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In Brazil, one Catholic Mass you'll never forget

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São Paulo, Brazil -- I realize this is a bold claim, but I’m going to make it anyway: If you haven’t been to Mass with Padre Marcelo Rossi, you haven’t really been to Mass.

tTheologically, of course, that’s ridiculous, because every validly celebrated Mass has the same spiritual value. Sociologically, however, I guarantee that a Mass with Padre Marcelo is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Read Allen's full account here: In Brazil, one Catholic Mass you'll never forget

U.S. cuts aid to Honduran government

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The Obama administration on Thursday cut off all aid to the Honduran government over the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, making permanent a temporary suspension of U.S. assistance put in place after he was deposed in June, according to the Associate Press.

The report states that the State Department made the announcement as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was meeting with Zelaya. The action cuts more than $31 million in non-humanitarian assistance, including $11 million remaining in a more than a $200 million five-year assistance program run by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Obama address outburst sparks quick fundraising

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ActBlue, which bills itself as a nonprofit clearing house and fundraising organization, was reporting at 4:20 pm Eastern time today that 11,574 people had donated a total of $414,663, most in the last 18 hours, to Congressional candidate, Rob Miller, running against Republican Joe Wilson. Wilson, of course, is the congressman who yelled, "you lie" during President Obama's address yesterday.

Nothin' But Love for the SC GOP

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You gotta love those South Carolina Republicans. First, Governor Mark Sanford took the most famous hike in the history of the Appalachians, which in his mind included Buenos Aires. Now, Congressman Joe Wilson is being roundly ridiculed for shouting out “You lie!” in the middle of President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress last night.

I wish to come to Mr. Wilson’s defense.

A six-point program for church communications

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
São Paulo, Brazil

tArchbishop Raymundo Damasceno leads the Aparecida archdiocese in Brazil, home to the famed Our Lady of Aparecida sanctuary visited by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2007. A former secretary general of the Brazilian bishops’ conference, he is now the President of the Latin American Episcopal Council, or CELAM, which opened its fifth General Conference in Aparecida with the papal visit.

tAll this makes Damasceno a fairly big deal in Latin American Catholicism, even if in person he’s actually fairly short and unassuming.

tDamasceno, 72, spoke today at a seminar on church communications in São Paulo. He ticked off a six-point program for communications which, he said, a Colombian journalist had once offered to CELAM:

1.tOvercome the idea that the means of communications are themselves communication. In other words, building TV networks, radio stations, and web sites is all well and good, but if you don’t have something compelling to say, building new and better ways to say it won’t accomplish much.

Obama: echoes of Catholic social justice teaching

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It was the conclusion of President Obama's address on health care that truly moved me. I heard strong echoes of Catholic social justice teaching, in both the words of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and in Obama's own embrace of the philosophy of the "common good."

Obama quoted a letter written in May by Sen. Kennedy reminding him that health care "concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country."

Obama's moral case for health care

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President Obama yesterday called healthcare a "moral issue" only once, at the end of his speech before a joint session of congress. He did it, citing a letter he had received from the late Senator Edward Kennedy.

Here is what the president said:

I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.

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