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So, exactly when do the swallows return to Capistrano, famed California mission wonders

Birds missing at earthquake-damaged church, but speakers warble songs in hopes of luring them back

Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press / New York (NY) Daily News

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Speakers hidden behind the statue call to swallows at the mission in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Thursday, April 26, 2012. For most of its 230-year history, the Mission at San Juan Capistrano has been known for the cliff swallows that flock to the crumbling bell tower each spring to nest. In recent decades, however, what used to be swarms of swallows at the original Spanish mission have dwindled. (AP Photo - Chris Carlson)

Reminders of the legend of the swallows are everywhere within the grounds of the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano: Tiny swallow silhouettes are etched into paving tiles, replicas of their distinctive mud nests hang from buildings and the gift shop overflows with swallow charms, figurines and postcards. What's missing are the swallows themselves.

The graceful birds once swarmed to the 236-year-old mission each spring, flying from the pampas of southern Argentina to nest in the stone ruins of the mission's earthquake-damaged church. In recent years, however, the swallows have all but vanished after repairs meant removing some nests and urban sprawl crept closer to the mission's door.

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Arizona's Immigration Legislation Undermines Christian Values

Immigration is not just a Latino issue -- it is a Christian and a moral issue. We are a nation of immigrants and our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. There are deeper values and commitments that bind us together than our ethnic background or country of origin.
 

Jim Wallis, Huffington Post

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

Today (April 25), the Supreme Court is hearing a case about the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070. It will be months before the case is decided but a broad spectrum of the Christian community already has their minds made up.

This legislation is not just ethically bankrupt but undermines basic Christian values and American ideals. The court will decide whether it is legal, but it is already clear it isn't moral. 

We are both evangelical Christians. One of us is white and one of us Hispanic. It is our common faith commitment, not the color of our skin, that unite us on the need for comprehensive immigration reform and in opposition to patchwork punitive legislation like we have seen in states like Arizona and Alabama.

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Responding to Vatican Crackdown on Women Religious

  • Our first step in this response is to sign the online petition. Please add your name and forward the link to friends and family so that we will have at least 30,000 signatures by the beginning of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting in June.  We are counting on an overwhelming show of support!
  • Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing

Sheila Peiffer, American Catholic Council (ACC)

As most of you may know, last week (April 15-21) the Vatican, through its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), together with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), imposed a "crackdown" on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  
 
Many Catholic faithful have been concerned and upset at this hierarchical oppression of the women who have not only formed us in the faith, but have continued to serve the most vulnerable in society with fortitude and dignity. The American Catholic Council is cooperating with a number of Catholic reform organizations in forming a concerted response which will include prayer, discussion and action.
 
Our first step in this response is to sign the online petition which can be accessed via the link below.  Please add your name and forward the link to friends and family so that we will have at least 30,000 signatures by the beginning of the USCCB meeting in June.  We are counting on an overwhelming show of support!

Sign the Petition
 

You can also consider and share other "action" ideas regarding this latest act of Vatican repression by posting to a new ACC Discussion Forum on the Assemblies Community Network: LCWR Action Forum.  
 
On a related note, we invite your support of Network, perhaps the most pre-eminent Catholic Social Justice Lobby organization in the US, and an organization founded through the active support and leadership of women religious. A few days before the Vatican action, Network had just celebrated its 40th anniversary, under the theme Faithful to the Gospel: Then and Now. And four days later, they were implicated in the same Vatican directive questioning their faithfulness to the Gospel. Like the good sisters of LCWR, the leadership of Network was stunned. As the leadership of Network deliberates its response, they have invited friends and supporters to join with them on a conference call this Friday (tomorrow) April 27 at 4:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time. The conference telephone number is 712-432-3900 and the conference access code is 534635.
 
To stay abreast of ongoing developments in this story, we recommend that you follow stories posted to a dedicated feature on NCR-onLine at:  Sisters Under Scrutiny. ACC will continue to monitor this matter and post action updates to the Assemblies Community Network.
 
In Prayer, Action and the Spirit of the Risen Christ,

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Related:

Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing, Jessica Pieklo, Care 2 Make a Difference

  • The Vatican has turned its fury toward the nation’s nuns, accusing them of promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith and for focusing too much on poverty and economic justice while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
  • Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns
  • Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes
  • We Are All Nuns





 

Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing

  • The Vatican has turned its fury toward the nation’s nuns, accusing them of promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith and for focusing too much on poverty and economic justice while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
  • Responding to Vatican Crackdown on Women Religious
  • Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns
  • Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes
  • We Are All Nuns

Jessica Pieklo, Care 2 Make a Difference

The Vatican has turned its fury toward the nation’s largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns accusing them of promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” for questioning the church’s stance on homosexuality and male-only priesthood.

The group was also punished for focusing too much on poverty and economic justice while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.

The New York Times reports that the Vatican has appointed an American bishop to “rein in” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements disagreeing with the bishops over their attacks on health care reform.

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Related:

Responding to Vatican Crackdown on Women Religious, Sheila Peiffer, American Catholic Council (ACC)

  • Our first step in this response is to sign the online petition. Please add your name and forward the link to friends and family so that we will have at least 30,000 signatures by the beginning of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting in June.  We are counting on an overwhelming show of support!
  • Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing

Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns, Maureen Dowd, New York (NY) Times
It is an astonishing thing that historians will look back and puzzle over, that in the 21st century, American women were such hunted creatures. Even as Republicans try to wrestle women into chastity belts, the Vatican is trying to muzzle American nuns.

Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes, Laurie Goodstein,
New York (NY) Times
The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”

We Are All Nuns, Nicholas D. Kristoff,
New York (NY) Times
Catholic nuns are not the prissy traditionalists of caricature. No, nuns rock! They were the first feminists, earning Ph.D.’s or working as surgeons long before it was fashionable for women to hold jobs. As managers of hospitals, schools and complex bureaucracies, they were the first female C.E.O.’s.
 

Come Out & Sing Out to Defeat the Marriage Amendment

Please join us in the creation of an inspiring music video that celebrates Jesus' message of love and inclusivity.

Jim Smith, Catholics for Marriage Equality

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Please join us in the creation of an inspiring music video that celebrates Jesus' message of love and inclusivity.

When: Saturday, April 28, 1-4PM
Where: Calvary Lutheran Church, Chicago Avenue South and 39 St. S., Minneapolis

We will film our performance of the song "For All the Children" by David Lohman. Refrain: "May our hearts and mind be opened, fling the church doors open wide. May there be room enough for everyone inside. For in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong. May that welcome be our song!"

To hear a simple audio recording of the song, go to our website, Catholics for Marriage Equality.
For more information, contact Jim Smith.
To donate the movement to defeat the amendment, go to our website.
Catholics for Marriage Equality.

Right-Wing Religion's War on America

  • America's Catholic leadership and on the evangelical right claim there's a war on religion. In fact, they are waging a war on individual liberties."
  • Is America on the Verge of Theocracy?
  • Has Obama Exposed the Powerlessness of the US Bishops?

Rob Boston, AlterNet

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Right-wing religion is waging a war on our civil liberties. (image: unknown)

From a posh residence in the heart of New York City that has been described as a "mini-mansion," Cardinal Timothy Dolan is perhaps the most visible representative of an American church empire of 60 million adherents and vast financial holdings.

Dolan and his fellow clergy move easily through the corridors of political power, courted by big-city mayors, governors and even presidents. In the halls of Congress, they are treated with a deference no secular lobbyist can match.

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Related:

Is America on the Verge of Theocracy? Henry A. Giroux, TruthOut.org / Alternet

  • Extremists shape American politics to unabashedly pursue legislative policies that favor the rich and punish the poor.
  • 4 Fundamentalist Ideologies Threatening U.S. Liberty
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

Has Obama Exposed the Powerlessness of the US Bishops? Adele M. Stan, AlterNet

  • In offering the bishops an "accommodation" they refused to accept on a contraception provision of the new healthcare law, the Obama administration effectively exposed the powerlessness of the bishops when the rest of the church rose to accept the offer.
  • With Catholic leaders and churchgoers turning their backs on the bishops, the men who rule the church are watching their political power wane.
  • What War on Religion?
     

Falling Upward ~ Richard Rohr

Rohr’s first half and second halves of life are spiritual. The second half is about growth.

Reviewed by Angie, The Rest of the Story

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Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon a blog by Michele Van Loon. She was introducing a book by Richard Rohr. The title, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life and her remarks in her introduction to the book intrigued me. I first heard of Rohr several years ago from a friend who has quoted or referenced him on several occasions. I have been intending to look into his writings and from the introduction to her series it sounded like this book dealt with themes that have been occupying my thoughts. I bought the book and decided to follow along with her.

When I began the book, I did what I typically do. I gathered my journal, pencils, and the brightly colored sticky tabs (love those). I have been reading and following along with her blog series a chapter at a time. Since I was already tacking the sticky notes here and there and marking portions that resonated with me or were epiphanic and writing them in my journal along with my observations, I decided to blog my way through the book as well.

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Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis

Christianity has been destroyed by politics, priests, and get-rich evangelists. Ignore them, writes Andrew Sullivan, and embrace Him.

Andrew Sullivan, Newsweek / Daily Beast

Thanks to Evergreene Digest readers Karin Grosscup and Roseann Shaughnessy-Rogers for this contribution.

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

If you go to the second floor of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., you’ll find a small room containing an 18th-century Bible whose pages are full of holes. They are carefully razor-cut empty spaces, so this was not an act of vandalism. It was, rather, a project begun by Thomas Jefferson when he was 77 years old. Painstakingly removing those passages he thought reflected the actual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, Jefferson literally cut and pasted them into a slimmer, different New Testament, and left behind the remnants (all on display until July 15).

What did he edit out? He told us: “We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus.” He removed what he felt were the “misconceptions” of Jesus’ followers, “expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves.” And it wasn’t hard for him. He described the difference between the real Jesus and the evangelists’ embellishments as “diamonds” in a “dunghill,” glittering as “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” Yes, he was calling vast parts of the Bible religious manure.

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Related:

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics ~ Ross Douthat, described in Simon & Schuster
Writing for an era dominated by recession, gridlock, and fears of American decline, Douthat exposes the spiritual roots of the nation’s political and economic crises. He argues that America’s problem isn’t too much religion, as a growing chorus of atheists have argued; nor is it an intolerant secularism, as many on the Christian right believe. Rather, it’s bad religion: the slow-motion collapse of traditional faith and the rise of a variety of pseudo-Christianities that stroke our egos, indulge our follies, and encourage our worst impulses.

 

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