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Buffalo pastor admits theft of $213,000 from parish

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A Buffalo pastor, now retired, has admitted in court that he stole $213,000 from his last parish. He has, apparently, escaped jail time by paying it all back. Here's the story from The Buffalo News:

For a diocesan priest who made $20,000 a year for most of his career, the Rev. F. Norman Sullivan lived pretty well.

He owns a home on nine acres of wooded land in Colden, a condominium at the Estero Beach & Tennis Club in Fort Myers, Fla., and another condo in the U. S. Virgin Islands.

And on Thursday, when he pleaded guilty to stealing $213,732 from Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Cheektowaga — including taking money out of the collection plate—he avoided a prison term by repaying every cent of his theft.

Because he repaid the money he stole, including a last check for $94,619.88 on Thursday, Buscaglia said he had agreed to impose five years' probation on Sullivan when he returns for sentencing Oct. 5.

Prosecutors got onto the case with two anonymous tips. The story details how Sullivan skimmed the money and how he got way with it and then adds some Buffalo church history:

Pope's wrist operation 'went well'

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Agence-France Presse is reporting:

Pope's wrist operation 'went well': regional leader

AOSTA, ITALY - Pope Benedict XVI's operation for a fractured wrist on Friday "went well," the president of the Val d'Aosta region said in televised remarks.

"Everything went well" in the operation performed with a local anaesthetic in the hospital in Aosta, northern Italy, where the pope is on holiday, said Augusto Rollandin.

Cartoon movies and Catholics

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Shortly after our pop-culture critic, Sr. Rose Pacatte, did her review of the Dan Brown/Tom Hanks/Ron Howard collaboration, Angels & Demons: Everyone's trying to save the church, I noted that Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures was in pre-production of a movie of "Priest," the Korean comic book series created by Hyung Min-woo, starring a submachine gun toting, Roman collar wearing "warrior" priest.

Now I see that Nicolas Cage is talking about a sequel to his comic book brought to life movie of 2007, "Ghost Rider." According to the comics reporter of the Digital Spy Web site, Cage has agreed to reprise his role as the motorcycle-riding, flaming-skull spirit of vengeance Johnny Blaze, but he wants to "reconceive" the movie.

"I would like to go in a whole other direction," Cage is quoted as saying. "I would make it much less of a Western and more of an international story."

Cage's idea? Set the next story in Europe and have Johnny Blaze team up with the Catholic church.

A faith-based attack on the Taliban

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Baptist and the Mullah Launch a Faith-Based Attack on the Taliban

This is an interesting piece about a faith-based collaboration to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The article states:

In a country soaked with religion, it has fallen to an Oklahoma Baptist to turn Islam into a weapon against the Taliban.

The U.S. military, eager to hand the war over to the Afghan government, has placed mentors throughout the Afghan National Army. The Americans help commanders command, fliers fly and spies spy. U.S. Army Capt. James Hill, a baby-faced 27-year-old from Lawton, Okla., drew the job of mentoring Lt. Col. Abdul Haq, a 51-year-old army mullah who has never shaved.



I'm surprised some separation-of-church-and-state group hasn't stepped in to prevent such mentoring.

Kicanas: communications candor

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When discussion turns to the matter of communicating the church's message (the churchspeak is "use of the social means of communication"), too often the occasion becomes just one more opportunity to tee off on the messenger.

Rarely do church leaders reflect on their own roles and what they may need to do to be more effective communicators.

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas took a refreshingly different tack in a speech last month during a meeting in Philadelphia of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, which this year is focusing on communication.

It's a fairly lengthy speech, but worth the time, and worth especially getting to his "What we can do" list at the end.

Early in his talk, Kicanas discusses his love of theater and draws five "ingredients" necessary for effective communication:

-- Those telling the story must themselves be taken up by it;

-- The church's message is best communicated succinctly with emotion and color, and in concrete language people understand and that engages them;

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December 5-18, 2014

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