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Vatican writer floats theory on mystery about pope's encyclical

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tI’m in Brazil this week, speaking at a seminar on the always-volatile relationship between the church and the media at a couple of seminars sponsored by the International Institute for Social Sciences in São Paulo. Though we’re just one day into the event, there are already a couple of nuggets worth recording.

tYesterday, a veteran Italian writer on Vatican affairs floated an intriguing hypothesis about a recent mystery surrounding the release of Pope Benedict XVI’s social encyclical Caritas in Veritate. In effect, he argued that anonymous leaks of the encyclical a few days before it came out in early July represented the first stirrings of a new “dynamic communications strategy” in the Vatican.

Obama & the School Kids

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Quick – check your children when they come home from school today to make sure they do not show any ill signs from President Obama’s “back to school” speech, delivered earlier today. The rightwing punditocracy warned that the speech amounted to indoctrination although the text was an anodyne series of encouragements to students to sick with their schooling.

There was a time when conservatives were all about patriotism. The President is the only office, along with the Vice-Presidency, that is elected by a vote of the entire nation. As well, in our constitutional system, the President is both head of state and head of government. He is the natural focus of national, as well as political, spirit. But, all that came crashing to a halt when Barack Hussein Obama won last November. Now, when the President does something that previous presidents have done, give a speech to schoolchildren, we are warned that the republic is under attack.

Self-inflicted wounds of Ave Maria School of Law

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Mariah Blake, Editor of the Washington Monthly has just written an interesting profile on the rise and fall of Ave Maria school of law.

As Blake explains in an email: "Until a few years ago, the school—which was created with the help of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and other prominent conservatives—seemed poised to become a top-drawer institution. Its graduates had an astonishing 100 percent bar passage rate, and many went on to high-powered jobs and prestigious clerkships. Today it’s among the worst law schools in the country, if not the very worst, and appears to be on the verge of financial collapse."

The piece is a colorful yarn, involving a 250-foot crucifix, the Detroit Tigers, and a newly built town where Monaghan and his business partners control the government in perpetuity.

Financial secrecy, mismangement seen contributing to church decline

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The Archdiocese of Detroit is losing $42,000 daily and, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press, will be cutting staff and some of its losing real estate investments. There are, no doubt, many reasons for the decline of the church in this economically devastated area of the country.

But as NCR reported in Feb. 2006 and again in March 2007, financial secrecy and gross mismanagement are not least among them. Check out these NCR links:

-- NCR Feb. 2006 Joe Feuerherd article

-- NCR March 2007 Joe Feuerherd article

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September 12-25, 2014

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