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The New Republic on Benedict

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The New Republic has an interesting essay on Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate. You have to read it quick as TNR’s website only keeps articles available for free on-line for a matter of days.

The author, David Nirenberg, is a professor of history and social thought at the University of Chicago which may explain why his article is so refreshing and so frustrating. On the one hand, he understands that the advent of capitalism and its values represented a “reversal of a millennial moral consensus” and his brief but incisive recapitulation of that consensus includes a happy sentiment from Gratian’s medieval Decretum with which I was unfamiliar. “A merchant can rarely or never please God,” writes Gratian. “And therefore no Christian should be a merchant, and, if he wishes to be one, he should be expelled from the Church.” I wonder what Michael Novak, Robert George and other apologists for Americanism make of that?

Social justice homily 101 from a layman

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On the first day of the Sept. 24-26 Catholic Charities USA 2009 Annual Gathering, one of the most inspired and inspirational commentaries on Catholic social justice themes came not from one of the convention’s major featured speakers, but from a local lay Catholic Charities leader on a group panel – Michael Reichert, president of the Seattle Archdiocese’s Catholic Charities office, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington.

What he said basically was that Catholic Charities personnel ought to realize they speak for disenfranchised people they know through personal experience. The humility that marks their service to those people in the church should not interfere with or limit the strength of their public advocacy for them, he said.

Missouri priest to cross country on bicycle for poverty awareness

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PORTLAND, Ore.
The day before the Catholic Charities USA 2009 Annual Gathering opened Sept. 24, there were the usual pre-convention leadership meetings – and a bicycle ride through Portland dubbed the “Cycling for Change” Fun Ride.

One of the cyclists, Jesuit Fr. Matthew Ruhl, is a more serious biker. One of the purposes of the Sept. 23 ride was to publicize the priest’s plan to cycle across America next summer – from Seattle to Key West, Fla. – to draw attention to CCUSA’s efforts to cut poverty in half in the United States within the next few years.

StoryCorps seeks more Latinos life stories

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Public radio's StoryCorps has been capturing moments of American life since 2003 and archiving them at the Library of Congress. Now StoryCorps is capturing the stories of U.S. Latinos. StoryCorps is seeking more life stories from U.S. Latinos and launched "StoryCorps Historias" on Thursday in an effort to get them.

"The mission is just to honor and celebrate our lives through listening," said Diana Velez, a StoryCorps Historias spokeswoman.

U.S. Congress Speaks Out on Nuns!

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The timing could not be better. On Sept. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously (how’s that for bi-partisanship?) for a resolution (H Res. #441) praising American nuns for the work they have done in this country over centuries. The lead sponsor of the resolution was Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).

This should be sent to the Vatican forthwith. The men who ordered the current inquisition need to know how Sisters are regarded in the United States:

A lesson on servant leadership

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One of the great treasures of our Web site is the archive we maintain of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton's weekly homilies. The transcripts of his homilies are posted to our Web site on the Thursday after he delivers them. In a recent homily preached at St. Hilary Parish in Redford, Mich., Gumbleton spoke about the Vatican-declared "Year of the Priest," which began in June and runs until next summer.

He said, "I find it disappointing really that within our church right now there seems to be a movement to restore a certain kind of domination and status and power, if you will, to those who are to be the leaders of our communities — ordained ministers."

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December 5-18, 2014

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