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Women religious visitations to begin in April

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In remarks made on the Apostolic Visitation Web site, the Vatican appointed Apostolic Visitator, Mother Mary Clare Millea, has offered a few more details about the process of the ongoing Vatican look at women religious congregations.

Millea says that a core team from her office is currently analyzing information culled from questionnaires returned to her office by women religious congregations. After examining that information she said she will decide which congregations will receive personal visitations from teams of women and men religious.

According to the plan outlined by Millea, the first congregation visits will take place in April and these will be with selected religious congregation leaders. A second round of visits will take place next fall.

Millea say that there is a lot of good to tell about the history and reality of religious women in the United States. There are also a lot of challenges, she said.

Should England be a Catholic country again?

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The U.K. publication Spectator announced that it will host a public debate to answer this proposition: England should be a Catholic country again

Speakers for the motion included Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.

Here's the description:

The Anglican Communion is deeply, and perhaps irrevocably, split, and the Catholic Church is offering a berth to any Anglican who wants to convert. In this year of the Pope’s visit, is it time for England to become a Catholic country again?

The debate is scheduled for March 2. Here's more details.

Weakland controversy resurfaces

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A new piece of artwork that portrays former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland is causing a stir in Milwaukee. The bronze relief pedestal to the Mary statue at the Cathedral of St. John depicts Weakland with Mary, St. John and other figures, including children.

Among those criticizing the artwork is SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Weakland resigned in 2002 after revelations that he had had a relationship with an adult seminarian whom he paid to keep quiet about the affair. He also has admitted to moving around pedophile priests.

Conservative Catholics also have blasted the pedestal as well as the fact that Weakland was on the altar at new Archbishop Jerome Listecki's installation last week.

Study guide developed for Catholic teaching on climate change

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The Catholic church calls us to be responsible stewards of this planet and to put into action Catholic social teaching. The National Catholic Rural Life Conference (NCRLC) has developed a web-based study guide to introduce you to a structured approach to help move through the steps of understanding and applying Catholic teachings as these relate to climate change.

Climate Change: A Catholic Response Study Guide is designed to help you apply Catholic social teaching to climate change and prudent energy use. Visit the Rural Life Conference website and use the guide for a self-guided study session.

Jan. 12, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, co-foundress of Montreal

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Today is the feast of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, 1620-1700, observed by Catholics and by the Anglican Church of Canada.

"She is rightly considered co-foundress of Montreal, with the nurse, Jeanne Mance, and the master designer, Monsieur de Maisonneuve." She "initiated a school system and a network of social services which gradually extended through the whole country, and which led people to refer to Marguerite as 'Mother of the Colony.'"

-- from the Vatican biography of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

Marguerite Bourgeoys, who founded the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, lived to be eighty, and she crossed the Atlantic seven times.

A Presbyterian on Pius XII

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Presbyterian pastor Michael Jinkins, professor and dean at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas, questions the beatification of Pope Pius XII, especially the Vatican's explanation that it's OK to separate one's private faith from public actions--in this case, anyway.

In a post on the Duke Divinity "Call & Response" blog, Jinkins took particular offense with the almost Orwellian defense by Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi that the Vatican wasn't evaluating "the historical impact of all his operative decisions."

Jinkins quotes Thomas Merton: "If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No one can serve two masters."

Gerson on Hume on Tiger

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Michael Gerson is sometimes a lonely voice for faith-inspired input in the Washington Post’ op-ed pages. Sometimes, alas, the inspiration is lacking. His column from last week, defending Brit Hume’s proselytizing on Fox News, didn’t seem worthy of a comment but then my ride home from the archives today was interrupted by his repeating his claims on my favorite radio show, Michel Martin’s “Tell Me More.

Gerson contends that it is a faux-pluralism that insists there is no place for statements of faith in the public discourse of the nation. Yes, and the Sun rises in the East. Agreed. But, the problem with Hume’s urging Tiger Woods to abandon his Buddhism in favor of Christianity because the latter offers more in the way of redemption and forgiveness was not that the Hume’s urging was religious. The problem is that it was ridiculous.

One bishop on health care reform

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Bishop Gabino Zavala, a Los Angeles auxiliary and bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, has an op-ed piece in his local newspaper, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Protecting working families in health reform

Here are some highlights:

As debate over health care reform comes down to the wire in Congress, it's essential that elected officials put the needs of struggling families ahead of special interests and partisan politics. ...

For many decades, religious leaders and faith-based organizations have made the case that a broken health care system makes a mockery of our nation's ideals and values. Catholic bishops have been leading advocates for universal health care as a fundamental human right, not simply a luxury for the privileged few. ...

There are several important and often contentious issues that must be addressed in the coming days. ...

One of the most critical challenges that lawmakers have yet to adequately resolve is the obligation to ensure that health care reform truly makes coverage affordable. ...

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August 15-28, 2014

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