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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.

German archbishop to address World Economic Summit

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Reinhard Marx, the Catholic archbishop of Munich and Freising in Germany (a position Pope Benedict held from 1977 to 1981), will be on a panel this week at the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland. http://www.weforum.org/en/index.htm

The panel is on “Restoring Faith in Economics.” Joining Marx on the panel are Niall Ferguson, a Harvard Business School professor, and Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Anglican archbishop in South Africa. Ruth Simmon, president of Brown University, will moderate, according to Sarah Kidwell, a spokeswoman for the university in Providence, Rhode Island.

One wonders why a Catholic archbishop would attend such a tony event among the global elite. A few mouse clicks later and it's clear: Marx wrote a book titled, "Das Kapital: A Plea for Man", published in October 2008, in which he criticizes capitalism and highlights Catholic social teaching.

Independent judiciary threatened, Sandra Day O'Connor says

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Retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor yestereay said last week's Supreme Court decision striking down restrictions on corporate spending in elections will energize an "arms race" in judicial elections, threatening an independent judiciary.

O'Connor said the decision will effect an overwhelming number of states and localities that elect judges.

"In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon," O'Connor said at a symposium at Georgetown Law Center.

She noted that each election cycle brings new spending records in judicial races.

Vatican issues stamp for Haiti relief

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This from the Vatican Information Service this morning:

VATICAN CITY, 27 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate of Vatican City State has issued a special stamp, the sales of which will be used for the benefit of the people of Haiti, victims of the recent earthquake.

A communique made public yesterday afternoon (Jan. 26) explains that the stamp is dedicated to the 1500th anniversary of the shrine of Our Lady of Grace, better known as the shrine of Mentorella, located in the Italian region of Lazio.

The series of 900,000 stamps, each with a face value of 0.65 euros, will be sold for 0.85 euros, though their postal value will remain 0.65 euros.

The 0.20 euros surplus will be used to aid victims of the earthquake. According to estimates of the Governorate of Vatican City State, if almost the entire series is sold some 150,000 euros will be collected.

Jan. 27, St. Angela Merici, Founder

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Today is the feast of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursulines. She was born c. 1474 and died on Jan. 27, 1540.

In 1535, "Angela founded her company in Brescia . . . to enable women to live consecrated lives in their own homes and keeping their occupations. At a time when women were expected to choose between a husband or a cloistered life, it was a daring move! As the company required no dowry, it was open to women of all social backgrounds."

-- Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown, Ohio

Two experts insist: Interreligious dialogue lives!

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Recently I devoted both my “All Things Catholic” column and an op/ed piece in The Forward, a national Jewish weekly, to Pope Benedict XVI’s Jan. 17 visit to the Great Synagogue in Rome. Among other things, I suggested that the pope’s speech that day reflected a broad thrust in his approach to inter-faith relations, away from specifically theological dialogue in favor of social, cultural and political cooperation.

tLike usual, those pieces drew a wide variety of responses.

More $ For Student Loans

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Yesterday, the President proposed to lower the percentage of one’s income you must pay on your federal student loans. Currently, payments on student loans are capped at 15 percent of income, and the new rate would be 10%. It is a fine idea, and coupled with the President’s earlier proposal to get banks out of the student loan business, where they make a risk-free windfall at taxpayer expense, it shows the kind of below-the-radar good policies the administration is pursuing.

He needs to go further. I know that the centerpiece of his state of the Union speech tomorrow night is evidently going to be a freeze on domestic discretionary spending. But, he should find some programs to kill, preferably in the districts of those who opposed health care reform, and pump the money into additional funding for college loan programs. Acknowledging the need to restrain government spending should never entail eating your seed corn, and investments in America’s higher education system undoubtedly reaps rewards for years to come.

Jail time for SOA activists

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A press release from SOA Watch:

On Monday, January 25, 2010, U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth sentenced three human rights advocates to six months in federal prison for carrying a protest against the School of the Americas onto the Fort Benning military base in Georgia. This school, re-named the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, is a controversial U.S. Army training school for Latin American soldiers. ...

The "SOA 4" are:

Nancy Gwin, long-time activist from Syracuse, New York - sentenced to six months in prison

Father Louie Vitale, veteran and priest from Oakland, CA - sentenced to six months in prison

Ken Hayes, SOA Watch Council member from Austin, TX - sentenced to six months in prison

Michael Walli, a member of the Catholic Worker movement from Washington, DC refused to appear for the trial in Georgia. Walli had told the court during his November arraignment that he would not pay any bail and that he would not voluntarily return for the trial. "I walk out and it's goodbye" Walli told Judge Mallon Faircloth. Michael Walli made good on his promise and on Monday, Judge Mallon Faircloth issued a warrant for Michael Walli's arrest.

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