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German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighs in on sex abuse scandal for the first time


Munich, Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday commented for the first time on the clergy abuse scandal captivating Germany. Speaking to the German parliament, the Bundestag, during a debate on the country's 2010 budget, Merkel said that "sexual abuse of children ... is an abhorrent crime." She went on to say that "there is only one possibility for our society to come to grips with these cases: truth and clarity about all that has happened."

Prior to Wednesday's comments, Merkel had been criticized for not having spoken up about the cases, which have been generating headlines in Germany ever since the first revelations.

Me & CFC


Most days it would never occur to me to give a thought to the group Catholics for Choice (CFC). It is an unpleasant topic. Better to think about Somalia, or the stomach flu, than to occupy one’s mind with a group that seems determined to make a mockery of the moral tragedy which is abortion. They give a bad name to those on the Catholic left who really do struggle with the complexities of the issue, who understand that there is no shame in ambivalence and great honor in wrestling with moral difficulty. CFC is to the Catholic Left what Randall Terry is to the Catholic Right, an embarrassment. Still, in this great, free country of ours, they are entitled to their opinion, even if it is a loathsome opinion.

Thousands of Catholic sisters support health care reform


Here's a media statement from Network:

Catholic Sisters Support Passage of Healthcare Bill

Washington DC: NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, released the text of a letter to Congress supporting healthcare legislation from organizations and communities representing tens of thousands of Catholic Sisters. This letter (text below), which is being delivered to each Member of Congress today, comes just days after a statement in support of passing healthcare reform by Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association.

NETWORK strongly supports both documents and is working on all levels to promote passage in the next few days of a strong healthcare bill that will extend healthcare coverage to millions more people while eliminating unjust practices in the healthcare field.

Justice pioneer passes


Joe Winter, who writes for NCR on occasion from Wisconsin and Minnesota, sent the following this morning.

Milwaukee -- A priest turned married man who was at the cusp of the social justice movement in Milwaukee, especially as it struggled greatly with race relations, died March 3. He was 94.

Eugene Bleidorn said he battled in his own mind to mix the challenges and responsibilities of being a priest and later becoming a married man, and that he felt black people in this country get short shrift. Later in life, he took on the first-of-its-kind Wisconsin Works program that sought to essentially end welfare in the state. He was an investigator with the state Equal Rights Division, and an affirmative action officer for the State Vocational School System.

He often stated -- and wrote in his autobiography -- that he was especially moved in his first years as a priest while working alongside Fr. James Groppi and other civil rights activists at St. Boniface Parish in Milwaukee, where he first was assigned.

Read more here: Bleidorn wanted to serve all people

'Live kindly'


In mid-May of the year 1373 the woman who would later compose the first book ever written in the English language died at the tender age of 31 ... or so her bedside companions thought. In the throes of a severe respiratory infection, this middle-class English woman, Juliana by name, experienced wht we call today a "near death experience." In visions like those of the star traveler in 2001: A Space Odyssey, she navigated star systems up and down the wide corridors of our galaxy, crying out Benedicite! in bewildered fear and dread. Through the vast, wounded heart of our world, she journeyed to a beautiful and shining city, which it turned out was located within her own soul. There, in hushed awe and breathless wonder, she saw the divine mystery personified, the Holy One -- whom she described as, curiously enough, a bit homely, but also most courteous and personable. The Divine Sustainer held the whole universe (it looked like a little wrinkled hazelnut) in warm, caring hands -- loving it, suffering along with it, bathing it in kindness and love.

Mar. 17, St. Patrick's Day


"I am Patrick. I am a sinner: the most unsophisticated of people; the least among all the Christians; and, to many, the most contemptible. I am the son of the deacon Calpornius, as he was the son of the priest Potitus who belonged to the village on Bannavern Taburniae. Indeed, near it he had a small estate from where, when aged about sixteen, I was taken captive. I was then ignorant of the true God and, along with thousands upon thousands of others, was taken into captivity in Ireland."

--from The Confession of St. Patrick, as quoted in Discovering Saint Patrick, by Thomas O'Loughlin, Paulist Press, 2005.


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