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The flip side of finding common ground

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The Court of Appeals in Virginia yesterday upheld that state's ban on partial birth abortions by a 6-5 vote. A three member panel of the court had earlier invalidated the law but had to revisit the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a national ban on the procedure.

There are two effects of the ruling, both of them admirable. First, it keeps the legislature in the business of deciding policies on this issue instead of the courts. People forget that Roe v. Wade permitted the state to set regulations and restrictions on the procedure. The state legislature is the proper venue for determining such regulations and restrictions.

Cornerstones of faith

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"Cornerstones of faith." Matt 7:21-29

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus cautions his disciples that the foundation of faith is action not just words. Church membership, perfect attendance at worship, theological credentials are nice but not enough. The bedrock of faith is to do the will of God. Build your house on this rock, not on the sands of good intention or ritual practice.

Medjugorje apparitions mark 28th anniversary

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Thousands of pilgrims from around the world are headed to Medjugorje as the town marks the 28th anniversary of what is said to be the Virgin Mary’s first appearance there. Some years back, in the late 1980s, I traveled to Medjugorje to check it out for myself. I spent some time with the young men and women who were claiming to see Mary and was with three of the youngsters at the very time they said Mary was appearing. We were on a small loft in the rear of the local church.

Reading the record at SOA

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According to an article posted on the Council on Hemispheric Affairs Web site, Congress is scheduled to vote today on an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act that would require the former School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security and Cooperation) to release to the public the names, ranks, countries of origin, courses taken and dates of attendance of all the students and instructors at the institute.

The founding of a new church

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The Anglican Church in North America -- that's the conservative group that broke with the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada and claims 100,000 members in 700 parishes -- invited megachurch pastor and best-selling Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren to address its first assembly Tuesday in Bedford, Texas. The headline in the Dallas Morning News says Rick Warren shows support for breakaway Anglicans at Bedford gathering

Roots of the split among Episcopalians are deep but the wedge issue that forced the break was the ordination to bishop of an open, partnered gay man. (If you need more background do a search on NCR for "Gene Robinson" and you should find a few stories.)

Warren told the new Anglicans: "We stand with you in solidarity as God does something new in your midst."

Caritas warns of permanent crisis in Sudan

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"Sudan faces a lot of challenges. There is an ongoing humanitarian crisis. People don't have access to healthcare, education, water and protection from high levels of violence," said Bishop Eduardo Kussala of Tombura Yambio.

"Caritas and the church are the only sources of education, health and social services in many places," said the bishop.

A shaky peace holds in the South Sudan and half of the 4 million refugees who fled decades of fighting have returned to their homes. However, the number of killings is now believed to have overtaken Darfur where 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million uprooted.

How in God's name can the world sit by and not intervene in Darfur and end the killings and dislocation?

Brooklyn Catholic schools to reopen as academies

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It seems that a more enlightened school structure has been identified in the Brooklyn diocese."The conversion of a parochial school into an academy separates pastoral, educational and management roles. The parish priest would still oversee the spiritual needs and religious portion of curriculum, while the principal tends to 'teacher development' and a Board of Directors administers the school."

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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