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Immorality of climate-change denial

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One of my greatest fears - one I invite you to share it with me - is that earth climate change is self-reinforcing, meaning, for example, that rising temperatures will cause arctic tundra to defrost, releasing even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise even more. This is not far-fetched theory, but the belief of a wide spectrum of world scientists. Should we enter this vortex of doom, civilization, as we know it on our planet, could essentially end.

Michael Jackson

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Hat tip to Angela Cave over on the Catholic News Service blog for finding an article Michael Jackson wrote for Belief.net in 2000.

It really is worth a read. Pain is evident in what he wrote. At age 8 and 9 as the Jackson Five were just emerging, Jackson writes, "at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom." He wanted build a tree house and go to a roller skating party, he said. "But very early on, this became impossible."

There was one day a week, however, that I was able to escape the stages of Hollywood and the crowds of the concert hall. That day was the Sabbath. .... So, in my world, the Sabbath was the day I was able to step away from my unique life and glimpse the everyday.

SOA graduates lead Honduras coup

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Remember that we have been repeatedly told that the School of the Americas is intended to teach democratic principles, instill the ideas of Jefferson into the minds of young officers. And this is the way we build democracy in Latin America.

Well, alas, some more SOA graduates have been involved in very undemocratic actions.

This is not a bad time to express outrage to your elected members of congress.

Learn more at the SOA Watch web site.

Be pastors, not prison guards, pope tells new archbishops

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By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tIn an image that might playfully be termed “arresting,” Pope Benedict XVI today told a crop of new archbishops that although their jobs require a certain kind of surveillance, that shouldn’t turn them into “prison guards,” but rather into pastors who “want to serve others.”

tThe pontiff spoke this morning during an a ceremony to impose the pallium, a narrow band of wool cloth, upon 34 metropolitan archbishops appointed to their current archdioceses during the past year. While the 67 million Catholics in the United States represent just six percent of the global Catholic population of 1.1 billion, the five Americans who received the pallium this morning amount to more than 20 percent of new archbishops in 2009:

•tGregory Aymond, 59, New Orleans
•tRobert Carlson, 65, St. Louis
•tTimothy Dolan, 59, New York
•tGeorge Lucas, 60, Omaha
•tAllen Vigneron, 60, Detroit

The pallium ceremony is held each year on June 29, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

In preview of new encyclical, Benedict reprises 'dictatorship of relativism' speech

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BY JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tBy the time Pope Benedict XVI’s new social encyclical appears in early July, it may well seem largely anti-climactic. Extracts have already appeared in the Italian press, and yesterday the pontiff actually scooped himself by devoting his remarks for the close of his “Pauline Year” to the theme of Caritas in Veritate, “Charity in Truth,” also the title of his long-awaited meditation on the economy.

tIn effect, what Benedict laid out last night likely amounts to the theological and spiritual substructure of the encyclical, minus the specific economic prescriptions.

tThe core of what Benedict said, during an ecumenical vespers service at the grand basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, is that building a better world requires forming better people. Structural reform thus presupposes personal moral and spiritual renewal, including a life devoted to prayer and the sacraments.

[Editor's note: For more analysis from John Allen on the new encyclical, see: Economic encyclical expands on church's 'best-kept secret'.]

Fighting hunger, beefing up unions part of pope's new social encyclical

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tIn his long-awaited new encyclical on the economy, Pope Benedict XVI appears set to call for new global “synergies” among labor unions in order to resist cuts in social safety nets, stronger efforts to combat world hunger, and greater protections for the “ecological health of the planet.”

tBeyond those policy matters, the pontiff also will apparently strike three vintage personal themes:

•tSocial justice depends upon individual conversion, and the roots of the present crisis are in an “ethical deficit” within economic structures, especially greed;
•tThe defense of the poor and the defense of unborn life, implying opposition to abortion and artificial birth control, are necessarily linked.
•tPreaching Christ is not a distraction from building a better world, but “the principal resource at the service of the true development of every single person and of all humanity.”

Benedict’s new social encyclical, titled Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), will likely not be released until early July, but this morning’s Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading daily newspaper, carried lengthy extracts.

The Irony of Grace: When Hollywood Mourn

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It’s been a hard week for Hollywood. Three show business icons finished their earthly journeys. First Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s long-time side kick, passed away. Then on Thursday, June 25, both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died.

I don’t know much about Ed McMahon except that my grandmother, who could have been Ed’s mother, was in love with him. Back in the 60’s, when she wasn’t gushing over daytime television’s Betty White and Alan Ludden’s Password romance, she had her eye on Ed McMahon. My memories of him are mostly associated to McMahon’s Furniture Store in Lemon Grove, CA. There was no relation, I’m sure, but I think my grandmother liked to shop there for patio chairs hoping there was. Later, when I started getting interminable Publishers’ Clearing House mailings, I began hoping McMahon would get a new job. I never did watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but whenever scenes of Johnny and Ed have replayed over the years, you know they made people laugh. They still do.

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August 1-14, 2014

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