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One bishop on health care reform


Bishop Gabino Zavala, a Los Angeles auxiliary and bishop-president of Pax Christi USA, has an op-ed piece in his local newspaper, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Protecting working families in health reform

Here are some highlights:

As debate over health care reform comes down to the wire in Congress, it's essential that elected officials put the needs of struggling families ahead of special interests and partisan politics. ...

For many decades, religious leaders and faith-based organizations have made the case that a broken health care system makes a mockery of our nation's ideals and values. Catholic bishops have been leading advocates for universal health care as a fundamental human right, not simply a luxury for the privileged few. ...

There are several important and often contentious issues that must be addressed in the coming days. ...

One of the most critical challenges that lawmakers have yet to adequately resolve is the obligation to ensure that health care reform truly makes coverage affordable. ...

Report on aging has much to ponder


Bloomberg reports today on a United Nations study on aging: "The elderly will outnumber children for the first time in 2045, ratcheting demand on nursing homes and increasing the burden on working-age people to support retirees, a United Nations report found."

"The proportion of the world’s population older than 60 years will reach 22 percent over the next four decades from 11 percent in 2009 and 8 percent in 1950, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in the report, titled World Population Ageing 2009."

The U.S. Nuclear weapons posture must not be politicized


Keep a close eye in the coming weeks on Senate politics where all Republican senators recently expressed support for modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons.

Washington is negotiating with Russia to replace the START treaty, which expired last month. It is the central framework between our two nations for reducing nuclear aresenals.

It is important to remember that the U.S. bishops, in their Peace Pastoral of 1983, offered only limited conditional moral support to the U.S. nuclear deterrence system, as long as our nation is moving toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Modernizing U.S. nuclear wepaons takes us in the opposite direction.

Bishop Hubbard nuclear weapons posture statement timely and welcomed


Albany Bishop Howard James Hubbard has co-authored an opinion piece, supporting efforts to make sharp cuts in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. The next three months are critical in U.S. efforts to set our nation on the course envisioned by President Obama, a world free of nuclear weapons. But there are many powerful invested interests that would prefer we continue to build these weapons of mass destruction -- even if they make no sense to our nation's security posture.

Gifts Mary Daly gave me


How well I remember: I’m in my 20s, seated on a picnic table at the park with a copy of the Bible in front of me — and a copy of Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father. I was reading through some Psalms, replacing mention of God as “He” with “She.” I saw myself as engaged in an experiment, a quest to find answers to questions that haunted me after reading Daly’s book.

More on Immigration


Our friend John Gehring, who is the Media Director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, is always worth reading and today he has an important post about immigration reform at the Washington Post’s “On Faith.” As he notes, the bishops intend to go all out on immigration this year.

If the bishops want immigration reform to pass, however, they will need to have the full weight of a strong administration behind the effort. Otherwise, it will turn out just like it did when Bush tried to move on the issue a few years back. Nothing will happen. And, unfortunately, the USCCB is trying to cut Obama off at the knees on health care reform unless the Stupak Amendment is part of the final bill.

The mystery of happiness


A little over a year ago, I agreed to volunteer as the parish council president at my church in Los Angeles. Swamped at work, overwhelmed with things to do, I was sure this obligation would make me miserable -- but at least earn me a few days less in purgatory.

I was wrong. Yes, I attend more parish functions than ever, volunteer at events, and drag my family along to help whenever I can. But it all makes me, for some reason, happy.

The elusive “why” in all this is hinted at in a recent deluge of articles and video, seeking to unravel the mystery of what makes us happy -- a mystery only because the things we expect bring happiness rarely do, and the real answer is too shockingly simple to believe.

In Thursday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof writes about Costa Rica, home to people listed as the “happiest on earth,” according to a database compiled by a Dutch sociologist.


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