Hughestown, Pa.: Closed church ships furniture, items to Haiti
The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40 years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned Thursday.
In its annual report on the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) in the world, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the model of development that has prevailed to date for these countries has failed and should be re-assessed.
"The traditional models that have been applied to LDCs that tend to move the LDCs in the direction of trade-related growth seem not to have done very well," said Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of UNCTAD.
"What happened is that in the past 30-40 years, the number of LDCs have doubled so it has actually deteriorated, the number of people living under the poverty line has doubled from the 1980s."
The report indicated that the situation has sharply deteriorated in the past few years.
It's welcomed news that most Americans have not lost their minds on two major political issues facing the nation. A post-election McClatchy poll finds that a majority of Americans want Congress to keep the new health care law or actually expand it, despite Republican claims that they have a mandate from the people to kill it.
The post-election survey showed that 51 percent of registered voters want to keep the law or change it to do more, while 44 percent want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether.
Driving support for the law: Voters by margins of 2-1 or greater want to keep some of its best-known benefits, such as barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. One thing they don’t like: the mandate that everyone must buy insurance.
At the same time, the survey showed that a majority of voters side with the Democrats on another hot-button issue, extending the Bush era tax cuts that are set to expire Dec. 31 only for families making less than $250,000.
It's these kinds of stories that scare gay and lesbian people who work for Catholic institutions.
Last month Laine Tadlock, director of the education program at Benedictine University in Springfield, retired under pressure after the publication of a wedding announcement about Tadlock's marriage to her partner, Kae Helstrom. They were married in Iowa.
The university insists she was not fired, and was offered another position, which Tadlock did not accept. Yet, in a statement, they confirm that negative reaction to the public wedding announcement forced them to act.
"It was not Tadlock’s orientation, but rather the public disregard for fundamental Catholic beliefs which was the basis for the university’s decisions. These decisions were made only after full discussion with the appropriate diocesan officials," the statement said.
We’re seeing as good a sideshow as Catholicism produces. According to Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press, many “prominent conservative Roman Catholics in the U.S.” are questioning the Vatican’s own explanation of what Pope Benedict said about condoms in a new book, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.
As best anyone can decipher, the Pope approves of the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and thus save lives. (I’ve always thought that this is an obvious “pro-life” position). But apparently, several of the most orthodox Catholics who have been bad-mouthing condoms for any reason – even to save lives –await a formal papal statement. Some have even questioned whether the Vatican spokesperson, Rev. Frederico Lombardi, accurately interpreted the papal position.
In an ironic twist, Jon O’Brien of Catholics for Choice welcomed the statement. In fact, I think his statement is perhaps the first time I have ever seen his organization praise something the Pope has said!
This Thanksgiving on Interfaith Voices, we decided not to focus on the story of the Puritans. Instead, we explored the faith of the Wampanoag People, the Native Americans who were already living in New England when the Puritans arrived. Our guests were two Native American women: Ramona Peters who is Wampanoag herself, and Clara Sue Kidwell, who traces her heritage to the Choctaw and Chippewa peoples.
Both described a Native American spirituality that celebrated nature in all its movement, beauty and bounty. Native peoples, they said, do not see themselves (as the Puritans did) as submitting to the will of an all-powerful God, but as responsible participants in a spiritual world where their actions matter, for good or for ill. Those of us who treasure our natural environment could learn a lot from that perspective.
Especially noteworthy is the fact that the Wampanoag People treated the Puritans with great religious tolerance, but the Puritans – who came to North America seeking religious freedom for themselves – did not treat the Wampanoag People with similar tolerance.
Want to add more meaning to this Christmas season? Want to help a prison ministry with each Christmas card you pen? Consider supporting the Christmas card project, a ministry of the capable and caring Mercy Sister Camille D’Arienzo.
Many Catholics are already familiar with D’Arienzo. Writer, teacher, radio commentator, former Leadership Conference of Women Religious president, she is also founder of the anti-death penalty group, Cherish Life Circle. The group is perhaps best known for its Declaration of Life.
Although the Diocese of Peoria has dropped its nine-year crusade to get sainthood for Fulton Sheen, efforts to have the El Paso-born evangelist canonized will continue.
"We're very positive this is going to get resolved," Monsignor Stanley Deptula, executive director of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, said Tuesday. "It's a matter of negotiations; a matter of discernment."
Earlier this month, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky suspended the local effort. His official statement said this was done "with great sadness and disappointment," and he hoped the Archdiocese of New York would pick up the cause. As yet, there is no official word if that will happen.
"Bishop Jenky is kind of calling the question," Deptula said.
And the question is where the potential saint's body will spend the rest of eternity.
This year, I am particularly thankful for reasonableness.
A political season has just ended, a season enveloped with fear and anxiety, and the lack of reasonable debate that often brings. To me, this group blog has stayed a pretty steady course -- I've always read more light than heat in the words others contribute here. Different places on the web -- not so much.
But these are anxious times; anxiety and reasonableness rarely function together. Still, there are signs of hope that a political class facing stubborn problems will rise above itself: Speaker-to-be John Boehner has struck a mostly steady chord since the election; yesterday in Kokomo, Indiana, President Obama shelved the rhetoric of the mid-term campaign and returned to a style closer to 2008.
I took a short cut through Barnes & Noble ‘s last week, the one across the lobby from the best theater in Los Angeles, to get to the parking garage. Actually, it was really my regular detour. I love to browse the new releases. But it was a small book on the paperback table that chose me: “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” by Michael Pollan. I bought it to read on my flight to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving.
Pollan, a journalist turned food detective and defender, was one of the experts who contributed to the excellent and worrisome 2008 documentary “Food, Inc.” He also wrote “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “In Defense of Food” and others that explore the food industrial complex and the consequences of genetic manipulation of food and eating what passes for food in America.