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Fr. Sean McDonagh reports on the climate change issue of \"Adaptation\"


Columban Missionary Fr. Sean McDonagh is attending the U. N. Climate Change conference in Copenhagen. He sent NCR this discussion on the issue of "Adaptation," a term widely used in the climate change debate, defined as the socioeconomic, institutional and cultural ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

An example of an adaptation strategy to prevent damage from climate change is shore protection (e.g., dikes, bulkheads, beach nourishment), which can prevent sea level rise from inundating low-lying coastal property, eroding beaches, or worsen flooding. If the costs or environmental impacts of shore protection are high compared with the property being protected, an alternative adaptation strategy would be a planned retreat, in which structures are relocated inland as shores retreat.

One possible outcome of the Copenhagen conference agreement will be the establishment of a worldwide Adaptation strategy and fund, a centralized pool of both financing and think-tank strategizing. As a member of a missionary order, Fr. McDonagh has been working on this issue for a long time.

A year after Madoff


It's hard to believe a year has passed since Bernard Madoff shocked investors, Wall Street, regulators and the world. Since that time, investors have begun the long road back to some form of healing. Law enforcement, playing catch-up for sure, rolled out a dragnet to capture and prosecute co-conspirators. That process continues. Family relationships of all kinds have been practically destroyed because of the theft.

But what are the lessons of this horrific experience?

1. "Thou shalt not steal" was given to us for a reason.

2. "White collar" crime has serious consequences, including death.

3. With massive amounts of money swishing around Wall Street, temptation abounds.

4. Govenrment officials need to be competent for the jobs they hold. If not, thousands can be deeply hurt.

5. No single ethnic group or organization of any kind is immune from stealing.

6. Will we ever accept the maxim that "if it's too good to be true, it probably is?"

In defense of sin


On Tuesday a friend and I had a discussion about original sin. Using the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which proclaims that the Virgin Mary was graced at the very first moment of her life with redemption from original sin, my friend proposed a thought experiment: What if, from that same moment, all of humanity was graced with a restoration to life without the stain of original sin?

The implications of such a notion are immense and beyond the limits of my knowledge to be able to fully consider. But the idea has spurred some thoughts for me.

Coup in Pakistan would be disaster for Afghanistan


Writing in Toronto's Globe and Mail, Tarek Fatah offers a sobering analysis of events in Pakistan that could have dire consequences for the war in Afghanistan.

A military coup is unfolding in Pakistan, but, this time, there is no rumbling of tanks on the streets of Islamabad. Instead, it seems the military is using a new strategy for regime change in Pakistan, one that will have adverse consequences for Western troops deployed in Afghanistan.

A year after rogue elements of Pakistan's intelligence services disrupted Indian-Pakistani peace talks by staging the Mumbai massacre, the democratically elected government of President Asif Zardari is facing a putsch from within its ranks, engineered by the men who run Pakistan's infamous military-industrial complex.

The men who wish to replace Mr. Zardari represent the religious right-wing backers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, adding a new obstacle in Barack Obama's war effort in Afghanistan.

Read the full article: A military coup in Pakistan?

Dec. 10, Thomas Merton


My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Today is the anniversary of the death by accidental electrocution of Thomas Merton (1915-1968).

For anyone unfamiliar with his life and writings, here are his books.
In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, includes "For My Brother: Reported Missing in Action, 1943", and many of his other early poems.

Send your good wishes, prayers to the people of Bethlehem


As we prepare and celebrate Christmas in the security and comfort of our homes and communities, people in Bethlehem will again celebrate the season in a difficult climate. Concerns on violence, peace and security, and justice issues continue because of the Palestinian, Israeli conflict. Nonetheless, many individuals and groups persist in searching for non-violent ways to work for a peaceful and just future in that region of the world. Your wishes and prayers can help provide hope and, perhaps, break through feelings of isolation.

You are invited to e-mail Advent and Christmas wishes and prayers for justice and peace to our friends and peace organizations in Bethlehem. This invitation was initiated by Pax Christi International’s partners in Palestine – the Arab Educational Institute, Library on Wheels for Non-violence and Peace, the Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, the Justice and Peace Commission of Jerusalem and Wi’am Center.

Obama now in Oslo to accept Nobel Peace Prize


In Norway today, President Barack Obama acknowledged criticism of his Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday but said he hoped it would subside if he succeeded in his goals, including cutting nuclear weapons and tackling climate change.

Speaking in Norway before collecting the prize, Obama also reaffirmed U.S. troops would begin transferring responsibility for Afghan security to local forces in July 2011 but said there would be no "precipitous drawdown."

Obama will accept the prize just nine days after ordering 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to break the momentum of the Taliban.

The Compromise in the Senate


The focus of many Catholics has been on the debate over abortion coverage in the new health care reform bill. But, with the failure of the Nelson-Hatch amendment yesterday, that debate goes behind closed doors, either in the Senate or in the Conference Committee that will meet to reconcile the Senate bill with the one passed in the House earlier. Moving to the forefront of the public debate is a new compromise worked out by a group of moderate and liberal Democratic senators about the role of a public option in the reforms.

Essentially, the Senate is poised to set up something akin to the Federal employees health benefits system. The government will assemble a range of private and non-profit plans, negotiating with the insurance companies to lower costs. This is not the full-throttled public option that liberals sought. In exchange for their support, moderates agreed to allow people over 55 to buy-in to Medicare, which is a government-run program but one which Republicans have a hard time attacking because it is very popular with voters.


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In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015


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