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Fr. Thomas Berry's burial service at Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont

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This is an account of Fr. Thomas Berry's burial at Green Mountain Monastery in Vermont on Monday, June 8, by Angela Manno.

"The weather at Green Mountain Monastery on June 8th, the day of the funeral mass and burial of our dear friend and teacher Thomas Berry was impeccable. With bright blues skies and a few puffy white clouds, the mist from the early Vermont morning had burned off completely by the time people had assembled in front of and to the side of the monastery entrance, greeting each other in wait for the toll of the bell to signal the commencement of the service.

Upon hearing the first bell, all fell silent and began to follow one by one as Sr. Gail Worcelo led us to the back of the building to circumambulate the iron statue of St Francis donated by Frederick Franck in 2006 to Green Mountain Monastery in honor of Thomas Berry. After circling the lower meadow and given mid-sized evergreens, people gathered in front of the statue. The dedication by Franck was read aloud:

'I dedicate this steel icon to the deathless spirit incarnate in one of the most precious of my contemporaries.

A sombre silence fell over Dublin

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The Times of London is reporting this morning that:

A sombre silence fell over Dublin yesterday when thousands of men, women and children marched through the capital to highlight decades of abuse in Catholic-run residential institutions, a shameful secret exposed last month by a government report.

Hundreds of thousands of children passed through orphanages and care homes run by religious orders ... Horrific stories of rape and beatings carried out by sadistic nuns and brothers went unbelieved and ignored for decades until publication of the Ryan report last month unleashed a national wave of anger.

Victims, their families and advocates marched on the Dail (the Irish parliament). More stories here:

Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann successor chosen

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Ali Abdessalam Treki, Libya's minister for AU affairs, was elected as the president of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly at a plenary meeting of the 192-member body on Wednesday.

Treki, whose candidacy was supported by the 53-nation African Union, was elected by acclamation at the plenary meeting.

He will replace the current UN General Assembly president, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, when the next assembly session convenes on Sept. 15.

Read more here:

Torture: Time for a Commission of Inquiry

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I’ll never forget the phone call from my brother the day after the photographs of US soldiers torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq became public. “These have to be just a few rogue soldiers who did this,” he said. “This could not have been policy. This is not who we are as a nation.”

I remember being sick at heart, and answering, “I’m afraid this is policy. After all, what is the School of the Americas? It’s a place where we actually taught techniques of torture.”

Tom Roberts Wins Egan Award

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Kudos to our own Tom Roberts, NCR's editor-at-large, for winning the Egan Award for journalistic excellence. Catholic Relief Services, sponsor of the award, made the annoucement today.

Here's Tom's winning piece: "Siding with Kids to End Cruelty".

Here's the full CRS release:

The winners of the 2009 Egan Award for Journalistic Excellence competition were announced today at Catholic Relief Services' Baltimore headquarters. The award recognizes journalists who have written about humanitarian and social justice issues for Catholic publications in the United States. The 2009 winners are as follows:

• Division A (national circulation): Tom Roberts for his "Siding with KIDS to end cruelty" in National Catholic Reporter

• Division B (regional circulation over 35,000): Rick DelVecchio for his article "Land of Modern Martyrs" in Catholic San Francisco

• Division C (regional circulation under 35,000): Dennis Sadowski for his article "Mission: Honduras" in Catholic Universe Bulletin

Physicians' group issues warning on GMOs

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The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) released its position paper last week on Genetically Modified foods stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk” and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes “there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects” and that “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.” The AAEM calls for:

* A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GM food.
* Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.
* Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.
* More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.

Insecure about maximum security prisons?

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Am I missing something? Did I miss the congressional hearings about how unsafe our maximum security prisons are? Did I miss the outraged neighborhood protests from those who live near these facilities?

To hear the Republicans yelp about bringing Guantanamo detainees to the mainland for trial, you would necessarily conclude that America's prisons are categorically unreliable. The Tanzanian brought to New York yesterday was not, after all, dropped off at a Starbucks in midtown. Do not our prisons hold countless inmates whose crimes, while not motivated by a perverse Islamic extremism, were nonetheless heinous and whose continued incarceration is an obvious obligation of government?

Kyra Sedgwick Breaks Madoff Silence (but why not the Redemptorist priests?)

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In early February 2009, NCR editor-at-large Tom Roberts and I broke the story of the Redemptorits Fathers in New York City, Baltimore, and in San Juan, Puerto Rico, along with a Catholic high school in Florida and the Diocese of St. Thomas-Virgin Islands, all of which lost money in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme.

While we received some initial reaction from representatives of the Redemptorists, we never received a response to our repeated for an interview from Father Patrick Woods, C.Ss.R. Provincial Superior of the Baltimore Province (based in Brooklyn, NY).

Stop requested

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A long digital panel at the front of the bus posts the date and time and, when a rider pulls the cord strung above the windows, the display says succinctly; "Stop Requested."

The Broadway musical "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off," comes to mind. Or a poignant moment on the Sunday morning news program, "Meet the Press" in 1968, when Robert Kennedy, besieged by questions about his possible presidential gambit, sighed audibly and said, "I can't very well leave the planet," though in effect he would depart abruptly on June 6 of that tumultuous year.

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