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Two heartfelt support letters regarding U.S. women religious

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In a Nov. 16, 2009 letter to Cardinal Franc Rode, who is leading a three-year investigation of U.S. women religious congregations, Xaverian Brother Peter Fitzpatrick describes himself as "an elderly retired religious teaching brother, quite elderly in fact (82 in a month’s time), and not so sharp or quick as I used to be."

He is so much more.

Newman & Anglican Orders

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Blogger extraordinaire Rocco Palmo has a link up to some photos taken of the bishops of England and Wales during their ad limina visit this past week. In addition to their meetings with the Holy Father and other Vatican officials, they celebrated Mass together in the Chapel of the Three Kings, which is located in the building that houses the offices of the Propaganda Fide. It was there that John Henry Newman was ordained a Catholic priest and the Mass served as one of the many ways the Church will in Britain will be focusing on Newman’s life in anticipation of his beatification this autumn.

What of the Earth economy?

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Vic Hummert is a long time friend and thoughtful supporter of our life-giving planet Earth. He sent me this reflection and I thought some of you would enjoy reading it:

Teilhard de Chardin (1888-1950) and Thomas Berry (1914-2009) have turned on many intellectual lights for millions in recent years.

Thomas Berry has been a personal friend since I asked to meet him in 1989. On numerous occasions I have heard him state, “We cannot have a healthy economy in a sick world.”

2008 was an economic roller coaster ride for the global economy. If Thomas Berry were present at Federal Reserve meetings or international symposia to figure out how we could get out of the quagmire without doubt he would remind the PhD’s in economics that the “Earth debt” exceeds the trillions of US dollars or Euros that are mere pieces of paper.

If we are running out of everything essential for survival –pure air, potable water, decent, nourishing food, sources of energy – then we as “Earthlings” are in tight straits.

Faith and Football

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Amid the hype and hard-sell of Super Bowl Sunday this weekend, there's another bit of TV sports viewing that stands out as an island of serious reflection: it called "Faith Bowl III."

The half-hour program is produced for the third year in a row by the Hollywood-based Catholic production company Family Theater -- it's a thought-provoking roundtable discussion by three prominent Catholic athletes, discussing the challenges of living as a Catholic and raising a family in the high pressure world of professional sports.

Paternity claims in Paraguay dropped

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Third woman withdraws paternity claim against Paraguayan president

By Catholic News Service

ASUNCION, Paraguay -- The third woman to have filed a paternity claim against Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, former Catholic bishop of San Pedro, withdrew the suit Feb. 2, citing "personal reasons."

Hortensia Moran had claimed that Lugo fathered her son, who is now 2. A spokesman for the president denied reports that Lugo had reached a financial settlement with Moran.

A scandal erupted in Paraguay in April 2009, when Lugo admitted having fathered the then-2-year-old son of Viviana Carrillo, a former parishioner, while he was still a bishop. He legally recognized the boy and agreed to pay child support.

Another woman, Benigna Leguizamon, filed a paternity suit against Lugo that month, but withdrew it later in the year. Paraguayan newspapers reported that Leguizamon, who had lived in a shack in a poor neighborhood, has moved to a better home and has a car and a police guard.

On Feb. 2, Lugo's lawyer, Marcos Farina, said he did not know whether financial settlements had been reached with either of the women who withdrew the paternity suits.

Vatican to ponder legacy of John Paul II in twilight

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Though the Vatican has had a Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers for twenty-five years now, and while Christian literature is rich with meditations on the spirituality of suffering, one could nevertheless make the argument that the most powerful recent statement Catholicism has made about the dignity of the ill person was the way John Paul II allowed his own twilight to play out in full public view.

Throughout the latter years of his papacy, John Paul was aware of the voices making the rounds that it was undignified for the pope to continue to travel and appear in public in such a weakened state, badly hobbled by age and by Parkinson's disease. To be fair, that reaction was partly rooted in natural pity for an elderly man struggling just to stay on his feet, or to utter a few slurred words. But John Paul took the opposite view, seeing his determination to keep going as an important counter-witness in a society that often worships youth and physical beauty.

Feb. 5, St. Agatha of Sicily

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Today is the feast of St. Agatha, of Sicily, Virgin, Martyr.

"Every year on February 4 and 5, the men of Catania pull her relics, housed in a bejeweled life-sized effigy through the streets of Catania for two days and two nights, the duration of her martyrdom. It is said to be the second largest religious procession in the world, after the Corpus Domini procession in Cuzco, Peru, and rivals Holy Week in Seville, Spain. Catanians love Agatha like a sister, like a mother, like a girlfriend. Half the women here are named after her, but it is really a feast for the men, who have claimed the girl saint for their own. The citywide rite unfolds like a collective dream."


--Search for "Agatha" in Theresa Maggio's thrilling book, The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily.


Moral bankruptcy is the road to economic bankruptcy

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The other day I wrote a piece for the web site highlighting a book, "Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility," by David M. Walker, former comptroller general of the United States and former head of the Government Accountability Office.

The book argues that current U.S. spending habits are out of line with revenues necessary to pay for them. In that piece I also referred to the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan budget watchdog group also calling for greater fiscal responsibility.

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July 18-31, 2014

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