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Mass wine and swine flu

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A curious reader sent the following question: What have you heard about retracting the Eucharistic wine because of swine flu? As of October, the Raleigh Diocese of North Carolina is heading in that direction.

Let's try some citizen journalism here.

If any of you see official notices -- not rumors or hearsay -- from parishes or diocese that are stopping distribution of Communion wine as a precaution against the H1N1 flu, add your info in a comment box on this page.

Here's a direct link to the page, which you can bookmark, so you don't have to go searching for it when you want to add something or check the progress of reports:

A plea for justice, a plea to save an innocent man's life

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Two important facts you should know about Paul William Scott: One, he was sentenced to death in Florida's electric chair in 1979. Two, he is almost certainly innocent of the crime for which he was convicted - yet stays incarcerated.

The more one leans about this miscarriage of justice the more outraged one can become. But outrage does not help. Becoming informed and working for justice on this matter does.

In 1979, Paul William Scott was sentenced to die on Florida's death row. Rick Kondian, convicted co-defendant, has long since confessed to committing the murder of Mr. James Alessi. Subsequently, Rick Kondian “plea bargained” down to a 2nd degree murder sentence, served 15 years and was released in 1994.

And yet, in 2009, provably innocent Paul Scott remains in a tiny cell with the distinction of being the longest surviving death row inmate in FL to have faced three death warrants.

Gays, the Church & Public Policy

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Politico.com is reporting that Congressman Barney Frank, the openly gay champion of liberal causes from Massachusetts, is opposing efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. “It's not anything that's achievable in the near term,” the congressman said. “I think getting ENDA [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,’ and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress.”

Australian Catholic church works for ecological sustainability

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The Catholic church in Australia has confessed it is one of the biggest carbon emission "sinners" in the country.

Catholic EarthCare, an organization set up in 2002 by Australian bishops to advise the church on environmental issues, admitted the Australian church has a carbon footprint larger than most other major organizations in the country.

"Although measurement has just begun, Catholic EarthCare estimates the carbon emissions of the church in Australia could be in the vicinity o 1.2 million to 1.5 million tons annually," a statement said.

"This is on a par with the emissions of the Australian government, excluding defense operations, of 1.7 million tons and dwarfs the emissions of groups such as the National Australian Bank and Insurance Australia Group."

The new frugality

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Here's the problem with being around for 2,000 years: you tend to learn a few things. So as much as I get impatient sometimes with the glacial pace of change within the church, there are moments when I'm reminded that the institution has gleaned more than a few verities over the past couple of millennia.

For instance, greed -- and its modern-day significant other, consumerism. The financial collapse that marks its first anniversary today is one large "told you so" for a church that has often been a lonely voice against the American ethos summed up on the bumper sticker: "The one who dies with the most toys wins."

Sunday's Los Angeles Times presented a bracing look at how we have changed in the past 12 months. The report explores the possibility that Southern Californians may soon turn their back on ever-bigger houses that sit at the end of ever-longer drives from where we work.

Prominent KC health provider takes issue with Bishop Finn

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The letter of a prominent Catholic Kansas City health care provider has reached my desk. It is a response to the Kansas City area bishops' pastoral on health care. The layman is Daniel L. Fowler, chairman of the board of Northland Health Care Access, a 501(c)(3) Missouri non-profit corporation that provides access to healthcare for the uninsured. He is also the board chairman of a sister organization, Metrocare, Inc., that operates a network of volunteer specialty care physicians in the Kansas City area in affiliation with the Metropolitan Medical Society. He serves on the board of Northland Neighborhoods, Inc., a community development corporation that is also a Missouri 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Here is want Fowler wrote to his bishop, Finn:

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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