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Has the Vatican usurped Vatican II liturgical norms?

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Writes Jerry Filteau, NCR Washington Correspondent: "Another surprise element introduced on the opening day of the bishops’ Nov. 16-19 meeting came during initial informational presentation of several supposedly final segments of the new English translation of the Latin Roman Missal.

"As the first of the five final segments was introduced, Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., rose to ask what had ever happened to the translations of the antiphons – which the bishops had discussed in the first draft form a couple of years ago, he said, but which had never come back to them in final draft form for actual debate and vote.

"Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the USCCB Committee on the Liturgy, answered that the antiphons did not come back to the bishops for approval because in the meantime the Holy See has taken their translation to itself.

Senate moves on climate and energy legislation

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This past week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed their version of a climate and energy bill, theirs called Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733). The bill and the process took a great deal of flak and revealed how partisan this issue has become. In our estimation, this bill made some substantial progress in emission reductions of greenhouse gases and the inclusion of adaptation funding for poor people here at home and around the world. The poor and vulnerable will be hit first and worst by the negative impacts of climate change.

It is crucial to show that there is support for a final bill to come out of the Senate so that the momentum continues as negotiators head to Copenhagen for the upcoming international gathering on climate change. Learn more about Climate & Energy legislation and advocacy at the National Catholic Rural Life Conference website.

Enchantment

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The late Fr. Thomas Berry, a leader in the eco-spirituality movement, styled himself a "geologian" rather than a theologian. This means Berry built his images of God and his spirituality from the ground up rather than from the top down.

When asked what was the one most important element of a practical, everyday spirituality of living, he answered with an intriguing word: "Enchantment."

In order to engage with an active spirituality that makes sense, that works and is effective for our times, Berry urges the awakening of an energetic sense of awe and wonder within us. Enchantment comes as we see the whole universe, and especially the Earth that gave us birth, as vast, sacred mysteries.

Ignatius of Antioch on bishops' authority

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Of Chicago Cardinal Francis George's address to the bishops yesterday, David Gibson says, "George made it clear that after years of repeated questions about the bishops' credibility, it was time for the bishops to clarify just who can and cannot speak for the church."

He adds:

Setting the tone for his argument for episcopal control, Cardinal George prefaced his remarks by twice citing the 2nd century bishop, Ignatius of Antioch, who famously wrote to his flock "that you do nothing without your bishop."

"Your submission to your bishop, who is in the place of Jesus Christ, shows me that you are not living as men usually do but in the manner of Jesus himself," Antioch wrote in a citation noted by Cardinal George.

"That elevated view of the bishop's authority guided George's remarks. For example, he made it clear that even the recent years of crisis would not cow the bishops in their effort to reassert their authority and relevance.

Nov. 17, St. Hilda of Whitby

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The feast of St. Hilda of Whitby is observed by the Greek Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.

"Christ's servant Abbess Hilda, whom all her acquaintances called Mother because of her wonderful devotion and grace, was not only an example of holy life to members of her own community; for she also brought about the amendment and salvation of many living at a distance, who heard the inspiring story of her industry and goodness."

-- Venerable Bede


Hilda hosted the Synod of Whitby. Two of the major issues discussed at the synod were the setting of the date of Easter and the tonsure of monks.

Bishops to discuss role of independent Catholic media, universities

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Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his presidential address at the U.S. bishops' semi-annual gathering, in Baltimore, said Nov. 16 that Catholic publications, universities or other organizations that insist on complete independence from their bishops are “sectarian, less than fully Catholic.”

Obama and the war in Afghanistan

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I’ve been watching President Obama’s actions in recent days, as they touch the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military generally. Some have accused him of “dithering” over a decision about sending more troops to Afghanistan. And recent news reports make clear that he is getting conflicting advice from his national security team.

I am glad that he is taking his time. The image I see in Obama is that of a thoughtful, intelligent man weighing the options. He is also demanding an exit strategy, an “off ramp” for Afghanistan.

I also see someone willing to face the costs that will be incurred by his decision, whatever it is. He visited Dover Air Force Base in the middle of the night to meet the caskets of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. On Veteran’s Day, he took an unscheduled walk through Arlington Cemetery amid the tombstones of veterans of both Iraq and Afghanistan. He visited grieving military families in Ft. Hood, TX.

Exit, laughing

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Tragedy lingers, we all know -- but comedy seems more ephemeral. Laughs don't often leave a lasting mark. Comedy writers out here in Hollywood struggle with that: all the big prizes and awards go to dramatists, whose works enrich the soul and expound on the human condition. Laughter is just what we use to fill in the gaps between our various anxieties.

But not this past week. If you needed any proof that laughs last, you just had to check out the obituary sections of publications as diverse as The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly. They were filled with the news that David Lloyd had passed on.

Name doesn't ring a bell? No, probably not -- but he is venerated in television for writing arguably the funniest 30 minutes of comedy ever filmed: an episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" about the death of WJM-TV's kiddie show host, Chuckles the Clown.

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September 12-25, 2014

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