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The new Mass translation: More than just words

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COLUMN

Check out Dominican Fr. Paul Philibert’s article in this week's issue of America magazine to learn why the new translation of the Roman Missal is catching flack for more than just bad grammar and antiquated English.

Philibert makes the case, respectfully but forcefully, that altering the words of consecration of the cup from "It will be shed for you and for all" to "It will be shed for you and for many" is a significant shift in emphasis from the accepted theological notion that Jesus died to save all people, not just a select number, however defined.

WikiLeaks: Israel wanted to keep Gaza economy 'on brink of collapse'

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Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza's economy "on the brink of collapse" during an Israeli blockade of the area, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily and released by WikiLeaks Wednesday.

The information in the leaked Nov. 3, 2008 cable seems to contradict official declarations -- made by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert -- that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip wouldn't unduly target ordinary Palestinians.

From the Reuters report (via Haaretz):

"As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge," one of the cables read.

Israel wanted the coastal territory's economy "functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis", according to the Nov. 3, 2008 cable.

The Vatican Library goes digital

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The Jan. 3 issue of The New Yorker has a fascinating article by Daniel Mendelsohn about the Vatican Library and its conversion to 21st century technology.

The article gives an overview of many of the unique manuscripts that library possesses. And it provides a glimpse of its efforts to modernize -- i.e., put the collection on line -- over the past several years.

Turns out the library has been closed for three years while this process took place under Msgr. Cesare Pasini, its current Prefect. The author gives him credit for understanding both the needs of the scholarly community and the concerns of the Curia.

If you are visiting Rome, the library recently re-opened.

Hepatitis scare from Christmas Eucharist

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From yesterday's New York Post:

Hundreds of worshippers may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus while receiving Holy Communion at a Long Island Catholic church on Christmas morning, officials said.

An unidentified person who handled the communion wafers could have transmitted the illness to parishioners at two Masses on the holy day, authorities said.

The possible spread of the virus occurred at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in Massapequa at the 10:30 a.m. and noon Masses on Dec. 25.

The Nassau County Department of Health said anyone who received the bread wafers should report for inoculation at the church this week. A department spokesman declined to provide details, citing privacy concerns.

"Individuals may be at risk," said Sean Dolan, a spokesman for Diocese of Rockville Centre.

2011: Year of Pope John Paul II?

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Maybe some missed the irony in the juxtaposition of two stories on the NCR web site in the past few days.

One was written by Jason Berry about the striking failings of Pope John Paul II in his dealings with the Legionaires and his blindness in the face of the largest crisis to hit the church in centuries – the clergy sex abuse crisis and episcopal cover-up.

The other, a report written by John Allen that states that Vatican efforts will be made this year to beatify Pope John Paul II.

Abortion as a familial, cultural, religious and entertainment issue

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After my reflection on a Christmas advertising campaign that featured an image of an ultrasound of a baby Jesus in utero and seeing the new film "Blue Valentine," this opinion piece by Ross Douthat in yesterday's New York Times seems especially thoughtful.

"Blue Valentine" got some controversial press due to an NC-17 rating it received from the MPAA for an oral sex scene, and then when it was down-rated to an R upon appeal.

I thought "Sex and Other Drugs" was much more problematic from the explicit sexuality perspective, but "Blue Valentine" stems from every bad sexual choice the key figure, Cindy (Michelle Williams) makes. Her sexual history may be more realistic than most people think: first sexual experience at 13 and by the time she is in her early 20's she has had more than twenty sexual partners. She is in the midst of an abortion when she tells the doctor to stop, and he does.

Archdiocese of Milwaukee to file for bankruptcy

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in a sign that the sad consequences of the priest sex abuse crisis continue to erode the stature of the Catholic Church in the United States, announced it would seek bankruptcy protection today.

The announcement was made by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

The tensions of the debate over how the crisis should be handled are caught in quotes from a story on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website:

"For those of you who may feel anger and resentment that we have come to this moment, STOP," Listecki said in a letter to church members on Tuesday. "We are here because of one reason: Priests sexually abused minors."

Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota lawyer who represents victims in the Milwaukee cases, called the action sad and alarming, characterizing it as a ploy to delay the lawsuits and the disclosure of damning information in depositions of retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Richard Sklba. Sklba's deposition was initially scheduled for January and recently rescheduled for February.

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