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Biopic on Opus Dei founder

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Filmmaker Roland Joffe, twice nominated for Oscars, including for "The Mission," which dealt with leftist Jesuit priests, is the church's more conservative members, the Assocaited Press reports.

Joffe is in Argentina directing a biopic of Opus Dei founder Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer, who sided with Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War and allegedly spoke positively of Adolf Hitler. The church dismissed the controversies before Escriva was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II.

Opus Dei is financing the film, the Assocaited Press reports, but "the British director has 'creative space' to make the film he wants."

Science, religion and the mystical

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Exactly 400 years ago today, on Aug. 25, 1609, the Italian astronomer and philosopher Galilei Galileo showed Venetian merchants his new creation, a telescope -- the instrument that was to bring him both scientific immortality and, more immediately, a whole lot of trouble.

To mark this anniversary, NCR is re-releasing an Podcast interview Tom Fox did with Beatrice Bruteau, a Christian contemplative, passionate scientist and philosopher, in 2007. They speak about the creative impulse behind the evolutionary design of the universe.

It's an Encore NCR Podcast: Science, fear, God and the mystical

Is Archbishop Chaput Right?

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Archbishop Chaput counsels patience in the health care reform effort and no one can deny that patience is a virtue. But, there are nonetheless many difficulties with his statement that jump off the page.

First, he quotes from a moving testimonial from a couple with a Down’s Syndrome child. The mother says she is worried about the “public option” and what that might mean for her child: Would the government see the same value in the expensive treatments for her child that he pediatrician sees? But, that is the wrong question. The pediatrician doesn’t pay for the child’s health care, the family’s insurance company does. So, the proximate analogy is a different one: Would the government see the same value in the expensive treatments as the health insurance company does? This is easy. A federal plan will not have profit as a motive. The insurance company does not place those expensive treatments on the plus-side of its ledger.

Finances & Health Care

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E.J. Dionne has a great column today, filed in Australia, where that country’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gives credit to both Presidents Bush and Obama for their actions in averting an economic collapse. The bailouts of the financial sector and the automobile industry, the stimulus package, and the quick passage of Bush’s final budget earlier in the year, averted what could easily have been a repeat of the Great Depression. Dionne correctly concludes that Obama will reap little political benefit from this great fact. “But because the cataclysm was avoided, this is an invisible achievement,” he writes.

Funding system of German Catholic Church challenged

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What makes this German Catholic church story interesting is that the state is actively involved in church affairs - collecting and distributing the money that funds the church's operating budgets, while here in the U.S. bishops demand that the state stay out of church affairs - unless of course dioceses get money from the state. Apparently, the German religion-based tax systems is fine for the Catholic bishops of Germany. Nonetheless, Dr. Zapp seems to be on the winning side of this debate - time will tell.

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September 12-25, 2014

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