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Message 604857 - Posted: 17 Jul 2007, 2:23:25 UTC

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Message 605291 - Posted: 18 Jul 2007, 3:22:10 UTC

Victims bitter at Cardinal Mahony
Settlement hearing proves emotional
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Message 605293 - Posted: 18 Jul 2007, 3:23:08 UTC



Bishop Brom should follow cardinal's lead

Union-Tribune editorial

July 17, 2007

For victims of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, yesterday marked an important turning point. A Superior Court judge approved a $660 million settlement to be paid to 508 victims by the church, its insurers and several religious orders. The courtroom was punctuated by sobs of relief from the vulnerable targets of priest sexual abuse, much of which occurred decades ago.

Although no amount of money can erase a painful past, the court resolution at least offers both victims and the church a chance to acknowledge the terrible truth and move on.

In San Diego, meantime, approximately 150 alleged victims remain mired in mediation talks with the Roman Catholic diocese, which declared bankruptcy in a bid to protect its assets from clergy abuse lawsuits. San Diego Bishop Robert Brom has taken a hard line, offering a $95 million settlement, or an average of $630,000 per case, less than half as much per victim as the plaintiffs in Los Angeles will receive.

A federal bankruptcy judge has set an Aug. 13 deadline for lawyers on all sides to reach a settlement here. If no deal is achieved, the San Diego case may be headed to a costly and complicated trial that could last for years and require victims to recount the details of their ordeals on the witness stand, an excruciating prospect for both the victims and the church.

Clearly, it is in the interests of both the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and the plaintiffs to come to terms before the deadline imposed by federal bankruptcy Judge Louise DeCarl Adler. Bishop Brom received precisely that advice this week from Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who said he told Brom that “it is my hope that both us and you have this over with by Labor Day.”

Bishop Brom already is on the defensive over the diocese's questionable accounting of its assets. The time has come for him to exert leadership and reach a settlement that is fair to the victims without destroying the diocese's ability to continue on financially. As Cardinal Mahony has demonstrated in Los Angeles, this can be accomplished if all sides mediate in good faith. For example, the funds to cover the Los Angeles settlement will come from a variety of sources, with insurance carriers paying about one-third of the total.

The worst possible outcome for the San Diego abuse cases would be to drag the litigation on for years to come, with juries in multiple trials imposing varying amounts of damages after hearing graphic tales of clergy sexual misconduct from victims. Bishop Brom and lawyers for the plaintiffs have a shared interest in bringing this to a mediated conclusion as soon as possible. Both sides should heed Cardinal Mahony's advice.
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Message 608307 - Posted: 25 Jul 2007, 5:22:45 UTC

THE INTERVIEW WITH GOD

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.

“If you have the time” I said.

God smiled. “My time is eternity.”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered...
“That they get bored with childhood,
they rush to grow up, and then
long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money...
and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future,
they forget the present,
such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”

"That they live as if they will never die,
and die as though they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked...
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons
you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone
love them. All they can do
is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good
to compare themselves to others.”

“To learn to forgive
by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds
to open profound wounds in those they love,
and it can take many years to heal them.”

“To learn that a rich person
is not one who has the most,
but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that there are people
who love them dearly,
but simply have not yet learned
how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can
look at the same thing
and see it differently.”

“To learn that it is not enough that they
forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else
you would like your children to know?"

God smiled and said,
“Just know that I am here... always.”

-author unknown

;)
It may not be 1984 but George Orwell sure did see the future . . .
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Message 608387 - Posted: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47:04 UTC

Great post, Jeffrey!!! (and I'm sorry to say that I can't say that about many of yours ;D )
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Message 609489 - Posted: 27 Jul 2007, 4:03:59 UTC

Nice one Jeffrey
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
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Message 611727 - Posted: 30 Jul 2007, 19:46:25 UTC - in response to Message 608307.  

THE INTERVIEW WITH GOD

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.

