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Hometown: Kentwood, MI
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,074

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Palm Sunday Weekend: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Mark 11:1-10:

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ reply,
‘The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.’”
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
“What are you doing, untying the colt?”
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!”

A portion of that passage is quoted in the Catholic Mass just before the Eucharistic prayers.

Such a contrast with what would come...

Let us pray:

Hosanna to you, Son of David, King of the ages,
- hosanna to you, victor over death and the powers of darkness.

You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
- lead your Church into the Paschal feast of heaven.

You made your cross the tree of life,
- grant its fruit to those reborn into baptism.

Savior of mankind, you came to save sinners,
- bring into your kingdom all who have faith, hope and love.

Catholics on Left and Right Find Common Ground Opposing Death Penalty

But last year, seeing the amount of attention that The Register was giving to arguments opposing the death penalty, Mr. Coday came up with an idea: Maybe the two newspapers could collaborate on an editorial calling on Catholics to oppose the death penalty.

“What struck me the most was Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley came out strongly against it,” Mr. Coday said. “And his comments were covered by The National Catholic Register.”

Indeed, The Register had covered Catholic death-penalty opposition last May, after the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate, Clayton Lockett, and again in July, after the protracted execution in Arizona of Joseph R. Wood III, who took nearly two hours to die.

Eventually, Mr. Coday got three other publications, including The Register, to join him. On March 5, “Catholic Publications Call for an End to Capital Punishment” ran on the websites of The Reporter; The Register; Our Sunday Visitor, which is considered conservative; and the Jesuit magazine America, which is considered liberal. The editorial was written principally by Mr. Coday, with the involvement of the four editorial boards.


Sen. Stabenow (D-MI) trolls Tom Cotton so hard

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) delivered a pitch-perfect trolling lesson to the Senate on Wednesday, filing an amendment calling to defund "the purchase of stationary or electronic devices for the purpose of members of Congress or congressional staff communicating with foreign governments and undermining the role of the President as Head of State in international nuclear negotiations on behalf of the United States."

In other words, Stabenow wants to defund Tom Cotton letters.

Earlier this month, Cotton, a Republican senator from Arkansas, organized a letter to Iranian leaders warning that future presidents may not abide by a deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions currently being negotiated by the Obama administration. Cotton garnered 46 additional GOP co-sponsors, and outraged even many critics of the Iran talks for addressing the letter directly to top Iranian government officials and bypassing the executive branch, which is constitutionally charged with negotiating foreign pacts.


But these legislative dominance rituals often do have real political consequences, even when they do not result in direct policy changes. Cotton's Iran letter has been politically unpopular, and even simply raising the issue through the amendment process could force senators who signed the letter to take another round of heat.


Broken traffic signal flips off pedestrians

Britney Sorensen, traffic systems engineer, said the traffic department performs annual maintenance checks at each light and signal in town, but typically relies on the public to know when and where a system is not working properly. She suspects the explicit signal on South College uses outdated LED (light-emitting diode) technology, which likely caused the malfunction. There are not many older LED systems still being used in town, she said.

To fix the signal, Sorensen said it will likely cost $200, including labor and materials. The LED lights cost about $150.

The newer LED signals and lights, which last longer than and use less energy than incandescent lights, have a lifetime of about 10 years. Sorensen said the signals and lights are more susceptible to failure in the cold, but even then the department receives only "a handful" of repair calls every day.


Cars damaged by plastic wrap stretched across highway

Deputies are searching for those responsible for stretching plastic wrap across Interstate 90 near Wallace, Idaho, according to Spokane’s KREM 2 News.

Authorities say a group of people apparently thought it would be fun to take plastic wrap, attach it to overpass columns along the I-90 exit to Kingston, and then tightly stretch it across the road.

Shoshone County Deputy Jeremy Ross said several cars were damaged, including one that had its windshield shattered.

Authorities say the plastic is actually comparable to water, because if it’s hit at close range, it won't do much damage, but the results could be disastrous if struck at a high speed.


Is he "Pope Francis effect" real? Early signs point to yes

Now, one researcher may have found some signs, albeit tentative, of an incipient “Francis effect.”

