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Moral conflict just isn't what it used

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E. J. Dionne is on the side of the angels, as well as being one of the nicest people in Washington. And, his analysis of how religious concerns intersect with politics is second to none. But, he missed a beat in this morning’s column.

Dionne writes that "moral values" were seen as decisive in the 2004 election but that recent polling data has shown that other issues have risen to the top of voters' concerns, starting with the economy. "But a funny thing happened on the way to the revival tent. The crash of the economy has concentrated the minds of Americans on other things. Moral conflict just isn't what it used to be."

An Inept Comparison

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Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares, prefect for the Congregation of the Divine worship, apparently attempted to moderate the effect of Ireland’s Ryan report on the thousands of children sexually, physically and psychologically abused by Irish priests and brothers in church-run institutions during the past six decades by claiming that abortion was a worse sin.

What kind of culture generates such reasoning? Is it impossible for the church, particularly the hierarchy, to bear the burden of its own sin, or must the spotlight always be turned away toward someone or something that is worse? What is to be gained from the comparison of the systemic and systematic abuse of children and protection of the perpetrators with abortion? What’s the point? (One legitimate comparison might be made to those cases – and NCR has done its share of stories on the matter – of Catholic clerics, especially in areas of Africa, who have raped nuns or impregnated other women and in some cases urged the women to procure abortions.)

Some Shameless Self Congratulation

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The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) was honored with the Catholic Press Association’s (CPA) award for “general excellence” May 29. It is the tenth consecutive year NCR has won the CPA’s highest award for a national Catholic newspaper.

“Easily the best analysis of the presidential election from a religious and secular point of view of all the publications,” said the judges. “Plus there were plenty of features and stories about the good works of Catholics everywhere.”

NCR won six first place, three second place, and two third-place awards. Judging for the contest was coordinated by the American Press Institute. The awards were announced during the CPA convention in Anaheim, California.

Beatification of JPII said to be delayed

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Last week, John Allen blogged on a behind-the-scenes debates within the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, concerning the beatification process for the late Pope John Paul II. (See John Paul II: 'Santo, ma non subito').

Today, Catholic News Service is reporting that John Paul II's beatification is being delayed as the Vatican seeks more documentation regarding his almost 27 years as pope.

CNS cites the Italian newspaper La Stampa, which repofted that the chief holdup regards hundreds of letters he wrote before and after his election to Wanda Poltawska, a longtime friend and adviser to the pope.

The murder of Dr. George Tiller.

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Priests for Life founder Fr. Frank Pavone is on Morning Air with Sean Herriott discussing the murder of Wichita, Kan., Dr. George Tiller. Listen to it Pavone on the Catholic radio network Relevant Radio or on the internet.

Here's the statement Fr. Pavone issued yesterday (May 31) shortly after the murder:

"I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.

"But whatever the motives, we at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem. Every life has to be protected, without regard to their age or views or actions."

Death of Thomas Berry

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Passionist priest and acclaimed cultural historian Thomas Berry died in Well-Spring Retirement Community, Greensboro NC, at 6:25 am, Monday, June 1, 2009.

Funeral services will be held in four places:
1) Greensboro NC's St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, primarily but not exclusively for Thomas's family and the local community, Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

2) The Passionist Monastery, Jamaica, NY on Saturday June 6, 2009 at 11am.

3) Here at our monastery (Green Mt Monastery)which Thomas chose as his final resting place. Open to all. We anticipate a Mass of Resurrection and Burial to take place here on Monday June 8 at 11am. If this day/time changes, we will notify you by Tuesday afternoon
June 2.

If you plan to attend, please Email us at: greenmountainmonastery@together.net
Directions and Lodging Options are listed below.

4) A more general and public memorial service at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City, where Thomas was honorary canon, details to be arranged by the Thomas Berry Foundation and directed by
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim.

GREEN MOUNTAIN MONASTERY: Driving directions and Lodging

Bridgeport diocese sues state

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The Associated Press is reporting that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport sued Connecticut officials in federal court Friday, after being told it needs to register as a lobbyist to hold rallies and use its Web site to oppose legislation.

The move is the latest chapter in tensions between the Catholic Church and the state over issues including gay marriage, emergency contraception and giving parishioners more control over church finances.

The diocese is asking a U.S. District judge to stop the Office of State Ethics from what it calls an unconstitutional application of Connecticut lobbying laws.

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