I was fascinated by the findings of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life from May 19 through June 6, 2010. It polled a nationwide sample of 3,412 Americans age 18 and older, using both landlines and cell phones, in English and Spanish. In sociological circles, that is a large sample.
I hope all readers of this column are familiar with the Web site gratefulnes.org, "a network for Grateful Living."
Gratefulness.org says of itself that it "povides education and support for the practice of grateful living as a global ethic, based on the teachings of Br. David Steindl-Rast and colleagues. Gratefulness – the full response to a given moment and all it contains – is a universal spiritual practice that inspires personal transformation, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, intergenerational respect, nonviolent conflict resolution, and ecological sustainability."
You can sign up on the site for a number of useful reflective aids. One is "Word for the Day." The following is the "Word for the Day" for today, Oct. 1.
Philippine senators deplore “hysterical reaction” of Catholic Bishops Conference. The bishops had threatened to excommunicate President Benigno S. Aquino III and other pro-reproductive health lawmakers for supporting the family planning measure.
How did over 1,000 Guatemalans ever get to Postville, Iowa? The answer is an eye-opener on the larger crisis going on because of poverty-driven global migration.
Over on the Huffington Post, Rabbi Michael Lerner -- an Obama supporter in 2008 -- says "Obama (and Biden) Have No Clue About What's Bothering Their Political Base."
Yesterday I blogged about the prevalence of suicide involving teenagers, college students, professional athletes and married couples.
Today came this headline in the New York Times: "Four Suicides in a Week Take a Toll on Fort Hood."
Are you in crisis? Please call 1-800-273-TALK
To learn more about suicide, go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Tonight at 7 the Passionists of St. Paul of the Cross Monastery on the South Side Slopes will invite the public to venerate and ask prayers of their former superior, the Rev. Theodore Foley, who died in 1974. The pope declared him a servant of God -- the step before beatification -- in 2007, but his remains weren't accessible for veneration. They now rest in a new sarcophagus next to his old confessional.
"He showed a great love of reconciliation, both as an overall human experience and also as a sacramental experience," said the Rev. Timothy Fitzgerald, a Pittsburgh Passionist who was his secretary in Rome.
For more information, see www.theodorefoley.org.
For an institution that deals so much in symbol, the church has chosen Mother Mary KacKillop as a candidate for canonization who brings with her an unusual and timely depth and richness. MacKillop was an Australian once excommunicated by her bishop for denouncing clerical sexual abuse.
Talk about a saint for our times. Jesuit Fr. James Martin plumbs the implications of the canonization in a wonderful essay on the America Magazine blog.
For the 'news that you thought ended a century ago' file:
The Daily Telegraph in the UK reported yesterday that the First World War will officially end on Sunday, almost a century after the guns stopped firing.
The end of the war comes with the final payment of $94 million from Germany to Belgium and France as mandated in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.
92 years later, another reason to appreciate the devastation and incredible consequences of war.