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Hometown: Kentwood, MI
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Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

The sum involved has not been disclosed but the volume of divesting groups is four times higher than a previous church record, and adds to a global divestment movement, led by investors worth $5.5tn.


Church institutions joining the action include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, the spiritual home of the world’s Franciscan brothers.

A spokesman for the €4.5bn German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas said that it was committing to divest from coal, tar sands and shale oil.


Man from guess-which-state stops to watch eclipse, gets arrested

Authorities in Florida say an auto theft suspect who wanted to watch the moon blot out the sun instead has a blot on his record.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said on its Facebook page that Jocsan Rosado was arrested Monday after he parked what deputies say was a stolen car to watch the eclipse.

Deputies say Rosado stole the vehicle, and unbeknownst to him, was being followed by detectives with the auto theft unit.

Deputies say he stopped at a hardware store to purchase a welding mask for watching the eclipse safely.


It's a Marian feast day, so you know what that means....

Take it away, Bing!

Happy Assumption, everybody!

A Vatican Shot Across the Bow for Hard-Line U.S. Catholics

Two close associates of Pope Francis have accused American Catholic ultraconservatives of making an alliance of “hate” with evangelical Christians to back President Trump, further alienating a group already out of the Vatican’s good graces.

The authors, writing in a Vatican-vetted journal, singled out Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, as a “supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics” that has stymied action against climate change and exploited fears of migrants and Muslims with calls for “walls and purifying deportations.”

The article warns that conservative American Catholics have strayed dangerously into the deepening political polarization in the United States. The writers even declare that the worldview of American evangelical and hard-line Catholics, which is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible, is “not too far apart’’ from jihadists.

It is not clear if the article, appearing in La Civiltà Cattolica, received the pope’s direct blessing, but it was extraordinary coming from a journal that carries the Holy See’s seal of approval. There has apparently been no reprimand from the pope, who is not shy about disciplining dissenters, and La Civiltà Cattolica’s editor has promoted the article nearly every day since it was published in July.


'Bring back my wheelbarrow' sign gets results in Nova Scotia

A simple, hand-painted placard posted at the end of a driveway in Nova Scotia succeeded in changing the mind of an anonymous wheelbarrow thief, who apparently returned the ill-gotten implement a few days after the sign sought its return.

The original sign, which said “BRING BACK MY WHEELBARROW” in large, hand-painted green letters, was spotted sitting at the end of a driveway in rural Nova Scotia on July 29. Days later a second sign was spotted in its place, thanking whoever took the wheelbarrow for returning it.


Halifax-based TV producer Andrew Killawee posted the original photo on social media July 29, along with the caption: “Rural N.S. Crime Stoppers.” He later posted a photo of the second sign, along with his own incredulous caption that read: “I’m not even kidding…”


Land O'Lakes Statement Paved Way for LGBT Welcome in Catholic Higher Ed

First, inspired by Vatican II’s openness to the modern world, “Land O’Lakes” opened Catholic universities to all types of diversity in their communities. This openness has come to include a welcome to LGBT students, faculty (including theologians), staff, and alumni. New Ways Ministry’s LGBT-friendly Catholic colleges and universities listing, available here, attests to how widespread that welcome has become. This openness now increasingly includes an appreciation for the “rich contributions from their own various traditions” that LGBT people offer schools.

Second, “Land O’Lakes” shattered boundaries that had constrained Catholic theological exploration because educators firmly defended academic freedom. This claim did not mean it was easily implemented. In some cases, it erupted into major conflicts. The saga of Fr. Charles Curran and The Catholic University of America began that same year. But as society grappled with new issues in sexuality and gender, theologians at Catholic universities began to do so as well. The profound re-thinking and reclamation of tradition that has happened in the area of sexuality, including enriched theological anthropologies, continues to be a key foundation of Catholic efforts for LGBT equality in the church. Though not considered to be such by many church leaders, these efforts have been a true service to the people of God.

