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Peace & Justice

Advent readings inspire Occupy LA arrest



They came just before dawn; they came with fire trucks and ambulances and sirens blaring; they came in helicopters with rotary blades flapping; they came marching in lock step with helmets and visors and steel batons at "port arms." They came and came and came. They came to disperse, to clean up, and to clear out Occupy LA. The morning air was cold and I was shivering not from the cold but from fear. Small drops of sweat trickled down my armpits. This was the last place I wanted to be. At age 65 I was in the distinct minority of this ragtag assembly of youthful rabble-rousers, an alien in this collection of seemingly disorganized children.

Gay Catholic challenges Dolan to debate marriage


Catholic gay rights advocate Joe Murray has challenged Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York to a debate on gay marriage.

Murray is the executive director of the Rainbow Sash Movement, which advocates for acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics within the church.

Through a post issued Wednesday on Rainbow Sash’s blog, its board of directors state that Murray has challenged Dolan, president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, “to meet him in the public square at any Catholic university in the United States to debate gay marriage. Such a debate will not only be informative, but could highlight reason over homophobia.”

Pax Christi treasurer: More communication with bishops, youth needed


COLUMBUS, GA. -- Pax Christi USA's newly appointed National Council Treasurer Jack McHale doesn't mind getting kicked in the leg from under the table once in a while.

That's what happened to McHale one Saturday morning when he starting speaking frankly about the challenges facing Pax Christi as the organization tries to be more relevant in its role as the U.S. church's only major peace organization.

McHale, who was in town for the annual SOA Watch gathering Nov. 19 and 20 at the gates of Fort Benning, invited Pax Christi regional coordinators to a downtown Columbus coffeehouse to talk peace.

As McHale started to talk about strategies to raise Pax Christi's visibility and influence, he received his first kick from someone at the table who thought McHale should be more guarded in his comments in front of a reporter.

However, McHale, a 60-year-old father of four adult children, is an experienced fundraiser, a top-flight organizer and a person known for speaking his mind.

Catholics, Jews urged to work together to promote religious freedom


NEW YORK -- Catholics and Jews can most effectively capitalize on five decades of progress in their relations by joining forces to promote religious freedom, defend immigrants, face a common threat from fanatics and advocate for civility in politics and society, said New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan.

Adviser resigns following column linking same-sex attraction with devil


WASHINGTON -- A policy adviser to the U.S. bishops has resigned following a controversy over an opinion piece he wrote suggesting that same-sex attraction could be the work of the devil.

Daniel Avila, policy adviser for marriage and family to the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage since June 20, offered his resignation Nov. 4 and it was accepted, effective immediately.

Supreme Court won't reopen roadside crosses fight

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not reopen a case in which a lower court ruled that highway crosses memorializing Utah state troopers are unconstitutional.

The court's decision was harshly criticized by Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone dissenter, who said it "rejects an opportunity to provide clarity" to an area of church-state law that is "in shambles."

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, which filed the suit in 2005, said he hopes the court's announcement will bring the case to an end and lead to an alternative way of honoring troopers who died in the line of duty.

"Erecting divisive religious icons that violate the very Constitution the fallen troopers had sworn to uphold is not the way to honor those troopers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of their state," he said.

The conservative Alliance Defense Fund, which asked the court to consider the case, was disappointed.

"Justice is not well-served when unhappy atheists can use the law to mow down memorial crosses and renew the suffering for the survivors," said ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione.

Accusation university mistreats Muslim students 'without foundation'


WASHINGTON -- The president of The Catholic University of America has disputed a complaint filed with the District of Columbia's Office of Human Rights over the ability of Muslim students to engage in worship at the university.

"That charge is completely without foundation," declared president John Garvey in a statement sent to all students, faculty and staff Oct. 28.

Pope: Believers must oppose violence


ASSISI, Italy -- Taking 300 religious leaders with him on pilgrimage to Assisi, Pope Benedict XVI said people who are suspicious of religion cannot be blamed for questioning God's existence when they see believers use religion to justify violence.

"All their struggling and questioning is, in part, an appeal to believers to purify their faith so that God, the true God, becomes accessible," the pope said Oct. 27 during an interfaith gathering in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.

Marking the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi interfaith gathering for peace, hosted by Blessed John Paul II in 1986, Pope Benedict brought together the religious leaders and -- for the first time -- four philosophers who describe themselves as humanists or seekers who do not identify with any single religion.

After a train ride of almost two hours from the Vatican, Pope Benedict and his guests arrived in Assisi and were driven to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels for the morning gathering focused on "testimonies for peace."



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April 22-May 5, 2016


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