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'The masses want the Mass'

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Arguing that "the masses want the Mass," the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is encouraging Catholics around the country to protest a possible decision by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to forbid member stations from broadcasting sectarian programming, including the Catholic Mass.

"People just want to have access to the Mass," Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM, director of media relations for the USCCS, wrote on the USCCB Media Blog. "The airwaves belong to us all, so church people aren’t asking any undue favor when they seek to have the airwaves they own be used for what they want."

Where celebrity and politics combine

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Michel Martin at NPR,s "Tell Me More" had a fun segment on President Obama's taking his wife on fancy date nights. There was the trip to New York for dinner in the Village and a Broadway show. Then, the trip to Paris with dinner at a Bistro in the 5th, albeit one that is hardly one of the more expensive Parisian culinary haunts.

Michel's male guest worried that Obama is setting the bar very high for husbands everywhere. Her female guest was way too philosophic about the whole subject. But, they did not focus on the political fallout from the trips which were attacked as overly expensive when the nation is struggling by several conservative pundits and politicians.

Two views on Neuhaus

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The NCR Book Club offering this week is Michael Baxter's review of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' last book, American Babylon: Notes of a Christian in Exile, which Baxter says "is about being Christian in the United States."

Baxter writes: "While readily admitting that the American experiment has weaknesses, [Neuhaus] is clearly not ready to hand over its title as the last best hope of the West."

For another look at the Neuhaus book, check out a review by George Weigel, Neuhaus' longtime friend and intellectual companion. Weigel writes:

For [Neuhaus] was a radically converted Christian disciple who believed with the author of the Letter to the Hebrews that "here we have no lasting city," because everything about this city, about life here and now, is directed toward "the city which is to come" [Hebrews 13.14].

He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit

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"He was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith." Acts 11:23

The bane of bus riders is having a dollar bill that won't flow into the slot because it is too wrinkled. The machine beeps loudly until you get it right, and the line of people behind you, especially those with automatic swipe cards, send a collective message for you to get with it. A crisp new dollar is hard to find. From printer to shredder, most paper money must live a rugged life, all those George Washingtons jammed into pockets, used in thousands of small transactions, folded and crumpled over and over before being retired.

Fr. Thomas Berry's funeral service in Greensboro, N.C.

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By PATRICK O’NEILL
GREENSBORO, NC - A great thinker and scholar, the Rev. Thomas Berry was known worldwide for his passionate love of Creation and planet Earth. Another side of the Passionist priest, who died June 1 at age 94, was revealed in the glowing tributes delivered at his June 3 funeral at St. Paul the Apostle Church in his hometown.

Speaking for the Passionist community, Fr. Terence Kristofak, C.P. said Berry had “entrusted himself to the Divine cosmic embrace that he so often contemplated, brooded over and spoke about.

“We say goodbye to our beloved friend and companion, Passionist religious and priest, prophet and seer, thinker and lover of humanity and all created reality, and in the same breath know that he has been welcomed into another dimension of Divine life.”

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.”

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September 12-25, 2014

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