“If you have the time” I said.

God smiled. “My time is eternity.”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered...
“That they get bored with childhood,
they rush to grow up, and then
long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money...
and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future,
they forget the present,
such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”

"That they live as if they will never die,
and die as though they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked...
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons
you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone
love them. All they can do
is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good
to compare themselves to others.”

“To learn to forgive
by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds
to open profound wounds in those they love,
and it can take many years to heal them.”

“To learn that a rich person
is not one who has the most,
but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that there are people
who love them dearly,
but simply have not yet learned
how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can
look at the same thing
and see it differently.”

“To learn that it is not enough that they
forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else
you would like your children to know?"

God smiled and said,
“Just know that I am here... always.”

-author unknown

;)

Quite profound Jeffery, that one is a keeper.
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Message 613254 - Posted: 2 Aug 2007, 0:53:47 UTC

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Message 614556 - Posted: 4 Aug 2007, 2:38:50 UTC

Diocese response to report is all too typical

San Diego Union-Tribune editorial

August 3, 2007

Any student of the news is familiar with the public relations tactics that large organizations in crisis use to try to preserve their image – the mea culpas, full or limited; the earnest promises to do better; the punishment of a few selected individuals; the dropping of hints about the possibly questionable motives of the most severe critics; etc. The whole process has become a stylized ritual, a sort of reputational Chapter 11 through which the disgraced get back in everyone's good graces.

Then there is the approach of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, which seems lifted not from PR textbooks but from “Alice in Wonderland”: Words mean what the diocese says they mean, nothing more and nothing less. And so we have the spectacle of the diocese reacting to a 175-page report documenting its highly dubious and possibly illegal shuffling of assets by calling it good news.

“On the whole, [court-appointed financial expert R. Todd Neilson's] report demonstrates that the cash-management system of the diocese is effective and competently processes and monitors the finances of the diocese, parishes and schools,” diocese attorney Micheal Webb said.

In fact, in its own understated way, the report is a sharp rebuke. Its compilation was ordered by federal bankruptcy judge Louise DeCarl Adler in April after allegations that the diocese – seeking to limit its exposure to legal claims filed by 150 individuals who say they were the victims of sexual abuse and assault by priests and other diocese employees – was hiding assets.

The report effectively establishes that is exactly what the diocese was doing – unless you believe a pattern of asset-hiding behavior was just one massive, unrelated coincidence. Among Neilson's findings: The diocese told banks it owned tens of millions of dollars of assets, then insisted in its bankruptcy filing that individual parishes controlled the assets. Some $31 million in holdings were shifted before the filing. Two churches blatantly concealed cash reserves of nearly $340,000.

These are not minor transgressions. They may well be criminal. At three points in Neilson's 175-page report, he describes “purposeful attempts” – the sort of term one sees in indictments – to deceive the bankruptcy court.

Yet Webb asserts that the report was no big deal, only documenting “a small number of problems.” From a lawyer for just about any other party, this would be astonishing. For the attorneys who work for the San Diego diocese, alas, it is par for the course.

The diocese has made absurd legal arguments to hide internal documents showing its tolerance of sex crimes. It has constantly sought to delay trials for no reason but to frustrate claimants and delay its days of reckoning. San Diego Bishop Robert Brom has even hinted that the diocese is the real victim in the scandal.

This is insulting. It is also sad. For the sake of the victims of diocese predators – and for the sake of the nearly 1 million Catholics of San Diego and Imperial counties – the diocese needs to finally begin acting in good faith.
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Message 615004 - Posted: 4 Aug 2007, 20:33:48 UTC

Separating religion from politics

MICHAEL GERSON
THE WASHINGTON POST

August 4, 2007

The first Mormon to run for president was the first Mormon. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formally announced his candidacy on Jan. 19, 1844, urging his supporters to “tell the people we have had Whig and Democrats Presidents long enough. We want a President of the United States.” Smith's campaign lasted about five months before it – along with his life – was ended by a violent mob in Carthage, Ill.

