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Women and development: Biotechnology, hunger and land grabs


Most of the world's agricultural work is done by women. The following is a statement about the increasing threats to women's land rights and ownership in Africa by Br. David Andrews, former director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, who currently works with Food and Water Watch in Washington.

The issue of women’s land rights and land ownership in Africa is a serious one. The FAO says that women contribute 60 to 80 percent of the labor used to produce food for household consumption and for sale in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. In a recent meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations the concluding official 50 page text calls for a recognition of the rights of women over 50 times.

Newt rediscovers God in America


Times must be difficult at Ignatius Press, but apparently the conservative Jesuit, Fr. Joe Fessio, couldn't help himself in embracing one of the most divisive public personas in Newt Gingrich. Gingrich and his wife created an "inspiring walking tour of the nation's important buildings ...."

Fessio, the former provost of Tom Monaghan's pet project, Ave Maria Unviersity, and now theologian in residence at the school, fawns over Newt. "Newt Gingrich's Ph.D. in history really shines through in both this DVD and the book it evolved from."

Here's the whole description from Ignatius Press:

The cry of the poor


"The Lord hears the cry of the poor." Ps 34

Two stories in today's Lectionary readings--Hagar and the child Ishmael expelled into the desert (Gen 21), and the two demoniacs who confront Jesus (Matt 8)-- might have come from the morning news.

Visit, the home page of the United Nations High Command for Refugees, to get information on the millions of displaced, stateless, asylum-seeking, emigrating peoples around the globe.

Google the phrase "homeless and mentally ill" to find scores of sites like and to read a 2008 report on "the estimated 744,000 people who are homeless on any given night, 40 to 45 percent of them with a serious mental illness. Most of these mentally ill people go untreated, and unable to work, live a hand-to-mouth existence out on the streets."

Or if you live in any large or mid-sized American city, read your local paper or call city hall and ask about conditions on the street in your home town.

Catholic pastor fires principal for trivial reasons


If the facts are as described in this Newsday story, it appears like another act of pure clericalism by Father Dan Murphy, pastor of St. Saviour Church in Brooklyn diocese, at its finest and backed up by the diocese.

"The Park Slope priest who dismissed a popular veteran Catholic school principal was upset he had to pay to attend two school fund-raising galas, the Daily News has learned.

That's among the beefs that St. Saviour church pastor the Rev. Daniel Murphy had with James Flanagan, who was let go this spring after 25 years as principal of the church's elementary school, according to an e-mail to parents from Flanagan's adviser.

"As pastor, I should have received a personal invitation with a complimentary ticket," Murphy wrote in six pages of complaints against the principal about the $200 he had to shell out for the March 2007 and October 2008 events."

Flanagan said the charges against him had nothing to do with his leadership of the school.

When the GOP sat out history


Now there might have been a time when the Republican Party had something - something - to offer our nation. I am trying to remember. Oh, yes, they allege they are "pro-life," but an honest look at the record shows they have fought virtually all life-enhancing legislation in the past several decades, particularly those bills which aid the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

Abuser priests belong in church but not in ministry, new archbishop says



Archbishop George Lucas, who turned 60 earlier this month, will be installed in Omaha on July 22, becoming the 11th shepherd of the Nebraska archdiocese. Originally from St. Louis, he graduated from Kenrick Seminary in 1975 and was ordained a priest the same year.

While serving in a string of parishes, he also finished a master’s degree in history at St. Louis University. From 1990 to 1994 he was chancellor of the archdiocese under Archbishop John May, and then – fatefully, some might say – he served as vicar general under then-Archbishop Justin Rigali, who had just returned from Rome after a long Vatican career, which ended with Rigali as the number two official in the Congregation for Bishops. Rigali today is the cardinal of Philadelphia and a member of the Congregation for Bishops, which votes on recommendations to the pope for bishops’ appointments around the world.


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April 11-24, 2014


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