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Pax Christi USA calls for interns

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Here's one for college age students looking for some great work experience:

Pax Christi USA has announced in a press release that they are accepting interns at their Washington, DC office for a new year-long program.

The organization, which calls itself 'the national Catholic peace movement,' is looking for college-age students who will help with outreach to students and young adults.

“Interns will work out of our D.C. office, but their presence will go well beyond that,” said Dave Robinson, executive director of the organization, in the press release. “They also are living in community, overseeing Pax Christi USA’s internship house, and offering hospitality and communal witness as part of the program.”

If you're interested, it's definitely worth a look. Click here for the full release and contact info.

Hippie-esque, \"granola-crunching\" bohemians

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Here's something to look into:

The ethics of organic farming

Do organic farms, and the organic food industry in general, represent a distinctive social and environmental approach to agriculture? Do they incorporate a unique set of ecological and spiritual values, or merely reflect, on a smaller scale, the same dog-eat-dog, "survival of the fittest" approach of their behemoth agribusiness cousins?

These are questions that will be seeded Jan. 28-31 at the 29th annual Guelph Organics Conference (www.guelphorganicconf.ca), one of the largest such gatherings in North America. There, CEOs of multi-million-dollar organic food companies will share food and reflection with small-scale local organic farmers in a harvesting of concerns and ideas, as the organic food business, once perceived as a hippie-esque pastime for "granola-crunching" bohemians, has grown into a burgeoning multi-billion-dollar industry.

Diocese of Cleveland follows Springfield's lead

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Last week I noted that the City of Springfield, Mass., unanimously voted to create an historic district thereby preventing the demolition of a beautiful church. The diocese then sued the city.

Now we have the same dynamic playing out in Cleveland, according to a story in today's Columbus Dispatch:

"The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland says it doesn't want the city to grant landmark status to its churches.

Cleveland's Landmarks Commission is recommending that six Catholic churches be designated as historical city landmarks, which would give them some protection against demolition or structural changes."

The diocese is considering closing four of the six churches because of a priest shortage. If they're declared historic they could be difficult to sell.

Jan. 25, The Conversion of St. Paul

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Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his General Audience on Sept. 3, 2008, gave a catechesis on the Conversion of St. Paul that should reassure those frightened or scandalized by scripture scholarship. "Much has been written about it and naturally from different points of view."

The Pope mentions the "two types of source": the three accounts of the Conversion provided by the author of the Acts of the Apostles, and the words of Paul himself in his Letters. The Pope, obviously aware of the fact that Acts was written at least fifty years after the Conversion of St. Paul, reminds the "average reader" not to "linger too long on certain details, such as the light in the sky, falling to the ground," etc. He prefers the "actual Letters", in which are found "the essentials" of the story: Paul saw Jesus; Paul was "a witness to the Resurrection of Jesus".

Five Catholic Supreme Court justices abandon justice

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Anyone you know have $26 million to make your case in Congress? That's the sum U.S. banks spent last year making their desires known on the hill.

Now with the lid off corporte campaign spending, that number is likely to increase. President Obama is now taking on banks, arguing they need to be regulated to avoid a repeat of the greed and self-interest that blew up the economy last year. Does he have a chance?

The squeeze by big money to take an even better grip on our financial life and institutions is only going to get tighter. Meanwhile, money and power continue to be sucked up the financial pyramid, long since having been drained out of the lives of the unemployed and now being taken out of the lives of debtor, foreclosed families.

So much for helping to create a national ethos that advocates fairness or the common good.

Cardinal O'Connor Pro-Life Award goes to Bush

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The awarding of the Cardinal John J. O'Connor Pro-Life Award by Legatus, a group of Catholic business professionals, to former President George W. Bush, is a graphic display of the limits of language and the degree to which our religion has become politicized.

The award, according to a posting by the Catholic News Agency, is given "for his work in advancing he pro-life cause."

Unless the language is inconsequential, those opposing abortion have limited, at least in this application, the term "pro life" to that cause alone. It would be one thing if Bush were being awarded for his "anti-abortion efforts," for he probably did more practically -- in opposing embryonic stem cell esearch, barring federal funds from use for abortion related projects abroad and appointing two ultra-conservative, anti-abortion Supreme Court justices -- than any president in recent memory to advance federal opposition to abortion.

Getting a fuller view of the disaster

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On day two of his time in Haiti, filmmaker Gerry Straub was able to get out and about a bit in Port au Prince. Amid the devastation he continued to be struck by the selfless work of medical teams from around the world. Read the full report here.

He was shaken a bit when one doctor became angry at the presence of a camera at a particularly difficult moment inside the hospital where he is staying. The event led to a conversation with another doctor who, in an attempt to console and place things in perspective, told him a chilling story about his first half hour at the hospital.

Gerry and I are having several conversations a day and we usually wind things up in the evening with an overview of the day and his experiences. I'll keep posting each day as long as he's there and the phones continue working.

Today's posting also includes links to an eight-minute clip of the footage he took in Cite Soleil in early December, before the earthquake and to his San Damiano Foundation's website, which contains information on his earlier work.

The Limits of Campaign Cash

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The Supreme Court’s decision to allow corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts on federal campaigns is a bad decision. Quick question for the Catholic Answers crowd: If a corporation is an individual under the Constitution, and you drive one out of business, is it murder?

Seriously, about the last thing Washington needs is more special interest money running around. But, the effects of the decision remain to be seen and while some of them are foreseeably baneful, this is not the end of the world.

It turns out that the value of money is wildly overstated in political campaigns. As newspapers and magazines are learning, advertising revenue is not what it once was and the reason is that more and more people get their information off the internet. The same goes for television advertising: With cable channels of every variety, it is harder and harder to broadcast a message and advertising on channels that microcast is not nearly as expensive.

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July 4-17, 2014

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