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Twin Cities sent no money to investigate women religious

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When we asked (See Few dioceses admit willingness to pay for visitation), the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, declined to answer, but Archbishop John C. Nienstedt has come clean to Catholics in his jurisdiction.

The question was: Did you send a contribution to the Vatican to help pay for its investigation of U.S. women religious?

"I gave not a penny of archdiocesan monies to this project," Nienstedt wrote in his newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, Dec. 3. (HT to reader Charles_MN).

Not that he's got anything against the apostolic visitation. It is not punitive, judgmental or demeaning. It is not an interrogation, not even an investigation, the archbishop writes. It is, he says, only an evaluation.

Dec. 15, St. Maria Crocifissa Di Rosa

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Today is the feast of St. Maria Crocifissa Di Rosa (1813-1855), who founded the Handmaids of Charity in 1836, when cholera struck Brescia.

"In the years immediately after the cholera epidemic, while carrying out works of charity involving: social outcasts, deaf and dumb girls, girls at risk, needy and exploited women, she came to a definite and conclusive decision with her friends: to look after and care for the sick in the town hospital."

Today, the work of the Handmaids of Charity "includes assistance for the elderly, for people with psychiatric problems, immigrants from outside the EU, for the treatment of people with AIDS and assistance in the re-integration into society of ex-prisoners and women who have been saved from a life on the streets. In these fragments of humanity which bear the greatest resemblance to Christ, every service carries the clear imprint of evangelical charity, compassion and human improvement."

Should Notre Dame allow a pro-choice football coach?

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The question is now apparently before us after Notre Dame's new football coach, Brian Kelly, was hired recently amid reports he might be "pro-choice." Yes, that's right a "pro-choice" football coach at Notre Dame.

Actually, I've been thinking about an aspect of this question for some years now. It started some time back when I began to wonder if Notre Dame's starting lineup, so visible on NBC, was entirely Catholic. I've suspected that some running backs might not know the Creed, but never pressed the issue. Notre Dame, I figured, would only recruit Catholics, and most likely, they'd already be leaning toward a pro-life take in the national abortion political debate.

It's a shame that Notre Dame can't simply recruit the best football players in the land, regardless of religion and politics. If they could, the team record might break out of its recent mediocre doldrum, they'd please the alum a bit more, and they would have a better chance of keeping their coaches more than a few years.

Bill Moyers: a thoughtful voice amid the din

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This commentary in the Los Angeles Times by author and media commentator Neal Gabler, is worth recognition and worth a few minutes of your time.

It begins with these words about Bill Moyers, whose voice -- and moral authority -- among us we have valued for decades:

It is a testament to how much Bill Moyers matters that this quiet, humble man can still stir passions. When he announced late last month he would be leaving his award-winning weekly PBS series, "Bill Moyers Journal," in April, some of us felt as if we were losing a sacred American institution, a repository of the nation's conscience, while others cheered. Right-wing bloviator Bill O'Reilly went so far as to boast that he had forced Moyers from the air -- a claim that was not only patently false but also a misconception of who Moyers is and what he does. Astonishing as it may be to anyone who has watched Moyers, his right-wing critics seem to see him as just another noisy shill among the army of blowhards, ideologues, demagogues and partisans on the airwaves. They couldn't be more wrong.

Indian archbishop opposes decriminalizing homosexuality

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According to a report in The Hindu, which bills itself as "India's National Newspaper," Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi led a delegation to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask him to do something about a July ruling by the Delhi High Court that de-criminalized homosexuality.

More precisely, the Delhi High Court legalized consensual gay sex by overturning a 148-year-old colonial law that had banned it.

According to this report, Concessao called the court ruling "illegal and immoral" and hoped that it would be overturned by the nation's Supreme Court.

The Indian edition of Christian Today, a U.K.-based multimedia company, that publishes newspapers in 17 other nations, reported today that the group Concessao led was an "interfaith delegation" (without giving further details of who was in the group) and that the group's message to Singh was that "homosexuality was against the laws of nature and must be unlicensed."

Christian Today reports:

Just Say No To Convention Center Liturgies

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Several of the recent episcopal ordinations, including that today in Duluth, Minnesota, have been held in convention centers to allow greater attendance. This is a dreadful concession to modern sensibilities.

First, there is the matter of aesthetics. No matter how hard they try, these makeshift auditoriums tend to have an industrial look to them. They lack beautiful art of any kind, let alone religious art. Inevitably, an electronic organ provides the music, its whiny sound no substitute for the rich, round sound of a real pipe organ.

Second, there is the fact of human memory and how it is often evoked by location. When my mother died a few years ago, her funeral was in the church where she had been baptized, received her first communion, and was married. It was where she had buried her own parents. It was where her children were baptized. In short, merely walking through the doors of Our Lady of Lourdes church brought forth a host of human and holy memories.

Fr. Sean McDonagh interview

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Irish Columban Missionary Fr. Sean McDonagh responds to questions in Copenhagen, Dec. 14.
You have participated in previous U.N. climate change conferences. Do you see some evolution? What makes this one different from the previous conferences?

There is an evolution. I began attending U. S. climate change conferences in Nairobi in 2006. The following year the Bali Road Map was produced at the meeting in Denpasar. This Road Map is supposed to culminate here in Copenhagen with a legally binding treaty to cover such areas as Mitigation, Adaptation, Clean Development Mechanisms and a number of other areas. Copenhagen is crucial, because the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012, and, as yet, no successor treaty has been put in place.

What is the most urgent step that you think should be made today?

Stang's murder withdraws trial request

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Catholic News Service filed this short piece late on Friday:

US nun's convicted killer withdraws request for new trial

By Lise Alves Catholic News Service

SAO PAULO, Brazil (CNS) -- The convicted killer of U.S. Sister Dorothy Stang withdrew his request for a new trial Dec. 9, hours before he was expected to appear before the courts in the northern city of Belem.

In a courtroom filled with journalists, peasants and even Stang family members, Rayfran das Neves Sales said through his public defender that he was "unwilling to submit himself to yet another public trial, and he would accept the sentence handed down in 2005" of 27 years in jail for the 73-year-old nun's assassination.

A member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Sister Dorothy was killed because of her project on the sustainable development of the Amazon region, which bothered many of the large landowners in the area.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

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Super Flumina Babilonis

Salmo 136

Encima de las corrientes
que en Babilonia hallaba,
all' me sente llorando,
all' la tierra regaba,

Acordándome de ti,
¡oh S'on!, a quien amaba.
Era dulce tu memoria,
y conella más lloraba.

Dexé los trajes de fiesta,
los de trabajo tomaba,
y colqué en los verdes sauces
la música que llevaba,

Peniendola en esperanza
de aquello que en ti esperaba.

--San Juan de la Cruz


Today is the feast of St. John of the Cross, poet, mystic, founder, with St. Teresa of Avila, of the Discalced Carmelites.

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