Third, “Land O’Lakes” desired that undergraduate education be oriented around human formation that encourages free inquiry in conjunction with service and spirituality. This kind of thinking paved the way for Catholic universities to create formal supports for LGBTQ students. In Jesuit terms, attention to cura personalis or “care of the whole person” means sexual and gender identities cannot be ignored if church institutions are to truly help form young people. This desire also created space for programming that educates all students on matters of the day, including LGBT issues.

As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the “Land O’Lakes” statement, the question raised is how Catholic higher education continues to receive Vatican II in the present moment. Since the 1960s, Pope John Paul II released Ex Corde Ecclesia, an apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education that in some ways challenged “Land O’Lakes” ideas. Even today, new challenges remain unsettled, and the path of LGBT inclusion has not been easy. But without the Land O’Lakes conference, we would never have been able to have come as far as we have on LGBT issues on Catholic campuses. So on this 50th anniversary weekend, I am grateful for how far we have come and hopeful for what is to come in the next fifty years.


Francis replaces Cardinal Muller with deputy Ladaria as head of doctrinal congregation

Pope Francis has decided not to renew the expiring term of Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller, choosing instead to replace the German prelate with his deputy, a Spanish Jesuit theologian known for keeping a relatively low public profile.
The pontiff has appointed Archbishop Luis Ladaria, 73, as the new prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He had previously served as the office's secretary.

A Vatican statement announcing the appointment Saturday did not say whether Muller would be receiving a new role. At 69 years old he is six years away from the traditional retirement age for bishops. It is unusual for a cardinal of that age not to have an official posting.

The Vatican statement simply said the pope thanked Muller for his service at the conclusion of his five-year term as prefect, which began with his appointment by former Pope Benedict XVI on July 2, 2012.


"Cash me ousside, how bow dah" girl pleads guilty to charges

The Boynton Beach teen who shot to Internet fame by challenging a studio audience to a fight when she uttered “cash me ousside, how bat dah” during an appearance on the Dr. Phil show was in juvenile court in Delray Beach on Wednesday.

Danielle Bregoli, 14, pleaded guilty to grand theft, grand theft auto, marijuana possession and filing a false report. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 22.

Bregoli went viral after uttering the catchphrase while appearing with her mother last September on an episode of the daytime TV talk show entitled “I want to give up my car-stealing twerking 13-year-old daughter who tried to frame me for a crime.”

When the audience heckled Bregoli she hollered, in her streetwise slang: “Cash me ousside, how bat dah.”


James Martin, S.J.: We need to build a bridge between LGBT community and the Catholic Church.

As you know, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that Catholics are called to treat the homosexual person with “respect, compassion and sensitivity” (No. 2358).

What might that mean? Let’s meditate on that, and on a second question as well: What might it mean for the L.G.B.T. community to treat the church with “respect, sensitivity and compassion”? Of course, L.G.B.T. Catholics are part of the church, so, in a sense, those questions imply a false dichotomy. The church is the entire people of God, and it is strange to discuss how the people of God can relate to a part of the people of God. So, in good Jesuit fashion, let me refine our terms. When I refer to the church in this discussion I mean the institutional church—that is, the Vatican, the hierarchy, church officials and the clergy.

Let us take a walk on the first lane of the bridge, the one leading from the institutional church to the L.G.B.T. community, and reflect on “respect, compassion and sensitivity.”


Leo Varadkar, gay son of Indian immigrant, to be next Irish PM

The son of an Indian immigrant who came out as gay in 2015 will be the next Irish prime minister, after he was voted leader of the country’s main governing party.

Leo Varadkar’s victory in the Fine Gael leadership contest on Friday, which took place after outgoing PM Enda Kenny announced his resignation last month, marks another significant step forward for equality in the country, after 2015’s gay marriage referendum.

As well as becoming Ireland’s first gay prime minister, Varadkar, 38, will also become the country’s youngest leader, and the first from an ethnic minority background. His position will be confirmed later this month when parliament resumes after a break.

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