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Scranton, Pa. diocese gets new pastoral vision

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A new pastoral vision has been presented to the people of the Scranton, Pa. diocese after the disastrous tenure of the prior bishop.

According to the Scranton Times-Tribune:

The Most Rev. Joseph Bambera released a document outlining his vision for the Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday, more than six months after he invited Roman Catholics to help articulate the future of the 11-county church.

The 16-page pastoral letter is called "Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered" - a title that acknowledges the pain and hope of several years that saw both the closure of many churches and schools and the creation of new, merged parish structures.

Read the Pastoral Letter here.

The goal of the vision is to "restore our sense of being part of something larger than ourselves and greater than our personal inadequacies," Bishop Bambera wrote.

Bishops need to hold each other accountable, reform group says

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The following press release from Voice of the Faithful came across my desk yesterday. It sounds like a creative response to a current episcopal problem.

NEWTON, Mass. – U.S. bishops must finally institute strong measures of fraternal correction when bishops fail to follow their own Charter for the Protection of Children and Young people after clergy are accused of child sexual abuse, according the Roman Catholic Church reform and abuse survivor support group Voice of the Faithful.

'Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage'

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“Without a Doubt” is the name of the column Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., writes in his diocesan newspaper. In Arpil 2009, that column bore the headline “Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage.” (More than half of Rhode Islanders are Catholic various sources say).

Tobin explained his headline: “That’s a headline we haven’t seen yet, dear readers, but probably will in the next couple of years.” He uses the rest of the column to rally his Catholic faithful and defeat any attempts to make gay marriage or civil unions legal.

Tobin has been a staunch defender of traditional marriage and has opposed the civil union bill as “a gateway to gay marriage.”

Tobin’s headline pretty much came true last night.

On this day: Czeslaw Milosz

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On this day, a century ago, the great Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz was born in Lithuania. (Click here to hear his name pronounced.)

"The year was 1911. The parish had two churches. To the nearest, the wooden one, people drove or walked to Mass. The other, a baroque structure of stone (baroque was introduced by the Jesuits) and three miles away, housed the civil registry. . . . There I was baptized and received into the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church."

Catholics and marriage equality in New York

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On June 23, the New York State Senate voted for marriage equality. They did this in spite of opposition from the Catholic Bishops and other religious groups. Even though New York State is relatively liberal political territory, it is large and influential nationally.

That vote, I believe, signals a definitive shift in the political winds on this issue nationally. It's been coming for a while, and New York looks like the turning point. Tens of thousands of gays and lesbians will soon marry -- and the world won't come to an end.

Most interesting, the New York Senate is Republican controlled, and although only four Republican senators voted for the bill, the leadership could have prevented a vote, but did not. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Roman Catholic, signed the bill into law almost immediately.

The same legislation almost passed in the Maryland legislature earlier this year. And the Catholic governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, pushed for the bill and was ready to sign it had it passed.

Prophecy found right on your computer screen

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You might not have noticed, but there's a very special piece on the NCR Web site today.

Elizabeth McAlister, co-founder of the Jonah House Community in Baltimore with her late husband Philip Berrigan, reviews a book on the continuation of America's wars under President Obama.

In journalistic parlance, there's no simple one sentence description of McAlister's life. She's a peace activist, a scholar, and, dare I say it, a prophet. Along with her husband and so many others who have devoted entire lives to Gospel nonviolence, she has pushed, shoved, and prodded our church and our society to rethink their ways of violence.

Cuomo Catholicism

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The tensions between the two Cuomos and the archbishops of New York poignantly exemplify the growing disarray of the Catholic church in America.

Mario, the father and former governor, incurred the wrath of Cardinal O'Connor by backing women's right to choose abortion (while rejecting it personally) and now his son and successor, Andrew, has irked Archbishop Dolan by managing to win approval for gay marriage.

\"Politics is perception\"

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Although Republican Gov. Chris Christie, 48, of New Jersey has said emphatically that he is not running for president, the television networks love him. True, his standing in the polls took a hit when his budget deal passed in the state legislature this week, but last Sunday morning on "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory questioned Christie's blunt style and Christie called himself "huggable and loveable." He also said he would endorse the most authentic Republican candidate who would run for president in 2012

In Rob Reiner's 1995 romcom "The American President," Leo Solomon, played by John Mahoney of "Frasier" fame, heads a lobbying firm in D.C. He scolds the high-powered and overpriced lobbyist he just hired to convince Congress to oppose the president. She is Sydney Ellen Wade, played by Annette Bening, and she was the date of President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, the night before at a White House state dinner.

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