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Archive for February 11th, 2013

Stunning

imagesCAFYO3HNI just learned that Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation, the first pope in 600 years to do so.

Pretty stunning, and now we must brace ourselves for all the usual speculation, analysis, and drama that accompanies the election of any new pope.

I don’t have a lot to say; while I was a huge fan of the man when he was a cardinal, I have had decidedly mixed reactions to his pontificate; I thought him very good on social doctrine, making clear what had been ambiguous before he took office, and making it much more difficult for libertarians and neocons to pose as faithful adherents of Catholic Social Teaching.

And I thought him very good on liturgy, making the old Mass more available and overseeing a much-needed translation of the new.

But I found his speech at Regensburg, which so offended Muslims, a huge misstep, as well as a missed opportunity for a long overdue examination of our own violent history.

And I thought that when he basically redefined “subsists” to mean “exists in its fullness” it was a setback in relations with the Orthodox. It was a far cry from his proposals for reunion when he was cardinal, and to my mind a step back.

But right now all we can do is pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as the Church prepares for a new pope….

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Charism and Capitalism

nemeh09cut_01

Jennifer Shanahan speaks of her healing.

“Jennifer Shanahan believes God still heals through the touch of others.

She is confident that she experienced that kind of healing via prayer and a touch from Dr. Issam Nemeh, the Cleveland-area cardio-thoracic anesthesiologist who draws thousand to faith-healing services around the nation.

‘There were healings in the Bible, so why wouldn’t they be happening now?’ said Shanahan, 32, of Kent. ‘Miracles still happen and we are seeing some of those miracles happen through the prayers of Dr. Nemeh and his connectedness to God.’ ”

So begins the story in Friday’s Akron Beacon Journal, which was prompted by the upcoming appearance of Dr Nemah at Walsh University, a Catholic school in North Canton. The piece goes on to say that Dr Nemah has appeared on the 700 Club and Dr Oz, and that on the latter two people who had been healed by the doctor’s prayers were interviewed, as was a fellow physician, who testified to the genuineness of the cures.

Aside from the dubious TV shows it was all pretty impressive; after all I certainly believe in the gift of divine healing.

I became concerned, though, later in the article when it said that admission tickets were required. My concern turned to alarm when I read the price of the tickets.

So, how much are tickets to a healing service? Would you believe $95?

I always thought it odd when singer John Michael Talbot, who sees his songwriting as a ministry, charged admission to his concerts. And I thought it worse when a phony like Fr Caropi demanded high prices to hear him preach.

But for someone allegedly gifted with healing, charging prices that exclude all but the affluent?

Shameful.

Can you imagine Christ, or the apostles, or any saint in history doing such a thing? How can this man justify this?

And how can anyone fork over the dough for his services and not think it outrageous?

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The Phony Crisis

(David Goldman/AP)

While losses of  revenue are being presented as the reason for the proposed elimination of Saturday delivery, in truth the Postal Service’s “crisis” is the creation of Congress. Not a few congressmen ache for privatization and the huge profits that would entail for certain services (but mailing a letter to Alaska for 46 cents? Forget about it.

“The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.3 billion during the first quarter, but it could have turned a $100 million profit if not for a congressional mandate that officials have long blamed for stifling post office finances, according to the agency’s first-quarter financial statement.

The report, released Friday, shows that the Postal Service paid $1.4 billion toward health benefits for future retirees, an expense that pushed the organization into the red.

Read the rest here.

Congress passed a statute in 2006 requiring the early payment of 75 years worth of retiree benefits within 10 years. No other federal agency is forced to make such an investment.”

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