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Haitian activist priest Jean-Juste dies at 62

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Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, prominent leader for Haitian immigrants, advocate for the poor and a rumored candidate for the Haitian presidency, passed away Wednesday, May 27, in his adopted hometown of Miami.

For over three decades, Jean-Juste put his liberation theology beliefs into action, working for various causes both in the United States and his home country of Haiti.

Jean-Juste had been suffering from cancer over the last few years, although the 62 year old died from unrelated respiratory complications, friends said.

Speaking in a July 2008 interview, Jean-Juste talked about being born in Kavayon, Haiti, and having to attend a Canadian seminary in the late 1960s because the Duvalier regime had shut down seminaries in Haiti. He was ordained in New York City in 1971 but, by the end of the 1970s, had made his way to Miami to work with the exploding Haitian immigrant population.

Miami priest joins Episcopal church

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A Catholic priest photographed frolicking with a woman on a Florida beach announced Thursday he had joined the Episcopal Church to pursue the priesthood in a faith that allows married clergy.

The charismatic 40-year-old is a well-known religious leader in Miami who dispensed relationship advice on Spanish-language television shows, church radio programs and newspaper columns.

He was relieved of his duties at St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach earlier this month after an entertainment magazine published photos of him in swim trunks, snuggling and kissing a woman on the sands of a beach in Florida.

Cutie later said he had fallen in love with the woman and broken his vow of celibacy. He apologized for his behavior, but told a television network, "I didn't stop being a man just because I put on a cassock. There are trousers under this cassock."

The woman in the photographs, identified in media reports as Ruhama Canellis, stood at Cutie's side as he held a news conference at Trinity Cathedral, where the couple underwent a ceremony to join the Episcopalians.

The Episcopal church ordains men and women as priests, married or single.

Miracles in the music of Carrie Newcomer

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Back in the olden days, when people listened to music on CDs, I used to store my many disks in CD towers, now-defunct pieces of furniture with slots for those earth-destroying jewel cases. One whole tower was devoted to what this feminist tongue-in-cheekly calls “chick music”: Alanis Morissette, the Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Melissa Etheridge, Liz Phair -- you know, the Lilith Fair crowd.

VIEWPOINT: 'Nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah'

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At 74, Canadian singer and writer Leonard Cohen is in the midst of a two-year world tour undertaken for partly practical reasons. Several years ago, his business manager absconded with his life’s savings, and Cohen is now replenishing his retirement account.

For fans and others, it affords an opportunity to reflect back on his career. While never Catholic -- he is Jewish and has dabbled in Scientology and lived as a Zen Buddhist monk -- he has cultivated an abiding fascination with Catholicism that he attributes to his Irish nanny who raised him “part Catholic.”

Judge Sotomayor's experience trumps all

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Sooner or later the Catholic faith of Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be raised as an objection to her nomination and appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Judge Sotomayor is a moderate. As a consequence, she is just as likely to be attacked from left as from right. That's probably not what President Obama means by common ground, but one can admire him for finding a woman seemingly so capable of adhering to the law rather than her personal opinion, and for on occasion, even resolving cases contrary to the president's own policy perspectives.

One possible objection to Judge Sotomayor from the left will be her Catholic faith. There are already five Catholics on the court, it will be said. When the court upheld Congress’ limits on the partial-birth abortion ban, there were more than a few grumbles that it's just those Catholics having their way. Completely unfair. Anyone who actually read the opinion knows different.

Remembering Unsworth

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Death spawns warm memories. So I sit before my computer today in a happy-sad place. It was one year ago, April 30, 2008, that NCR columnist Tim Unsworth met up with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. I imagine the impish Unsworth soon had the old saint in stitches with his Catholic yarns. He’d be talking about old Chicago parishes: churches filled with widows, antsy children, cranky pastors and those authoritative ushers. No doubt he eventually had Peter doubled over in laughter, and when the saint was appropriately distracted, our beloved Unsworth would have made his move and darted forward. But even as he zipped through the gates I can imagine Unsworth wondering if he’d made the right choice, concerned that some friends had gone the other way. No matter, he would quickly build bonds and argue their causes from up in heaven.

Fr. Lawrence Rosebaugh eulogized in Guatemala

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GUATEMALA CITY -- Oblate Fr. Lawrence Rosebaugh, a U.S. priest with a long history of taking risks to aid the poor and marginalized, was killed in a highway robbery in Guatemala May 18.

A Congolese Oblate priest in the vehicle with him was wounded by the bullet that killed Father Rosebaugh, but was expected to recover. Three other Oblate priests traveling with them were uninjured.

Priest suspended following photos with woman

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MIAMI

The Miami priest suspended from his parish and Catholic radio posts after photos of him with a woman on the beach were released by a tabloid magazine said he has had a romantic relationship with the woman for about two years and is in love with her.

Father Alberto Cutie, who had been administrator of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Miami Beach and general director and president of Pax Catholic Communications, spoke about the unnamed woman in a May 11 interview with "The Early Show" on CBS television.

The photos of the Cuban-American priest -- dubbed "Father Oprah" because of the advice he gives to couples on Spanish radio and television -- were published in the Spanish-language magazine TVNotas May 5.

Father Cutie opened the "Early Show" interview with apologies to the Catholic community, Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora and his fellow priests for his actions, which he called "imprudent" and "stupid."

"I don't support the breaking of the celibacy promise," he said. "I understand fully that this is wrong."

He gives everything he has to his art

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Los Angeles artist John August Swanson describes his art as “my most social act.” Artistic activity and life combine in him to form a ministry he has practiced for more than four decades.

The 71-year-old Swanson recently celebrated the installation of 44 of his vibrant, detailed paintings and prints at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, the largest permanent exhibition of his work in the United States.

Jan Love, dean of this Methodist theology school, was attracted to Swanson’s work not only for its beauty but for its power to express the global reach of Christian experience.

These works now hang in the school’s newly constructed 65,000-square foot theology building, the locus of learning for Candler’s diverse and international student body, in which more than 30 Christian denominations, including Catholics, are represented.

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September 12-25, 2014

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