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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.

Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese priest criticizes his bishop's leadership

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Father Michael J. Gillgannon, a widely respected missionary priest of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, has written an open letter to his bishop, Robert W. Finn, taking strong exception to his leadership.

"You appear to me and many priests of my generation who lived the Spirit filled days of Vatican II," wrote Gillgannon, "as one whose task is to reverse the changes of that great event. You have given the impression that your changes were for the sake of a narrow 'orthodoxy' which seems to imply that the bishops and priests and laity before you were not orthodox."

Vatican official supports national health care plan

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This, with a tip of the hat, to Carol Glatz at the CNS blog:

She writes: "The Vatican hasn’t weighed in very much yet concerning the fierce debate in the United States over health care reform. Some of the opposition in the U.S. centers around whether the government should have such a dominant role in providing affordable coverage for all Americans.

When A Stranger Comes to Call

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In her erudite piece on the history of apostolic religious life, Sister Sandra Schneiders notes at the outset that she is writing to correct those who write "dogmatically" about the subject but have "no lived experience of or academic competence" to back up what they say.

Nothing she says points to me, who has written quite a bit about that topic, but I certainly fit the description. Obviously I've never been a sister in apostolic life nor do I consider myself a scholar of it.

On the other hand, it's perfectly legitimate to debate whether or not what I or anyone else writing about the current crisis is dogmatic, which I assume means rigid conviction untempered by reason or knowledge. That's fair game.

But her comment indirectly raises another issue: the role of the outsider.

Obama seen as playing major role at UN this month

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Thomas J. Miller, a veteran U.S. diplomat, says that President Barack Obama's maiden appearance at the United Nations later this month will attract considerable attention.

Obama has "talked very much about working cooperatively with other countries and about multilateral diplomacy and the importance of it," Miller says, and "people are going to be looking very carefully to what he has to say." Obama will speak at a special summit meeting on climate control on September 22, address the General Assembly on September 23, and chair a special Security Council meeting on arms control and nonproliferation on September 24.

It's been a while since a U.S. president has seen the UN as an asset and not as a hinderance.

Volunteer teacher ousted for supporting Sister Louise Akers

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Both support for -- and resistance to -- the very idea of women's ordination is taking root in Cincinnati.

A volunteer religion teacher of a sixth grade Old Testament class at a local parsish has been ousted from her teaching position because she supports Sister Louise Akers.

Akers was told by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk she could not teach in Cincinnati because she refused to recant a belief she holds that women should be allowed to be ordained.

Dr. Carol Egner wrote a letter to The Cincinnati Enquirer, saying she agrees with Sister Akers, who supports the idea of women being ordained as priests.

"I didn't write the letter as a teacher, I didn't write the letter as a doctor. I just wrote the letter as an individual and never did I think it would have the repercussions that it had," said Dr. Egner.

The following two paragraphs in the Enquirer did Egner in:

Changes at America magazine

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America magazine, the venerable Jesuit periodical, has fewer SJs on its masthead. In its August 31 issue, Editor in Chief Drew Christiansen announced that five Jesuit editors are moving on to new assignments, while two new lay editors are joining the staff.

For years, the only lay editor was its part-time literary editor. Now the magazine seems to be making an effort to increase lay input, including adding three new lay members of the board of directors.

Kevin Clarke, formerly of U.S. Catholic magazine (where he and I were colleagues), has moved back to his native New York to become an associate editor at America. In his 20 years at Claretian Publications, Kevin worked on Salt of the Earth (as both a print and online publication), U.S. Catholic and as online editor. His expertise in social justice and international reporting will be an asset to America.

A second lay America editor is expected to be announced soon, according to Christiansen.

Cardinal says traditionalists must respect Jews, other religions

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With doctrinal talks scheduled between Vatican officials and the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna is saying the SSPXers will be expected to respect Judaism, other Christian churches and other world faiths, according to a report from Reuters: Vatican to insist rebels respect Jews, other faiths.

He also said that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which the SSPXers reject, were "not negotiable."

Back in January, the Vatican formally lifted a 20-year-old excommunication imposed on four SSPX bishops who where ordained in defiance of the late Pope John Paul II in 1988 by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. This caused quite a stir, see Benedict's reconciliation move stirs controversy, not least because one of the bishops was a well-known Holocaust denier.

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