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Church fraud in Denver and Cleveland

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With so much church fraud going on in the U.S. Catholic church, it's sometimes hard to keep track of the stories. Now we have two church employee fraud cases announced at the same time.

Starting in the Archdiocese of Denver:

"A 58-year-old former Catholic [arch]Diocese of Denver employee was charged today with felony theft on accusations she diverted more than $391,000 meant for The Denver Foundation's "Concerns for Others Fund."

Ruth Gonzales, most recently the Archidioceasan Housing construction director after a 21-year career with the diocese, is free on $10,000 bond.

In an interview with an investigator, Gonzales admitted to the scheme and said she had spent all the money she had taken."

Now moving eastward to Cleveland:

"A Cleveland Catholic Diocese worker is under investigation for taking several hundred thousands of dollars.

Bob Tayek, spokesman for the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, said that Deacon Larry Cermak is no longer employed at St. Peter and Paul and St. Terese churches in Garfield Heights.

George Will: 'Time to get out of Afghanistan'

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Citing Charles De Gaulle, influential conservative commentator, George Will, says it is time to get out of Afghanistan. Writes Will in a Washington Post column: "Genius, said de Gaulle, recalling Bismarck's decision to halt German forces short of Paris in 1870, sometimes consists of knowing when to stop." His column could open the doors to other conservatives (and others) in calling for creative ways to disenage from Afghanistan.

Was Martino pushed? The speculation begins.

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David Gibson, writing in Politics Today suggests Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino's resgination might not have been entirely his own idea.

Writes Gibson: "Now, in a stunning turn that has taken even veteran church-watchers by surprise, Martino on Monday resigned his post under highly unusual circumstances -- citing the stress of the job and saying he could not continue in a post that should have been his for another dozen years, at least.

Dignity USA feeling the Kennedy loss

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Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of Dignity USA writes of Ted Kennedy:

"He treated LGBT people and our families like any other Americans: as individuals and families deserving of dignity, respect, access to basic human necessities, and fairness under the law. He used his legislative seniority and political acumen effectively on our behalf. He will be sorely missed.

Watching the L.A. skies

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Walk the streets of Los Angeles, and you'll notice an unusual number of people looking nervously over their shoulders, checking the sky. This has nothing to do with some sudden jump in the crime rate, or the chance a reality television crew may spontaneously begin taping your every move. It's the smoke. We are all watching the smoke.

Vicki for Senate

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must decide if it wants to be without a second Senator for the next five months. It would be a cruel irony if a Senate filibuster could not be broken because Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat was unfilled. On CNN Saturday, John King said that the chances of amending the current law, which prevents the Governor from naming a temporary replacement, stood at 50-50 when he arrived in Boston on Wednesday but that by the time of the funeral on Saturday, the odds had improved to 80-20. The reason: Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Regge Kennedy, had called the leaders of the legislature to invite them to the funeral and to tell them how much her husband wanted them to provide for his seat to be filled promptly.

A detention to-do list

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In a perverse version of the Rapture, members of immigrant families, working here without documents, are getting "disappeared" by immigration officials through workplace raids, and other means. This has immigrants rights groups, along with some churches, urging families to be prepared.

Below are links to examples of forms -- one in Spanish and one in English -- being distributed by El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos in Albuquerque. I offer them for churches to pass out to members who might find themselves locked away, facing possible deportation and the break-up of their families.

The form, filled out in advance of a potential disaster, provides relatives and/or friends with instructions such as who to call to care for children left behind or to handle finances.

The Detention To-Do List to Pass Out to Parishioners: Preparing for Possible Deportation

Video of Martino resignation online

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I found two sources with the video of this morning's news conference from Scranton, Pa., announcing the resignation of Bishop Martino:

The The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has video on its web site: View here.

The Scranton diocesan web site also has video available for download. Scroll down the page until you see the image of the video camera>.

A couple of highlights:

Martino said:

"For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and people of the Diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance. This development has caused me great sorrow, resulting in bouts of insomnia and at times a crippling physical fatigue."

The diocese needs a bishop who "is at least physically vigorous," Martino said. "I am not that bishop."

Martino said stress of the job had caused insomnia and severe bouts of fatigue that, in turn, left his immune system weak. "I had three bouts of flu this last semester, and that has never happened," he said.

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August 1-14, 2014

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