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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

U.S. CATHOLIC - July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

Strength in numbers: The power of community organizing
If a community wants things to change, sometimes they have to be willing to get together and track mud on the carpets of city hall.  
While growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ana Garcia-Ashley lived on a dirt road that always had plenty of traffic, making it too dangerous a place for neighborhood children to play. One morning, her grandmother got fed up with the situation and decided to take action. She went door to door, rounding up other concerned community members. Together they created a human chain to block the road, stopping traffic in hopes of having their concerns heard. Garcia-Ashley recalls standing in the road holding the hand of her grandmother, who looked down at her and said, "This is what it means to be a Catholic." Read more

Sister Helen Prejean on the movement to end the death penalty 

One of the most well-known opponents of the death penalty, Sister Helen Prejean discusses how her work has changed throughout the past 30 years. 

In 1982, Sister Helen Prejean began a correspondence with two death row inmates in her home state of Louisiana. She eventually became the spiritual adviser to Patrick Sonnier and accompanied him to his execution in 1984. Prejean chronicled her experiences in Dead Man Walking, the best-selling book which has been adapted to a film (for which Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for her portrayal of Prejean), play, and opera. Now, 30 years since Sonnier was executed, Prejean is perhaps the most well-known advocate for ending the death penalty. Our July 2014 cover story examines how Catholics are working to end capital punishment in the United States, so we decided to sit down with Sister Helen and hear more from someone on the front lines about her experience working to overturn the death penalty. Read more.

Is the church's teaching on marriage and family life out of touch? 

With the Extraordinary Synod approaching, we want to know what you think! 

This coming October, the bishops will convene at the Vatican for an Extraordinary Synod on marriage and family life. We at U.S. Catholic want to know what you think the bishops should discuss. Do you think the church gets it right on marriage and family? Or do you think there are some tweaks required? Take our survey and let us know! The results will be published in our October 2014 issue. Read more.

Listen and learn: The benefits of podcasts 
Sometimes the best conversations happen when we keep our mouths shut and our ears open. 

When was the last time you really listened? If you're anything like me, background noise is practically a necessity, something you hear for hours and hours every day. But listening--quieting your own thoughts to experience what someone else has to say--is much rarer. The frustration in my husband's face when I recently interrupted his story to quickly remind him of an item we needed at the grocery store alerted me to my problem, though in truth I had grown increasingly aware of my waning attention span over the past several years. Listening takes practice, and one way I've begun practicing is through podcasts. Read more

Should Congress repeal the law behind the Hobby Lobby case? 
Could the movement to repeal RFRA go anywhere? So far, no member of Congress has stood up to advocate repealing or even tinkering with it.
As soon as the Supreme Court decided for Hobby Lobby and against the Obama administration's contraception mandate on Monday (June 30), critics called for the repeal of the 1993 law that the justices relied on to make their 5-4 decision. A Washington Post editorial suggested the next day that the statute--the Religious Freedom Restoration Act--could be narrowed in scope. A hashtag popped up on Twitter: #repealRFRA. The Freedom From Religion Foundation asked its constituents to lobby Congress to scrap the law. Read more.

Read: A Nun on the Bus
By Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S. (HarperOne, 2014) 

Sister of Social Service Simone Campbell offers an exhilarating narrative of her remarkable life journey to date. The vibrant cover photo visually shouts "adventure," but the book is not intended to be an entertaining tale of nuns having a lark on a "wrapped" bus. Readers will find it to be a reel of heart-warming, soul-saddening, politically revealing episodes. They are saturated with faith, courage, and unsparing dedication to the unmet socioeconomic needs of our nation's underclasses. Read more

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July 2014

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