The Common Good

Sojourners

Do the American Nuns Have a Future?

Catholic sisters gathered in St. Louis for their annual assembly on Thursday intensified discussions aimed at thwarting a Vatican takeover of their group, but hanging over the meeting was an even larger existential question: Do the nuns have a future?

The viability issue is central to the dispute between Rome and the nuns that has riveted Catholics and dominated this year's meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The steering group represents most of the 56,000 nuns in religious orders in the United States.

The Vatican announced in April that a team of bishops would take control of the LCWR in order to make the nuns hew more closely and publicly to orthodox teachings on sexuality and theology. The sisters are expected to deliver their first formal reply to the takeover on Friday.

A key justification for Rome's action was the argument that vocations to more progressive women's religious communities are in free fall: In 1965 there were 180,000 sisters in religious life, more than three times today's number. The decline is especially acute in orders that belong to the LCWR.

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Links of Awesomeness: August 9, 2012

Usain Bolt vs. a cheetah --- Beck plans to release new album entirely in sheet music --- Longform launches debut podcast --- Shark Week finds rival with "animals that act like sharks week" --- fascinating infographics on Olympic bodies. See these and more in today's Links of Awesomeness...
 

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Church of England Sells News Corp. Shares After Scandals

The Church of England has sold its $3 million worth of shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. due to concerns about the company's ethics.

Eight News Corp. journalists have been charged by British authorities in connection with a phone-hacking scandal. They are accused of hacking telephone lines belonging to celebrities, politicians, law enforcement officials and crime victims; bribing police officers and paying private investigators for illegally obtained information.

"The Church of England was not satisfied that News Corporation had shown, or is likely in the immediate future to show, a commitment to implement necessary corporate governance reform," the church said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug. 7).

The church also said it was concerned that Murdoch is both chairman and chief executive of News Corp.

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DRONE WATCH: Are Drones “Humane”?

Is it possible to create weapons that are humane?
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High Appreciation or Holy Adoration? The Slippery Slope of Sports

While I strongly believe that physical activity and participation within sports can offer excellent avenues for education and wellness on an individual and community level, my role as a fan of sports has been significantly tested over recent years. In other words, I have come to wonder whether or not something inherently good, such as sports, has reached excessive levels to the point of having far too many negative consequences in society. For example, in the U.S. we experience massive inequality and outcry surrounding government budget shortfalls, yet we seem to have more than enough funds for stadiums, tickets, TV packages, and team-related memorabilia. While our public servants receive salary cuts and loss of jobs, millionaire professional athletes argue with billionaire owners over income distribution and so-called “fairness." And of course, while I hear countless people complain about how busy they are and how financial times are tough, those same individuals seem to have plenty of time to watch a few hours of sports on TV each night, and more than enough resources to support their favorite teams. With all of this in mind — and one could list countless more examples — we have to wonder whether our priorities have been distorted, as our collective love for sports may have crossed the line from entertainment to idolatry. Or in other words, how we went from being spectators and participators to devout worshippers.

 
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DRONE WATCH: Brennan Defends Drones in Yemen

Counter-terrorism advisor defends US drone strikes in Yemen.
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'We Are All Oak Creek:' Prayer Vigil Near White House (Photos)

Four hundred people gathered across from the White House last night with a single message: “We are all Oak Creek.” 

Responding to the murder of six Sikh worshippers, the wounding of four others, including police officer Lt. Brian Murphy, and the suicide of perpetrator Wade M. Page, hundreds gathered to stand with the Sikh community as they invited prayers for the victims, the murderer, and his family. "Tonight, we are not Jain, Muslim, Hindu,” announced one speaker, “we are all Sikh tonight. We are all Oak Creek. We will not allow fear to overcome us."

In a response reminiscent of the Amish during the Nickel Mines, Pa., massacre in 2006, the Sikh community, the fifth largest religion in the world, is not used to the national spotlight in the U.S. But neither do they shy away from an opportunity to introduce their faith to a wider audience and to practice what they preach. 

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Where is the U.S. Response in Syria?

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Nick Kristof asks how the United States should be tackling the conflict in Syria.
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Nuns Invite Romney to Spend a Day With Them, and the Poor

Nuns on the Bus extend Romney invitation to join them.
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Should a Priest Be Taking on the Mexican Cartels?

According to a piece in USA Today, the congregants of one Mexican church don't think so.
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