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Global women religious pledged to 'new paths of light in the darkness'

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Some 800 international women religious superior generals met in Rome May 7-11 under the auspices of the International Union of General Superiors (UISG) to ponder the twin themes of mysticism and prophecy. During the meeting they collaborated to write a draft of a brief conference declaration. Some conference delegates stayed on following the assembly. Among their post-conference work was the completing of the conference statement, which they released today.

The statement aims to express the spirit, intent and direction of the organization for the next three years through a series of public commitments.

Tonight's Primaries

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Tonight’s primaries have made for some strange “branding.” In the Kentucky GOP primary, the insurgent, outsider is Rand Paul, although it is difficult to see how the son of a congressman can really be considered an outsider. In Pennsylvania, Sen. Arlen Specter, who has spent his career defeating Democrats, now asks the Democratic primary electorate to make him their standard bearer in November.

New discoveries about the beginning of the universe

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Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois report that they have discovered a new clue that sheds light on one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: Why the universe is composed of matter and not its opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider on the border of Switzerland and France. as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

In a mathematically perfect universe, we would never have existed. According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of energy, leaving nothing behind with which to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet the universe as we know it, with its infinite variety, exists, and physicists want to know why.

Ex-Scranton Catholic teachers awarded $700,000

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The sad legacy of Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop Joe Martino in Scranton diocese continues.


"The arbitration awards stem from complaints filed by the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers, which had represented some teachers until 2006, when then-BishopJoseph Martino restructured the entire Catholic school system, eliminating local school boards and parish councils the union had dealt with. The union asked to represent teachers under the new system of four regional school boards, but was rejected. The diocese opted to start an “Employee Relations Program” it repeatedly insists gives all school employees fair representation.

Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, Takes Down James Carroll

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Father Jim Martin, SJ, has a bracing takedown of James Carroll over at America magazine's group blog that is well worth reading. It stunning, indeed, the way some writers on both left and right use the sex abuse scandal to augment arguments that are as unrelated as they are tired. Bill Donohue blames the gays. James Carroll blames celibacy. They deserve each other.

Leading religious on Roman scene named new bishop in Ireland

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tSociety of African Missions Fr. Kieran O’Reilly, a leading voice among religious in Rome and a veteran missionary in Liberia and Nigeria, was appointed this morning the new Bishop of Killaloe in Ireland by Pope Benedict XVI.

tO’Reilly has served as Superior General of the Society of African Missions since 2001.

tO’Reilly replaces Bishop William Walsh, who resigned for reasons of age. Three other Irish bishops have recently stepped down amid that country’s sexual abuse crisis, with two other resignations offered but not yet accepted. Given that there are just 31 members of the Irish bishops’ conference, Benedict XVI is effectively overhauling the country’s episcopacy.

tIt’s the nature of a crisis that sometimes choices with important long-term consequences are made on the fly. In the case of O’Reilly, his nomination has at least three implications worth pondering, beyond its immediate implications for the sexual abuse crisis:

Rest in peace, Janine

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When I wrote about Janine Denomme last month ("Is women's ordination old news?"), I reported that she was not only fighting for the right to be ordained, but literally for her life. Today she lost that second fight. Janine died this morning of cancer.

A former Jesuit Volunteer, social justice activist, Catholic high school and university teacher, lay preacher, church musician, parish council member, spiritual director and--a month before her death--an ordained priest through the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, she passionately served her church and community and inspired many with her courage and spiritual wisdom.

Sadly, because the church excommunicates women who pursue ordination, the Archdiocese of Chicago has refused to allow her to be buried at her Catholic parish.

The Court Balances Mercy & Justice

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The Supreme Court today issued two rulings that might seem, at first blush, contradictory. In the first, the Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole except in cases of homicide. In the second, the Court held that the federal government can refuse to release a sex offender, even though his or her sentence is completed, if there is a likelihood that the offender remains a threat to society. The latter outcome seems to be more punitive and the former less so.

I am no constitutional scholar, and so I will pass on any analysis of the legal arguments. But, insofar as law must embody justice, we can all conclude that the Court got it right. It is cruel to conclude that a juvenile is beyond redemption. It is not so unusual: I can hear my mother counseling me to stay away from a certain classmate: “He is a bad egg, and he will never change. I knew his father!” But people do change, and none more than youth. The Court put the possibility of mercy and redemption above the demands of simple, adult justice. That is the right call.

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August 28-September 10, 2015

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