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On this day: Christopher Columbus


On this day, in 1492, after 70 days at sea, Christopher Columbus stepped out of his boat and onto an island in the Bahamas.

On the previous evening, "when, according to invariable custom on board of the admiral's ship, the mariners had sung the Salve Regina, or vesper hymn to the Virgin, he made an impressive address to his crew. He pointed out the goodness of God in thus conducting them by soft and favouring breezes across a tranquil ocean, cheering their hope continually with fresh signs, increasing as their fears augmented, and thus leading and guiding them to a promised land."

--The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, by Washington Irving, 1828. Search term: Salve Regina. Page 107, ff.

'Hope&Joy' in South Africa: The beginning of the program


Earlier this year, I was invited by our community of Daughters of St. Paul in Johannesburg, South Africa, to take part in a two-year program running up to the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.

Pope John XXIII announced his intention to call for a council Jan. 25, 1959, a mere three months into his pontificate. He convoked the council on Oct. 11, 1962, and Pope Paul VI closed the council Dec. 8, 1965.

The program is titled "Hope&Joy," drawn from the opening words of the final document of Vatican II, "Gaudium et spes," or "The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World." This document was not envisioned or planned before the council convened like the others, but emerged from the work and input of the council participants, and, one might surmise, their associates and consultants and the Holy Spirit. It was promulgated on Dec. 7, 1965, one day before the end of the Second Vatican Council. (I am not sure yet why they chose hope and joy rather than the exact translation "joy and hope.")

Nuclear disarmament the topic at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library


For years it was something only peaceniks would openly discuss. Now, it seems, everybody wants to talk about nuclear disarmament, from former president Jimmy Carter to higher-ups in the Reagan administration.

This week, reports NPR, over 70 people once powerful in government are meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to find ways to persuade governments to seriously work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The meeting, NPR says, reflects that nuclear disarmament is one of the few bipartisan issues left.

From the piece:

"Lawrence S. Wittner, a history professor at New York State's University at Albany, is the author of several volumes on anti-nuclear efforts, including Toward Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present. Wittner is keeping close watch on the event at the Reagan Library, which he says "is indicative of how much progress has been made in convincing former members of the national security establishment and other world leaders that the maintenance of nuclear arsenals imperils the world.""

Nobel Peace Price winner a powerful woman


What a wonderful surprise this morning! It's not every day that I wake up to the news that someone I have interviewed on Interfaith Voices won the Nobel Peace Prize. But it happened today. NPR announced that Leymah Gbowee of Liberia was one of three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011.

I am thrilled for her and for the other winners as well: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. And I am especially excited that all three are women, honored "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

I have had the privilege of interviewing Leymah, and the honor of presenting her with a Living Legends Award at a local church near Washington, D.C. In person, she is one powerful woman!

Candidates for bishops' committees heads announced


This just in from the U.S. bishops' conference media office: At their November meeting, the U.S. bishops will be electing new leaders for their various committees. Following is a slate of candidate for the various posts.

For immediate release

Bishops to vote for chairmen-elect of five committees, secretary-elect, international justice and peace chairman at November meeting

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will vote for their secretary-elect, the chairmen-elect of five committees and the new chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace when they gather in Baltimore for their November 14-16 Fall General Assembly.

The 1 percent


If you aren't reading "Beat the Press," commentary on economic reporting by Dean Baker, you're missing some of the best progressive economic thought available.

Today, for instance, Baker takes on New York Times columnists, David Brooks, calling him the Bard of the 1 Percent. Baker writes:

David Brooks delved deep into his storage locker of misinformation to tell readers that the idea of blaming the richest 1 Percent for the country's problems is just silly. He told us that the really big ideas aren't about reversing the upward redistribution of income from the top, they are from centrists who want to do things like cut our Social Security and make us pay more for health care. ...

In other words, Brooks wants all those people who are unemployed and losing their homes to just suck it up. Nothing is going to be done to help you: get over it.

On this day: Peter Pan


On this day, a century ago, James M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy, illustrated by F. D. Bedford, was published in England by Hodder & Stoughton and in the United States by Charles Scribner's Sons. Later editions would be titled Peter Pan and Wendy, and later still, just Peter Pan.

The book was the novelization of Barrie's successful 1904 play, Peter Pan. On opening night, at the Duke of York's Theatre, Barrie "instructed the members of the orchestra to put down their instruments and clap when Peter appealed for help to save Tinker Bell's life and cried out, 'If you believe in fairies, clap your hands.' However, there had been no need for these instructions, for the audience clapped thunderously, causing Nina Boucicault, the actress playing Peter, to burst into tears."


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS