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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

US Catholic - 01.28.2104

January 28, 2014

When Mom is in prison: Supporting incarcerated women and their children
Kids often face the stiffest sentence when their mother is behind bars. But support networks are helping to rehabilitate family relationships that have fallen on hard times.
Karen Golis, a volunteer mentor with Thresholds Ministry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was standing in the lobby of the local social services bureau when the predictable happened. Her charge, ex-offender Myra (who asked that her last name not be used), entered the office of a caseworker, and Myra's youngest son, who was about 3, dissolved into hysterics. The lobby became a scene of chaos as the security guard repeatedly demanded that Golis "get that kid out" while Golis tried to scoop up the screaming and kicking boy and carry him toward the door. Read more.

Why was Jesus baptized?
The baptism of Jesus was more than just a symbolic swim.

Today some people think that Jesus had original sin and needed to have it washed away. When we think this, we take the reason we need to be baptized and apply it to Jesus. Jesus is sinless (Heb. 4:15). In the early church a minority of Christians known as "adoptionists" understood the baptism as the time when God "adopted" Jesus as his son. Condemned as a heresy at the end of the second century, this view re-emerged in later centuries. Adoptionists denied that Jesus is always both God and man. Some taught that Christ was a spirit which came to the human Jesus at his baptism, but then fled and left the human Jesus alone when it became time for him to die on the cross. Read more.

The March for Life gets a makeover 
Perhaps giving the annual event a facelift will help bring about new discussions on the issue of abortion. 
I've only attended the March for Life in Washington once, and I have to admit, it was rather underwhelming. Yes, the crowds were impressive, with tens of thousands of people filling the streets. There were a noticably large number of young people in attendance. And everyone was united in support of the church's teaching on the dignity of human life. But there was clearly something missing. Read more.

Should laypeople have a role in choosing their bishops? 
It's time for the flock to have their say when it comes to selecting the shepherds of the church.
Pope Francis says that he wants a special kind of bishop for our church--he wants "shepherds who smell of their sheep." Let us take our Holy Father at his word: Who knows how the sheep smell better than the sheep themselves? No one. So then why not let the sheep make a modest proposal and ask that we laypeople have a significant say in the choice of our bishops. Read more.

What do you think? Should laypeople be consulted when new bishops are chosen? Or are the pope and other church leaders in a better position to pick shepherds for the flock? Be sure to take our survey and let us know what you think.

Green burials reflect a shift to care for the body and soul 
A green burial is a way to care for the Earth which takes seriously the biblical reminder: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." 
Growing up in small-town Georgia, John B. Johnson had family friends who ran the funeral home down the street, so the particulars of a typical American funeral--the embalming, the heavy casket, and remarks about how great the deceased's hair looked--were all familiar to him. When the time came, he assumed, his funeral would look much the same. But Johnson, now 44, envisions a different sort of send-off for himself: a "green burial" that draws both upon his faith and his commitment to the environment. Read more.

Read: There Were Also Many Women There
By Katharine E. Harmon (Liturgical Press, 2013) 

Ellen Gates Starr, cofounder of Hull House and convert to Catholicism in 1920, was frustrated by "the apparent unconsciousness of the worshippers about what was happening on the altar." As Katharine E. Harmon writes, "Starr once asked her 'good and very devout' laundress what people did during Mass; the laundress responded, 'Oh, some of 'em stands and some of 'em sits.' " That mindset, and Starr's frustration with it, spurred her involvement in the nascent liturgical movement in the United States. Harmon profiles a dozen laywomen in an attempt to set the record straight that--as in Matthew's account of the crucifixion--"there were also many women there" in the movement that helped lead to Vatican II. Read more.

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January 2014

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