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Morning Briefing

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Debt puzzle pieces On one side lies the chance of a historic bargain; on the other, the threat of a financial apocalypse.

West Virginia State Catholic conference joins appeal to protect federal programs

Michele Bachmann Leaves Church, Gets Catholic Support. Michael Sean Winter blogged about his on Distinctly Catholic here and here.

Kentucky Hospital merger limits medical options: Catholic rules will bar tubal ligations at University hospital

Welfare reform, 15 years later

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As Congress remains in an agonizing deadlock over the budget and politicians sling sound bites about cuts to entitlements, smaller news outlets are looking at the impact of Welfare Reform nearly 15 years after President Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.

Thirteen.org, the Web site for New York City's PBS station, looks at "5 ways New Yorkers say welfare policies fail them." In article "Even Entrepreneurs Need Food Stamps," the newspaper City Limits offers an in depth look at the complexities of receiving entitlement benefits.

The \"bitter struggle\" in China

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Recent reports from China tell of "a bitter struggle" between the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Vatican over the ordaining of bishops.

Three new government-approved bishops were ordained in the last eight months without approval of the Vatican, an act that has provoked declarations of outrage from Rome. The cardinal of Hong Kong labeled the situation a state of "war," and recently, another government-appointed bishop was excommunicated by the pope.

All this puzzles me because, since 1951, no bishop has been ordained in China with the approval of Rome, yet the two sides had managed to co-exist -- barely.

Ireland withdraws welcome mat?

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Ireland's foreign minister scolded the the country's papal nuncio over Vatican complicity in the cover up and mishandling of clerical abuse in Ireland, as revealed in the Cloyne Report.

Now Irish media are reporting that the leader of Fine Gael, the largest political party in Ireland, is calling for the nuncio to be expelled and that Pope Benedict XVI's expected visit next summer was "likely to be shelved."

Morning Briefing

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'Decision time': Obama pauses contentious debt talks, President waits for 'plan of action' from lawmakers as warnings on default sounded

Ireland attacks confessional secrecy after Catholic sex abuse scandal

Ireland Calling out the Vatican, Irish report says Catholic Church has not helped stop sex abuse. Read the latest on the Cloyne report on NCR: Foreign minister summons nuncio, seeks response to Irish abuse report

GW law professor files complaint over Catholic University’s plan for single-sex dorms

Reactions to the Cloyne report

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We have posted two news stories about the Cloyne Report. See Foreign minister summons nuncio, seeks response to Irish abuse report and Irish report reveals abuse, bishop's mismanagement. Here's one reaction to it.

Statement by Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director, BishopAccountability.org

The government report on the recent handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the Cloyne diocese in Ireland is eerily similar to the grand jury report released earlier this year by the district attorney of Philadelphia. Like Philadelphia archdiocesan officials, Catholic church leaders in the Cloyne diocese continue to show a brazen disregard for both civil law and the church's own internal policies.

The Cloyne report is disheartening confirmation that even today, despite the Church's knowledge of the profound anguish of thousands of victims, its reform policies are public relations ploys, not child protection programs.

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