This just in from Catholic News Service:
Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed Farah Pandith as special representative to Muslim communities. Pandith, who had worked in the State Department’s European Bureau as a special adviser for outreach to Muslim communities in Europe, will now have “more of a global role,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said announcing the appointment.
She gave her first press briefing today and said, she expects to go beyond criticism of Washington's foreign policy, outlining an ambitious program of reconciliation.
Douglas Kmiec, Pepperdine University law professor who has contributed think pieces to NCR, has been named ambassador to Malta.
More when it comes in.
Readers will find more thoughtful sentiments on the meaning of July 4th in my essay in the current print edition of NCR, which the editors tell me will be posted online this weekend. But, there is a more proximate, if less profound, meaning to the holiday that fits nicely with the "pursuit of happiness" mentioned in the document dated on July 4, 1776. It has become a family tradition now for friends to visit us at our home in Connecticut and go to the Goodspeed Opera House.
Joe Feuerherd met with President Obama in the White House this morning, along with other Catholic editors and reporters.
He had a good vantage point for the interview. Joe's report will be posted online within an hour.
Colleague John Allen, who covered the recent pallium ceremony in Rome, has given us a good look at some new leaders in the U.S. episcopacy with his interviews of Archbishop George Lucas, who will be installed in Omaha July 22, and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who will be installed as the head of the church in New Orleans Aug. 20.
Both men seem, at first reading, to be more moderate and less the ideological campaigner than many of those appointed, especially during his final years, by the late John Paul II. And they seem to have an ease – perhaps the product of unfortunate familiarity – in speaking about the sex abuse crisis and what is required of this new generation of church leaders in the United States.
Do you find yourself both being drawn to the Michael Jackson story and at the same time repelled by the 24/7 news coverage? Gone: the Iranian revolution; Out: The U.S. withdrawel from Iraqi cities and towns.
Even Keith Olbermann had to tear up his planned interviews to feature all things Jackson this last week.
NCR Young Voice columnist Jamie Manson offers explanations.
President Obama took questions from eight members of the Catholic press corps this morning in anticipation of his upcoming meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. It was, as they say in Washington, a wide-ranging discussion: his hopes for the meeting with the Holy Father, reactions to US bishops who have been critical of the administration, efforts to combat poverty and hunger in the developing world, efforts to find "common ground" on abortion, and the impact of his work as a church-funded community organizer in Chicago on his worldview and policies. Stay tuned: My complete story on the meeting will be posted in the next few hours.
The governor of Illinois yesterday vetoed a proposed state budget that would drastically cut human services, a move applauded by many Catholics who have been protesting the cuts to services to the poor, developmentally disabled, children and seniors.
"The legislature decided to slash human services, the budget for the important programs that help vulnerable people, mostly people who have no lobbyists, who don't have political action committees, who don't have friends in high places, who have workers in their agencies that are receiving very modest salaries but they do it because they love the job, they love people," Gov. Pat Quinn said.
I always thought that relics were largely a Catholic phenomenon. You know: the toe of St. Francis Xavier, the Shroud of Turin, the finger of Mary Magdalene. And I certainly did not think relics would make interesting reading. Then, I came across a fascinating new book called Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead by Peter Manseau.