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Torture Effective? A Helpful Reminder of the Obvious from Stephen Carter

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When it comes to torture: The means may be effective, says Yale’s Stephen Carter, but it doesn’t mean they are justified.

Carter’s argument is a helpful reminder that not everything we know to be morally wrong has zero utility in the “real world.” After all, if that apple really held the key to all knowledge (in addition to being tasty), it would be an interesting thing to get your hands on. The world, alas, would be an easier place if everything that was morally suspect didn’t work.

On this day: Julian of Norwich

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On this day, in "the year of our Lord 1373", "these revelations were shown to a simple unlettered creature".

On May 13, Julian of Norwich, aged 30, "began receiving visions--what she later called 'sixteen showings'--that revealed to her the reality of the love of God. When she wrote those down, they became the first English-language book every written by a woman".

-- Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography, by Amy Frykholm, Paraclete Press, 2010, Back Cover.

Morning Briefing

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The most important article you will read today: ‘The Fog of Scandal’ Ana Maria Catanzaro, chair of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s review board.

The Roman Catholic Church in Rhode Island says attendance at Sunday Mass rose slightly in 2010 as the church ramped up efforts to bring back inactive Catholics.

Along the Mississippi River Agencies pitch in to help those hit by flooding

Philippines On reproductive health bill, president open to dialogue with Catholic bishops but respects their decision to cease talking, spokeswoman says

Bishops name new head to Latin America office

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Press Release from U.S. bishops' conference:

FATHER JUAN MOLINA NAMED DIRECTOR FOR CHURCH IN LATIN AMERICA

WASHINGTON -- Trinitarian Father Juan J. Molina has been named associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office of National Collections and director for the Church in Latin America. Father Molina is currently serving as policy advisor for Latin America and Global Trade in the Office of International Justice and Peace at USCCB and previously served as advocacy program coordinator in the Southwest regional office of Catholic Relief Services.

A new phase for religious life?

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I just returned from a wonderful five-day meeting of the Loretto Community in St. Louis. It focused on ministries and was entitled "Working with a Jubilee Heart." (We're getting ready to celebrate our 200th anniversary as a community in 2012.) We've come a long way since those early days on the Kentucky frontier, but we're still boarding new wagon trains and looking over new horizons into the future.

One of those horizons is our exploration of a new "cosmological phase" of religious life.

Uganda's \"Kill the Gays\" bill returns to Parliament's table

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The Ugandan bill that would impose the death penalty on some gays and lesbians was scheduled to be debated today. By chance, however, a walkout by female members of Parliament because of a dispute over an unrelated bill cancelled the debate.

"We were saved by the lack of quorum," said Frank Mugisha, the director of the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda. Mugisha and others believe that the bill might have passed today because so many members of Parliament were in favor of it.

Theologian loses license

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The Tablet (of London) is reporting today that:

The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, has withdrawn theologian David Berger's missio canonica. After outing himself as a homosexual in April 2010, Mr Berger was fired from the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas last August for sharply criticising the Church for its "hypocritical and bigoted" attitude towards homosexuality.

Last year, Berger published a book, Der heilige Schein. Als schwuler Theologe in der katholischen Kirche (The Holy Illusion: A Gay Theologian in the Catholic Church), and gave this interview to Der Spiegel: The church's homophobia and its shift to the right.

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