NCR Today

Activists on boats to challenge Israeli blockade

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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.

Life still coed at CUA

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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."

"If people want to have sex they are going to have sex,” said Melissa Reid, a freshman living in the all-female Ryan Hall. Reid, who goes to Mass nearly every other day, said she talked about the policy in one of her psychology classes recently. Nearly all the students, including Reid, agreed that this housing change will not stop students from having sex or drinking. "If you have to separate people to prevent that then what are you saying about those people?” she told "Inside Higher Ed."

Latin whiz, 16, finds new liturgy language lacking

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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.

Bishops' lobbyists have the clout of the NRA

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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: Fr. Finn, S.J.

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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.

Iraqi Christians mark anniversary of massacre

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According to AFP, an international news agency:

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians filled Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad amid tight security on Monday to mark the first anniversary of a massacre of worshippers and priests by militants.

The church's interior is still pock-marked by bullet holes, even a year after the attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, that killed 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security forces members.
Robes of the two priests who were killed were hung inside the church.

And large pictures of those killed in the attack hung outside the church yard, along with posters with messages including "We condemn the killing of Iraqi Christians" and "Where is the international voice?"

Security was very tight at the church, with rifle-armed police on rooftops in the area and security forces searching people and their bags as they entered.

The attack, and violence in Iraq in general, has deeply affected worshippers at the church.

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March 24-April 6, 2017

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