Mitt Romney's campaign has been better received. He possesses a winning public personality, enough personal wealth to ensure he will be around when the voting starts, and durable strength in Iowa and New Hampshire that could slingshot him to the nomination. As the author of an impressive oxymoron – Republican governor of Massachusetts – Romney stakes a strong claim to electability. And even after some recent ideological reinvention on social issues, he has successfully courted conservative supporters. The only criticism I have heard of Romney after these meetings is that he may be “too perfect” because of his Osmond-like looks and wholesomeness – which is another way of saying he might seem “too Mormon.”

Without intending or desiring it, the Romney campaign has poked the sleeping bear of debate about the role of religion in American politics. Liberals tend to argue that all theological beliefs, including Mormonism, are fundamentally private and dangerously coercive as the basis of public policy. Some religious conservatives are concerned that this particular theology is too eccentric to be welcomed at the White House.

Facing even deeper suspicions about his Catholicism while running for president in 1960, John Kennedy gave a response at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association that was politically masterful, historically influential – and should not be Romney's model. Kennedy said a candidate's “views on religion are his own private affair,” which should not be “imposed by him upon the nation.” Kennedy did more than reassure Americans that his public decisions would not be dictated by the pope. He claimed that his public decisions would not be influenced by his religious convictions at all.

There is a long tradition of American leaders who believe that religion is so personal it shouldn't even affect their private life. But this rigid separation between religious conviction and public policy lies outside the main current of American history. Abraham Lincoln's theology, while hardly orthodox, was not his “own private affair.” “Nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness,” he asserted, “was sent into the world to be trodden on.” Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that to find the source of our rights, “it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity, for they are God-given.”

These were theological arguments, not merely rhetorical adornments. But they were also carefully limited.

American political leaders have generally not talked about soteriology – how the individual soul is saved. In Christian theology, these choices are fundamentally private, and government attempts to influence them are both doomed and tyrannical. American leaders have also wisely avoided the topic of eschatology – inherently speculative theories about the end or culmination of history.

But religious convictions on the topic of anthropology– the nature and value of men and women – have profoundly and positively influenced American history. Many of the greatest advances toward the protection of minority rights, from the abolition of slavery to the civil rights movement, came in part because people of faith pushed for them. And religious men and women made those efforts because they were convinced that all human beings – not just all believers – are created in God's image.

So what does this mean for Romney? Many Christians have serious problems with Mormon theology on personal salvation and the nature of history – disputes that go much deeper than those between, say, Baptists and Presbyterians. These disagreements are theologically important. But they are not politically important, because they are unrelated to governing.

Romney, however, should not make Kennedy's mistake and assert that all religious beliefs are unrelated to politics. What Mormonism shares with other religious traditions is a strong commitment to the value and dignity of human beings, including the unborn, the handicapped and the poor. This conviction is unavoidably political, because it leads men and women to act in the cause of justice; not in order to impose their religion, but to protect the weak.

Given this common ground, evangelicals and other religious conservatives should not disqualify Romney from the outset. There may be other reasons to oppose him for president, but his belief about the destiny of the soul is not one of them.
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Message 618888 - Posted: 14 Aug 2007, 1:15:42 UTC

Church's 'Death Saint' loses skeletal image after total makeover

By Julie Watson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

August 13, 2007

MEXICO CITY – A small religious group that worships the grim reaper and is fighting for government recognition unveiled a softer image of its so-called Death Saint yesterday: a woman with a porcelain face, brown, shoulder-length hair and long, thin fingers.

Hundreds of worshippers filed into the Santa Muerte sanctuary in downtown Mexico City to see the statue in a flowing golden dress and veil, clutching a rose. She offers another option to followers who have traditionally prayed to figures of a skeleton dressed in a black cloak and carrying a scythe, or in a flowing white gown.

