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Catholics and marriage equality in New York

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On June 23, the New York State Senate voted for marriage equality. They did this in spite of opposition from the Catholic Bishops and other religious groups. Even though New York State is relatively liberal political territory, it is large and influential nationally.

That vote, I believe, signals a definitive shift in the political winds on this issue nationally. It's been coming for a while, and New York looks like the turning point. Tens of thousands of gays and lesbians will soon marry -- and the world won't come to an end.

Most interesting, the New York Senate is Republican controlled, and although only four Republican senators voted for the bill, the leadership could have prevented a vote, but did not. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Roman Catholic, signed the bill into law almost immediately.

The same legislation almost passed in the Maryland legislature earlier this year. And the Catholic governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, pushed for the bill and was ready to sign it had it passed.

Prophecy found right on your computer screen

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You might not have noticed, but there's a very special piece on the NCR Web site today.

Elizabeth McAlister, co-founder of the Jonah House Community in Baltimore with her late husband Philip Berrigan, reviews a book on the continuation of America's wars under President Obama.

In journalistic parlance, there's no simple one sentence description of McAlister's life. She's a peace activist, a scholar, and, dare I say it, a prophet. Along with her husband and so many others who have devoted entire lives to Gospel nonviolence, she has pushed, shoved, and prodded our church and our society to rethink their ways of violence.

Cuomo Catholicism

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The tensions between the two Cuomos and the archbishops of New York poignantly exemplify the growing disarray of the Catholic church in America.

Mario, the father and former governor, incurred the wrath of Cardinal O'Connor by backing women's right to choose abortion (while rejecting it personally) and now his son and successor, Andrew, has irked Archbishop Dolan by managing to win approval for gay marriage.

\"Politics is perception\"

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Although Republican Gov. Chris Christie, 48, of New Jersey has said emphatically that he is not running for president, the television networks love him. True, his standing in the polls took a hit when his budget deal passed in the state legislature this week, but last Sunday morning on "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory questioned Christie's blunt style and Christie called himself "huggable and loveable." He also said he would endorse the most authentic Republican candidate who would run for president in 2012

In Rob Reiner's 1995 romcom "The American President," Leo Solomon, played by John Mahoney of "Frasier" fame, heads a lobbying firm in D.C. He scolds the high-powered and overpriced lobbyist he just hired to convince Congress to oppose the president. She is Sydney Ellen Wade, played by Annette Bening, and she was the date of President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, the night before at a White House state dinner.

Israel scholars say burial box of Caiaphas' relative is genuine

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From the Associated Press:

Israeli scholars say they have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box bearing the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas of the New Testament.

The ossuary bears an inscription with the name "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri."

An ossuary is a stone chest used to store bones. Caiaphas was a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.

Morning Briefing

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