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Companies reducing adoption benefits

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"Support for adoptive parents — one of the most popular “feel-good” employee benefits of the boom years — is emerging as the first to fall under the ax in the recession. For would-be parents, the trend threatens to further complicate an increasingly difficult adoption process, calling for more planning, saving ahead and stockpiling of time off."

While googling, I came across the text of a 1997 speech given by Al Hunt titled, "Why Liberals and Conservatives Should Agree on Adoption." At the time, Hunt was still the longtime Wall Street Journal Washington reporter, now working for Bloomberg News. Hunt is married to Judy Woodruff of CNN and now PBS fame.

While the speech is a bit dated, the underlying views are still relevant.

The talk was sponsored by the Center of the American Experiment, which is a nonpartisan, tax-exempt, public policy and educational institution that brings conservative and free market ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing Minnesota and the nation.

Assessing Weigel's assessment

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Yesterday, I pointed readers toward George Weigel's assessment of Caritas in Veritate. You many recall that Weigel said the encyclical "resembles a duck-billed platypus" meaning that it combined the pope’s thought with "passages that reflect [the Pontifical Council for] Justice and Peace ideas and approaches that Benedict evidently believed he had to try and accommodate."

Michael Sean Winters, who blogs for NCR Today and for America's blog, In All Things, takes on Weigel today over at America:

Weigel’s essay resembles nothing so much as the Soviet Union’s remakes of movies during its de-Stalinization period. During Stalin’s long reign, cinematic treatments of the Revolution always showed Stalin at Lenin’s side, even when the historical record had him hundreds of miles away. So, during de-Stalinization, rather than re-make the entire movie, the censors would have a soldier enter stage right and in front to obscure the image of Stalin behind. I go too far: Weigel’s effort is actually clumsier than the Soviet re-makes.

Dignity

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At moments, it actually seemed like a church service. It had the tone of a memorial, the hush of a funeral, the respectful feeling of a true farewell. The Jackson Family pulled off something nearly impossible – a larger-than-life ceremony for Michael Jackson that was truly more dignified and grounded than the media circus that surrounded the singer's life and death.

My wife -- a news anchor here in Los Angeles -- was inside the Staples Center to report on the event, and she came away impressed. She said the arena was silent as final preparations were made before the memorial began. People listened respectfully as letters of sympathy were read from international figures like Nelson Mandela.

New encyclical offers a very \"Green\" vision

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On a first reading of Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I’m struck by the consonance in many of the pope’s statements with the key values of the worldwide Green movement. The Greens have consistently espoused and based their policies on what they call the Ten Key Values (or a summary Four Pillars in the case of some of the world's Green parties). These include such concepts as “community-based economics,” “grassroots democracy,” “decentralization,” “future focus,” “ecological awareness,” "social justice," and more.

These Green ideas, some originating in the writings of economic thinker E. F. Schumacher, are a blueprint for shaping a world economy based on real human values. Similarly, Benedict’s encyclical urges Christian humanism as the basis for a world order.

The subject of development in the world, the encyclical states, is closely related to duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. “The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.” This is ecological awareness of the first order.

Maine abuse case can go forward

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The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is not immune from being sued by an Augusta man who alleges he was molested as a boy after the diocese assigned a priest it knew had sexually abused children in the past to a parish in the state capital.

In a 5-2 ruling, the court affirmed that under current law charitable groups such as churches, museums and sports organizations are immune from claims for negligent actions, but it said they are not immune from intentional ones.

The impact of the court's ruling will be felt by every nonprofit organization in the state, a dissenting justice predicted.

The state's high court sent back to Kennebec County Superior Court the question of whether the bishop of the diocese knew that the Fr. Raymond Melville had a history of sexually abusing minors when in 1985 he was assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church and School in Augusta.

Pope removes officials seen as responsible for Holocaust-denying bishop row

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Rome

In what could be seen as another piece of fallout from Benedict XVI’s January decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier, the pope today restructured the Vatican office that handles relations with the traditionalist world -- and, in effect, gently fired the officials who presided over the earlier fiasco.

Morning Briefing

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Obama: Social Justice in Catholic Church Has Had 'Profound Influence' on Me An interview with Fox News. He said he looks forward to reading the new encyclical titled "Charity in Truth," published by the Vatican.

Buffalo Catholic Charities of Buffalo falls short of its appeal goal

Maine Supreme Judicial Court rules against church. Opens the door to lawsuits where victims claim the church knew priest had a history of molestation.

Catholics among those affected by Xinjiang riots

Aussie Catholics offer $100k stem cell grant. The fourth adult stem cell grant awarded since 2002.

A younger face on Catholic reform

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Call to Action is putting a younger face forward with the naming of a new director to replace Dan and Sheila Daley, who had served as co-directors since the church reform group's founding in 1978.

Jim FitzGerald, 37, will lead the 25,000-member organization, which has been working to reach out to younger Catholics over the past several years. He has a background in non-profit administration and theology -- plus a history with CTA, having served as a board member, chapter leader and local faciliator for CTA's "NextGen" program for reform-minded Catholics in their 20s and 30s.

Will the poor be represented at the G-8 in Italy?

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Catholic News Service's Dennis Sadowski recently interviewed Aldo Caliari, director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project at the Center of Concern in Washington, with an eye on the G-8 meeting this week.

"The poor countries should have a seat at the table because ultimately what is decided is going to affect (them)," Caliari affirmed.

Amen to that.

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August 15-28, 2014

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