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VOTF's financial shortfall

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Religion News Service's story about the funding crisis at Catholic reform group, Voice of the Faithful, (Here's the story Tom Roberts filed for us today) quotes Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, which Religion News describes as a "conservative advocacy group":

"They should do the honorable thing and say listen, we hope we have pushed people in the church to change some things. Then they should close up shop."

Lessons learned in a July garden

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I picked the last of my bib lettuce last night. It had begun to bolt in the hot July weather. Eating it at lunch today I couldn't help but notice how it was almost bitter and how different the taste is then when I began harvesting the lettuce in May. The first leaves were fragile and sweet. Today’s leaves are tough. And bitter. But still so much better than what we can buy at the supermarket. I realized, too, that eating only commercially grown lettuce I would have missed the change in tastes.

I was prompted to reflect again about the holiness of working a garden. Dare I say that it is sacramental? I feel gratitude while in the garden. I feel connected to something beyond myself. The mystery that is nature. The blessedness of God's creation. (Fellow NCR staffer Rich Heffern writes much more eloquently on this subject.)

These things were on my mine when I came across this essay by Jack Heppner of Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada:

The Price of Sugar

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In October 2007, I reviewed a feature-length documentary, "The Price of Sugar." I wrote:

The film informs viewers about human-rights violations that are almost invisible. It inspires and illumines the meaning of Catholic social teaching by showing exactly what it means to put the gospel into practice and empower the poor and stateless. Intriguing, heartbreaking, informative and hopeful; intense. (See: Eye on Entertainment, St. Anthony Messenger).

A year later I wrote a blurb about the film in view of its release on DVD.

Diss a culture at your own risk

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Amidst all the coverage of Sonia Sotomayor's first day of confirmation hearings, one sentence jumped out at me. Lynette Oliver, who runs a women’s support group in Puerto Rico, told the Washington Post that she brought a small Puerto Rican flag to wave at the hearing. "I want her to know people from the island are here," she said. Pride in this sense is not a deadly sin.

When John F. Kennedy ran for president, he won the Catholic vote overwhelmingly. (44 years later John Kerry lost the Catholic vote.) When Mike Dukakis ran for president in 1988, Greeks of all political persuasion not only cast their ballots for the first Greek-American nominee, they opened their wallets and kept his campaign coffers filled. African-Americans carried Barack Obama to the Democratic nomination last year. When someone from one's group is breaking through, the tribe rallies round.

A 'perilous experiment' that comes off

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Just received a press release from Westminster John Knox Press, the Presbyterian publisher, about the death of an author.

Robert L. Short, acclaimed author of The Gospel according to Peanuts, dies

Louisville, Kentucky -- Robert Short, who pioneered the study of religion through popular culture, passed away on July 6 after a brief illness. He was 76.

Born in Midland, Texas, in 1932, Short is perhaps best known for his landmark first book, The Gospel according to Peanuts. Upon its release in 1965 it became the top nonfiction bestseller in the United States, selling over 10 million copies in 11 languages. It was lauded by The New York Times Book Review as "a 'perilous experiment' that comes off" and earned the admiration and respect of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. Through his work, Short became a trailblazer for other authors seeking to reveal the sacred in the simplest of places.

Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river

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"Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river ..." Exodus 2

Women rule the world. One sign of it, if you need proof, is the invariable presence of a commanding woman seated at the front of the morning bus who holds court, chatting loudly with the bus driver and keeping the world together and on track with her regal observations. Coffee left standing all night is undrinkable. People do foolish things, and they always pay for it in the long run. What goes around comes around. Pay now or pay later. God help anyone who doesn't respect his mother.

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September 12-25, 2014

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