based on our prophetic responsibility to speak to those in power on behalf of the poor, underserved, and vulnerable, we find it utterly shameful that those who insisted that the deficit be reduced, now celebrate billions of dollars being added to the deficit as tax cuts for the wealthy,” wrote the Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, chairman of the umbrella group of nine historically black denominations.

The letter called on President Obama and Congress to endorse “an extension of unemployment insurance without conditions.”

The group issued the letter as 300 of its leaders met in Washington to restart the work begun by the now-defunct Congress of National Black Churches, which helped rebuild Southern black churches destroyed in a spate of arsons in the 1990s.

The DREAM Act and Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Yesterday was December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Millions of Mexicans and other Latinos celebrate this special day to honor the Mexican image of Mary, our Holy Mother.

As Mexicans and other Latinos will become very soon the majority of U.S. Catholics, the celebration of this feast day along with other Latino Catholic traditions will become even more manifest.

Amid Mexico violence, Long Island, N.Y.-born priest thrives

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From New York's Newsday:

The 17 masked men pulled two teenage boys off the Rev. David Beaumont's truck in northern Mexico, forced them to the ground, and put guns against their heads as their mother screamed to the priest that her sons were about to be killed.

Beaumont, who was born in Hempstead and grew up in Commack, has spent the last 20 years as a Franciscan missionary in one of the most dangerous and violent areas of the world. On this day last April, he had to make a split-second decision.

"I was saying to myself, 'Well, now either I'm really going to be a missionary and be prepared to give my life for the people, or run and hide,'" Beaumont recalled in a telephone interview. "I felt it was a pivotal moment in my life. When I walked out to them [the masked men], I realized that the last thing I might see would be the bullets coming at me.

Vatican's ëminister of culture' dazzles in time of PR doldrums

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tSpotting contenders for the papacy and choosing a Quiz Bowl team are obviously very different things, but more and more they have one thing in common: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, looks like a plausible candidate to make both cuts.

tCertainly there’s never been any doubt about the intellectual chops of the 68-year-old Italian prelate, whom Pope Benedict XVI recently inducted into the College of Cardinals during a Nov. 20 consistory. Whenever Ravasi appears in public, he coughs up literary allusions the way two-pack-a-day smokers do phlegm – regularly, and without thinking about it.

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February 12-25, 2016

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