National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Activist who took down Confederate flag drew on her faith and on new civil rights awakening

As she prepared for her mission — scaling the 30-foot flagpole outside the South Carolina Statehouse to bring down the Confederate flag — Bree Newsome reread the biblical story of David and Goliath.

A youth organizer with Ignite NC, a nonprofit group challenging voting laws, Newsome appeared briefly to raucous cheers July 11 on the main stage of the Wild Goose Festival after speaking to a smaller crowd at the four-day camp revival that celebrates spirituality, arts and justice.

At Bolivian prison, pope calls himself man 'saved from his many sins'

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Pope Francis visited one of Latin America's most notorious prisons, calling himself "a man who was and is saved from his many sins."

"I couldn't leave Bolivia without seeing you, without sharing the hope and faith given in the cross," he told people at Palmasola prison in Santa Cruz.

Speaking on the final morning of his less than 48-hour visit to Bolivia, the pope called for conversion and a changing of attitudes among inmates in their relations among each other and the broader society, which often views such populations with suspicions.

Boston Marathon bomber prayerfully apologizes to victims; judge orders death penalty

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Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologized in court Wednesday for "the suffering that I've caused" in the April 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded hundreds.

Tsarnaev said in a shaky voice that he was guilty and that he prays for the victims.

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done -- irreparable damage," he said, breaking more than two years of public silence.

"I pray for your relief, for your healing," he added.

Faith impels us

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Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as saying, "People say there are no atheists in foxholes. A lot of people think this is a good argument against atheism. Personally, I think it's a much better argument against foxholes."

That thought might offer a good start for us as we meditate on the question of a good God and suffering, an underlying theme of today's readings.

Juneteenth celebration resonates in wake of Charleston, S.C., tragedy

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Two days after Dylann Roof allegedly opened fire inside an historic black church in a city with deep black historical roots, the country is poised Friday to celebrate black empowerment and freedom from slavery.

Based on comments floating through social media and on editorials from news organizations, Juneteenth will have particular significance in Charleston, S.C., the community where nine people died after being shot during a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a house of worship founded by slave revolt organizer Denmark Vesey and others.

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