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Lady Gaga and a path to peace

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On Monday evening my wife and I attended the black-tie Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards ceremony held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The CFDA is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 370 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. Diane von Furstenberg, president of CFDA, hosted the evening.

The attendees walking the red carpet included many of the top people in fashion, including a bevy of Victoria's Secret super models, as well as up-and-comer designers.

The evening didn't really begin until Lady Gaga showed up, walking on 10-inch platform shoes and a revealing body suit. It was a site to behold.

First Things columnist criticizes Kansas City Bishop

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Elizabeth Scalia, the popular First Things columnist and writer known for her blog "The Anchoress," has joined those critical of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn for his handling of a case involving a priest arrested for possession of child pornography.

"By all accounts, Bishop Robert Finn is a very good man, but it seems he is a very good man who made a very big -- huge; astounding -- mistake," writes Scalia at the beginning of a blog post yesterday.

The mistake Scalia refers to is Finn's admission that he did not read a May 19, 2010, letter sent to his chancery by Julie Hess, principal of St. Patrick's elementary school, which warned that Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest, "fit the profile of a child predator."

Scalia's comments came the same day The Kansas City Star reported in a front page article that a local candidate for the deaconate had withdrawn his decision to receive holy orders because, he wrote in a letter, "I cannot promise respect or obedience that is a part of the diaconate ordination."

Real immigration reform needed

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I blogged recently that New York will no longer participate in the federal government's Secure Communities program. Massachusetts announced its opposition last week.

Here is today's New York Times editorial on immigration reform:

The [Secure Communities] program sends the fingerprints of every person booked by state or local police to federal databases to be checked for immigration violations. It was supposed to focus on dangerous felons. But it catches mostly noncriminals and minor offenders, as New York said, “compromising public safety by deterring witnesses to crime and others from working with law enforcement.”

For years Mr. Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has relentlessly pushed forward with immigration enforcement schemes while failing to give any relief to millions desperate to shed their illegal status.

On this day: St. William of York

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. William fitzHerbert, twice Archbishop of York. He was born around 1090 and died on June 8, 1154.

"St William of York is one of the more obscure saints of medieval England. . . . If he is remembered at all, it is as likely as not for the miracle of Ouse bridge -- surely one of the least remarkable miracles in the annals of hagiography -- or for the unedifying mystery surrounding his death. Outside York, few people have ever heard of St William -- unless they be twelfth-century ecclesiastical historians, among whom he has achieved a certain notoriety as the man at the centre of one of the most protracted and convoluted election disputes ever to have afflicted the English church."

--St William of York, by Christopher Norton, York Medieval Press, 2006, p. 1.

Kansas City pastor homily on clarifying thought

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The pastor of Holy Family parish in the Kansas City - St. Joseph diocese, Fr. Matthew Brumleve, spoke the following words last Sunday, Ascension Sunday, about Jim McConnell, a member of his parish who stepped away from the permanent diaconate program, saying he could not kneel before Bishop Robert Finn and offer his unqualified obedience. This is an excerpt from his homily:

Another way ... to clarify one’s thinking on what is valuable and
important in life – is to make a difficult decision – as Jim McConnell had to
do within the last week. Jim and his wife Cindy prayed about and struggled
with his ordination to the diaconate – in light of all that has come out about
what Bishop Finn did, and failed to do, in the recent sexual abuse case
concerning Father Shawn Ratigan.

Kansas City diaconate candidate leaves program, citing diocesan failings

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A Kansas City candidate for the permanent diaconate, Jim McConnell, informed his local parish this week that because of recent developments within the diocese he has decided step away from the progam. The following is a letter he posted on his parish Web site.

Dear Holy Family Parish:
After a great deal of soul searching, prayer and reflection, I have decided not to accept the call to Holy Orders that I have received.

Because of the recent disclosure of failures within the diocese to protect the people of St. Patrick Parish from harm, I cannot promise respect or obedience that is a part of the diaconate ordination. To me this breakdown in the system that was put in place to protect God's children is inexcusable.

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that I will not be able to serve Holy Family Parish as your deacon. Holy Family has been my spiritual home for over 30 years, and I have received great love and support during many joy filled and sometimes very difficult events in my life. Cindy and I will continue to support Holy Family in what ever way we can and wish to express our appreciation and love to all of you.

Jim and Cindy McConnell

The new evangelization - dumpling style

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A Vietnamese priest created a giant dumpling to mark Dragon Boat festival and to attract Catholics back to Church. Presumably, non-practicing Catholics enjoy a free meal just as much as everyone else. At least this priest is at least trying to generate interest in his parish, which is commendable.

According to Union of Catholic Asian News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia:

Catholics' evolving dialogue on equality

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Bishop Joseph Sullivan, the retired auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, reflects on how "My own understanding of [the gay and lesbian] community has also evolved over the course of four decades of ministry."

He writes:

Catholics and other religious people who support LGBT rights do so because of their experience of engagement with members of the LGBT community. They are not rebels in their churches, but people who have taken spiritual messages of inclusiveness and welcoming to heart.

On this day: Bd. Anne of St. Bartholomew

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On this day we celebrate the feast of Bd. Anne of St. Bartholomew.

She was born in 1549, "the child of peasants living at Almendral, near Avila, and their family name was Garc'a. . . . she was drawn to religious life, and she was admitted to the Carmelite convent of St Joseph at Avila on 7 November 1570. On 15 August 1572 she was professed as the first lay Sister of the Reform. From 1575 to 1582 she was the close companion of Teresa and accompanied her on nearly all her journeys."

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December 2-15, 2016

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