David Romo, the Traditional Mex-USA Church's archbishop, said the new incarnation of the saint appeared to a woman in a dream in December.

He denied that the change is a publicity stunt to win government recognition and shed the group's image as a cult dabbling in black magic. “This image is one of justice, of freedom, but above all one that reveals the face of God,” Romo said. Believers say the Death Saint kills only on God's orders.

The church, an unofficial offshoot of Roman Catholicism, was registered as a religious group in 2003, allowing it to raise money and own property. But in 2005, the government withdrew its permit after an excommunicated member accused it of forcing followers to worship death and failing to stick to its bylaws. The church started filing papers again last month to gain official status.

The Catholic Church speaks out against worshipping Santa Muerte, linking it to black magic, Satanism and cults. Santa Muerte, believed to be rooted in pre-Columbian beliefs, is one of several unofficial folk saints worshipped in Mexico.
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Message 618931 - Posted: 14 Aug 2007, 3:24:45 UTC - in response to Message 618888.  

A small religious group that worships the grim reaper

My God offers eternal life, what does the grim reaper god have to offer? ;)
It may not be 1984 but George Orwell sure did see the future . . .
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Message 618953 - Posted: 14 Aug 2007, 5:20:18 UTC - in response to Message 618931.  

A small religious group that worships the grim reaper

My God offers eternal life, what does the grim reaper god have to offer? ;)

The Blade trilogy on DVD.
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Message 620086 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 5:41:34 UTC

Don't join this church:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4QcyEjMydk
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
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Message 620274 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 14:48:05 UTC - in response to Message 620170.  

It's only fitting the Religious Thread should be parked in the political threads.


We come into the world with nothing & for those that accumulate great wealth/power - Can they take it with them?

Science/Religion & explanations -

Man has devised & built computers because they can only use 10% of their brains.

Is it possible that these people who have had visions throughout history were people who had 20%/30%/50%/100% use of their brain power opening up some powers that we currently cannot understand?

If man continues on the road it is currently travelling & achieve 100% use of their brains, God help us all!
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Message 622382 - Posted: 19 Aug 2007, 2:36:37 UTC - in response to Message 620170.  

It's only fitting the Religious Thread should be parked in the political threads.

Religion IS politics - politics in the name of faith.
Even a statement to stay neutral is a political statement.

Though there are some churches which leave the politics to their members but are politically neutral as an institution which makes possible that in a service all possible parties can sit together, and other churches are totally into politics as an institution and prefer one party over the others ...

Which way is better?
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Message 624639 - Posted: 23 Aug 2007, 4:39:43 UTC

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Message 624898 - Posted: 23 Aug 2007, 16:27:14 UTC
Last modified: 23 Aug 2007, 16:29:07 UTC

Truth can be stranger than fiction, and come from strange places.

"I don't believe it's an insolvable, permanent human condition. But I do think that we are in an age of religious politics or political religiosity, and it could last for some time. This is not to say that good politics, good policy and good diplomacy can't soften the edges of some of the extremism we see.

But that's going to take committed and courageous leadership. And it's going to take not pandering to those who believe that only they can interpret God's word and to those that believe politics should reflect religion."

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Message 628242 - Posted: 28 Aug 2007, 7:08:08 UTC
Last modified: 28 Aug 2007, 7:08:41 UTC

Vatican airline takes to the skies:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070827/wl_nm/vatican_travel_dc


Hello, Sister!

:)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
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Message 628267 - Posted: 28 Aug 2007, 10:10:13 UTC - in response to Message 628242.  
Last modified: 28 Aug 2007, 10:10:38 UTC

Vatican airline takes to the skies:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070827/wl_nm/vatican_travel_dc
:)

From this article:
...The Vatican aims to serve 150,000 pilgrims a year on its chartered Boeing 737, run by Italy's Mistral Air.

from elsewhere:
Mistral Air was established in 1981 by Bud Spencer and started operations in 1984.


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