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How Sen. Kennedy made me a better Catholic


In my front foyer hangs a signed, framed copy of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's 1994 campaign poster. The headline of the piece reads "His Voice is Always Heard."

I was a college intern in the senator's Boston office the summer of 1994, the last time we debated access to healthcare as a nation, and the last time that we needed to be reminded of Sen. Kennedy's importance. A year later, I was hired to be a staffer in the district office, where I worked for three years. Just out of college and embarking on a career, my experience as an aide to Sen. Kennedy also helped me to understand my Catholic faith better. It shaped my values and made me who I am today.

Critical moment for democracy in Honduras


The State Department signaled Thursday the Obama administration is ready to take tougher action against the defacto leadership in Honduras because of the political impasse over President Manuel Zelaya's ouster in June.

The Associated Press has reported that Washington officials say Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to make a formal determination as early as today that the ouster of Mr. Zelaya was an extra-legal coup, action that would set in motion deep cuts in U.S. aid, and other steps against the interim government.

Echoing this new development, Eric LeCompte, National Organizer for the School of the Americas Watch today send out this email:

The 'Ted Kennedy Public Option' in the 'Ted Kennedy Health Care' bill


The debate over whether or not to name a health care bill after Ted Kennedy has taken a fresh (and, in my opinion,welcomed) turn.

Here is what David Waldman of the Daily Kos has written today:

The temptation to name the health care reform bill after fallen health care champion Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is as understandable as it is overwhelming. But with the bill currently still at the mercy of players who are, shall we say, not as clearly dedicated to a product that offers the kind of help Kennedy envisioned, I suggest that we not offer them the opportunity to attach his name to anything less than a bill he would have fought for.

So while it's undoubtedly in that spirit that the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and others have begun their drive to honor Kennedy's memory by demanding that the HELP Committee's bill be passed and named after him, I suggest that it serves us and the Senator's memory better if our essential element -- a strong public option -- carries his name instead.

French Catholics: An untold story?


The Tablet (the one from London, not Brooklyn) carries this story in its latest issue:

French turn their backs on the Church

The number of weekly Massgoers in France has dropped steeply from 20 per cent in 1972 to 4.5 per cent today. This was the most striking finding of a survey carried out by the IFOP polling organization between 2005 and 2009 for the daily Le Monde earlier this month.

The survey also indicated that the typical French Catholic is female, over 50, and politically right-wing.

The figures confirm the steady decline of Catholicism in France - even though it remains the dominant religion (64 per cent of the population describe themselves as Catholic, as opposed to 87 per cent in 1972).

It seems to be a story already reported many times. But I had to wonder if the real story got buried. Here's the last paragraph of The Tablet story:

NGO disarmament conference slated for Mexico


The United Nations is gearing up for an annual Non-Governmental Organization Conference on Disarmament in Mexico. The conference entitled “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now!” is set to take place in Mexico City from September 9-11.

The choice is raising some eyebrows. Mexico is a nation "one is not reminded of a peaceful and disarming country, but rather of a brutal drug war, where sophisticated weaponry has killed some 11,000 Mexican people," one web site pointed out.

It is estimated that the United States currently supplies some 90 percent of the firearms going over the border.

By the way, this month marks the 60th anniversary of Moscow's entry into the nuclear club.

The Kennedys Take America to Mass


Most of the commentary on Senator Kennedy’s Catholicism has focused on the issues he espoused. Most note approvingly his many positions that advocated long held aspects of Catholic social teaching such as his efforts to alleviate poverty, his support for universal health care and his defense of workers’ rights. A minority, and a nasty minority at that, focuses on his pro-abortion rights position.


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February 27- March 12, 2015


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