The stakes in tomorrow’s special election in Massachusetts could scarcely be higher. With Democrats holding the slimmest filibuster-proof majority possible, their control of the U.S. Senate could receive a sharp setback if Democrats lose the seat once held by Sen. Ted Kennedy. And, to be sure, the Democrat, Martha Coakley, deserves to lose. In the last week of the campaign, she has insulted Roman Catholics and Red Sox fans. In Massachusetts. Way to go Martha. She also committed the cardinal sin of electoral politics, appearing to take her victory for granted. Voters like to be asked for their vote and deeply resent anyone who doesn’t.
During Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome on Sunday, Jan. 17, a small number of Holocaust survivors from Italy's Jewish community were on hand wearing blue-and-white scarves. They presented the pope with a letter, which alludes to "the silence of those who could have done something" -- widely understood in the Italian media as a reference to Pope Pius XII, whose cause for sainthood was recently advanced by Benedict XVI.
The following is an NCR translation of the survivors' letter, which was published in the Jan. 18 edition of Corriere della Sera, the main Italian daily.
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Our presence on the occasion of your visit to the Synagogue of Rome represents a form of witness to the tragic fate suffered by millions of Jews in the camps of extermination. We, the survivors of the Nazi effort to systematically exterminate our people, have resisted that which was the true evil: the destruction of an identity, through the destruction of an entire people.
The Wall Street Journal offered this angle on the tragedy in Haiti:
While many churches and aid organizations have been scrambling to send whatever help they can to Haiti, others are searching for information about their own members who were caught in last week's devastating earthquake.
Friends and relatives of nuns with the Daughters of Mary, a Catholic religious order, have sought information for days since learning that the nuns' house in Port au Prince was destroyed. Julienne Jules of Lawrenceville, Ga., said she has heard that as many as 17 nuns may be dead, with several more injured and missing, including her 84-year-old aunt. "We know several are under the debris and we are trying to get someone to go in and rescue them," Ms. Jules said. "They need machinery to get them out."
The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday is still a fresh American tradition -- it seems to be evolving into something like a "peace day," an occasion when schools, religious groups, and commentators pause from their routines to cast an eye on the question of non-violence. Here's my contribution to the dialogue, thanks to a dear college friend:
Back in October when President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was first announced, I wrote here about my 1979 interview in Moscow with Nobel Peace laureate Andrei Sakharov. My friend Mitch Martin and I were editors then of the daily student newspaper at Columbia University; Suzanne Moore was a reporter. We arranged the trip and interview on behalf of a consortium of Ivy League papers, which helped cover the cost. I tried to track down the original interview for my previous blog, but couldn't find it. Mitch did.
"The collapse of traditional channels of communication in Haiti has again highlighted the role of social media and the internet in disasters.
Twitter is being used as a prime channel for communications, while sites such as Ushahidi are providing maps detailing aid and damage.
Both Google and Facebook are producing missing persons lists.
Satellite networks are also diverting resources to provide communications to aid agencies and the military.
The very first images to escape from the region after Tuesday's earthquake came from citizens, capturing video with mobile phones."
Among the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, who lost their lives in the Haiti earthquake were two Americans at a Catholic orphanage for disabled children operated by Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH).
Molly Hightower, 22, of Port Orchard, Washington, and Ryan Kloos, 24, of Phoenix, Arizona, were found in the rubble of a collapsed seven-story buildling, MSNBC reported.
Hightower, a graduate of the University of Portland, was volunteering for a year with the organization, doing physical therapy with disabled children. She had hoped to go into the field of international adoption.
Kloos was visiting his sister, Erin, who was volunteering with the organization. Erin and another former volunteer who was visiting Molly survived the quake.
Hightower's uncle is a Jesuit priest serving as director of campus ministry at Gonzaga University in Washington. Her blog about her experience, 525,000 Minutes, is being flooded with condolences to her family.
Deicolus answered, "Because no one can take God from me."
Today is the feast of St. Deicolus, a Leinster man, the older brother of St. Gall.
Both men entered the monastery at Bangor, County Down. When St. Columbanus received permission from the abbot to go out as a missionary, he included Deicolus and Gall among the twelve monks who accompanied him to Britain and then to France, where they founded the Abbey of Luxeuil.
When Columbanus was driven out of France in 610, his disciple Gall accompanied him as far as Lake Constance. Columbanus went on to Italy, where he founded the monastery of Bobbio, and Gall stayed in Switzerland, where, after his death, the Abbey of St. Gall would be built on the site of his hermitage.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Heading into Pope Benedict XVI’s much-anticipated Jan. 17 visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome, one towering question loomed. What impact would the recent move towards sainthood for Pope Pius XII, the wartime pontiff whose alleged “silence” on the Holocaust has long fueled controversy, have on the broader Jewish/Catholic relationship?
In the wake of the visit on Sunday, two answers seem equally clear.
Read the full report here: Pope welcomed to Rome synagogue despite tensions
"Port-Au-Prince has become a kind of multidenominational, open-air church. Tens of thousands live in the street together, scraping for food and water, sharing their misery and blending their spirituality."
"It doesn't mean anything if Satan hates me, because God loves me," sing the women at Jeremy Square, their faces almost invisible in the darkness of this powerless, shattered downtown. "God has already paid my debt."