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My Near Death Panel Experience

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As insightful a essay as you are likely to find anywhere into the state the irrational, politically destructive right, and a complicit media, appeared this morning on The New York Times Week in Review. Entitled "My Near Death Panel Experience," it was written by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Democratic from Oregon)about his experiences with the health care bill. While it is terrifying to read, it has a happy ending.

I recommend it for its instructive value and to help innculate us from an all too common disease the next time we find it spreading in our communities.

13th anniversary of Bernardin's death

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Today, the 13th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago issued a statement saying that the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, founded by Bernardin just months before his death, will be coming home to Chicago.

As Jerry Filteau explains, in his story posted to the NCR web site today, The reason the Initiative is moving to CTU is that the National Pastoral Life Center in New York, a major force in Catholic sociological analysis and pastoral development of U.S. parish leadership and lay ministry over the past 25 years, is closing its doors at the end of November.

Another Bad Analogy from the Pro-Choice Crowd

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This morning, I was on NPR’s “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. You can hear the interview here.

My interview followed an interview with Rep. Diane DeGette who is the head of the pro-choice caucus on Capitol Hill. I did not get to reply to one of her assertions on the show, but wish to do so here. Congresswoman DeGette argued that no one should have to purchase a rider for abortion coverage because an unplanned pregnancy is, by definition, not planned, so no one would purchase the rider. The show’s host, Michael Martin, pointed out that people get riders for insurance policies for a variety of reasons, such as having an expensive wedding ring for which you want additional coverage. DeGette said that weddings are planned, but that misses the point. Burglaries are not planned, and that is why you are getting additional insurance.

Vatican to host major conference on the arts

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A report from Francis X. Rocca of Religion News Service:

VATICAN CITY -- More than 250 distinguished artists from around the world will join Pope Benedict XVI in the Sistine Chapel on Saturday (Nov. 21), as part of the pope's effort to restore a historic “alliance” between the church and the arts.

The prominent painters, sculptors, architects, writers, musicians, actors and dancers will hear a short program of sacred choral music by the 16th-century composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, as well as a lecture by the pope.

Daniel Libeskind, architect of the World Trade Center site reconstruction, and Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone are among the confirmed guests.

Italians dominate the guest list, acknowledged the event's organizer, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, who noted the Vatican had not offered to pay travel expenses.

Schedule conflicts explain some notable absences, the Vatican said, including that of musician-humanitarian Bono of the group U2.

Nov. 13, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

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St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 1850-1917

Mother Cabrini, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was the first United States citizen to be canonized.

In 1889, she came to this country from Italy with six of her nuns. "When Mother Cabrini first arrived in the United States, she was promptly informed that nuns were to cover their heads with veils, a custom unfamiliar to her. She immediately sent her Sisters to purchase the cheapest, lightest fabric they could find. Each Sister was given 1 1/2 to 2 yards of fabric. The rest of the habit worn by Mother Cabrini and her Sisters varied little from the traditional attire worn by peasant women in Europe at that time."

"Soon after her arrival in New York City, Mother Cabrini created an orphanage for Italian girls. Shortly thereafter in 1890, she moved the orphanage out of the city to the beautiful country location at a former Jesuit novitiate located on the Hudson River in West Park, New York."

U.S., Japan to issue joint nuclear disarmament statement

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Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and U.S. President Barack Obama will reiterate their intent to pursue a world without nuclear weapons following their summit meeting Friday, government officials said.

The two leaders will agree to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance over the long term, while postponing a final decision on the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture, a sticking issue between the two countries.

DC city council not intimidated

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According to the Washington Post on Nov. 12, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is threatening to end all social service contracts with the government of the District of Columbia if the City Council passes legislation that would legalize same sex marriage in DC. That legislation is expected to pass next month.

Reports today indicate that members of the City Council are not intimidated by this. The sponsor of the bill, David Catania, a big supporter of Catholic Charities, said he is “baffled.” Others said they will not legislate based on threats, and one other Council member called the move by the Archdiocese “somewhat childish.”

Assuming this bill passes (and it is likely to pass), this move by the Archdiocese could do real harm to people in desperate need. And all this is being threatened to preserve the “right” to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Whatever the hierarchy thinks about same sex marriage, it is solid Catholic teaching NOT to discriminate against gays and lesbians. What are they thinking?

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April 11-24, 2014

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