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Cuba OKs organized religious services in prisons

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My most recent mission management article, describes the importance of prison ministry, especially in helping ex-offenders find jobs.

Today, Cuba announces that Catholic and Protestant inmates will now be allowed to attend Roman Catholic Mass and Protestant services inside prisons. This is a substantial step forward by the Cuban government. However, Jewish inmates and other believers are not included in this new policy for unknown reasons.

Pennsylvania's lack of a budget impacts Catholic schools

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As is well known, Catholic families get little-to-no financial aid from towns or states if they choose to attend a non-government school. However, some goods and services do benefit Catholic school families and teachers, like textbooks and workbooks. Without a state budget in Pennsylvania, Catholic school teachers cannot get the materials they need.

In general, Catholic families,who represent votes and political fundraising, lack a unified voice and a sophisticated lobbying strategy in state capitals that carries political heft, say like that of the health insurance industry. It's no wonder that year after year Catholic schools continue to "die on the vine," as they appear set to go the way of the typewriter.

Sebelius, Abortion & Health Care

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius gave an interview with the Washington Post in which she discussed her being barred from receiving communion in her home archdiocese. Whatever you think of Archbishop Naumann’s decision, and I think it was wrong, it is difficult to accept Sebelius’ justification for her pro-choice position as Governor of Kansas.

“Well, it [being barred from communion] was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had. And that's what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.”

Yes, health care for immigrants too

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With politicans fleeing as fast as they can the idea that any health care aid, in the reform package, will assist undocumented workers, or illegal aliens, depending on your perspective, it was refreshing to hear Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl reaffirm the need to provide universal health care "from the bottom up." This, he said, affirming Catholic teaching and echoing statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a moral imperative.

Catholic Charities USA releases 2008 Survey Results

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You got to hand it to Catholic Charities USA. The timing of the release of its 2008 survey is impeccable, as the U.S. is focused on healthcare reform, jobs and the economy (among other issues, say, e.g., the wars). This survey is a clear reminder that private, market forces are not working for the poor. The "anti-federal government" crowd should spend some quality time reading this survey, and then perhaps, flipping to Matthew 25: 31-46.

Fears continue about possible job losses, economy

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Not surprising, according to a new according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "nearly six in 10 Americans are now concerned about job or pay losses in the coming months, little changed since February, and there has been no increase in the percentage who see the federal government's stimulus efforts as having an impact, even as the pace of layoffs has eased in recent months. And there is lukewarm public confidence that the government is enacting measures to stave off another financial crisis."

Anniversary of a meltdown

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Over on the GQ web site is an essay by former Pres. George W. Bush speech writer Matt Latimer about the final months of the Bush administration: Me Talk Presidential One Day.

In the first months I worked at the White House, I wrote any number of speeches praising America’s economic prosperity. ... Yet there were obvious signs that all was not well. The housing bubble had started to collapse, leading to a sharp increase in home foreclosures. ...

The Magisterium and Health Care

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Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has been vilified by right wing critics for pursuing a political strategy that favors the Democrats and polarizes the Catholic Church. But, they have signed on to a statement signed by an array of theologians calling for the Church to speak with one voice on the issue.

Missing from the list of signatories is Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. But, given the cardinal’s remarks to a CNS reporter noted earlier on NCR Today, they should have asked him to do so. The cardinal says he “could never explain” how or why so many Americans lacked health care. Martino lived in the United States for many years while serving as the Holy See’s ambassador to the United Nations.

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