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On this day: Harriet Beecher Stowe


On this day, two centuries ago, Harriet Beecher was born in the parsonage at Litchfield, Connecticut, to the Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher and his wife, Roxana Foote. The baby born on June 14, 1811, would grow up to become the author of the most important novel of the 19th century.

Click here for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. At the right, click on the live stream for today's 24-hour reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin, beginning at 10:00 A.M. Eastern. At the left, click on the Museum Store for various editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, including an annotated one edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Morning Briefing


Sex and the Single-Sex Dorm


In today's Wall Street Journal, the president of The Catholic University of America announced that the university will eliminate all co-ed dorms and return to single-sex dorms in an attempt to curb binge drinking and "hooking up."

Already, conservative bloggers, traditionalist Catholics and nervous parents are applauding the move. I suspect that was John Garvey's true motivation.

For those shocked that a Catholic university, especially one like CUA, which has official ties to the Vatican, even has co-ed dorms, worry not. As the university's housing services’ Web page explains, all student residence halls are already single-sex by floor, wing or building.

Catholic NY state senators face gay marriage vote


In an article in the regional section of today’s New York Times, Michael Barbaro examines four members of a group of New York State Senator’s who have come to be known as the “Undecided Eight.”

They are “undecided” about how they will vote this week on the legalization of gay marriage. Their eight votes will determine the outcome.

Three of the four senators profiled in this piece are Italian Catholics. One of them is Staten Island’s Andrew Lanza, who shares a story about an exchange that he had with his priest. The striking account of their conversation not only shows Lanza using his primacy of conscience, but also overcoming his own internalized clericalism:

Mr. Lanza, who is Roman Catholic and voted against same-sex marriage in 2009, found himself on the phone recently with a priest he has known for three decades. The priest was adamant. Redefining marriage, he told Mr. Lanza, “would cause more harm than good for everyone involved,” he recalled.

The aftermath of war


The classic just war theory has a great deal to say about justifications for going to war, and about the proper conduct of war once it’s being fought. But it says almost nothing about the aftermath of war. (For the record, I think this whole theory is defunct. There is probably no such thing as a “just war” in the 21st century. Just for starters, how does one make the required distinction between combatants and civilians?)

The weapons of modern warfare often leave horrific legacies that create death and havoc after a war. Think about the radiation after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the unexploded land mines around the globe, the depleted uranium in Iraq, and the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Central Africa desperate for world attention bishops, CRS tell US gov't


Below is a media statment released today from the U.S. bishops' conference and Catholic Relief Service.

As background, here are two related news reports:

The bishops' statement


Morning Briefing


Theologians leave San Jose lifted after pondering saints


SAN JOSE, Calif. -- As Catholic Theological Society of America members wrapped up a four-day sojourn in this thriving, multi-ethnic, technologically driven city of close to a million, a city idyllically tucked onto the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay and protected from harsh climate by mountains on three sides, a city boasting 300 sunny days annually with average temperatures in mid-‘70s, a city near the wildly confident Santa Clara University, it’s easy to leave here imagining, if only momentarily, a loving church unencumbered by division and blatant human frailty, is actually possible and not just a distant dream.


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS