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Archbishop Borders of Baltimore, dies at 96

BALTIMORE -- Archbishop William D. Borders, who retired in 1989 as the 13th archbishop of Baltimore, died April 19 at Mercy Ridge Retirement Community in the Baltimore suburb of Timonium.

He was 96 and had been battling colon cancer. He was the fourth-oldest living Catholic bishop in the United States at the time of his death.

Renowned for his commitment to collegiality, social justice and a pastoral approach to leadership, Archbishop Borders led the archdiocese from 1974 to 1989. He continued to reside in Baltimore throughout his retirement, maintaining an active priestly ministry well into the last year of his life.

"Archbishop Borders was a man of deep faith, great humility and great love for God, the church and this archdiocese," said Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien, the current archbishop of Baltimore. "As a result, he was universally loved by the people of this local church, by his brother bishops and priests, and by all who were blessed to call him Archbishop, Father, teacher, brother and friend."

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Priest, keeper of the Word, risk-embracer

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I wrote Daniel Berrigan’s obituary the other day. The Jesuit priest, writer, teacher, dramatist, peacemaker, war resister and truth-teller who lives in New York City isn’t dead, of course, nor is he even close to being ill as he nears his 89th birthday this spring. The obituary editor at The Washington Post, my old paper, said he wanted an expansive piece written unhurriedly beforehand rather than risk a quickie dashed off under deadline pressure. In the newspaper world, advance obituaries are usually reserved for the giants -- presidents and popes. Which explains why Berrigan gets one: He is a giant.

Remembering Oscar Romero

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ESSAY

About six months before Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was killed on March 24, 1980, I spent three days with him, traveling to rural towns and the urban slum of La Chacra. As Latin American correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter at the time, I had frequently interviewed Romero and listened to his Sunday homilies. However, these three days marked the first time I had seen the archbishop outside of a formal setting.

Biologist, former Dominican, wins Templeton Prize

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A former Dominican priest and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for respect between the two has won this year’s $1.53 million Templeton Prize.

Francisco J. Ayala, a professor of biological science at the University of California, Irvine, was named the winner of the 2010 prize March 25. According to the John Templeton Foundation, which has awarded the prize yearly since 1973, Ayala’s “respect for the rightful, if separate, roles of science and faith have allowed him to consider questions ... that draw upon each discipline and may bring new insights that advance human endeavor.”

Second gay bishop OKíd for Episcopal Church

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A lesbian priest has been confirmed as an assistant bishop in Los Angeles, making her the Episcopal Church’s second openly gay bishop and potentially widening its breach with Anglicans overseas.

A majority of the more than 100 bishops and dioceses in the Episcopal Church ratified the December election of Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori announced on Wednesday (March 17).

Mel Gibson, revenge and redemption

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Director Martin Campbell’s new film, “The Edge of Darkness,” is a blessing of sorts for Academy Award-winning director/writer/actor Mel Gibson. In this tense conspiracy thriller, Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston police detective. On a rainy night, he welcomes his daughter home from her secretive job. Once home, Emma (Bojana Novakovic) wants to tell her father something but as they step out into the night she is blasted away by a powerful rifle before she can do so.

The Boston cops think that Thomas was the target but he turns small signs into clues and is soon carrying out his own investigation. With nothing to lose now that his daughter is dead, he vows to get the killer or killers who took away his only child.

Exceptions to celibacy rule puzzle priests

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VATICAN CITY -- Exceptions to celibacy for priests in the Roman Catholic Church can be puzzling, including for young priests enthusiastic about their vocation.

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, run by Opus Dei in Rome, held a theological conference on priestly celibacy March 4-5 and while no one challenged mandatory celibacy, there were repeated questions about the exceptions made in some of the Eastern Catholic churches and for clergy coming from the Anglican Communion.

"If celibacy is so tied theologically and spiritually to priestly identity, why the exceptions?" the questioners asked.

Speakers at the conference, attended mostly by priests and seminarians, acknowledged the confusion caused by the exceptions and by the frequent statement that celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma, and so conceivably could change.

"In the eyes of many, the church hierarchy and especially the Apostolic See seem to hold contradictory positions on priestly celibacy," said Father Laurent Touze, a professor of spiritual theology and author of a book on the future of priestly celibacy.

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