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The desert race contineus

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Tom Gallagher, NCR blogger and Mission Management columnist, is blogging from Egypt, where he is racing across the Sahara Desert.

Day 4 - A rest day, but the race will continue
28-Oct-2009 02:57:06 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

Sahara Race (Egypt) 2009
While my system is quieting down, I didn't have the calories and strength at the start line on Wed., the 4th stage. I decided to take longer to recover and prepare for Day 5, the 54 mile day. Yesterday's temperature was 49 degrees C, making it something around 125 degrees F - the hottest day on record for this race. Day 4 is expected to be about the same.

This morning I rode with Jack Denness, from Rochester, UK, to the next camp. Jack is truly an ultra endurance legend. Among his achievements, Jack has completed 12 Badwaters, the 135 mile footrace in Death Valley in July. Jack is resting today and will go out tomorrow as well. It was a real treat to chit-chat. It was a silver lining to not starting. By the way, Jack is 74.

Halloween fun? Racism in a new disguise

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As surely as leaves change color, autumn brings us renewed interest in all things Latino. As October is Hispanic heritage month, CNN ran a four-hour documentary about Latino life, and PBS brought us a program of Latino musicians, superstars all, performing at a black tie affair attended by none other than Barack and Michelle Obama.

But just as I was getting ready to uncork a bottle of wine and toast to my people's contributions to our great nation, I got an e-mail note from Redemptorist Fr. Ricardo Elford of Tucson. "This is maddening," he said. He then quoted a notice from United Farmworkers Workers:

Saint of the Day, Oct. 29

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Oct. 29 is the feast of the Martyrs of Douai, Englishmen who went abroad to study for the priesthood and then returned to England to minister in secret to their fellow Catholics.

"Between 1577, the date of the martyrdom of St Cuthbert Mayne, the college's protomartyr, and 1680, the date of the execution of Thomas Thwing, the college's last martyr, 158 college members, priests and laymen, secular and religious, met with a martyr's death."

To read their names, click here.

For details about the individual martyrs, Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin, John Sandys, Southwell the poet, Luke Kirby, Alexander Briant, etc., where they were born, where they studied before going to Douai, what crimes led to their arrest, imprisonment, torture, and execution, where they were hanged, drawn and quartered, etc., click here.

What are the odds...?

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As has become the custom, the two bishops from the cities competing in the World Series have entered a friendly wager on the games.

If the Phillies win, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York will ship a dozen bagels to the City of Brotherly Love; if the Yankees prevail, Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia will send a case of Tastykakes to the Big Apple, according to a press release from the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

If you don't know what Tastykakes are, you're not missing much. Kind of like Twinkies or Ho Hos. Still, I root for the Phillies, being married to a native Philadelphian and all.

Trying not to be cynical, but wondering if these little human interest stories are specifically designed to make the hierarchy seem, well, more human.

German court fines Holocaust-denying bishop

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The day the Vatican opened talks with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (a.k.a. the Lefebvrites) and scheduled twice-a-month meetings over the coming months, a German court fined one of the society's bishops for his denial of the Holocaust. Reuters reports:

BERLIN -- A German court has fined traditionalist bishop Richard Williamson 12,000 euros ($17,860) for incitement because he publicly denied the Holocaust, a spokesman for a Nuremberg court said Tuesday (Oct. 27).

The Bavarian court had Monday approved a request from state prosecutors in Regensburg for the fine but British-born Williamson has two weeks to contest the ruling.

"If he decides not to accept it, there will be a hearing," said the court spokesman, adding there was as yet no indication of Williamson's intentions.

Denying the Holocaust is classified as a hate crime in Germany.

Come on in, the water's holy!

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Stephen Colbert gave his take on the pope's invitation to Anglicans last night. Lots of funny one-liners: calling the Archbishop of Canterbury "the diet pope" and Fox news analyst Father Jonathan Morris "Father Cute Priest."

Morris called the pope's controversial offer a sign of Christian unity. To which Colbert responded, "Nothing brings Christians together like excluding gays and women."

Guest Episcopalian Rev. Randall Balmer publicly declined the invitation to join the Catholic Church, saying, "Holy water's fine. Let's not drink the Kool-Aid."

Watch the clip (commercial first) to see why Colbert compares the Catholic Church to the National League and the Anglicans to the American League.

Yes, the Church 'in' the Modern World!

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You can always count on James Carroll to offer an insightful perspective. His latest column in the Boston Globe begins with these words:

The single most eloquent expression of the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council in 1965 was a preposition - the word “in.’’ The title of the council declaration “The Church in the Modern World’’ could readily have been expected to be “The Church against the Modern World,’’ reiterating a long-held opposition. Or, a little more positively, it might have been “The Church and the Modern World,’’ defining a gulf between the sacred and the secular that devalues both realms. But instead, the council fathers stated their conviction that the church, neither above nor detached, is integrally a part of the contemporary human condition - happily so. The decree’s Latin title “Gaudium et Spes’’ translates as “Joy and Hope’’ - an even stronger signal of the council’s affirming mind-set.

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