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Finances & Health Care

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E.J. Dionne has a great column today, filed in Australia, where that country’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gives credit to both Presidents Bush and Obama for their actions in averting an economic collapse. The bailouts of the financial sector and the automobile industry, the stimulus package, and the quick passage of Bush’s final budget earlier in the year, averted what could easily have been a repeat of the Great Depression. Dionne correctly concludes that Obama will reap little political benefit from this great fact. “But because the cataclysm was avoided, this is an invisible achievement,” he writes.

Funding system of German Catholic Church challenged

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What makes this German Catholic church story interesting is that the state is actively involved in church affairs - collecting and distributing the money that funds the church's operating budgets, while here in the U.S. bishops demand that the state stay out of church affairs - unless of course dioceses get money from the state. Apparently, the German religion-based tax systems is fine for the Catholic bishops of Germany. Nonetheless, Dr. Zapp seems to be on the winning side of this debate - time will tell.

New delegation goes to Honduras

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A new delegation of North Americans concerned about human rights arrived in Honduras Aug. 18 for a week-long mission of solidarity and accompaniment. It’s needed. Grassroots organizations opposing the coup continue to demonstrate daily, and meet with government repression.

This new delegation includes Jean Stokan, director of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Justice Team, Diane Guerin, RSM, justice coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Sisters of Mercy; Edia Lopez, RSM, of the Caribbean, Central America and South America Mercy Community; and Marie Dennis, of the Maryknoll Washington office and co-president of Pax Christi International.

Amnesty International’s recent report on Honduras echoed the findings of the Quixote Center delegation in the past couple weeks, reporting serious violations of civil and human rights, particularly directed at those voicing opposition to the coup and calling for constitutional order to be restored. The new delegation, like previous ones, will document any violations and lend protection against further human rights abuses by providing an international presence and witness to events.

Watch the NCR Today blog for updates.

Camden diocese & University of Dayton collaborate

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The Camden, N.J., diocese has entered into a partnership agreement with the University of Dayton for parishioners throughout the diocese to participate in an online academic experience for catechesis formation and adult faith formation.

In signing this agreement, Bishop Joseph A. Galante noted, "This is a continuation of our effort to have better trained and spiritually formed ministry personnel available at the local parish level in response to our Baptismal calling. By participating in this program, catechists will be better educated to teach the faith to our parishioners from early childhood to our adult and senior populations."

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The Camden diocese has numerous relationships with colleges for continuing education. Impressive.

Are the Crusades alive and well?

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Some of you may be following the ongoing scandal about Blackwater, the private contactor that has made billions providing "security services" during the war in Iraq. Among other allegations, Blackwater operatives were accused of the reckless killing of 17 civilians in Baghdad, and The New York Times reports that they were hired by the CIA under the Bush/Cheney regime to run an assassination program against Al Qaeda for the CIA. This was the program that Leon Panetta, CIA Director in the Obama Administration, cancelled immediately when he heard about it.

Catholic Key is Out of Tune Again

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In his address to the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Francis George called for a renewed commitment to unity among Catholics. “The Church’s unity today is severely strained, as we all know, and alternative Catholicisms are claiming authenticity even sometimes against the Holy Father and bishops,” he said and called for prayers for, and reflection upon, the ways we all can better stitch together the unity that we should enjoy as Catholics Christians.

In a statement on the issue of health care, delivered on the even of his installation as the Archbishop of New Orleans, Archbishop Gregory Aymond had this to say: “Strident or shrill rhetoric does not help us to engage in civil and respectful deliberation about a serious social issue with significant moral implications. God grant us the wisdom to discern what is right and the courage to do it.” The new archbishop’s words were a perfect application of Cardinal George’s call.

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July 18-31, 2014

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