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Hanoi appointment could open way for papal trip

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President of the Vietnam Bishops' Conference has been appointed coadjutor to the archbishop of Hanoi, raising speculation, especially in northern Vietnam, that the appointment has been made to ease tensions between the church and state.

It could also be part of ongoing negotiations to open the door in Vietnam for a papal visit next year.

The bishops' conference this week announced that Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon was appointed coadjutor. The appointment of a coadjutor is the first step in a transition of leadership in Hanoi where Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet, who has reportedly been ill, has been an outspoken critic of the Hanoi government, espcially in its policy to seize church property for public use.

Health reasons were cited in the unusual appointment. Nhon is 72 and Kiet is 58.

The appointment of a coadjutor bishop older than the ordinary has appeared to some an unusual decision and has provoked press reports of government pressure in the appointment.

Australian bishop: 'authoritarian' church, compulsory celibacy, role of women cannot be brushed aside

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Allow me to share with you some thoughts written recently by an uncommon bishop, Pat Power, the auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn.

He writes with regret that groups calling for church reform are regularly dismissed "as trouble-makers with little love for the Church" when in fact "their hearts are breaking for the Church which they see as drifting further away from the message of the Jesus."

Green Hell?

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Sometimes it pays to listen to those who disagree with us. Spiritual director and writer Carol J. Meyer reviewed a new book for us -- Green Hell, written by Steve Milloy. Meyer does workshops and conferences in religious education, spirituality and personal development

Green Hell
How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life
and What You Can Do to Stop Them
By Steve Milloy
Regnery Publishing
Reviewed by Carol J. Meyer

Taking care of the earth seems like a no-brainer to me, so I was curious about what the opponents could have against it. Well, now I know. If Milloy is at all typical, it comes down to money and freedom. To him, the green movement is too expensive, and might interfere with our current affluent lifestyle, which must be preserved at all costs. And he doesn’t want any greens or government telling him what to do or how he should live.

Goldman Sachs on the Hill

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Watching the executives of Goldman Sachs testify before Congress yesterday brought back a distant memory. They looked exactly like the tobacco company executives did when they were hauled before Congress years ago. They, too, seemed utterly ignorant of their own wrong-doing. They too were evasive and slightly condescending in their answers. They, too, had been caught doing very bad, possibly criminal, things, knew they had been caught, and they knew the elected representatives of the people knew they had done the catching, but none of that provoked even the slightest hint of remorse. Alas, no wonder greed is rightly deemed one of the seven deadly sins. These men were dead to the moral impulses of their nature.

Wanted: Good Samaritan

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At least seven people walked past an injured man in New York City, who lay on the sidewalk for over an hour before emergency workers arrived. By then, he was dead.

What's worse: the 31-year-old Guatemalan immigrant had been stabbed when he tried to help a woman who was being attacked, reports the Associated Press.

I can understand why cynical urbanites might not want to get involved; I'm a cynical urbanite myself. But at least I call 911 when I encounter an unresponsive homeless person on the sidewalk. (It happens more often than you would think.)

Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan has wider implications, but its literal truth is pretty clear, too: Help an injured person you encounter on the street. Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, the dead Guatemalan man, followed the gospel directive. Sadly, no one did the same for him.

The Party of Yes

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The Republican Party has been worried that they will be tagged as “the Party of No” but I think they actually face a different worry, that they will be tagged as “the Party of Yes.” In their obstructionism to anything and everything that President Obama supports, they have put themselves into the unenviable situation of saying, repeatedly, “yes” to the status quo.

They defended the status quo on health care. They are currently defending the status quo on financial oversight. They will soon be defending the status quo on environmental policy. Even though millions of Americans lacked access to health care and its rising costs threaten to bankrupt the country. Even though better oversight might have prevented the economic meltdown from which the nation is just becoming to emerge. Even though the polar ice caps are melting.

Boycott Arizona

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Jan Brewer, Arizona's governor, has signed a law that will allow cops to pull over, question, and detain anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country without proper documents. This is racial profiling--a threat to all of our civil rights. Latinos will be targeted as never before. The legislation potentially threatens church ministries, theoretically forcing those in ministry to ask for proof of residency before offering to take a group of people to church, to cite but one example. Groups around the country are calling for a national boycott of Arizona businesses, urging actions such as canceling conferences scheduled to be held in the state. To sign on to the boycott, check out the Latino advocacy group, Presente.org.

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