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State of the Union and Howard Zinn's Death

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I was getting ready to listen to President Obama's State of the Union Speech when I came across the heartbreaking news on the Huffington Post that historian Howard Zinn died of a heart attack at age 87. Howard Zinn Dies: Historian, Activist Was Early Opponent Of U.S. Involvement In Vietnam War.

The man who gave us A People's History of the United States will not be here to mentor us as we seek ways to end two wars and urge our leaders to stand up for a social justice agenda.

Jan. 28, St. Thomas Aquinas

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Today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, O.P., (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church.

"On 6 December 1273 he celebrated the Mass of St Nicholas. Then he suddenly abandoned his usual routine and neither wrote nor dictated anything else. His long-serving companion (socius), Reginald of Piperno, urged him to return to work. The reply given was: 'Reginald, I cannot, because all that I have written seems like straw to me.'

Afghanistan protesters barrage White House Facebook page

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Mashable, a website dedicated to social media news, is reporting that over 20,000 people have logged onto the White House Facebook page to ask the president to rethink his Afghanistan strategy in advance of the State of the Union speech tonight.

At the site users can leave comments for the President which can then be viewed by others worldwide. The basic script of the comments looks like this:

“President Obama, I am one of more than 20,000 signers of this petition from Rethink Afghanistan: ‘In your State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, I want you to provide a concrete exit strategy for our troops in Afghanistan that begins no later than July 2011 and which completes a withdrawal of combat troops no later than July 1, 2012.’

Sr. Mary Daniel Turner, RIP

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I just received word that Sr. Mary Daniel Turner, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, long time executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and one of the great leaders of the renewal after the Second Vatican Council, died peacefully this morning, Jan. 27, at 4 a.m.

As Jane Burke, also a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, said simply in her notice: “As with the dying of Mary Luke Tobin last year, a great tree has fallen.”

May their strong and courageous spirits live on.

Haiti's children

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A heart-breaking story about the children of Haiti, but one that impels immediate and long-term attention.

"Haiti’s children, 45 percent of the population, are among the most disoriented and vulnerable of the survivors of the earthquake. By the many tens of thousands, they have lost their parents, their homes, their schools and their bearings. They have sustained head injuries and undergone amputations. They have slept on the street, foraged for food and suffered nightmares."

Tebow's Super Bowl Ad

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Florida’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow will be starring in an ad during the Super Bowl but he won’t be talking about football. Instead, he and his Mom will be talking about abortion. Tebow’s mother had a difficult pregnancy and evidently considered procuring an abortion but she carried the child to term and gave birth to Tim. The ad will be paid for by the rightwing group Focus on the Family.

This is not Tebow’s first step beyond the normal limits of football player commentary, which is generally limited to a discussion of why a certain pass play worked or how the other team’s defense managed ten sacks. Throughout the year, Tebow would write a biblical verse in the eye black that football players place under their eyes to cut down on glare. I always find it demeaning to the scriptures anytime someone uses the Good Book in a facile way, but we make allowances for youth and Mr. Tebow is young.

Music director loses job over pro-woman quote

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Last Saturday, Jan. 23, the Washington Post ran an informative article about the quest for women's ordination in the Catholic church. The major photo featured Bridget Mary Meehan, one of the women bishops in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. But the article was wide ranging, exploring many facets of the topic.

Sylvia Mulherin, 69, a former nun and music director at St. Leo's Parish in Fairfax, Va., was quoted as saying this: "Jesus was progressive in his treatment of women but, over time, men unjustly pushed women out. Maybe the women don't have to come in the back door, but we still have to sit in the pews."

The very next day, she was told to tender her resignation immediately!

In a message she sent to her choir members and colleagues, she said:
"My sole point is that I believe women have not achieved true equality in the Church and this fact deserves further consideration by the Church's leadership. This position is apparently unacceptable in the Diocese of Arlington."

I heard today from a parishioner who is appalled and saddened by this. His children were in her music class and loved her.

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July 4-17, 2014

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