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President Obama lifted a nation last night


President Obama was eloquent last night, solemn when he needed to be, uplifting when called for, and all the time thoughtful. He was as much priest as president in what was essentially a spiritual reflection on how people should conduct their lives and care for each other.

Said the president: "If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. … Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle."

When God's law prevails


Jesuit Father Dean Brackley, speaking at a Celebration conference in San Antonio, Texas this evening said something both profound and radical, especially given the times.

He said: "Want a truly Catholic perspective? The principle of the destiny of all God’s People and all Creation take precedent over national laws."

Cause for meditation.

Tucson victims were inspirations as Catholics and Americans


Among the victims of Saturday’s horrific shootings in Arizona were Christina Taylor Green and U.S. District Court Judge John Roll.

As Catholics and Americans, we should pray for all those who died -- Gabe Zimmerman, Dorwin Stoddard, Dorothy Murray, and Phyllis Scheck as well as Green and Roll -- and who were injured, the most well-known being U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Arizona blocks Westboro Church protests


They can make even the most peace-loving pacifist’s blood boil. And that’s the point.

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, whose congregation consists primarily of the extended family of Pastor Fred Phelps, is notorious for feeding off of the deepest and most painful wounds of mourners. They are known for protesting the funerals or soldiers hoisting signs that declaring all of the things that God apparently “hates.”

Poem memorializes women and calls us to action


The catastrophe of Mexico’s current narcotraficante violence has diverted attention away from a travesty that began years ago: the Femicide, as it is known -- the murder and torture of young women, mostly maquiladora factory workers -- near the U.S.-Mexico border. Now an opportunity has arisen to refocus U.S. citizens on the women’s fate, thanks to the work of Valerie Mart'nez, a New Mexico author who gives us a book that is at once a lyric poem in 72 parts and an organizing tool for activists.

The end of the death penalty in Illinois?


Concluding that the system is broken and cannot be fixed, a majority of elected representatives in Illinois have voted to ban the death penalty in the state. The House passed a death penalty ban bill last week, and the Senate approved it yesterday, in part in reaction to the exoneration of several people on death row in recent years.

But will Gov. Pat Quinn (a Catholic) sign the bill into law? During his campaign last fall, he said he supports "capital punishment when applied carefully and fairly," but also backs the 10-year-old moratorium on executions, according to this Chicago Tribune article.

This is a momentous prolife victory, so I wondered what various prolife groups around the state were saying. After the House vote last week, the Catholic Conference of Illinois released a statement commending the historic vote and urging the Senate to pass it.

On this day: Friendship


On this day in 1167, Aelred of Rievaulx died. His feast is observed by the Roman Catholic Church and by the Anglican Communion.

"Walter Daniel, a monk of the Yorkshire abbey, who himself tended Aelred and cradled his head in his final hours," recounted "how the day before his death Aelred was unable to speak but nonetheless listened intently to the brother who read to him the story of the Lord's Passion. . . . Walter explains that shortly before his death Aelred, who had not spoken for two days, turned to look up at the wooden cross and recited the words of Luke 23.46: 'You are my God and Lord, my refuge and Saviour. Into your hands I commend my spirit.'"

-- Life in the Medieval Cloister, by Julie Kerr.


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS