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Update from the Sahara

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When we left off our intrepid blogger was making his way across the Sahara Desert. Here's the update:

Day 2 - Really difficult, but completed
26-Oct-2009 02:37:52 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

Sahara Race (Egypt) 2009
Last night we actually had about 2 minutes of rain and then again this morning.

Today was a 28 mile day, the longest of the week after the 54 mile day coming up on Thursday. Hot, all sand with some hardscrable. Going from Checkpoint 2 to 3 during the peak of the day took its toll on almost everyone. When I staggered into the check point the doctor and nurse advised that I rest a bit. So I stayed about 1/2 hour lying down in the shade with my feet up on a stool, which I needed because of the muscle cramps from my toes up to my back. Then the final stage was another 9 miles or so with the final two miles up and down three substantial sand dunes. Breakbreaking. I rolled into camp around 6:30pm - wiped out.

Some highlights include getting some cloud cover/shade during the day. The medical staff and volunteers are terrific.

The abundant natural resources of Africa

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Hat tip to the Maryknoll Twitter feed, Twitter.com/MaryknollFrsBrs for this, a report from the missionary news agency Fides about investing in Africa.

One of the causes for underdevelopment in Africa is the economic model founded on speculative financing. According to the researcher, "several mining associations without adequate resources, at times even without personnel nor offices, members of anonymous investors, registered in tax havens, manage to convince African governments to entrust them with their large mining concessions."

A certain sum is guaranteed from the African resources, but it is never really used towards the benefits of the African people. It is a scandalous situation, considering the fact that the international financial system continues to demand payment of interests on the debts owed by African nations. "Why is so little credit given to Africa, when it has a gigantic wealth of natural resources?" asks David Beylard, a Congolese researcher.

Anglican Roundup

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Looking through my news feeds this afternoon I've noticed that the new process to welcome Anglicans to the Catholic Church has garnered a lot of coverage today, in both the Catholic and mainstream press.

Here's a roundup of some of what I found most interesting:



  • In The Boston Globe, John Carroll claims that the news heightens the debate between fundamentalist and rational religions and that "the survival of the human species is at stake."


  • In The New York Times, Randy Cohen argues that it is "disheartening that the editorial pages of our most important newspapers did not castigate the Vatican’s invitation to misogyny and homophobia."

One Election that Does Matter

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Yesterday, I argued that the outcomes in the two gubernatorial elections next Tuesday will not portend very much for the more important 2010 midterms. But, there is one race that is worth watching, the special election in New York’s Twenty-Third congressional district. The incumbent Republican left to become Secretary of the Army. The local Republican committee nominated a moderate, Dede Scozzafava, but that did not sit well with social conservatives who have rallied around the Conservative Party candidacy of Doug Hoffman.

The race has become something of a proxy war for control of the Republican Party. The leadership in Congress, and their political arm, the National Republican Campaign Committee, backs Scozzafava but those with their eyes on the GOP nomination in 2012 have broken ranks. Former Senator Rick Santorum and former Governor Sarah Palin have both endorsed Hoffman as has Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. It tells you something about what they think of Minority Leader John Boehner that they are willing to stick their finger in his eye so blatantly.

Web site for new Mass translations

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I posted this in August, but given the interest in two stories on our Web site yesterday and today (Liturgy needs not 'sacred language' but pastoral language and 'Slavishly literal' translation of missal criticized), I thought I should update this.

----

The U.S. bishops' conference announced this morning (i.e., Aug. 21) the launch of a Web site, focused on the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, that is, new translations of our Mass prayers.

For example:

CURRENT
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

NEW
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

The site has an extensive listing of more examples.

The message on the web site's homepage says:

Real impact of African Synod may come inside the Church

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

If there's one big idea that seemed to surface at the nearly monthlong Synod for Africa in Rome, it was a call to take women more seriously -- in society, and also in the church. In keeping with the candor exhibited throughout the synod about the church's need to confront its own failures, the bishops called for, among other things, new structures to foster decision-making authority by women in the church.

Read the full story: Women may come out winners in the Synod for Africa

Saint of the Day, Oct. 27

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On Oct. 27, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of St. Procula, the wife of Pontius Pilate.

In Matthew 27:19, we read the message she sent to her husband: "Let there be nothing between you and this just man; for I have suffered much today because of a dream about him."

She is not named in the Gospel, but tradition assigned her the names Procula and Claudia.

"Claudia figures prominently in 'Women at the Foot of the Cross,' a Lenten prayer booklet that follows the Stations of the Cross and highlights the often unheralded role of women in Jesus' life. More than 140 parishes or people have ordered the booklet this year, said Sister Christine Schenk, FutureChurch's executive director.

"'Men, and some women, caught up in the patriarchal system do not recognize the value of women's insights,' the booklet reads in the section about Pilate's wife. 'Often women themselves doubt and fear to follow what they know deep in their hearts.'"

Senate Health Plan to Have 'Opt-Out' Public Option

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The New York Times reports that Senate majority leader Harry Reid has announced that the health insurance reform bill he will introduce in the Senate will have a public option, but one that allows individual states to 'opt-out' if they choose.

From the article it's not clear under what conditions, if any, states could choose to opt-out of coverage.

Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, who was the only Republican to vote for the Senate Finance Committee's version of health insurance reform, is quoted in the article as saying she is "deeply disappointed with the majority leader’s decision to include a public option as the focus of the legislation.”

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