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On this day: St. Benedict

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia, c. 480 - c. 547.

For a virtual tour of his monastery, click here for the Monte Cassino page on the St. John's Abbey web site. Click the link for Monte Cassino , then click on "The Abbey" at the top, and then "Virtual Tour". On the schematic, move your cursor around to find highlighted areas. Click on the little camera to see pictures of the Basilica, etc.

Morning Briefing

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Philippines -- lottery donation scandal: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Monday apologized, bishops had accepted luxuary SuVs and cash

Charity nun: President Arroyo used donations to silence the church while she faced allegations of vote-rigging and various corruption scandals during her 9-year presidency.

Gays, lesbians draw comfort, support from Catholic Mass

Wake for W.Mass. priest who committed suicide

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Accusations of Abuse by Priest Dating to Early 1940s

Philippines: Opinion Not all marriages are put together by God

The Dalai Lama

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The Dalai Lama is in Washington for 10 days, July 6-16, to conduct what Tibetan Buddhists call a “Kalachakra for World Peace.” The Kalachakra is a series of talks, rituals, visualizations, mantras, and yoga designed to transform the minds of participants and to mature their innate wisdom and sense of compassion. Ultimately, it is designed to promote the universal Buddhist goal of “enlightenment.”

The Kalachakra is considered one of the most complex rituals in all of Buddhism. And many observers here in the Washington area find it significant that the Dalai Lama chose the U.S. capital, the global center of world politics, for this event. Some people hope that the spirit of this Kalachakra, which seeks to help participants bridge their differences, will emanate out to the political leaders who are dealing with issues like the national debt, wars, the environment and terrorism. We can only hope!

Sacrifice at the altar of God

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Rita Ferrone, author of several books on liturgy, has written in the July 15 issue of Commonweal a searing critique of the New Roman Missal translation set to take affect in November.

These are tough years for the U.S. bishops who have fallen under dark clouds for their failings in their handlings of the decades’ long clergy sexual abuse tragedy in our church. To the failing of protecting our children from clergy abuse many will now be adding another: the failure to protect clear and simple -- and meaningful -- English in our mass liturgies from an assault by ideologically led bishops.

Ohio Catholic Bishops Oppose "Race for the Cure!"

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When I read this story, all I could say was, “you’ve got to be kidding!” The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have just issued a letter instructing Catholics not to support the “Race for the Cure” sponsored annually by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That foundation is the largest group funding breast cancer research in the United States.

The reason? The bishops say that the Komen Foundation does not explicitly oppose the use of embryonic stem cells in research, a practice which the hierarchy condemns. It’s not that Komen actually funds research using embryonic stem cells. The bishops say explicitly that they have no evidence of that. Rather, the bishops say they oppose Komen because of the possibility that they might fund such research… because they have not said they won’t. Huh?

Fairy Stream fairy tale with happy ending

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This is a good news story.

Earlier this year I visited Cay Gao, Vietnam to see the work of Dominican Sr. Isabelle Tran Thi Kim Huong and profile her work. It was part of a series for "Women Religious: Lives of Mercy and Justice," a project supported in good part with a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters. Sr. Isabelle runs a shelter for abandoned women, many of them elderly. She is one more hard working, mission driven, Vietnamese woman religious doing the work of God.

If you did not read my report on the Fairy Stream Community this is your chance.

The new feminism of Palin and Bachmann

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In an essay in the Huffington Post, Marie Griffith analyzes the peculiar brand of feminism adopted by America’s most prominent female evangelicals: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Griffith, who serves as director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., notes that the evangelical feminism of Palin and Bachmann is a “far cry” from the original movement founded by Christian women in the 1970s.

Back then, evangelical feminists found their faith in an egalitarian Jesus. They saw clear connections between their Christian beliefs and the principles of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

These Evangelical women leaned left, while the new breed of Evangelical feminists always seem to take a hard right.

Given their conservatism, how can Palin, Bachmann and their ilk be considered feminists? Griffith offers a helpful explanation:

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