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William Bole: a new slant on consumerism


William Bole, a friend and former colleague, has always demonstrated a great gift for understanding the connections among ideas and actors in the religion world and for relating those connections with a storyteller’s instinct and wit.

I worked with him for a number of years (he was Washington correspondent at the time) during my stint at Religion News Service in New York and often marveled at his ability to join a certain gentleness to a critical and unblinking approach to news.

He’s recently begun a blog, Theopol, and it is a worn description to those who know him to describe his new venture as “thoughtful,” but that’s what it is, far more thoughtful than most efforts one comes across in the ether. Take a look. He’s just posted a different take on seasonal consumerism – and don’t cringe. You won’t be preached at; you may be encouraged to think, gently, about what’s going on. Check it out:

Morning Briefing


Catholic Healthcare West, Sutter pay $2.3 million to settle Medicare double-billing case

Ireland -- Bishops urge government to abandon its plan to cut child benefit for the parents of third and subsequent children -- arguing that the move could be “devastating” for larger families on low incomes.

Detroit, Mich. -- U.S. Catholic Church increasingly turning to foreign-born priests to staff its parishes as it struggles with the decline in the number of American men studying to wear the Roman collar

Sheen “nourished” by narrating Dalai Lama’s book. Martin Sheen is voice of the audiobook of “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World,” a new book by the Dalai Lama.

You too can be part of the democratic process


Saw this on Yahoo! News:

What question would you like to ask the Republican presidential candidates about income inequality? .

Yahoo! News and ABC News will host a Republican presidential debate on Saturday, December 10, at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Here is your opportunity to ask the candidates your specific questions about income inequality. Let us know and we may include your question in the debate. You can also tweet your question to #IowaDebate.

Make sure to check back and watch the debate on December 10 at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on ABC News. We’ll provide the link

Learn more or ask a question.

From the mouths of babes


The few weeks before Christmas generate more dinners with good friends than any of the prior months.

On Friday evening, my wife and I dined with two other couples for our annual holiday dinner. We had a wonderful time. I asked our friend Carol if her 6-year-old daughter, Fiona, has generated any hysterical one-liners, which she regularly does.

Carol shared this story:

So Fiona and I are walking on the street in our neighborhood when a car comes flying around the corner.

In a panic, I grab Fiona's hand and pull her back and away from the oncoming car and blurt out, "Jesus!"

"MOM!" Fiona immediately responds.

I brace for the inevitable child-correcting-the-parent moment when Fiona says, "How did you know it was Him?"

Chicago priest dedicated to the poor beaten and robbed


Fr. Daniel Mallette was awakened early Tuesday by two men who entered his Southside rectory, beat him and stole about $600.

Mallette, 80, is well known in the archdiocese as a man who has devoted many decades of his ministry to fighting violence, drugs and gangs.

He said the men, dressed as ninjas, administered the beating hoping to get more money. Mallette suffered cuts, bruises and two broken ribs but is expected to survive. One of the men asked him to pray for him before he left, Mallette said.

Read full story here.

Cardinal writes on nuclear disarmament, questions raised about nuke facility


Those interested in nuclear disarmament issues may be glad to hear that Cardinal Roger Mahony, Los Angeles' retired archbishop, yesterday wrote that disarmament should be the "long term basis for security" across the world.

The cardinal's comments came the same day that new questions were raised about a planned new nuclear weapons facility in Los Alamos, Nevada.

The United States, Mahony wrote, "has an especially heavy moral burden to bear" in terms of the pursuit of total nuclear disarmament.

Our county, he writes, "has a responsibility to take the lead in nuclear disarmament and to develop the institutions and practices of cooperative security that will make that more likely and more sustainable."

Titled "The Ethical Imperative of Disarmament," Mahony's piece appeared yesterday for Peace Policy, a web publication of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Two other articles focused on disarmament issues were also featured yesterday for the publication.

Evolution Weekend isn't really about evolution


The seventh annual Evolution Weekend, sponsored by Reverend Michael Zimmerman, is scheduled for Feb. 12-14, 2012.

I had not paid much attention to these monthly mailings because I don't have a congregation and because the name of the weekend led me to believe it was an argument with those who read the Bible literally.

And I think that was how the weekend began. But the content has shifted. The focus is now looking at our human role in creating a sustainable environment.

So far, more than 300 congregations from 10 countries have signed up to participate.

"Some clergy deliver a sermon and others invite host speakers," Zimmerman's newsletter says. "Some congregations focus a youth class on the relationship between religion and science while others make mention of the weekend in their congregational bulletin. Whatever helps congregants think productively about this issue is fully appropriate."

It's a good program. Take a look.

When family is more than just family


My Uncle Lou turned 93 years old this week. He's pretty amazing: Lou still gets around, still drives and lives on his own quite well. A few days ago, I discovered his secret.

I knew family was a large part of what kept him going -- but I didn't really know what "family" meant. My uncle has a son who lives nearby and visits every night on his way home from work. His grandchildren come by often, too, and bring their children along.

But my understanding of family opened up when I met Lou for lunch.

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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017