National Catholic Reporter

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Saying 'no' to Christ

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Joshua McElwee , 22, of San Jose, California, is a new addition to the NCR newsroom where he does reporting and layout work two days a week. When he is not at NCR he is at the nearby Holy Family Catholic Worker house where this year he is a Lasallian volunteer. In the coming weeks you will see fruits of his NCR labor. For now, to get started, he offers a reflection on his inital experiences at Holy Family. -- Tom Fox

For the past two months I’ve been living at the Holy Family Catholic Worker House in Kansas City, Missouri. I am serving as a Lasallian Volunteer, one of many post-college youths placed across the nation in community with Christian Brothers to empower the impoverished.

Orthodox Catholic bishop shot, in stable condition

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An Orthodox Catholic bishop was shot and injured when he tried to stop four youths from robbing his southern California church, police said on Thursday.

The incident occurred late Wednesday night outside the Our Lady of Tepeyac church in Riverside County south of Los Angeles, according to Sergeant Dennis Gutierrez of the Riverside County sheriff's office. Orthodox Catholic Bishop Antonio Garduno confronted the four teens in the church's courtyard.

"Robbery was the motive it appears at this time, Gutierrez said.

"They tried to make entry and they shot at him." Garduno, 51, was taken to hospital in stable condition and his injuries are not life-threatening.

Vatican to take hard line on traditionalists' Jewish views

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The Vatican will tell the traditionalist Lefebvrist group it must respect Judaism, other Christian churches and other world faiths to be fully reintegrated into the Roman Catholic Church, a leading cardinal has said, according to a Reuters report.

Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said these reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) rejects, were "not negotiable" in doctrinal discussions due to start soon between the Vatican and the group.

Cuba OKs organized religious services in prisons

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My most recent mission management article, describes the importance of prison ministry, especially in helping ex-offenders find jobs.

Today, Cuba announces that Catholic and Protestant inmates will now be allowed to attend Roman Catholic Mass and Protestant services inside prisons. This is a substantial step forward by the Cuban government. However, Jewish inmates and other believers are not included in this new policy for unknown reasons.

Pennsylvania's lack of a budget impacts Catholic schools

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As is well known, Catholic families get little-to-no financial aid from towns or states if they choose to attend a non-government school. However, some goods and services do benefit Catholic school families and teachers, like textbooks and workbooks. Without a state budget in Pennsylvania, Catholic school teachers cannot get the materials they need.

In general, Catholic families,who represent votes and political fundraising, lack a unified voice and a sophisticated lobbying strategy in state capitals that carries political heft, say like that of the health insurance industry. It's no wonder that year after year Catholic schools continue to "die on the vine," as they appear set to go the way of the typewriter.

Sebelius, Abortion & Health Care

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Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius gave an interview with the Washington Post in which she discussed her being barred from receiving communion in her home archdiocese. Whatever you think of Archbishop Naumann’s decision, and I think it was wrong, it is difficult to accept Sebelius’ justification for her pro-choice position as Governor of Kansas.

“Well, it [being barred from communion] was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had. And that's what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.”

Yes, health care for immigrants too

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With politicans fleeing as fast as they can the idea that any health care aid, in the reform package, will assist undocumented workers, or illegal aliens, depending on your perspective, it was refreshing to hear Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl reaffirm the need to provide universal health care "from the bottom up." This, he said, affirming Catholic teaching and echoing statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a moral imperative.

Catholic Charities USA releases 2008 Survey Results

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You got to hand it to Catholic Charities USA. The timing of the release of its 2008 survey is impeccable, as the U.S. is focused on healthcare reform, jobs and the economy (among other issues, say, e.g., the wars). This survey is a clear reminder that private, market forces are not working for the poor. The "anti-federal government" crowd should spend some quality time reading this survey, and then perhaps, flipping to Matthew 25: 31-46.

Fears continue about possible job losses, economy

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Not surprising, according to a new according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, "nearly six in 10 Americans are now concerned about job or pay losses in the coming months, little changed since February, and there has been no increase in the percentage who see the federal government's stimulus efforts as having an impact, even as the pace of layoffs has eased in recent months. And there is lukewarm public confidence that the government is enacting measures to stave off another financial crisis."

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