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On Iran, do nothing


Fareed Zakaria has a must read column in today's Washington Post about America's policy towards Iran.

He argues that what we are watching in Iran is essentially a coup in which the Revolutionary Guard and its allies in the military and political classes have grabbed power from the clerical regime. He notes the number of senior Iranian clergy who have not endorsed the election results that are widely believed to have been rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad among other sources of evidence for a split between the clergy and the military.

Reappointments to international theology commission


Just off the wire:

Three US-based theologians reappointed to international commission

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Three theologians who teach in the United States were appointed to second terms on the International Theological Commission, an advisory board to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The three, appointed to new five-year terms by Pope Benedict XVI July 25, are:

  • Sr. Sara Butler, a member of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, who teaches dogmatic theology at the New York Archdiocese's St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers.

  • Nigerian Fr. Peter Damian Akpunonu, a professor of biblical exegesis at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.

  • British Msgr. Paul McPartlan, a professor of systematic theology and ecumenism at The Catholic University of America in Washington.



Mustard -- Matthew 13:31

My sister turned 58 last week. She said she had visited my blog to see if I had written something about her. She is my only sister. There are seven of us, all boys except Mary Ann, the last to arrive and survive in a steady succession of pregnancies that was my father's pride and joy but, as we know now, wore our mother to a frazzle from 1942 until 1952. Our father was very Irish, married at age 36 after taking care of his mother, and he was in a hurry to have a big family, actually a baseball team, he said. My sister would have been in right field, but the whole idea fell apart when my mother miscarried number eight and my dad realized that seven was plenty and that having a daughter was better than a sports metaphor.

Christian martyrdom is 'today's story'


According to the Associated Press, a 33-year-old woman and mother of three has been executed in North Korea on charges of distributing Bibles, which are banned in the communist country, and of allegedly spying for foreign nations. A July 24 report from the Investigative Commission on Crimes against Humanity, quoted by the AP, says that Ri Hyon-ok was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon bordering China on June 16, and that her husband, children and parents were sent to a political prison the day after her execution.

Defrocked Medjugorje priest backgrounder


Today's Morning Briefing reported that Father Tomislav Vlasic, the priest who helped to turn the Bosnian town of Medjugorje into one of the Catholic Church's most visited shrines, has left the priesthood after being placed under investigation by the Vatican.

Here is some more information on the Vatican case against Vlasic.

Read the 1983 letter written by Vlasic to Pope John Paul II in which he first reports the Mary apparitions.

Keeper of two flocks


Father Tom Foster of Duluth is a priest with a flock. Quite literally.
The full-time chaplain at St. Mary’s Duluth Clinic keeps 100 ewes and lambs on his 47-acre farm in Cloverland, near Maple. Foster said he loves the contrast of working between his two flocks — parishioners and sheep — though he also spots a number of common traits.

“In scripture, the flock is a very common image, and there are a number of similarities between our behavior and the behavior of sheep,” said Foster, who also serves as chaplain to the 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard. “They can overeat, just like we can; they need to be trained; and you need to develop their trust.”


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