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Cappa Magna finding way into church pomp


The cappa magna, according to the Random House dictionary is "ceremonial cloak having a long train and a silk or fur-lined hood, worn by cardinals, bishops, and certain other dignitaries." Ordinarily scarlet for cardinals and purple for bishops, the train has varied in length and, it is reported, was originally used as a covering for the back end of a horse.

Colbert on same-sex funerals


Before I settle in to watch tonight's "Colbert Report," I wanted to share Stephen's commentary, "Skeletons in the closet," from last night's episode.

Colbert defended the Catholic Church's threat to cut charitable work in Washington D.C. if a same-sex marriage amendment passes. "They have no choice," he said. "After all, Jesus said, 'If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor. Unless a couple of dudes go and register at Pottery Barn, in which case, f*&^ the poor.'"

Just as some are arguing for civil unions instead of marriage, Colbert proposes that churches start refusing funerals for gays and lesbians, leaving them to have "civil end-of-life ceremonies."

"We shouldn't have to watch these people flaunt their alternative death-styles," he said.

Watch the whole, sarcastic clip here.

It's frozen over


I actually agree with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on something. Newsweek's choice of a cover photo of her in running shorts for an serious article about her political aspirations is sexist and inappropriate (though the headline, "How do you solve a problem like Sarah?" is pretty clever). She blasted the choice on her Facebook page. I have to agree with her on this. A similar photo of a male politician would be unheard of to accompany such an article.

A couple details on the marriage pastoral


I blogged earlier today on the bishops passing their pastoral letter on marriage. Now Catholic News Services provides a bit more detail:

Bishops OK marriage pastoral with many changes, some opposition

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE -- Despite the concern voiced by some bishops about the document's pastoral tone and content, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a pastoral letter on marriage Nov. 17.

Nearly 100 changes in two rounds of amendments preceded the 180-45 vote in favor of "Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan" during the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore.

Two-thirds of the USCCB membership, or 175 votes, was required for passage. There were three abstentions.

An effort by retired Archbishop Francis T. Hurley of Anchorage, Alaska, to remand the document to the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for rewriting failed 56-169, with three abstentions.

Feelin' Useless at the USCCB Meeting


There are many things about a USCCB meeting that are, well, strange. Walking into a room where everyone is dressed identically is strange. Seeing an altar with a large crucifix in a hotel ballroom is strange. Seeing Archbishop Timothy Dolan in running shorts and a sweatshirt at lunchtime returning from some exercise is strange. But, for me the strangest thing is to encounter a former schoolmate among the assembled hierarchs.

For two years in the mid-1980s, I was an inmate at Theological College, the national seminary attached to the Catholic University of America. In 2005, one of my former classmates, Joseph Tyson, was named auxiliary bishop of Seattle. Earlier this year, John Barres was ordained bishop of Allentown. I ran into John in the hallways of the Marriott where the USCCB meetings are being held. He looks none the worse for the intervening years, indeed he has scarcely aged. This would be sufficient grounds for intense dislike, except that Bishop Barres is, and was two decades ago, one of the most likable people you could ever want to meet.

Vietnamese Rep. Anh Cao discerns with Ignatian spirituality


A Vietnamese-born lawyer, the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to Congress, and a former Jesuit seminarian, Anh "Joseph" Cao was the lone Republican to vote for landmark health care reform on November 7, 2009.

Cao spoke with National Jesuit News about the process of discernment that he uses in reaching decisions as a U.S. congressman, how those decisions are grounded in his background in Ignatian spirituality and why he didn’t chose the party line in voting for health care reform.

Bishops, abortion and health-care reform


While the U.S. bishops are congratulating themselves for being a potent force in the health care reform debate (see: Health care victory give bishops confidence), tThe On Faith blog at the Washington Post posed this question to its bloggers:

Q: U.S. Catholic bishops are defending their direct involvement in congressional deliberations over health-care reform, saying that church leaders have a duty to raise moral concerns on any issue, including abortion rights and health care for the poor. Do you agree? What role should religious leaders have -- or not have -- in government policymaking?

Here are the answers:

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite: Bad Samaritans


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