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Facebook and faith

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Faith can come from some unusual places -- a long-time friend of mine has found a ready supply on Facebook.

Jim's youngest child is siffering from a rare disorder, the kind of malady that can leave families feeling alone in their worries, isolated by their concerns.

But Jim found social media as a way to connect -- to reach out instead of withdraw, and the faithful responses he received surprised him.

He's written about it on the Huffington Post.

Quest found 'crammed with energy, pathos, yearning, celebration'

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With Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God under attack by the U.S. bishops' doctrinal committee, it is helpful going back to look at some of its book reviews.

Regina Schulte, a retired theologian living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, wrote one for Corpus Reports, the publication of a church renewal group by the same name.

The review follows:

This book is not a “how to” shopping guide for individuals seeking a religious faith or spirituality for their personal lives. Rather, as indicated by its sub-title, it is a survey of contemporary life experiences wherein communities of people are finding God’s presence in new territories.

Our Pentagon 'treasure': The F-35

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For Lent I’ve been pursuing the theme, “Where your treasure is, there your heart is also” (Mt. 6:21). Our U.S. treasure resides, of course, in the Pentagon’s research, development, manufacture, ownership, sale and gift of weapons. This year we will spend about $700 billion at the Pentagon.

The Government Accounting Office published a list of Pentagon boondoggles -- procurement contracts that are both expensive and ineffective. It is difficult to get one’s head around that word “expensive.”

The planned F-35 fighter airplane, for example, will cost more than the GDP of Australia -- about a trillion dollars. So says Dominic Tierney in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine.

Some years ago I was at an arms briefing for contractors at a Washington, DC hotel. (In reply to my appeal, the organizers gave me a cut-rate $300 registration fee.) Among other things, I heard one speaker say that it would be a crime for our grandchildren to be flying F-15s and F-18s. We needed the F-35 -- it was a matter of justice.

US among countries with the most executions

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It's disturbing to say the least to find the U.S. in and among China, Iran, North Korea, Yeman, Somalia and Saudi Arabia for the most executions:

In the Death Sentences and Executions in 2010 report, Amnesty International officially recorded a total of 527 executions in 23 countries. Though this figure is down from at least 714 executions in 2009, the number of nations sentencing convicts to death increased by four, the Associated Press is reporting.

Sad week for feminist Catholics?

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My first reaction to yesterday's news that Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois is being threatened with dismissal from his order was sadness. This man has given his life for others, and he has faced more than his fair share of persecution. Now the ultimate rejection: excommunication.

Then today the news about the U.S. bishops blasting Sister Elizabeth Johnson for her book on the Trinity.

They say bad news comes in threes. I'm afraid to check the NCR website.

But then I remember how my friend Janine Denomme, who followed her call to ordination through the Roman Catholic Womanpriests organization, was excommunicated then denied a funeral in her home parish. Those rejections hurt, but she never let those who persecuted her win. They only have power, she said, if you give it to them.

Voucher Bill Debated

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The House of Representatives just voted down an amendment (offered by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton) to the Washington DC voucher bill that would have gutted the program.

Soon to be debated: a voucher program that would provide $500 million over five years in direct assistance to poor families in the District of Columbia. Among the program’s supporters: former DC public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, ex-mayor Adrian Fenty, and the Catholic Church. House Speaker John Boehner, who along with Senator Ted Kennedy used to co-chair an annual dinner to raise money for DC’s Catholic schools, also strongly backs the bill. Some have termed it his “pet issue.”

If that’s the case, Boehner has chosen well.

Generally speaking, DC’s public schools are terrible, just awful. Few of us would choose to place our own children in the DC school system. That is, if we had the money. The poor families that have benefited from the program in the past, and others with young children just entering school, support the program by large margins.

The bill will get near universal support from the House’s Republican majority, strong opposition from the Democratic minority.

Johnson's book undermines the gospel, bishops say

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The U.S. bishops' committee on doctrine has condemned Sr. Elizbeth Johnson's book Quest for the Living God in a statement released this afternoon.

NCR's John Allen has the story: U.S. bishops blast book by feminist theologian

Here's the press release from the bishops' office with links to to the full statement and introductory remarks by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who chairs the committee.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BISHOPS’ DOCTRINE COMMITTEE FAULTS BOOK BY FORDHAM PROFESSOR

Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God distorts Catholic concept of God
Book does not recognize divine revelation as the standard for Catholic theology
Differs from authentic Catholic teaching on essential points

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine authorized a statement March 24, critiquing Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, a book by a Fordham University Professor, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York.

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April 22-May 5, 2016

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