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Syracuse diocese priest pleads guilty to larceny


According to WKTV-Utica, an NBC affiliate:

Father Valentine Krul pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny, facing five years probation with the first six months spent in the Oneida County Jail.

Father Val, as he was known by many in the community, was actually the chaplain for the Oneida County Sheriff's Department for more than 20 years. A priest for 34 years, he had been assigned to St. Mary's Church in New York Mills for the past 17 years.

In court on Wednesday, Krul said he had completed rehabilitation for stress, anxiety and alcohol in July 2011. He said that between October 2008 and January 2011, he took money from three church bank accounts at First Source Federal Credit Union, accounts made up of money from the parish, some of which included people's bequests, wills, and donations to the church.

Krul said that at one point he made a withdrawal of $46,720.91 for a condominium in Florida for himself.

Lord, deliver us from Newt's nonsensical comparisons


You really have to wonder who is most out of touch with America when you hear the vitriol-laced invective of Newt Gingrich.

He regularly employs guilt by association, spurting out sound bites that turn out to be nonsense on investigation. One of his favorite rants is connecting President Barack Obama with community organizer Saul Alinsky, as if nothing more need be said to establish the evil designs of the president.

Anticipating the State of the Union message Tuesday, Gingrich fired a typical barrage: "You always have to wonder when Obama speaks, which country he thinks he's talking to. You also have to wonder what his source material is. You can really understand him best when you understand that he is a Saul Alinsky radical who taught radicalism in Chicago. I'm an old-fashioned American, and I think the primary documents are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers."

Huh? Reread that slowly, please, and tell me how those words hang together.

More on Catholic Healthcare West's decisiont


In what could set a significant precedent, Catholic Healthcare West, "one of the nation's largest hospital systems and operator of four Bay Area hospitals, is ending its governing board's affiliation with the Catholic Church and changing its name to help the system expand," the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The system's change to a nondenominational board will create "a tremendous opportunity that will help accelerate our growth," Lloyd Dean, the president and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West, told the Mercury News.

The article also reports that "secular hospitals added to the system will be required to adhere to the 'Statement of Common Values' that apply to Catholic Healthcare West's secular hospitals."

Although the article doesn't note this, the move will also allow the hospital to provide its employees with all of the provisions included in the Affordable Healthcare Act, including access to contraception, without involvement from the hierarchy.

Loretto pioneer Jacqueline Grennan Wexler dies


Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, a former Sister of Loretto who served as president of New York's Hunter College, died Jan. 19 at her home in Orlando. She was 85.

Wexler was a woman who lived the pioneer spirit of the Loretto Community. I vaguely remember in 1967, when I heard the news that then-Sr. Jacqueline Grennan, president of Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, Mo., was transferring control of the college to a lay board of trustees.

Since Webster was the first Catholic institution in the United States to do that, it caused an uproar in some church circles, but it was widely praised for its recognizing the institution’s potential growth as a secular institution.

Jacqueline Grennan left the community in 1967 and married Paul Wexler, a music industry executive, and adopted his two children, Wendy and Wayne Wexler. She later rejoined Loretto as a co-member.

After serving as president of Hunter College in New York City in the 1970s, she went on to become president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, where she fostered interfaith dialogue and respect among adherents of different religious traditions.

Rest in peace, Jacqueline.

New U.S. nuncio blasts corruption in Vatican operations


Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican official and now U.S. nuncio, denounced corruption in the management of the Holy See according to letters he sent the pope, the contents of which were published today in the Italian press. In the letters, Vigano reportedly said his transfer to the U.S. was a "punishment" that caused concern among others who saw an opportunity to clean up Vatican waste and corruption.
Read more here.

Chicano studies are an important part of Arizona's curriculum


Earlier this month, the Tucson, Ariz., school district, responding to pressure from the state superintendent of education, eliminated the Chicano studies curriculum in that district.

Courses in the high schools on Chicano studies had been taught for a few years with no negative reaction until recently, when extreme right-wing politicians began to say that the Chicano studies classes were characterized by expressed racial hatred of whites and possessed no academic value. They further added that no classes should focus on just one ethnic group.

These allegations came from some of the same people who, a year earlier, supported and passed state laws giving local police the authority to arbitrarily stop anyone they suspected of being an undocumented immigrant despite the fact that immigration is a federal responsibility. That law has been challenged by the administration of President Barack Obama and will be adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Priests for Life leader 'not in prison,' continues to raise money


Amarillo Bishop Pat Zurek broke his silence to Karen Smith Welch, the Amarillo Globe-News reporter who has been ably covering the dysfunctional relationship between Zurek and one of his priests, Fr. Frank Pavone. Pavone is the national director/president/chairperson of no fewer than three anti-abortion charities: Priests for Life, Inc.; Gospel of Life Ministries Inc.; and Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News:


A Roman Catholic priest restricted to ministry within the Diocese of Amarillo participated in March for Life events Monday in Washington with the permission of his bishop.


The Rev. Frank Pavone had a full calendar during Monday's annual pro-life gathering marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.


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July 14-27, 2017