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Watching the L.A. skies


Walk the streets of Los Angeles, and you'll notice an unusual number of people looking nervously over their shoulders, checking the sky. This has nothing to do with some sudden jump in the crime rate, or the chance a reality television crew may spontaneously begin taping your every move. It's the smoke. We are all watching the smoke.

Vicki for Senate


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must decide if it wants to be without a second Senator for the next five months. It would be a cruel irony if a Senate filibuster could not be broken because Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat was unfilled. On CNN Saturday, John King said that the chances of amending the current law, which prevents the Governor from naming a temporary replacement, stood at 50-50 when he arrived in Boston on Wednesday but that by the time of the funeral on Saturday, the odds had improved to 80-20. The reason: Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Regge Kennedy, had called the leaders of the legislature to invite them to the funeral and to tell them how much her husband wanted them to provide for his seat to be filled promptly.

A detention to-do list


In a perverse version of the Rapture, members of immigrant families, working here without documents, are getting "disappeared" by immigration officials through workplace raids, and other means. This has immigrants rights groups, along with some churches, urging families to be prepared.

Below are links to examples of forms -- one in Spanish and one in English -- being distributed by El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos in Albuquerque. I offer them for churches to pass out to members who might find themselves locked away, facing possible deportation and the break-up of their families.

The form, filled out in advance of a potential disaster, provides relatives and/or friends with instructions such as who to call to care for children left behind or to handle finances.

The Detention To-Do List to Pass Out to Parishioners: Preparing for Possible Deportation

Video of Martino resignation online


I found two sources with the video of this morning's news conference from Scranton, Pa., announcing the resignation of Bishop Martino:

The The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., has video on its web site: View here.

The Scranton diocesan web site also has video available for download. Scroll down the page until you see the image of the video camera>.

A couple of highlights:

Martino said:

"For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and people of the Diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance. This development has caused me great sorrow, resulting in bouts of insomnia and at times a crippling physical fatigue."

The diocese needs a bishop who "is at least physically vigorous," Martino said. "I am not that bishop."

Martino said stress of the job had caused insomnia and severe bouts of fatigue that, in turn, left his immune system weak. "I had three bouts of flu this last semester, and that has never happened," he said.

It's official: Martino has resigned


Pope accepts resignation of Scranton bishop for health reasons

By Catholic News Service

tWASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph F. Martino, 63, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Scranton, Pa., for health reasons.

tHe has appointed Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia to be apostolic administrator for the diocese.

tThe pope also has accepted the resignation of Scranton Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty, who is 77. Canon law requires that all bishops submit their resignation to the pope when they turn 75.


Scranton diocese schedules news conference:


This notice appeared on the web site of the Scranton diocese over the weekend:

Diocese of Scranton To Make Announcement

The Diocese of Scranton will conduct a news conference this Monday, Aug. 31, at
10 a.m. The news conference is not open to the public, and the location cannot be disclosed.

The news conference will be broadcast live on Catholic Television: CTV. Afterward, a video of the news conference can be viewed on the Diocesan website at

There will be no comment from the Diocese prior to the news conference.,2009.asp

Italian soap opera opens rift between church and conservatives



tHere’s something you don’t see every day: A prominent Catholic leader in Italy has drawn a nasty personal attack, described as “disgusting” by the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, from a newspaper owned by the country’s conservative prime minister. It’s a situation that defies the usual political dynamics in European nations, particularly Italy, where these spats typically pit the church against the secular left.

One prominent Italian commentator and political scientist has suggested that the affair illustrates a profound "mutation" in church/state relations, rendering the old battles between Catholics and secularists largely irrelevant. Today, he said, the real fault line runs between those who support an institutional role for the church as a voice of conscience and those who don't -- with many secularists and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, falling on both sides of that divide.

McCarrick Reveals Communication Between Kennedy and Benedict


Retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, at Arlington National Cemetary last night, provided some highlights of a heretofore private communication between Senator Edward Kennedy and Pope Benedict XVI.

In the letter, delivered to the Holy Father by President Obama during their July visit, Kennedy wrote: "I want you to know, your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I've worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I've opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States Senator."


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