In a move that will likely be taken in some quarters as a snub, Ireland has decided to close its embassy to the Holy See. In effect, the move means that Ireland will no longer have full-time diplomatic representation at the Vatican.
The Buffalo News has a story about letters to God, written by schoolchildren more than 100 years ago, found in a cross:
Onto paper the students poured thoughts and prayers they hoped would ascend, like so many curling wisps of smoke, into the skies above turn-of-the-century Buffalo.
Their writings would remain hidden from view for more than a century.
Now -- long after the schoolchildren who wrote them grew old and went to their graves -- the letters written by students at Corpus Christi School on Clark Street have been rediscovered.
Two civilian boats carrying 27 people are currently in international waters making their way to the beleaguered Gaza Strip in an attempt to challenge Israel's ongoing blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Passengers aboard the Canadian Tahrir (Liberation), and the Irish Saoirse (Freedom) say the message they carry is one of unity, defiance and hope in spite of Israel's policies that have separated Palestinians from each other.
Organizers of the initiative, known as "Freedom Waves to Gaza," say they chose not to publicize the boats' departures in advance because of Israeli efforts to block and sabotage a flotilla that attempted to depart for Gaza from Athens, Greece, last July.
The two boats, which set sail from Fethiye, Turkey, on Wednesday, are expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday afternoon, sailing from international waters straight into Gaza's territorial waters. The vessels are carrying a symbolic amount of humanitarian aid -- $30,000 in medicines -- along with a diverse group of passengers, all committed to nonviolent defense of the flotilla and Palestinian human rights.
In today's New York Times, OpEd writer Nicholas Kristof writes about the population explosion -- now more than 7 billion people on the planet -- the value of family planning services and an Evangelical group that is in support of funding family planning services. Gender inequality is a serious issue with pro-life implications. It's worth the read.
Find it here.
On this day we remember St. Sylvia, mother of St. Gregory.
"One of the greatest Fathers in the history of the Church, one of four Doctors of the West, Pope St. Gregory was bishop of Rome from 590 to 604. He earned the traditional title of Magnus, the Great.
I hate to say, "I told you so," ... and I won't, because it's too early and there is no conclusive or scientific evidence yet, but this journalistic report from The Catholic University of America by "Inside Higher Ed" shows that the new single-sex dorms at the school haven't had much effect on either binge drinking or "hooking up."
Erik Baker is a 16-year-old high school student who has been studying Latin since 6th grade. Now as a senior at Evanston Township High School near Chicago, he has completed all the Latin classes available at his school, including the Advanced Placement courses. He is pursuing his ongoing interest through Latin classes at nearby Northwestern University.
When it comes to lobbying Congress, the U.S. Catholic bishops have as much influence as the National Rifle Association, a congressional Democratic staffer who worked on President Obama's health care reform bill told the Huffington Post for the story, The Men Behind The War On Women. "The bishops carry a lot of clout," said Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.
The artilce talks with Richard Doerflinger, the bishops' conference point man on pro-life issue for some 30 years. Doerflinger talks about helping write such pieces of legislation as the anti-abortion Stupak amendment in 2009 and this year's Protect Life Act, nicknamed the "Let Women Die Act" by opponents.
The article also outlines the reasons behind and strategies of the bishops' new ad hoc committee on Religious Liberty.
The Men Behind The War On Women is a must read.
On this day in 1928, Father Francis J. Finn, S.J., died in Cincinnati. He was 70 years old.
Father Finn published 27 books, starting with Percy Wynn, or Making a Boy of Him, Benziger Brothers, 1890, and Tom Playfair, or Making a Start, Benziger Brothers, 1890.
Father Finn's obituary in the New York Times called him a "writer of many popular books for boys," but he wrote for both "boy and girl readers," as he made plain in the Preface to the second edition of Percy Wynn.