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Archive for May, 2013

Prayers, Please

My two littlest and I spent most of yesterday at Summa Hospital in Akron. My bride, Michelle, Is expecting in August and had been admitted to stabilize her blood sugar; she has developed diabetes and they need to find a regimen that will keep her symptoms manageable.  She was supposed to only be in the hospital for 24 hours, but when I talked to her this morning she reports that they have not been successful and she may be in longer.

I have taken off work -thank God for paid sick leave, fruit of the sacrifices of organized Labor- and have the rare occasion to try and keep on top of the household, which always makes me appreciate all Michelle does. This would have been infinitely more difficult were it not for the fact that our two year old, Will, is such a good-natured little man; all this and a fussy kid would be harrowing.

Pray that the doctors are able to stabilize my bride’s diabetes, that she have a smooth delivery with a healthy baby, and that she – and I – are able to endure whatever ordeal may come.

Thanks. (And if blog posts are rare or nonexistent in the near future, you know why)…

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When Profit is Evil

11rich” Catholic social doctrine is not a surrogate for capitalism. In fact, although decisively condemning ‘socialism,’ the church, since Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, has always distanced itself from capitalistic ideology, holding it responsible for grave social injustices (cf. Rerum Novarum)”- Blessed John Paul II.

While wages stagnate and poverty increases, corporate profits soar. On the “upside down economy”,  from The American Prospect:

“…profits are increasing because corporations are getting by with fewer workers than they employed before the crash of 2008, and they’re paying those workers less. Wages and compensation (that is, wages plus benefits) now make up the smallest shares of GDP that they have in 50 years, and their decline has proceeded without interruption since 2001. According to a report from JP Morgan Chase’s Chief Investment Office, two-thirds of the increase in corporate profits between the end of the dot-com bust and the collapse of 2008 is directly attributable to the decline in the wages they paid their employees. As the share going to profits has continued to increase since that report appeared, and the share going to wages has kept on decreasing, the centrality of wage suppression to profit maximization has continued to grow.”

Read it all here.

 

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Regarding our recent discussion about the comments of Fr Robert Taft, SJ,  Ric Ballard of the Eastern Catholic Spiritual Renewal blog says this:

The sad fact, which the congregation [of the Doctrine of the Faith] also points out, is that because of the estrangement that we Catholics share with the Orthodox the “the fullness of universality“of the Church is not yet realized. I think this realization as taught by the former inquisitors demonstrates a fact that makes many Catholics uncomfortable, which the Archimandrite himself speaks of when he says ”we are no longer the only kid on the block, the whole Church of Christ, but one Sister Church among others”. Some have claimed that what the Archimandrite said is an innovation of his part and doesn’t officially represent the Catholic Church. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth based on the following statement from the Balamand Declaration (par. 13), which is about the Catholic and Orthodox churches not holding the exclusive rights to be  known as the only true churches of Jesus Christ:   “On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church – profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops – cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches“. For those that don’t know the Balamand agreement represents the official relations that Catholics currently hold with the Orthodox churches. As an official agreement it demonstrates that the Archimandrite represents well the official position of the Catholic Church.

Read the rest here.

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A Christian Orthodox pilgrim from Ethiopia displays her tattoos done in a shop owned by Razzouk family in Jerusalem.

While this article confuses the Oriental Orthodox -the non-Chalcedonian churches of Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, etc- with the Eastern Orthodox, I still found this fascinating (from Bloomberg Business Week):

JERUSALEM (AP) — Orthodox Christians visiting the Holy Land often return home with more than just spiritual memories. Many drop by a centuries-old tattoo parlor in Jerusalem’s Old City, inking themselves with a permanent reminder not only of their pilgrimage but also of devotion to their faith.

The same Jerusalem family has been tattooing pilgrims with crosses and other religious symbols for hundreds of years, testament to the importance of the ancient ritual. While Catholics can get a written certificate of their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Orthodox Christians opt for a tattoo, a permanent reminder of their visit.

In contrast to the bustling streets of the Old City outside, the Razzouk parlor is quiet, with only the buzz of an electric needle zigzagging across a pilgrim’s arm.

Pilgrims said the pain of the needle is worth the sacrifice.

“The pain I feel is like the pain that Jesus Christ felt when he was on the cross with his crown of thorns,” said Etetu Legesse, a nurse from Ethiopia, as a scene depicting the crucifixion was etched on her triceps.

Another Ethiopian woman wailed a song as an image of the Virgin Mary was tattooed onto her arm.

“I’m singing, God, I’m thinking about God; he died for us on the cross, that’s why I’m singing,” the 35-year-old woman, who gave her name as Mebrat, said.

Read the rest here.

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The Suburban Poor

From the LA Times:

Bucking longstanding patterns in the United States, more poor people now live in the nation’s suburbs than in urban areas, according to a new analysis.

As poverty mounted throughout the nation over the past decade, the number of poor people living in suburbs surged 67% between 2000 and 2011 — a much bigger jump than in cities, researchers for the Brookings Institution said in a book published today. Suburbs still have a smaller percentage of their population living in poverty than cities do, but the sheer number of poor people scattered in the suburbs has jumped beyond that of cities.

Authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube cited a long list of reasons for the shift.

More poor people moved to the suburbs, pulled by more affordable homes or pushed by urban gentrification, the authors said. Some used the increased mobility of housing vouchers, which used to be restricted by area, to seek better schools and safer neighborhoods in suburbia. Still others, including immigrants, followed jobs as the booming suburbs demanded more workers, many for low-paying, service-sector jobs.

Change also came from within. More people in the suburbs slipped into poverty as manufacturing jobs disappeared, the authors found. The housing boom and bust also walloped many homeowners on the outer ridges of metropolitan areas, hitting pocketbooks hard. On top of that, the booming numbers of poor people in the suburbs were driven, in part, by the exploding growth of the suburbs themselves.

Read the rest here.

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Top Ten

We haven’t visited our old friends Mario and Fafa for a while…

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Fallujah bombsite, source of depleted uranium contamination.

Rumor has it that the Iraq War is over. Maybe for America, but for Iraqis, plagued by continual violence, the war is not over, and it certainly is not over for those born deformed or struck by the high cancer rates that plague that land. Lord have mercy.

Fallujah, Iraq – Contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions and other military-related pollution is suspected of causing a sharp rise in congenital birth defects, cancer cases, and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq.

Many prominent doctors and scientists contend that DU contamination is also connected to the recent emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs, and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal, and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah.

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research, and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest.

“Cancer statistics are hard to come by, since only 50 per cent of the healthcare in Iraq is public,” Dr Salah Haddad of the Iraqi Society for Health Administration and Promotion told Al Jazeera. “The other half of our healthcare is provided by the private sector, and that sector is deficient in their reporting of statistics. Hence, all of our statistics in Iraq must be multiplied by two. Any official numbers are likely only half of the real number.”

Read more here. And here. (Warning; contains graphic images of deformed babies).

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