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Bayh's Retirement & What It Means

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The news of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh’s decision not to seek re-election confirms something that has been going on for a long time: Congress is being taken over by extremes in both parties leaving little room for centrists. This has the very unhappy consequence that very little will ever get done given the Senate’s rules requiring 60 votes to move on any non-budget related matter.

You say bologna, I say ...

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Vatican Information Service made this announcement this morning:

VATICAN CITY, 15 FEB 2010 (VIS) - During the course of the day the Holy Father is meeting with prelates of the Irish Episcopal Conference in the Bologna Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The meeting began this morning at 9.30 a .m. and is scheduled to conclude at 7 p.m.

I was wondering how to pronounce the name of the meeting hall: \\b?-'l?-nyä\\ or \\b?-'l?-n?\\

Read the news story here: Irish bishops, pope begin summit on sex abuse

Trinity Washington University Featured

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The remarkable transformation of Trinity Washington University (once commonly known as "Trinity College") is featured in this week's Washington Post Magazine. The article highlights how Trinity President Pat McGuire, a constant presence at the Northeast DC school, saved the institution and made it a model for modern inner-city higher education. Well worth the read.

BTW, Trinity is cosponsoring, along with NCR, a May 6-7 conference, "A Washington Briefing for the Nation's Catholic Community." Plan to attend. For more information, visit http://ncrnews.org/conference/briefing_may2010/.

Feb. 15, St. Claude la ColombiËre, S. J.

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Accomplish your will within me--
even in spite of me.


--from Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits, by Michael G. Harter, S.J., Loyola Press, 2005, a collection of prayers written by St. Claude la Colombière, Daniel Berrigan, Pedro Arrupe, Bl. Peter Faber, Joseph Tetlow, St. Robert Southwell, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner, St. Peter Canisius, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Daniel A. Lord, et al.

Vatican's rising African star determined to take risks

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Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was named the new President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in late October, just as his debut on the global Catholic stage as the relator, or general secretary, of the Synod for Africa ended. It was in some ways a baptism by fire for the 61-year-old Ghanian prelate, introducing him among other things to the press climate in Rome. A few fairly innocent comments from Turkson about condoms, and about the prospect of a black pope, briefly became a cause célèbre in the Italian papers and prompted the Vatican to issue a swift “clarification.”

As Turkson now puts it, he was forced to realize that in conversation he may say things with a smile, but in print “the smile never comes across.”

Still, Turkson said he doesn’t want “circumspection” to get in the way of saying what he thinks. He’d rather speak the truth, he said, and run the risk of being misunderstood.

Read Allen's interview with Turkson here: Vatican's justice-peace head says what he thinks

Condoms & Theology

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My friend and colleague Austen Ivereigh has a must-read post up at America today dealing with the challenge of articulating theology, even good theology, in a controversial atmosphere. The particular issue at hand – condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS – could scarcely be more controversial and more of a challenge for the hierarchy.

Ivereigh notes that the use of a condom to prevent the spread of a deadly disease is not only pro-life, it is in no meaningful sense of the term prophylactic. The moral intent is not to stifle life but to preserve it. But, he reports, citing reporting by the Tablet’s Rome reporter Robert Mickens, that a Vatican official said it was impossible to recognize this moral fact without sowing greater confusion.

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