NBC News just reported that only thirty Senate Democrats signed a letter to their leadership demanding a public option in the final health acre reform bill. The leadership then signed to letter addressed to themselves to bring the number to thirty-six. The public option is pretty well dead when Democrats can scarcely get a majority of their own caucus for the measure.
I posted this Religion News Service story over on the news side of our web site earlier today: Lutheran leaders declare worship wars 'sinful'. It seemed to me to be a rather bold statement from the leadership council of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
"The polarization that is affecting the church concerning the issue of forms, rites and ceremonies is sinful and hinders the proclamation of the gospel," it says.
Certainly something for Catholics to think about.
Since last year as the economic crisis spread many working poor and middle class families have lost their homes due to forclosure and bankruptcy. Many parishes and dioceses have responded with job search efforts and counseling activities.
Finding ways for families to avoid foreclosure and to remain in their homes is largely dependent on low mortgage rates, and importantly, a bank's willingness to lend. So when I read today's story on low mortgage rates, I think of all the folks whose lives have been upended due to job loss, higher mortgage costs and bankruptcy.
"Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed U.S. home loans fell for the second consecutive week, pushing borrowing costs to near record lows.
The average U.S. 30-year rate dropped to 4.87 percent from 4.94 percent last week. The 15-year rate was 4.33 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac of McLean, Virginia, said today in a statement.
Tom Gallagher began writing regularly for NCR this past spring as his Mission Management column (See for example, Making the Grade) was introduced. He is our lead writer for the column and identifies examples of best practices found in Catholic organizations. He also is one of the "NCR Today" bloggers.
Like other NCR writers, Gallagher actually has a life outside of the paper.
He has spent most of his professional energies in the practice of law on Wall Street, before moving to an investment banking and securities firm. In 2004, he spent the next three years helping the Missionaries of Charity create and administer the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Center, a New York state not-for-profit organization. He did this on a pro bono basis and traveled to Calcutta, India, and Tijuana, Mexico, on several occasions as part of the effort.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tThough this is perhaps a terrible over-generalization, Catholics in the United States and Europe sometimes fall into the trap of listening to only half of what the African church has to say. When African Catholic leaders condemn poverty, war, and racial injustice, Western liberals cheer; when those same Africans decry abortion and homosexuality, conservatives feel validated.
tThe hard truth for both left and right, however, is that African Catholics often don’t fit into Western ideological categories. They can be ferociously traditional on matters such as sexual ethics, and yet remarkably progressive in areas such as economic policy and ecology.
tIf a label is needed for all that, one might it call “a consistent ethic of life, Africa-style.”
tSo far during the Oct. 4-25 Synod for Bishops, much of the talk has been congenial to the Western left – protesting the injustice of trading relationships and exploitation of natural resources by multi-national corporations, lamenting the continent’s wars, praising ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, and calling for various sorts of internal church reforms.
Birds are a priceless part of America’s heritage. They are beautiful, they are economically important — and they reflect the health of our environment. The 2009 State of the Birds report reveals troubling declines of bird populations during the past 40 years — a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems. At the same time, we see heartening evidence that strategic land management and conservation action can reverse declines of birds. This report calls attention to the collective efforts needed to protect nature’s resources for the benefit of people and wildlife.
It's available at www.stateofthebirds.org
Washington’s Archbishop Donald Wuerl has published a letter in his diocesan newspaper, and sent a copy of the statement to all pastors for them to use, stating that his opposition to same-sex union is not rooted in anti-gay prejudices. “Our support for marriage is not meant to discriminate against any individual or family,” Archbishop Wuerl wrote. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church upholds the dignity of every person and condemns any form of unjust discrimination (2358).”
The statement articulates the Church’s teaching on the traditional marriage but goes on to say: “For our parishioners who are homosexual, I recognize that the teaching on marriage established by our Lord may be difficult. Please know that you have my pastoral care and prayers, and the support of this local Church, as you live out your journey of faith and seek a closer relationship with Christ and the eternal life promised through him. It is my prayer that you continue to draw closer to the Lord through participation in the sacramental life of the Church.”
Catholic News Service is reporting that:
In an essay published by the Italian newspaper Il Foglio Oct. 6, Chaput said Swiss Cardinal Georges Cottier, the papal theologian under Pope John Paul II, had been overly generous in his appraisal of the president's words.
Read more about it here: Chaput rejects cardinal's upbeat appraisal of Obama
Our senior correspondent, John L Allen Jr, reported yesterday that the prelates from Africa are much taken with the American president: Without even showing up, Obama's a force at African Synod.
Catholic News Service reported a similar story yesterday titled "President Obama being cited at African synod." The story was first posted early in the morning (by our time zone), and CNS updated the story later in the day, adding this as a second paragraph:
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tLast May, the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Sciences hosted a study week on Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs, which coincidentally took place around the same time that a preparatory document for the Synod of Bishops for Africa was released. That document took a skeptical line on GMOs, which set off alarms within the Pontifical Academy, whose roster of scientific consultants tends to reflect a strongly pro-GMO view.
tAs a result, the academy decided to invite an African bishop to join them during the study week, perhaps hoping to “seed” the Synod for Africa with a more GMO-friendly perspective: Bishop George Nkuo of the Kumbo diocese in Cameroon.
tTo extend that botanical metaphor, it would seem from Nkuo’s remarks yesterday that the pro-GMO conclusion organizers of the study week might have anticipated has yet to fully bloom.
tNkuo, the first speaker at the synod to treat GMOs at any length, offered this bottom line: