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Catholics For Choice Runs a Repulsive Ad

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Catholics for Choice (CFC) took out a full page ad in this morning’s Washington Post with the ridiculous charge that “[t]he United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is directing healthcare policy in the United States.” Funny, I did not see any miters making their way down the aisles of the House chamber to cast their votes but maybe I wasn’t watching closely.

Dec. 2, Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, Jean Donovan, and Maura Clarke

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On Dec. 2, 1980, Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU., Jean Donovan, Sr. Maura Clarke, MM, and Sr. Ita Ford, MM were beaten, raped, and murdered by five members of the National Guard of El Salvador.

For anyone unfamiliar with their story and with the Reagan administration's reaction, here is a brief introduction.

Many books and articles have been written about Ita, Maura, Jean and Dorothy in the 29 years since their martyrdom, but no one has covered the story with the intensity and thoroughness of the National Catholic Reporter's editors and writers. I have kept a clipping of a letter to the editor since it was published in December 1980. (Was this the first miracle by Dorothy, Ita, Jean, and Maura?)

"NCR sends especially warm Christmas wishes and prayers to James Sipes, a Michigan federal prison inmate who sent us this letter:

Reactions to the Obama Afghanistan Speech

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President Obama laid out his plan for the buildup of U.S. troops in Afghanistan Tuesday night in a speech at the United States Military Academy, saying that "our security is at stake."

The president used the speech to announce the ordering of an additional 30,000 troops to the region, as well as his intention to begin drawing down U.S forces within the next three years. Click here for a roundup of analysis and reactions.

Suddenly, we have caring experts on our faith at Fox News

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This will come as jolt and help wake you up today....

My favorite sentence in this essay by Peter Roff on the FOXnews network, written obviously with great care for the well-being of the Catholic faith, is this one: "While not a Catholic, I understand the hierarchical nature of the [Catholic] church and the role that doctrine plays within it."

Yes, Mr. Roff, go on, we are all ears:

What Obama Needs To Do Tonight

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News leaks tell us that President Obama will announce he is sending another 34,000 troops to Afghanistan. Also, that NATO will be sending another 5,000 – remember, this is the only time NATO has ever declared a war under Article V of its foundational treaty, which provided for mutual shared defense. The President will also explain what the additional troops will be doing.

I do not know if the President’s military prescriptions are the correct ones, although we must all hope that they are. But, what he needs to do tonight is to persuade the American people why we should continue the war, why it still matters, why the options for action are all bad yet still better than the option of doing nothing.

In a word, he needs to do carefully and precisely what his predecessor did with such reckless abandon that many Americans have lost sight of the central reason for our military presence in Afghanistan. President Obama needs to remind us about just how evil Osama bin Laden is, how intractable is his hatred of the West, and how dangerous it is to the actual, physical security of the United States if we do not contain bin Laden and his Taliban confreres.

Bridgeport diocese sex abuse files now public

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"Claims are claims. Allegations are allegations."

Those six words uttered by retired Cardinal Edward M. Egan during two depositions neatly sum up his approach to handling the burgeoning priest sexual abuse scandal that he inherited when he took over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut in the late 1980s.

Those begins The Hartford Courant's story that begins to examine the 12,600 pages of documents -- including transcripts of depositions and personnel files of pedophile priests -- that were made available to the public today after a seven-year court battle by the Bridgeport Diocese to keep them secret.

Here's the Courant's story: Cardinal Edward Egan Protected Abusive Priests At Victims' Expense

Creditors in Delaware diocese bankruptcy meet

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Today officials of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington are answering questions from an attorney representing the U.S. trustee's office regarding the diocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

The diocese's unsecured creditors, mostly alleged victims of priest sexual abuse, were to have their own chance to question diocese representatives later Tuesday.

Msgr. Thomas Cini, vicar general for the Wilmington diocese, explained how the diocese operates and said the bankruptcy filing was the best course for the diocese in the face of more than 130 lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

It's worth remembering the valiant effort by San Diego Judge Judge Louise DeCarl Adler who oversaw the San Diego diocese's bankruptcy.

"After four years of failed settlement talks, Bishop Robert Brom said seeking bankruptcy protection was 'the best way available for us to compensate all the victims as fairly and equitably as our resources will allow.'”

With Christmas gifts, less can be more

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This Green living essay from Sheryl Eisenberg of the Natural Resources Defense Council offers good tips on green gift giving this Christmas season.

"I can still remember virtually every gift I received in childhood, not because the gifts were so special, but because they were so few. Though I was a comfortable child of the post-war boom, the times were thrifty compared to today. I never had more than a few dolls, stuffed animals, board games, crayons, records, books, a bike and a sled. And that was enough, more than enough, yet not so much more that I didn't appreciate each and every item -- and enjoy it to the end of its useful life, or my childhood, whichever came first.

What middle class American child can say the same today? Our kids are so inundated with playthings, they need bins and chests and extra closets to store them all. And we adults are equally awash in our grown-up toys.

Nevertheless, this holiday season, we will rush to the stores, actual and virtual, to buy more for our kids and each other. What gives?

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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