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PBS to air documentary about clergy abuse in Alaska

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When I reviewed Amy Berg's 2006 Oscar-nominated film about clergy sex abuse, "Deliver Us From Evil" about Oliver O'Grady, a former priest described as "the most notorious pedophile in the history of the Catholic Church," I wrote that it was "the most difficult film I had ever watched."

Now Frontline, a public affairs program produced by WGBH in Boston and aired on PBS, is airing the story of three sexual predators in Alaska in "The Silence," and I think this is the most difficult television show I have ever watched.

IVAW reports U.S. troops face \"horrendous health epidemic\"

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Members of Albuquerque Iraq Veterans Against the War issued a warning this week about a "horrendous health epidemic" faced by U.S. troops. The statistics are chilling.


  • The military suicide rate increased 150 percent from 2001 to 2009.


  • While on average only 9.1 percent of the suicide deaths between 2005 and 2009 had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this percentage has steadily increased from 4.6 percent in 2005 to 14.1 percent in 2009.


  • Suicide rates among active-duty troops are twice as high as that of the civilian population, and veterans with PTSD are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide.


  • Official Pentagon figures show that 188,000 service members have suffered brain injuries since 2000. Of those, 44,000 suffered moderate or severe head injuries. Another 144,000 had mild traumatic brain injuries. However, previous ProPublica and NPR reporters show that number likely understates the true toll by tens of thousands of troops. Some estimates put the number of brain injuries at 400,000 service members.

Some Monday morning thoughts

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Some Monday morning thoughts:


  • This story, a year old, was sent to me via a priest in Las Vegas and it certainly raises a number of questions regarding premature pronouncements of death in the cases of very early-term babies. A video of the miraculous recovery of a baby pronounced dead shortly after birth also makes one wonder if obstetricians listen closely enough to the mothers in their care, since the doctor insisted for two hours that the baby was not alive.

On this day: Mary of Bethany

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On this day, Monday of Holy Week, we hear of the dinner given for Jesus at Bethany.

"Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."

For a detailed explanation of this incident within the context of the relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and Mary of Bethany, see Chapter 4, "Mary and Martha of Bethany", in The Women in the Life of the Bridegroom: A Feminist Historical-Literary Analysis of the Female Characters in the Fourth Gospel, by Adeline Fehribach, SCN, The Liturgical Press, 1998, beginning on page 83.

Bishop tells gays and lesbians: ìThe church is your homeî

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No, you didn’t misread the headline. In late March, Mexican Bishop Raul Vera Lopez celebrated Mass for participants in a diocesan-endorsed forum on sexual diversity, known as Comunidad San Aelredo.

Bishop Vera has made the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church a priority in his northern Mexican diocese, which has a reputation for championing human rights issues.

Shock and outrage in Belgium after bishop's remarks

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Belgium reacted with shock and outrage on Friday to a television interview in which a disgraced bishop revealed that he had abused two nephews, rather than the one previously acknowledged, and said that he did not consider himself a pedophile, according to an article today in The New York Times.

The comments came in a lengthy appearance on a Flemish television channel on Thursday night in which Roger Vangheluwe, 74, described how he resigned as bishop of Bruges a year ago after he admitted abusing a boy who was later revealed to be his nephew.

Vatican officials said this week that the bishop is receiving “spiritual and psychological treatment” outside Belgium and is not permitted to act as a priest until the Vatican rules in his case.

An Atheist and a Catholic

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How amazingly cool is this?! Way cool, in my humble opinion, and better than the much-blogged-about “God Debate” between Famous Atheist Sam Harris and Famous Evangelical William Lane Craig because Harris and Craig appeared to yell more at each other (or each other’s ideas) than they did seem to listen carefully.

Then again, the women behind the new blog An Atheist and a Catholic are, well, women. And, while some Mean Girls have gotten a lot of press lately being snarky and sarcastic (from the Greek sarkasmos, meaning “to tear flesh”) women – especially mothers – usually tend to be more willing than their male counterparts to hear each other out before shouting each other down.

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