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Australian priests critical of their bishops, survey finds

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Many of Australia's 3000 active and retired Catholic priests are critical of their bishops and admit they do not believe crucial church teachings, according to a survey to be released this week.

Dr. John O'Carroll, a communications lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst and colleague Chris McGillion, who coordinates the university's journalism program, sent the survey to 1550 active and 160 retired priests, and 542, or about 32 percent, responded. They conducted 50 face-to-face interviews and are publishing the results in a book, What Australian Catholic Priests Really Think About Their Lives and Their Church.

While most clergy find fulfillment in the priesthood, many say they are overworked, poorly managed and feel constrained in their religious vocation by bureaucracy and parish administration. Nearly half of the surveyed priests consider their bishops as "an exclusive group and one far too subservient to Rome," the book says.

Unlike Dolan's rationalizations, we need 'unqualified apologies'

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After I posted my column on 'Sex abuse and the legacy of lay passivity', I received a number of emails from sex abuse survivors who spoke of their longing for an apology from a church authority.

In a Huffington Post blog, Kim Michele Richardson, a spokesperson for SNAP, writes movingly about the crucial need for “the church’s one simple phrase for healing.” She writes:

“One simple phrase -- I'm sorry -- would show the world that the Roman Catholic Church indeed cares about victims and survivors and the immense pain and harm we have suffered. In light of the magnitude of the pain inflicted, the harm done and the lives shattered, one simple phrase is not too much to ask.”

Richardson explains that what victims are seeking is an “unqualified apology.”

On this day: Bd. Augusto Czartoryski

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On this day in 1893, Bd. Augusto Czartoryski died at Alassio. He was 34 years old. He had been a priest of the Salesians of Don Bosco for one year.

"Augusto Czartoryski was born on 2 August 1858 in Paris, France, the firstborn son to Prince Ladislaus of Poland and Princess Maria Amparo, daughter of the Duke and Queen of Spain. The noble Czartoryski Family had been living in exile in France for almost 30 years, in the Lambert Palace."

Paul Ryan's 'hammock'

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The latest GOP take on the federal budget has come very close to reviving a golden oldie of hot-button politics -- the mythical and powerful "welfare queen."

A lot of the poisonous politics of the 70s and 80s revolved around the nation's programs for the poor. Instituted as part of "The Great Society" in the mid-1960s, these programs had -- ten years later -- become rife with abuse for which hard-working taxpayers were footing the bill.

On the back of that resentment rode a generation of politicians who derided the legendary "welfare queen." She was the supposedly poor mother from a place like Harlem who actually worked the system for huge amounts of cash: she had children just to collect checks, she drove Cadillacs while getting taxpayer transportation subsidies, and got money for "job training" programs she never attended.

The Queen -- imagined or real (and some were real: some) -- seemed to have faded away with Bill Clinton's welfare reform in the 1990s.

But no: her majesty has been nearly brought back to life by a man pundits consider among the most sober and creative thinkers on the right: Rep. Paul Ryan.

Bishop's internal memo announces major cut backs, layoffs coming

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According to Delaware Online:

Layoffs and reductions in some church services and ministries will be coming later this year as a result of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington's proposed $77.4 million settlement with survivors of priest sexual abuse, according to a memo from Bishop W. Francis Malooly being circulated to employees this week.

Diocesan officials confirmed the memo was issued but declined to answer questions about specifics -- like how many of the approximately 190 diocesan employees may be let go or what services will be suspended or reduced. The memo states that the layoffs will take place July 1, but officials said employees will likely be notified if they are on the list this week.

Leading Economist: Ryan Plan ëAbsurd'

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A few commentators on the NCR website thought I was a bit harsh in saying that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-I) budget plan was not serious.

At least I’m in good company. Last night on CNN’s In the Arena, former Reagan budget director David Stockman said the plan “whiffs entirely.” For those unfamiliar with baseball metaphors, that means that Ryan struck out, that his plan is a failure.

Even tougher was Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading economists. “There’s not a clever idea in the whole thing and it absolutely going to go nowhere as a result,” he said. It can’t be that bad, right? “I think it’s absurd,” said Sachs, who called the Ryan plan an excuse for “cutting Medicaid, slashing programs for the poor” and gutting environmental efforts.

Morning Briefing

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San Bernardino, Calif. Priest takes leave from TV ministry, relationship with adult woman revealed

Springfield, Ill. Catholic leaders lobby for anti-abortion measure, textbook funding

Dover, Del. War of words has broken out between Republican state representatives and the Catholic League

Austin, Texas State workers, Catholic bishops march on Capitol, crying out against proposed budget cuts

Ireland Sacrament preparation may move out of school

Hudons, Wis. Hudson priest charged with stealing $10K

Vatican publication rehabilitates hackers

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From Network World:

Internet hackers have acquired a dubious reputation for piracy, sabotage and the spilling of sensitive secrets, but an authoritative Vatican publication appears to rehabilitate them and traces parallels between hacker philosophy and the teachings of Christianity.

The surprisingly charitable view of hackers was expressed by the Jesuit priest Father Antonio Spadaro in an article for the fortnightly magazine Civilta Cattolica, the text of which is vetted by the Vatican Secretariat of State prior to publication.

Hackers should not be confused with crackers, Spadaro wrote, citing a definition penned by technology writer Eric S. Raymond: "Hackers build things, crackers break them."

Hacker philosophy is playful but committed, encourages creativity and sharing, and opposes models of control, competition and private property, Spadaro observed approvingly.

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