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Biden and the Rosary Beads

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As the White House contemplates whether to release photos of bin Laden's remains, the picture of the "situation room" during the operation to capture bin Laden continues to captivate. President Obama is described as "stone-faced," Hillary Clinton anxiously places her hand over her face, vice-president Biden grasps his rosary beads.

Biden and rosary beads? Yes, it's true. Though Biden usually carries a rosary ring, rather than a full set of beads, he has long relied on it to bring him comfort. According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Michael Sneed, Biden recites the rosary daily.

Thank you, Mr. Biden, for reminding us that socially and politically liberal Catholics can also find meaning in this traditional devotion.

Three Possible Popes

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ROME -- There’s no indication whatsoever of any health crisis around Pope Benedict XVI, and every reason to believe he’s capable of leading the Catholic church for some time to come. Nevertheless, the May 1 beatification of John Paul II brought a host of media agencies to Rome anxious to update their briefing books for an eventual conclave, which meant that speculation about possible successors has been in the air.

Webathon: Sacked bishop coverage is an example of NCR watchdog work

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I hope you are following the NCR reports on this Web site this week about the sacking of Australian Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese He was removed by the Vatican this week after an Apostolic Investigation, which came in the wake of comments Morris made some years back suggesting the church be open to married and women priests.

On this day: Eddie Doherty

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On this day in 1975, Eddie Doherty died. The headline on his obituary in the New York Times said, "Rev. Edward Doherty, 84, Dead; Star 'Front Page' Era Reporter".

The obituary mentions only a few of the many newspapers he worked for in his long career: "The News, whose trucks and billboards proclaimed him The Star Reporter of America", The Mirror, which "billed him as America's Highest Paid Reporter", and The Chicago Tribune.

Osama bin Laden's death, an occasion for reckoning with our own terrorism

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Osama bin Laden is dead, shot by U.S. Navy SEALS during a helicopter raid on his million dollar mansion located outside the Pakistani city of Islamabad.

News of his death brought back memories of September 11, 2001, a brilliant day of cloudless skies and invigorating temperature.

Our Catholic Worker community had just buried Dan Lawrence, a former Trappist monk and beloved member of our household. For several days, we had been swept up in the rituals and emotions that accompany the passing of a loved one. On the morning of September 11th, I awoke, thinking, "Finally, we can get back to our normal routine."

But the day was far from normal. I can still vividly recall Brenna Cussen, then a member of our community, standing in the kitchen doorway, looking solemn and perplexed. She had just been listening to the radio and wanted to know if we had heard "anything about planes crashing into the World Trade Center."

The real threat to Catholicism: women!

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In recent decades, the Vatican has silenced or stifled many theologians who dared to voice new or creative theological ideas. I've long wondered if it ever occurred to the Curia that a healthy public discussion of these ideas might benefit the church. But they continue to treat Catholics as children whose minds must be "protected" from wayward thoughts.

But in recent weeks, it has become apparent that the real threat they perceive is not just new ideas; it's women! The very thought that God might consider women the equals of men in ministry, especially the priesthood, seems to send Curia officials up the wall. They just can't cope.

In recent years, they have gone after Rev. Roy Bourgeois, pressuring his Maryknoll religious order to remove him for his outspoken advocacy of women priests. And now, they have targeted a bishop, William Morris, of the Toowoomba diocese of Australia. His crime? He wrote a pastoral letter in 2006, suggesting women's ordination as one of a few potential solutions to the priest crisis. Duh? Isn't that obvious?

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