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Morning Briefing

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Ottawa, Canada -- Disgraced Catholic bishop Raymond Lahey apologizes in court Tuesday for possessing child pornography, telling a judge he had an "indiscriminate" addiction to online pornography but didn't seek help because of his high-ranking position in the church.

Orange, Calif. -- 'Hour of Power' cathedral is future diocese home. Rev. Robert H. Schuller approves of sale, says he trusts Roman Catholic church, calling it the "mother church," which will never change its theology.

Chicago -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn defended his actions as governor on Monday after a meeting with the state's Catholic bishops.

United Methodist Women and edification

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Here's a story I love, a kind of pre-Christmas present to you, dear reader.

After World War II, the United Methodist Women's fund had accumulated to a sizable amount.

The United Methodist Men said, "Let us manage that money for you."

But the women answered, "No, we have some plans."

To the astonishment and (to some degree) the horror of the men, the women bought two buildings, one on 1st Avenue in New York, right across from the United Nations construction site, and the other in Washington, D.C., on Maryland Avenue, across Second Street from the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

For 60 years, these two buildings have offered low rent to nonprofit organizations to work for justice and peace at the United Nations and in the halls of Congress. These buildings were a great investment, a great gift to us all.

The other day I was explaining the meaning of the word "edify" to a young friend. I am indeed edified by the United Methodist Women. I'm also edified by the authors of so many profound and loving responses to my last blog on why military spending is bad for the economy. Thank you.

Morning Briefing

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In new book, Cardinal Wuerl encourages Catholics to challenge culture

'Posada' draws attention to immigration reform

Half world’s 2.3 billion Christians are Catholic: New survey

Alabama -- Church leaders seek repeal of immigration law

MANILA, Philippines -- 'We lack everything' With no clean water, electricity, food and shelter, residents of flood-hit areas in Mindanao are grappling with a humanitarian crisis.

Slab City becomes a respite for victims of recession

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Out in the far reaches of California's piece of the Mojave Desert is a place that has long been "off the grid," a gathering spot for people looking to drop out, hide out or just be left alone. But now the area known as "Slab City" -- near a shrinking lake called the Salton Sea -- finds itself growing in population as the recession drives more and more families out of their homes.

A report from CBS News, lays out what is going on, along with a more detailed follow-up this weekend by the Los Angeles Times.

Remembering Christopher Hitchens -- though not very fondly

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I had never heard of Christopher Hitchens, but after a certain event in 1994, I came to know him as one of the English-speaking world's most prolific atheists.

Back then I was living and studying in London, and my community was asked by Channel Four, the alternative to BBC I and II and the commercial channel ITV, to negotiate on its behalf with our sisters in Japan to use footage from an award-winning documentary they had produced on Mother Teresa, "Mother Teresa and Her World." (It was released in 1989 and directed by Shigeki Chiba, who had just released his third film about Mother Teresa; the producer was Sister Joseph Shirai Shoko, a Daughter of St. Paul.)

What if the immigrants we reject are Jesus, Mary and Joseph?

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Last week, I was in Santa Fe, N.M., and experienced a couple of things that made me reflect on the continuing concern over immigration to this country.

First, I attended the annual Las Posadas performance at the downtown Santa Fe plaza. This is the reenactment of the story of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem before Mary gave birth to the baby Jesus.

They were seeking posada, or shelter. Unfortunately, every inn they approached turned them away telling them that there was no posada available. Consequently, they had to find shelter in a barn. The play reminded me of our current immigrants, especially from Mexico and Central America, who enter without documents, but, like Mary and Joseph, seek posada in their cases from lack of economic opportunities for their families in their home countries.

However, and regretfully, like the innkeepers, we also deny them posada. Yet the Christmas season should remind us of how Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus also represented migrants and refugees who were rejected like today's immigrants.

Morning Briefing

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Joyful parishioners regain their church. The Archdiocese of Miami formally reopened St. Cecilia Church on Sunday, undoing an earlier decision to merge it with another parish.

Occupy Des Moines demonstrators establish an around-the-clock occupation outside of President Barack Obama’s Des Moines campaign office.

Gingrich Represents New Political Era for Catholics

Three best friends embrace H.U.G.S’ mission, Three best friends — all seniors at Joliet Catholic Academy — and created a program to teach young girls with Down Syndrome how to dance.

Why military spending is bad for the economy

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We may disagree about how much of a defense we need or what it is exactly that we are defending. But it is morally wrong to say that we must build the weapons because we need the jobs.

When I moved to St. Louis in 1972, I was astounded by the pervasive impact of McDonnell Douglas on the region's economy. About 16 percent of employment depended on Pentagon dollars. The endless refrain was, "We have to build the weapons because we need the jobs."

But the truth is that military spending is bad for the economy. I've written about this before, but there was a big complaint about my blog earlier this week that Pentagon budget cuts would result in unemployment. The truth is that we'd create more jobs by just putting the money back in everyone's pockets than by making weapons, training soldiers and fighting wars.

The Pentagon drains the economy of capital, skilled labor and technology.

Iranian engineer: We hacked U.S. drone

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The unmanned aerial U.S. attack drone that was downed in Iran was felled by exploiting a navigational weakness, an Iranian engineer studying the craft has revealed to the Christian Science Monitor.

The engineer, not named in the report, tells the Monitor that the Iranians knew to exploit a weakness in the craft's GPS navigation system to force it to land.

The report also notes that news of Iran's ability to down the drone comes as the U.S. and some other nations appear to be engaged in a covert-war with the the country.

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February 24-March 9, 2017

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