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Challenging the church on abuse


Recommended reading: The New York Times' "Room for Debate: A running commentary on the news" blog has a must read series of articles, Changing the Vatican’s Response to Abuse, about the clergy sex abuse crisis. NCR has been dogging this story since the mid-1980s. With attention focused squarely on the highest levels of church structures, I think it is fair to say that this crisis has entered a new phase.

Regular NCR readers will recognize all the people the Times asked to write on the topic. Our senior correspondent, John L. Allen Jr., is there, as is our Young Voices columnist Nicole Sotelo. Nicholas Cafardi has written commentary for us before, and David Gibson has written for us too. I am not sure if David Clohessy has ever actually written for us -- I'll have to check the archives -- but he has been a news source innumerable times.

Stupak on 'Living Hell'


Those who have watched Bart Stupak (D-MI) over the years know that he is more a "workhorse" than "showhorse." That's why Rachel Maddow's claims that Stupak is opposing the current health care bill because he wants the publicity strike anyone with any knowledge of the man as ludicrous. (If you click on the link you'll have to endure a short advertisement.)

But I didn't realize, according to this report from The Hill, that he "has never signed up for federal health benefits because he promised voters in 1992 that he wouldn’t until universal healthcare was enacted."

Mar. 18, Bl. Martha Le Bouteiller


Aimee-Adele Le Bouteiller, who was born in 1816 in Percy, Manche, France, grew up "helping her widowed mother run the family farm and later working as a housemaid. She still found time to volunteer in her parish school, and she always joined in the parish's annual pilgrimage to the ancient shrine of Our Lady of Chappelle-sur-Vire."

--from> The Big Book of Women Saints, by Sarah Gallick, HarperOne, 2007, p. 88. (Search term: Postel.)

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.


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