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Religious profiling?


The attempted destruction of Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day has raised new discussions about “profiling” passengers who are seeking to board flights. Some commentators want to single out all Muslims, or all Arabs (or all those who look like Arabs or Middle Easterners, I guess) – for special questioning or screening.

You know, every time I hear this, I wonder how we Catholics would feel if we were all “profiled” when liberation theology was popular… on suspicion that we might aid Latin American rebels somewhere.

Dec. 31, St. Jean-FranÁois RÈgis, S.J.


Today is the feast of St. Jean-François Régis, S.J.

"Born on January 31, 1597, in the district of Fontcouverte at the foot of the Pyrenees in the south of France, he died at age forty-three on December 31, 1640, in the mountain hamlet of Lalouvesc (la-loo-vay) located in the Massif Central, not far from the French Alps."

He entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 19, and after four years of theology at Toulouse, he was assigned to teach at the college (high school) at Le Puy. "The main problem was keeping the fifteen-year-olds from killing each other in duels over petty arguments."

Hope, Ark. or Oyster Bay, NY or Hyde Park, NY?


Harold Pollack over at TNR has a provocative idea: Whenever the health care bill is finally passed, President Obama should fly to Bill Clinton’s hometown of Hope, Arkansas and sign it there as a way of highlighting the role the Clintons’ effort in 1993, though unsuccessful, nonetheless paved the way for Obama’s almost certain victory on the issue early next year. He notes that Lyndon Johnson went to Independence, Missouri to sign Medicare into law at the Truman Library, highlighting his predeccesor’s effort which also had been unsuccessful.

Somersaults and tomfoolery


One of my favorite wise women, Brenda Ueland, once counseled parents exhausted by their energetic children, fed up with endless evening exhortations to get their overly hyper children to bed, thusly:

"You yourself should be so vigorous, so healthy, in the pink of condition, so inexhaustible, rambunctious, jolly, full of deviltry and frolic, of stories, of jokes and hilarity, of backward somersaults and tomfoolery, that your children at last, after hours of violent exercise, worn down by laughter and intellectual excitement, with pale, neurasthenic frowns on their foreheads, cry 'Pleee...aase, Mama, go to bed?' "

Health care African style


In a routine search for Catholic news on the Internet this morning, I came across this gem of a story from the Catholic Information Service of Africa.

The Catholic Diocese of Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo is building a new hospital in South Kivu, which is near the border with Rwanda and Burundi. Church officials said the hospital is "a symbol of peace among peoples suffering war."

Two bits of the story struck me: "The hospital, while it awaits electricity, will have a large central generator and generator sets for the various smaller pavilions."

While it waits for electricity ... That kind of puts our health care debate into perspective, doesn't it.

And: "There will also be 5 acres of land for agricultural crops (peanuts, maize, cassava, soy plant, beans, peas, legumes), and another 10 hectares to be cultivated to help self-financing of the hospital, available to the families of hospital staff and the sisters."

Dec. 30, Blessed Eugenia Ravasco, Founder


Today is the feast of Blessed Eugenia Ravasco, 1845-1900.
At the age of 23, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

"Bl. Eugenia Ravasco was wholly concerned with spreading love for the Hearts of Christ and Mary. Contemplating these two Hearts, she was passionately devoted to serving her neighbour and joyfully devoted her whole life to young people and the poor. With foresight, she was able to open herself to the pressing needs of the mission, with special concern for those who had 'fallen away' from the Church.

The Holy Family: Muslim Choices


This past Sunday, I worshiped with an intentional Eucharistic community in the DC area, known as Communitas. Those present customarily share their reflections on the Scriptures after the celebrant offers his reflections.

Sunday was, of course, the celebration of the Holy Family, and the celebrant raised up the Scripture passage about a follower of Jesus leaving family to follow him, even though that was not the gospel passage for the day.
I realized that I had never really warmed up to that passage. It juxtaposes values that are most often not in major conflict. Most of us work out the meaning of our faith in the context of family, not in opposition to it.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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