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I was appalled


This past Monday night, I watched the Republican debate sponsored by the Tea Party. With any of these Republican debates, I feel like I'm in another reality … one that is out of touch with ordinary Americans who need jobs or who suffer in poverty. But I listen because I want to be an informed citizen.

This week, however, I was truly appalled by responses to one question from the CNN host Wolf Blitzer. He asked Ron Paul, who is a physician, about the hypothetical case of a 30-year-old male who decided that he didn't want to buy health insurance, but suddenly goes into a coma and needs intensive care. Paul said this case should not be the government's responsibility. "That's what freedom is about, taking your own risks," Paul said, but he was drowned out by audience applause as he added, "this whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody …" This was greeted by loud audience applause.

Then Blitzer asked, "Are you saying that society should just let him die?" Before Paul could answer, the audience started shouting "yeah" -- and that was followed by laughter.

Morning Briefing


11 anti-nuke activists in court this week, 2 sentenced to jail yesterday


Two anti-nuclear activists were sentenced to jail yesterday for acts of civil disobedience at the Y-12 National Security Complex, a key U.S. nuclear weapons production and maintenance compound, to protest a proposed major new facility at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., site.

Jean Gump and Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel, part of a group of twelve activists who were found guilty last May of criminal trespass at the site, were sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton to time served and three months in jail, respectively.

Construction of a major new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the Oak Ridge complex, projected by the Army Corps of Engineers to cost some $7.5 billion, was officially announced by the federal government July 25.

Gump and Bichsel were part of a group of 13 who took part in the July 5, 2010, action, which came at the end of a 200-strong peace rally outside the gates of the complex. After a prayer vigil, 13 people climbed over a barbed wire fence onto the property and were arrested, Ralph Hutchison, a coordinator for the group opposing the new Tennessee facility’s construction, told NCR in May.

Who is Fr. Frank Pavone?


The news that Fr. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, is being recalled to his Amarillo, Texas, home diocese, to answer questions about the financial operations of the pro-life group, may have shocked his followers.

One hopes that this is a misunderstanding and can be cleared up quickly. Goodness knows we've had enough scandal.

For those not familiar with Fr. Pavone, I dipped into the archives of Catholic News Service to find two stories from the recent past about Fr. Pavone and Preists for Life.

From April 29, 2010


Pro-life 'freedom rides' set to begin this summer in Birmingham


By Catholic News Service

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CNS) -- Calling for an end to the nation's "enslavement to legal abortion," Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life announced April 27 that a series of "freedom rides" for the unborn would begin this summer.

The rides will be nonpartisan, interdenominational and nonviolent and will involve a diverse cross-section of people, Father Pavone said at a news conference in Birmingham's Kelly Ingram Park.

Former Vatican official: ICC appeal the 'usual anti-Catholic attempt'


tFor now, Vatican spokespersons are withholding comment on an appeal to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation against Pope Benedict XVI and three other senior officials for “crimes against humanity” related to the sexual abuse crisis.

tThat request was announced today by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based group with roots in the civil rights movement.

tOne former Vatican official, however, has weighed in. On the sidelines of an interreligious assembly in Munich, Germany, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio , Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, a former prefect of the Vatican’s missionary department, offered his take.

tThe appeal to the ICC, Sepe said, amounts to “the usual anti-Catholic attempt, which tends to obscure an image [of the church] that, from a human point of view, is about the most prestigious we have in our society.”

tSepe’s comment was reported today by “Vatican Insider,” an on-line service of the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

New York, New York


I grew up in San Diego listening to my Connecticut born and bred mother praising the wonders of New York City. Her parents took her and her siblings there often to visit an aunt who lived and prospered there. For some reason the Museum of Natural History was the place she most often described for us kids.

After three years in the convent in Boston, we novices went by car to New York in November 1970, to have an experience of our apostolate of evangelization with the media and to see what convent life was like in a smaller community than that of the provincial-novitiate house.

We drove our van down the Hudson Parkway and under the George Washington Bridge, with the Cloisters to our left, and the shrine of Mother Cabrini, Sr. Anthony told us. But I fell into something that must be like ecstasy as Manhattan was revealed via the view from the then-elevated West Side Highway. It wouldn't be closed until 1973 and completely closed and demolished until 1989.

Post-9/11 Reflections


Sunday, I was the master of ceremonies for the 9-11 Unity Walk, which brought people of many faith traditions together to express mutual respect for each other’s faith traditions. And an amazing event it was. Where else can you hear a Muslim call to prayer in a synagogue? Where else can you hear “Amazing Grace” over the loudspeakers at a mosque? Where else would you find the Vatican Embassy serving cookies to everyone who comes by on the front lawn?


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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