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Pius XII was 'totally anti-Nazi,' former aide says

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Italian news outlets reported yesterday that two documents about Pius XII’s role during World War II have been found in an English archive. One is a brief report of a conversation between Pius XII and an American diplomat in October 1943, in which Pius XII does not address the round-up of Roman Jews by the Nazis. The second, a year later, reports a session between Pius and a British envoy in which the pope discusses balancing criticism of the Nazi crackdown on Jews in Hungary with also speaking out against Soviet war crimes in Poland and the Baltic states.

The chubby Lord

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Something struck me yesterday as I was studying the emaciated figure of Christ on the crucifix behind the altar at my parish: Had the story of the incarnation taken place 2,000 years later, in our own time, that figure of Jesus would almost undoubtably be overweight.

Think about it. From the Gospel we know that Christ was an outcast who was economically impoverished. That means he probably ate only two types of food: cheap stuff and what was offered to him by the people he encountered on his journeys.

In his era the cheap stuff probably included lentils, beans and vegetables at market. In our era it mostly includes canned goods overpumped with sodium, juices which are mostly high fructose corn syrup and fast food sandwiches or hamburgers.

Even with all the exercise he did getting from place to place, I think it’s fair to say the difference in diet may have had the Lord looking a little more filled in.

Perhaps that’s just another sign of his solidarity with the trials of those who are forgotten by society.

Top ten stories in January

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Top-ten stories on NCRonline.org

The five parts of the five-part essay by Sr. Sandra Schneiders, Religious life as prophetic life form, took five of the top-10 most-viewed stories on the NCR web site in January.

If we pull Sr. Schneiders' essay out of the line-up, the top stories are:


  1. Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian, dead at 81

  2. NCR Today: The NCR group blog

  3. Mother Millea urges U.S. religious to comply with study

  4. Papal liturgist endorses 'reform of the reform'

  5. Bishop: 'Schneiders' analysis inspiring, challenging'

Cottle on the \"Dark Art\" of Polling

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Michelle Cottle’s essays over at The New Republic are always worth reading but her takedown of Republican pollster Frank Luntz’s new book is a must-read. (You don’t need to know the name of the book because after reading Cottle you won’t want to shell out the $24.99 to get it. In fact, I will give you $24.99 to read anything else!)

Luntz is a pollster and polling is, as Cottle calls it, a “dark art.” It is also the principal reason our politicians are so bland: They are afraid to go to the bathroom without having a pollster tell them the decision will sit well with the voters. More than that, polling is a principal reason our politics are so bad. They turn campaigns into marketing strategies, they ignore the fact that voters are, at any given time, motivated by a medley of concerns that change from morning to night and from yesterday to tomorrow. For example, I will bet, although I have never been polled on the subject, that my concern about rising food prices is higher after I go to the market. Just a hunch.

Attitudes toward Muslims and Jews linked

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On the most recent "Interfaith Voices," I interviewed Dalia Mogahead, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. She reported on a new poll of Americans that found that 43 percent admitted feeling prejudice toward Muslims. And that’s the percentage who admit it. Not surprisingly, Islam registers a much higher negative rating than other religions. Given the negative media coverage of Islam, and careless political language used by some public officials, that’s not surprising.

Charities merge and close

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For years the bylaws of most not-for-profit organizations contained a provision related to dissolution and transfer of assets. Rarely has this provision ever been invoked.

These days, however, it is employed, studied and used as more and more charities fold their tents and/or merge with other charities. Today's Wall Street Journal describes this relatively new phenomenon.

For many boards of directors, casting a vote in favor of closure is not a comfortable role to be in. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of charities which should close.

Why the new Apple iPad stinks

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We've probably all heard it by now. During a press event last Wednesday in San Francisco, Apple announced its version of the tablet computer: the iPad.

We've also probably all heard the hype. You know, the chatter about how this new product is going to save the world. How it's loaded with all the goodies you absolutely need: clean aluminum and glass styling, an innovative touch-screen interface, wireless internet, and on and on and on.

As an Apple user for the past few years, I've got to admit that I'm not immune to this chatter. Apple certainly knows how to create a product that is intuitive and just darned easy to use.

Apple fanboy in me aside, however, I just can't understand what the company was thinking with this newest creation. Yes, sure, the possibilities of the tablet computer for specific purposes are exciting. (Just for one example, can you imagine the time and energy a doctor could save by having a small, easy to use tablet computer to record and search for information?) But the iPad seems almost purposefully constructed so as to make it as useless as possible.

So, putting aside my Catholic worker sensibilities and my questions about the need for new technology, here are my four (thoroughly unresearched) reasons why the Apple iPad simply stinks, in no particular order:

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September 26-October 9, 2014

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