Blog: Congress and the Catholic Church. Michael O'Loughlin says, just like we hate "Congress" but love our local represetative, we cringe at "the Church" but love our local parish
I have mixed feelings about Santa.
Sure, he represents the spirit of giving, is based on a saint and can be very useful for coercing good behavior out of children for about three weeks out of the year.
On the other hand, he has come to symbolize the overemphasis on presents, the blurring of the line between "wants" and "needs" and general excessive materialism during what should be a spiritual season. Nothing says "Gimme" like a kid making a list for Santa.
While most parents love to encourage the magic of Santa, making the annual photo on a store Santa's lap an important tradition, others shy away from embellishing the story too much. For it is a story, after all, and one children eventually learn is based on much "fibbing" by their parents.
But if you really want to get controversial, try bring up the topic of Santa in church.
As part of Christmas Eve family Masses, some parishes have added a visit from Old St. Nick, perhaps in part to pique the interest of kids who can't help but be thinking of what will be under their tree the next day.
Back in October, I blogged that the Allentown, Pa., diocese lost its appeal in paying a health care provider for services provided to one of its priests, Fr. James Mulligan, who slipped, fell and injured himself.
The diocese lost its appeal for re-argument and will be required to pay about $264,000 to the Lehigh Valley Health Network:
The total cost of in-patient care was $406,338.79. The diocese paid only $142,196, short-changing Lehigh Valley Health Network more than $260,000.
Opinion: Prague, Czech Republic -- Catholic church appropriated atheist Havel
Blog: Putting the Cardinal's Klan comment in perspective, Cardinal George was hearkening to the Klan of the 1920s, which was part of Nativist hysteria
Chicago Cardinal Francis George was roundly criticized Friday after he compared members of the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan. The cardinal was concerned that the planned route of the gay pride parade in June 2012 would interfere with services at a North Side parish.
"You know you don't want the Gay Liberation Movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," he said while taping an interview for Fox News.
"I think the cardinal's remarks were inappropriate and disrespectful," said Greg Harris, an openly gay state representative whose district includes the parade route. "We should always treat each other with respect, even when we disagree."
Meanwhile, parade organizers have agreed to delay the start until noon to accommodate Sunday parishioners along the parade route.
Among the many themes that emerge or converge in the films of director/ producer/writer Steven Spielberg are lonely children and war, specifically World War II.
These themes can be found in the kids in "E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) as well as the Oscar-winning "Schindler's List" (1993), in which viewers may remember the little Jewish girl in a red coat, waiting for transport to the Nazi death camps. They can be found in "The Color Purple" (1985) (for which Spielberg deserved an Oscar) and one of my personal favorites, this year's "Super 8," where Spielberg captures children who are lonely or estranged from or in tension with their fathers.
One of the most interesting news stories of 2011 is the increasing number of countries in which Catholic priests have issued statements urging radical church reform.
In most cases, the declaration included a call for the ordination of married men and the ordination of women. In Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium, these remarkable documents quickly attracted growing endorsements from other clergy and laity. However, in every case, they also aroused questions, doubts and strong disagreement from other quarters. These movements must be stopped, declared some critics, calling the declarations blasphemy, heresy, an affront to legitimate authority and cause for the excommunication of their leaders and proponents.
A few Catholic health care organizations -- among them Genesys Physician Hospital Organization in Michigan, Franciscan Alliance in Indiana and Seton Health Alliance in Texas -- have been selected to participate in an initiative, the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization Model, which is designed to provide better care while reducing Medicare costs.
The Health and Human Services program, which begins Sunday, includes 32 health care organizations nationwide selected for their experience with patient-centered care. They will be evaluated over the next few years, according to this press release from HHS.
The ACOs "are designed to save $1 billion over five years by promoting coordination between doctors and hospitals and ensuring that people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure get the care they need to stay out of the hospital," according to this Kaiser Health News story.
(Kathy Kelly writes from Kabul, Afghanistan. See her Christmas reflection here.)
December 27, 2011
Kabul--Arab Spring, European Summer, American Autumn, and now the challenge of
winter. Here in Kabul, Afghanistan, the travelers of our small Voices for
Creative Nonviolence delegation share an apartment with several of the
creative and determined "Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers" who’ve risked so
much for peace here and befriended us so warmly over the past two years.
Our apartment doesn’t have indoor heating or hot tap water. We bundle up,
overnight, in blankets, quilts and sleeping bags, and the Westerners,
unaccustomed to the indoor cold, wear at least five layers of clothing
during the daytime. Tap water is contaminated, electricity shortages are
frequent, and internet access is spotty, but compared to those who live in
Kabul’s refugee camps, we’re ensconced in plenty of creature comforts.
What’s more, we are warmed by a sense of shared purpose, our spirits high,
building and exploring relationships which are a model and a hope to us, in
Stafford, N.J. -- First Christmas Spanish Mass celebrated at St. Mary of the Pines
Hue, Vietnam -- Layman earns Vatican knighthood
Opinion: Lexington, Ky. -- Corporate hijack or Catholic health? An ever-changing story