Mark Gray of Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate crunched the Catholic numbers from the 2014 General Social Survey, the go-to resource for sociologists. The GSS began in 1972 and is conducted every two years using face-to-face interviews with a national random sample of adults.

Gray noted that when asked to characterize the strength of their religious affiliation, 34 percent of Catholics said it was “strong,” up from 27 percent in 2012, the year before Francis was elected. That 7-point rise was a “significant bounce,” Gray said.

Congregants pray during Catholic Mass at St. Therese Little Flower parish in Kansas City, Mo., on May 20, 2012.
There was also a decline in the percentage saying their affiliation with the Catholic Church was “not very strong,” down 6 points, to 56 percent


Basketball player allowed to use his real last name - which is the f-word

I played in a very small city," said Fuck. "To avoid community conflict, they asked me to go by my first and middle name."

The Brazilian-born forward says his surname is actually pronounced "Foo-key" and only became an issue when he moved to the United States to play basketball.


When asked if he's ever thought about changing his last name, the answer is no.

"No, no, no. I want to have kids, I want to spread the Fuck last name," he said.


Iowa lawmaker (R-Obviously) caught reading Sex After Sixty on House floor

Republican Iowa state Rep. Ross Paustian was caught reading a sexual self-help book during a House session in the Iowa state legislature, reported ABC News.

Brianne Pfannenstiel, reporter with The Des Moines Register, snapped a picture of Paustian and posted it to Twitter.

The photo went viral, of course. Paustian received some backlash after the photo surfaced because many felt that he rudely disengaged from the debate that was taking place at the time.

“I’m getting a lot of pretty vicious emails from people, so I have to explain,” Paustian told KCRG. “The main thing is I was totally engaged in what was going on on the floor . . . I knew what was going on. I knew how we were going to vote on amendments. So it wasn’t like I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on.”


Religious leaders call for "Fast from Fast Food" to call attention to workers' low wages

The fast aims to draw attention to "Fight for 15" movement, which is advocating for a union and a minimum wage of $15 an hour for fast food workers. Religious leaders involved with the fast are asking people of all faiths to take a pledge not to eat burgers and fries between Feb. 18 and April 4. Interfaith Worker Justice, the advocacy group that's organizing the fast, is also offering an online program of daily reflections and prayers that relate to the push for higher wages. So far, 1,500 people have signed the online pledge to participate, according to IWJ.

The Fast from Fast Food is bringing a renewed focus to the role of faith leaders in curbing income inequality, one of the biggest social justice issues of our time. This modern partnership between religious organizations and social justice advocates comes out of a decades-long collaboration between the two groups. From the abolition of slavery to the Civil Rights movement, faith leaders have played a prominent role in pushing for social change throughout American history.

Now, there’s an added urgency to the efforts thanks to Pope Francis, who is drawing attention to rising inequality and the obligation of people of faith to help mitigate it.

“He’s just so clear about it,” said Sister Simone Campbell, the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby. Campbell is one of the religious leaders who has endorsed the Fast from Fast Food campaign. “A family should be able to be supported in dignity by the work of the parents, and the fact is that currently in the United States, salaries are not sufficient to allow families to live in dignity,” she said.


Catholics played prominent role in Selma

The voting rights demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago in Selma, Ala., are among the most significant events of the modern civil rights movement. They successfully rallied supporters of racial justice behind the need for government action to protect the right to vote long denied to African-Americans. The Voting Rights Act, described by many as the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress in American history, was a direct result of the Selma protests.

Catholics played a prominent role in Selma, much more than in previous civil rights demonstrations. Never before had Catholic activists turned out in such large numbers. Now, on the 50th anniversaries of Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery march, it is fitting to honor those who participated in these historic events in March 1965.

Early in 1965, Edmundite Fr. Maurice Ouellet, pastor of St. Elizabeth's African-American mission in Selma, answered a knock at his door. He was surprised to see King standing on the front step.

"The Negro people tell me there is one white man in Selma who is black," King said by way of introduction, "and I want to meet him."

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