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Just Say No To Convention Center Liturgies

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Several of the recent episcopal ordinations, including that today in Duluth, Minnesota, have been held in convention centers to allow greater attendance. This is a dreadful concession to modern sensibilities.

First, there is the matter of aesthetics. No matter how hard they try, these makeshift auditoriums tend to have an industrial look to them. They lack beautiful art of any kind, let alone religious art. Inevitably, an electronic organ provides the music, its whiny sound no substitute for the rich, round sound of a real pipe organ.

Second, there is the fact of human memory and how it is often evoked by location. When my mother died a few years ago, her funeral was in the church where she had been baptized, received her first communion, and was married. It was where she had buried her own parents. It was where her children were baptized. In short, merely walking through the doors of Our Lady of Lourdes church brought forth a host of human and holy memories.

Fr. Sean McDonagh interview

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Irish Columban Missionary Fr. Sean McDonagh responds to questions in Copenhagen, Dec. 14.
You have participated in previous U.N. climate change conferences. Do you see some evolution? What makes this one different from the previous conferences?

There is an evolution. I began attending U. S. climate change conferences in Nairobi in 2006. The following year the Bali Road Map was produced at the meeting in Denpasar. This Road Map is supposed to culminate here in Copenhagen with a legally binding treaty to cover such areas as Mitigation, Adaptation, Clean Development Mechanisms and a number of other areas. Copenhagen is crucial, because the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, and, as yet, no successor treaty has been put in place.

What is the most urgent step that you think should be made today?

Stang's murder withdraws trial request

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Catholic News Service filed this short piece late on Friday:

US nun's convicted killer withdraws request for new trial

By Lise Alves Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- The convicted killer of U.S. Sister Dorothy Stang withdrew his request for a new trial Dec. 9, hours before he was expected to appear before the courts in the northern city of Belem.

In a courtroom filled with journalists, peasants and even Stang family members, Rayfran das Neves Sales said through his public defender that he was "unwilling to submit himself to yet another public trial, and he would accept the sentence handed down in 2005" of 27 years in jail for the 73-year-old nun's assassination.

A member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Sister Dorothy was killed because of her project on the sustainable development of the Amazon region, which bothered many of the large landowners in the area.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

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Super Flumina Babilonis

Salmo 136

Encima de las corrientes
que en Babilonia hallaba,
all' me sente llorando,
all' la tierra regaba,

Acordándome de ti,
¡oh S'on!, a quien amaba.
Era dulce tu memoria,
y conella más lloraba.

Dexé los trajes de fiesta,
los de trabajo tomaba,
y colqué en los verdes sauces
la música que llevaba,

Peniendola en esperanza
de aquello que en ti esperaba.

--San Juan de la Cruz


Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross, poet, mystic, founder, with St. Teresa of Avila, of the Discalced Carmelites.

In diplomatic breakthrough, Pope Benedict meets Hanoi president

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In a Vatican and Socialist Vietnam first ever, Pope Benedict met with President Nguyen Minh Triet Dec. 11.

For decades, going back to the early 1960s, there have been two Catholic approaches to Vietnamese communism, the hard line anti-communists who have argued there can never be any negotiations or cooperation between Catholics and communists; and those who have been open to negotiations and cooperation, especially on social issues.

Fr. Sean McDonagh: Political background on the Copenhagen climate change conference

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Columban missionary Fr. Sean McDonagh sent this report from Copenhangen on some of the political background of the U.N. climate conference:

"With more than 190 countries gathered here for this extremely important conference on climate change political decisions, taken either here in Copenhagen or elsewhere, are never far from the surface. The most significant change at this year’s conference, is the somewhat new tone adopted by the U.S. negotiators.

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S negotiators were either supporting climate sceptics, or obstructing progress in every way possible. This has changed significantly with the election of President Barack Obama. While the president is convinced of the importance of tackling climate change at a global level, getting a new treaty through the U.S. Senate is still a mammoth task.

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August 1-14, 2014

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