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Benedictine monks to close down cattle business

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NPR's All Things Considered presented an interesting interview with the monks about the closing of their cattle operation.

The Benedictine Monks of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota, are reluctantly giving up a century-old tradition.

The monks started the monastery in 1899 and they have had a farm right from the beginning. It was a way of raising our own food. In the early days, everybody had beef cattle and dairy cattle, but now, in recent years, we are selling most of the cows. We still butcher our own, but we don't butcher very many, so it's the source of income for the abbey.

A source of income that's about to disappear as the monks prepare to sell their herd at auction, probably around Thanksgiving. Abbott Brian Wangler, who's in charge here, says it's strictly because there just aren't enough monk cowboys to manage the herd. Most monks here are older than 40 and fewer young men are entering religious orders these days.

Jason Berry profiled in Washington Post

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The Post yesterday printed a revealing profile of freelance writer Jason Berry, whose reporting in the 1980s provided the first deep look at what would become the international clergy sex abuse scandal. Still a believer, still going to church and still reporting on the church's dark secrets, Berry explains to the interviewer why he stays. It was on Berry's initial reporting that NCR based its earliest coverage of the sex abuse scandal. The first story appeared in June, 1985. His latest book, Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, examines how money flows through church structures with little accountability for how it's collected and how it's used.

Class warfare or economic justice?

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At last, the Obama of 2008 has returned! On Monday, he gave a rousing speech in which he presented a plan for long-term deficit reduction.

As part of that, he advocated higher taxes on the wealthy, and he said he would veto measures that essentially charged the deficit to lower- and middle-income people and did not raise taxes on millionaires, or get rid of some of the most egregious loopholes.

The Republicans immediately cried, "class warfare!"

This is a phrase that has peppered American political speech for several decades now. But, I wonder, whenever I hear it, who is supposedly waging "class warfare" on whom?

On this day: St. Matthew

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew, Apostle, Evangelist.

Click here for the Liturgy of the Hours and here for the Mass.

In Meeting St. Matthew Today: Understanding the Man, His Mission, and His Message, Loyola Press, 2010, Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., explains why the Gospel ascribed to Matthew is the most Jewish Gospel, and why "for some it is also the most anti-Jewish."

Scranton, Pa. priest turns 100

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From Scranton's The Times-Leader:

The Rev. Harry Lewis was born the year Chevrolet started competing with the Ford Model T. He served in the military at the Battle of the Bulge, became a priest the year “All About Eve” won the best picture Oscar and retired from priesthood as Ronald Reagan’s presidency wound down.

On Monday, as he waited for the start of a special Mass marking his 100th birthday – apparently the first Diocese of Scranton priest ever to reach that watershed – the wry, endlessly upbeat Lewis answered the inevitable question about his secret to longevity with a tease.

“I’m going to write a book about it,” Lewis said with a laugh.

As inmate faces execution Wednesday, questions of guilt remain

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My friend Art Laffin, a Catholic peace activist and member of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, is among the growing chorus of voices pleading for the life of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis who is scheduled to be executed Wednesday.

Davis appears before Georgia’s Board of Pardon and Parole today and Art is requesting that people call the Board and ask for clemency.

“We have to save Troy’s life,” Art wrote in an email circulated late last night.

Davis was convicted in the 1989 killing of a Savannah off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail, Sr., but has always maintained his innocence. The case against Davis has “fallen apart” says Amnesty International. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. All but two of the state’s non-police witnesses have recanted and many have stated in sworn affidavits they were pressured into testifying against him.

Davis’ high-profile case has not only attracted the attention of anti-death penalty activists but those who believe there is too much doubt about his guilt to allow an execution to go forward.

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