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Handy guide to Vatican investigation of women religious

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The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, umbrella organization for most U.S. women religious, opens their annual convocation tomorrow in New Orleans. NCR editor Tom Fox is there to give us on the ground reports. Check this web site regularly for updates.

The meeting is of special interest this year because the conference and its membership are facing two investigations by the Vatican. It's a story NCR has been reporting since it broke in January. Here's a handy guide to NCR reporting and commentary:

Tent city film shockingly 'normal'

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There's a video on The New York Times web site called "Scraping By: Portraits of Life during the Great Recession," by filmmaker Stewart Thorndike.

The four minute video introduces viewers to residents of a tent city (for the homeless and unemployed) on the grounds of St Jude's Catholic Church in Redmond, Wash. What I found startling was that the video has such a "normal" tone to it. Watch it and see if I am calling this right.

You can read more background about the film project at the Seattle news web site Crosscut.com in a story titled "Inside a Tent City near Microsoft." The story too takes a "normal" tone:

Religious take health reform to web and pulpit

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President Barack Obama will be participating in a national call-in and webcast with faith leaders next Wednesday night, August 19. The call is being sponsored by a network of faith-based groups including Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Faith in Public Life, Sojourners, the National Council of Churches, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The call-in will be the centerpiece of a lobbying effort called "40 Days for Health Care Reform."

Best colleges by alumni salaries

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PayScale.com has just released its second annual rankings based on how much money a graduate makes. Notre Dame first year grads' starting median salary is $55,300, while ND midcareer alums make $121,000.

Next in line: Jesuit schools, Santa Clara University and Georgetown University, where first year grads' median starting salary is $58,000 and $57,000 respectively, while midcareer grads make $111,000 for each school.

Like other rankings, PayScale.com is being challenged on its methodology.

The Numbers Game

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Critics of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious often blame the huge drop in sisters to the Conference's promotion of liberal or "renewal" theology.

At the same time, however, under two strikingly conservative popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and a prevalence of conservative American bishops, the ranks of the priesthood have dramatically thinned, a third of those born Catholic have left the church, mass attendance and confessions are down and there are fewer church weddings.

Eucharistic Adoration, Back Bay Boston

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Michael Paulson of The Boston Globe writes a fine article on the return of Eucharistic Adoration at St. Clement Shrine in the City of Boston. Apparently, the practice was re-ignited by a few lay people, and not because the New York Yankees just swept the Boston Red Sox in four straight games this past weekend. No. This has been in the works for some time. Good for them.

How to Pay for Health Care, Not Whether we Can or Should

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The news today that the unemployment rate dropped is unabashedly good. Of course, almost a quarter of a million jobs were lost last month, a piece of data that contains an enormous amount of human suffering. And, the White House says it still expects the unemployment rate to rise to 10 percent by year’s end.

It will be curious to see how the administration’s opponents will respond to the news. Just yesterday, they were arguing that the stimulus bill was not working, although it was always clear that it would take more than a few months for the effects of the stimulus to be felt; You don’t just plunk billions of dollars into the economy, you have to identify projects and get them the funding.

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April 11-24, 2014

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