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On this day: Oliver Wendell Holmes

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On this day in 1809, Oliver Wendell Holmes was born.

"The twenty-ninth day of August, in the year eighteen hundred and nine, was Commencement Day in a double sense in the town of Cambridge, Massachusetts; for on that day of smiles and greetings, — the merriest of all the year, the day of the graduating festival of Harvard College, — the Rev. Dr. Abiel Holmes entered in his little almanac the memorandum, 'Son b.,' at the same time sprinkling over the writing a few grains of sand, which still glisten upon the page just as they did when he closed the book, seventy-four years ago."

--Oliver Wendell Holmes: Poet, Littérateur, Scientist, by William Sloane Kennedy, Boston, 1883, page 11.

Morning Briefing

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Archbishop O'Brien leaving Baltimore for post in Rome, Expected to continue work in Baltimore until successor is chosen

Archbishop Chaput bids adieu to Denver

Bolivia: Catholic bishop says indigenous people have a say in road development

John Paul II's blood brings hope for peace in Mexico, a waxen figure of late Pope John Paul II and relics (his blood) has begun a tour of the country.

Ireland Cardinal Brady defends seal of confession, says proposals on mandatory reporting of sex abuse may challenge religious freedom

Hermeneutics as Weapon

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Beware of hermeneutics! It’s a $25 Greek word, referring to the god Hermes, considered the inventor of language and speech, and it deals with the principles of interpretation used in examining the meaning of texts. In theological and philosophical circles, hermeneutics has a long, relatively polite history as scholars probed the writings of masters and came up with diverse (though not necessarily contradictory) meanings based on their hermeneutic perspective. Picture a formal dissertation with two scholars dissecting from different points of view a proposition (preferably in Latin) from Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, while a more or less rapt audience of students looks on.

That was then, this is now.

Moring Briefing

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This day in history. 1978 - John Paul I became Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He died one month later

Poll: U.S. split on MLK's dream

Landless worker leader shot to death in Brazil Catholic Land Pastoral says more than 1,150 rural activists have been killed in Brazil over the past 20 years.

Westwood, Ohio: Mother of Mercy, a Catholic girls high school, complied with a request from Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and backed out of hosting an interfaith Ramadan dinner at the school Friday night. Instead, the dinner will be held in the Catholic Center at St. Monica-St. George Parish in University Heights, which is not a school.

Steve Jobs, iconic Apple CEO, steps down

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From The New York Times:

Steven P. Jobs, whose insistent vision that he knew what consumers wanted made Apple one of the world's most valuable and influential companies, is stepping down as chief executive, the company announced late Wednesday. "I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know," Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company. "Unfortunately, that day has come."

Mr. Jobs, 56, has been on medical leave since January, his third such absence. He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and received a liver transplant in 2009. But as recently as a few weeks ago, Mr. Jobs was negotiating business issues with another Silicon Valley executive.

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A college drop-out, Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford University commencement address is worth 15 minutes of your time.

Upon reading Tom Roberts' blog on the future of religious life

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My head is spinning with multiple thoughts on the future of religious life.

In the opening of New Wineskins, Sandra Schneiders says there will always be men and women drawn to a communal, spiritual life. I found comfort in those words and I stopped worrying about the future of religious life. It has been a good life for me, and I do not know God's plan for the future.

In wake of World Youth Day, buzz over a fashion faux pas

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You might think commentators would have more important things to focus on in the wake of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to Spain for World Youth Day – such as the debate over the costs of the trip, or the questions of church/state relations it occasioned – but the buzz in both the Spanish and Italian press is instead over an alleged fashion faux pas.

Marriage, divorce rates highest in same U.S. regions

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According to an NPR story:

Singles, take note: With marriages at an all-time low, states in the South and West rank among the highest for couples hearing wedding bells. But many of these states also have higher rates of divorce.

The first-of-its-kind analysis by the Census Bureau, released Thursday, also finds that people are waiting longer before marrying for the first time. In particular, the percentage of women who wed as teenagers has dropped precipitously since 1970, while many men are postponing marriage past their college-age years.


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