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On this day: St. Helena

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Helena.

"The story of St. Helena was popular in England, since she was said to have been the daughter of King Coel of Colchester ('Old King Cole'), although her renown derived from being the mother of Constantine and, more significantly, the discoverer of the true cross. There are a number of variants, but the story basically recounts how St. Helena travels to Jerusalem and, with the forced aid of a Jewish man, finds where the cross has been concealed. . . . she is asked to adjudicate the case between a Christian goldsmith and a Jewish usurer. Since the Christian is unable to pay back his debt, the Jew demands that 'he solde yield of his awen flesse' and carries a 'sharp grundin knife in hande' in order to exact the penalty. Of course, Helena points out that the Jew is allowed only 'flesse' and informs him that if he takes 'a drope of blode' the 'wrange is [th]ine.'"

--"Rubbing at Whitewash: Intolerance in The Merchant of Venice, by Marion Wynne-Davies in A Companion to Shakespeare's Works: Volume III: The Comedies, edited by Richard Dutton and Jean E. Howard, Blackwell, 2004, pages 359-360.

Ohio State president atones for Little Sisters joke

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Sports Illustrated covers the story of The Ohio State president and the Little Sisters of the Poor:

Ohio State University's president is back in the good graces of the Little Sisters of the Poor after turning them into a punch line last fall when he mocked other universities who don't play in football's power conferences.

Gordon Gee spent Wednesday touring a home for the elderly operated by the religious order in northwest Ohio, and he pledged to be one of their greatest advocates after putting them into the spotlight.

"As you know, I've made you famous," he told the residents and staff members.

He later stood next to Mother Cecilia Mary Sartorius, the home's administrator, who gave him a hug and whispered that he was forgiven. "Does everyone hear that I'm forgiven?" he shouted. "My day of penance is over."

Priest Spared in $300,000, Theft, Not Deacon

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Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass noted the stark inequity in the case of a Joliet, Ill., diocesan Catholic priest who was sentenced to 60 days in jail for stealing some $300,000 from his parish, while a Joliet diocesan deacon who stole about the same amount from his church, was given six years in prison.

Both men wept and admitted their guilt, but Rev. John Regan, who claimed he was addicted to gambling at his sentencing Aug. 16, was spared because the judge said he didn't know what a heavier sentence would accomplish. Deacon George Valdez,
who has wife and family, used some of the money for his daughter's wedding, but he felt the full brunt of the law last February. Both cases were handled in DuPage County court.

News bites -- the sequel

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On August 15, I wrote about "News Bites" on my blog.

In today's Los Angeles Times, Stephen Baker, a former senior writer for Business Week and author of "Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything", reflects on Mitt Romney's August 11 sound byte, "Corporations are people, my friend."

Baker is to be applauded for his civil discourse on what speaks as whom.

The fact that Romney defaulted to this statement in his response to a heckler about corporations being people is worth much reflection, reflection that Mr. Baker offers here.

I hope his reflection bites us awake.

I rest my case.

Faith on the campaign trail

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I never cease to be amazed at the Republican candidates who are using evangelical politics to appeal to voters. I know many of them say they don't believe in separation of church and state, but if so, they need to read early American history and a bunch of Supreme Court decisions.

Now I can understand their use of "social issues" to make an appeal to conservative voters as long as their arguments are based on the "good of the country" and not on an appeal to theology or denomination (although I will admit that this is a thin line in places like Iowa).

But I was truly appalled to see Rick Perry, as the governor of Texas, lead a prayer rally last week that featured far right evangelical figures, some of them with anti-Catholic statements in their preaching history.

On this day: St. Clare of Montefalco

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Clare of Montefalco, an Augustinian abbess who had been a secular Franciscan before entering monastic life. She was born about the year 1268 and died on August 18, 1308.

She "was given the gift of French to converse with a pious female pilgrim who visited her nunnery for a short time. In the descriptions of the miracle that appear in her vita and canonization process, we also see that Clare's xenoglossia is included as an indication of her prophetic abilities: xenoglossia, therefore, becomes just as much of a message of Clare's divine grace in this sense as a medium of that grace."

Morning Briefing

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WYD: Spanish police have arrested a Mexican chemistry student for allegedly plotting to gas anti-Pope protesters at Madrid's Catholic youth festival.

WYD: New Zealand Kiwis gather in Spain for World Youth Day

Bishops' staffer on doctrine rips theologians as 'curse'

Illinois Roselle priest avoids prison in gambling scandal Judges sentences man to jail, probation, labor

Married priest: 'Single clergy better placed to serve God'

Rhode Island deacon arrested on charges of indecent exposure

Perry's Latino record

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The announcement this weekend by Governor Rick Perry of Texas that he is a Republican candidate for President of the United States was not particularly welcome news to Latinos and, in particular, those who live in Texas. According to a report in the new Latino Voices of the Huffington Post (August 14, 2011), Latinos have not fared particularly well under Perry’s eleven-year run as governor.

Let the discussion begin

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Allow me to direct your attention to four recent postings on NCRonline.org:

NCR gets pummeled for being liberal and biased and -- wait for it -- anti-Catholic. But look at the diversity of views represented in these four pieces. Is there another Catholic Web site or publication that offers this range of views?

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