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Report of rights abuses in Honduras

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Jean Stokan, Director of the Justice Team for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, provides a graphic description of gross human rights abuses in Honduras in her appearance on "Interfaith Voices" this week. She describes government forces trying to snuff out the protests of those who oppose the recent coup. Teachers, lawyers and campesinos were attacked in multiple and bloody ways as they demonstrated to restore the elected leader of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the constitutional order of the country.

Jean was part of a delegation of religious people who visited Honduras in August on a trip sponsored by both the Quixote Center and the Sisters of Mercy.

To hear the interview, go to: www.interfaithradio.org

Before this interview, you can hear the tale of Kevin Roose, a student who went undercover at Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell) to investigate evangelical culture. And after Jean’s interview, you can hear about the great sounds of an interfaith choir called Mosaic/Harmony.

Sea level rise puts NYC at risk

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Rising Sea Levels Putting New York City at Risk

Wall Street Journal science columnist Rob Lee Holtz reports in an animated video that with climate change melting ice caps will create higher seas in the coming decades making New York City awash in water.

He points out that New York City pumps 14 million gallons of water a day out of the subway system. One possible safeguard is a massively expensive storm surge protector across the Hudson River.

As New York and all of America take time to remember the victims of the attack on September 11, 2001, it is worth keeping an eye on the potential deadly ramifications of climate change.

Pope Benedict's prayer at Ground Zero

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On its Facebook page, CatholicTV.com has a photo of Pope Benedict's April 2008 visit to Ground Zero in New York and reprints the prayer he prayed there. It begins:

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.

The prayer ends with:


Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

A story for Year of the Priest

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Fr. James Reuter marked a diamond anniversary Tuesday: He made his first vows in the Society of Jesus 75 years ago. Sixty-nine of those years, he spent in the Philippines as a teacher, playwright, writer, coach, chaplain.

Journalists remember him as spokesman for the Philippine bishops.

He described his parish as the "stage, radio, printing press, shooting lot, dressing room, director’s booth, the theater."

Read a reflection here, Diamonds and Red Shoes, to learn why he says he is grateful whenever anyone says: "I am praying for you."

In Brazil, one Catholic Mass you'll never forget

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São Paulo, Brazil -- I realize this is a bold claim, but I’m going to make it anyway: If you haven’t been to Mass with Padre Marcelo Rossi, you haven’t really been to Mass.

tTheologically, of course, that’s ridiculous, because every validly celebrated Mass has the same spiritual value. Sociologically, however, I guarantee that a Mass with Padre Marcelo is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Read Allen's full account here: In Brazil, one Catholic Mass you'll never forget

U.S. cuts aid to Honduran government

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The Obama administration on Thursday cut off all aid to the Honduran government over the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya, making permanent a temporary suspension of U.S. assistance put in place after he was deposed in June, according to the Associate Press.

The report states that the State Department made the announcement as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was meeting with Zelaya. The action cuts more than $31 million in non-humanitarian assistance, including $11 million remaining in a more than a $200 million five-year assistance program run by the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Obama address outburst sparks quick fundraising

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ActBlue, which bills itself as a nonprofit clearing house and fundraising organization, was reporting at 4:20 pm Eastern time today that 11,574 people had donated a total of $414,663, most in the last 18 hours, to Congressional candidate, Rob Miller, running against Republican Joe Wilson. Wilson, of course, is the congressman who yelled, "you lie" during President Obama's address yesterday.

Nothin' But Love for the SC GOP

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You gotta love those South Carolina Republicans. First, Governor Mark Sanford took the most famous hike in the history of the Appalachians, which in his mind included Buenos Aires. Now, Congressman Joe Wilson is being roundly ridiculed for shouting out “You lie!” in the middle of President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress last night.

I wish to come to Mr. Wilson’s defense.

A six-point program for church communications

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
São Paulo, Brazil

tArchbishop Raymundo Damasceno leads the Aparecida archdiocese in Brazil, home to the famed Our Lady of Aparecida sanctuary visited by Pope Benedict XVI in May 2007. A former secretary general of the Brazilian bishops’ conference, he is now the President of the Latin American Episcopal Council, or CELAM, which opened its fifth General Conference in Aparecida with the papal visit.

tAll this makes Damasceno a fairly big deal in Latin American Catholicism, even if in person he’s actually fairly short and unassuming.

tDamasceno, 72, spoke today at a seminar on church communications in São Paulo. He ticked off a six-point program for communications which, he said, a Colombian journalist had once offered to CELAM:

1.tOvercome the idea that the means of communications are themselves communication. In other words, building TV networks, radio stations, and web sites is all well and good, but if you don’t have something compelling to say, building new and better ways to say it won’t accomplish much.

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