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Getting Beyond Politics

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This morning, on the Diane Rehm Show, a panel discussed whether it was wise of President Obama to ask his two immediate predecessors to coordinate America’s efforts to provide relief to the suffering people of Haiti. Most of the criticism has focused on President George W. Bush’s failure to effectively help the people of New Orleans when the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina.

This criticism is as misplaced now as it was deserved after Katrina. Bush is no longer in charge of the government and it is President Obama’s responsibility as Commander-in-Chief and President to coordinate the immediate combined military and civilian efforts to save those trapped in the rubble, bury the dead, and bring food, water and medical aid to the survivors. Bush and Clinton will have a different task, to raise money and to keep the American people mindful of the suffering in Haiti after the CNN cameras are gone.

The Book of Eli: Prophecy or High Octane Action Flick?

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Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a lone man walks the bleak, deserted roads of what was the United States. The landscape is torched and his dark glasses signal that there is no longer any natural protection from sunlight. He carries a weapon and a backpack. His name is Eli (Denzel Washington) and he is on the alert for thieves and marauders.

Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop welcomes new postulants

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It is no secret that Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City ~ St. Joseph diocese is pleased to support the women religious of his diocese. One of his special interests is providing support for a traditional order, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles. On Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the Benedictines of Mary had four postulants undertake the investiture in the Benedictine Habit. The ceremony took place at the Oratory of Old Saint Patrick in Kansas City, MO, during a mass celebrated by Bishop Finn.

Today is the feast day of St. Maurus and St. Placid

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"Brother Maurus, run as fast as you can, for Placidus, who went to the lake to fetch water, has fallen in, and is carried a good way off."

--St. Benedict

A very happy feast of St. Maurus and St. Placid to all Benedictines -- Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Cistercian, and Trappist; to all Oblates; to all alumnae and alumni of Benedictine schools; and to everyone whose life has been touched in any way by Benedictine contributions to world culture. (That's everyone, so happy feast to one and all!)

In perfect obedience to Benedict, young Maurus rescued Placid from the water.

Fra Filippo Lippi illustrated the miracle.

For the blessing of Saint Maurus over the sick, click here.

For a Medal of St. Benedict, used in the blessing, click here.

End of Danneels era in Belgium completes European facelift

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One of my early reporting assignments in Rome was to cover the European Synod in 1999, and I remember sitting down over dinner my first night in town with a few veteran vaticanisti. They gave me the lay of the land, among other things explaining that the liberal bloc in the European church had long been led by three towering cardinals: Carlo Maria Martini of Milan, Basil Hume of Westminster (who died shortly before the synod), and Godfried Danneels of Brussels.

tMore than ten years later, Hume is gone and Martini is retired, and in a matter of days it seems likely the third member of the trio will also be out of job. Rumors in Belgium suggest that sometime soon, Pope Benedict XVI intends to appoint Bishop André-Mutien Léonard of Namur to succeed Danneels in Brussels.

tIf so, the changing of the guard at the senior levels of the European church will be virtually complete.

Abp Burke Warns of 'Totalitarianism'

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Archbishop Raymond Burke came to Phoenix to deliver the homily at the Red Mass in that city’s cathedral. In the course of his remarks, the archbishop said of America, “It is a society which is abandoning its Judeo-Christian foundations, the fundamental obedience to God’s law which safeguards the common good, and is embracing a totalitarianism which masks itself as the 'hope,' the 'future,' of our nation.

"Reason and faith teaches us that such a society can only produce violence and death and in the end destroy itself,” Archbishop Burke warned.

"Totalitarianism"?

UN: Civilian deaths 'soared' in Afghanistan

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The Associated Press, citing statistics from the United Nations, is reporting that civilian war causalities rose 14 percent in 2009 over the year before (2,412 civilians killed in 2009).

Nearly 70 percent of civilian deaths last year, or 1,630, were caused by Taliban suicide bombings and other attacks, the report found.

NATO and allied Afghan forces were responsible for 25 percent of the deaths, or 596, the U.N. said, down from 39 percent, or 828, in 2008.

The U.N. report concludes: Many Afghans now blame the violence on the Taliban rather than foreign forces.

Read more here: UN: Taliban cause Afghan civilian deaths to soar

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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