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U.S. Justice Department vs. La. Voucher Program, the Legal Battle Continues (3677)

The federal body dropped its lawsuit against the state’s voucher program, but it will play an oversight role that critics fear will hamper expansion.

12/12/2013 Comments (3)

– Wikipedia

NEW ORLEANS — Last month, school-choice advocates in Louisiana were jubilant when they learned that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had dropped a lawsuit that sought to curtail the state’s school-voucher program.

But on Nov. 20, a federal court agreed that the highest criminal investigation and enforcement agency in the country could oversee voucher assignments in the state-run program, stirring fears about the future of a promising initiative that supporters say has liberated thousands of children from a broken public-school system.

The latest skirmish in the battle over the Louisiana Scholarship Program has revived the debate over the impact of government-funded school...READ MORE

Filed under bobby jindal, department of justice, louisiana, school choice, vouchers

The Pope of the People Is the Person of the Year (3904)

Time’s award goes to a pope who embodies the Church’s 2,000-year-old Christian message, but in a fresh way that has captured 21st-century hearts.

12/11/2013 Comments (7)
Vatican Radio/Facebook

– Vatican Radio/Facebook

NEW YORK — Early this morning on NBC’s Today show, Time magazine announced that Pope Francis was selected as the magazine’s "Person of the Year" for 2013.

Indeed, 2013 was the "Year of Pope Francis" worldwide. From the moment white smoke floated from the Vatican chimney and the world listened to the famous cry of “Habemus Papam!” and saw the first pope from the Americas standing on the balcony, the secular and religious media have been obsessed with the Pope Francis — and rightfully so.

They immediately praised the humble former archbishop of Buenos Aires, who rode the bus to work, lived in a small apartment and was referred to affectionately as “Padre Jorge” by those he served....READ MORE

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Pope Francis Named ‘Time’ magazine’s 2013 ‘Person of the Year’ (2356)

The Holy Father is the third pope to win the award, following John XXIII in 1962 and Blessed John Paul II in 1994.

12/11/2013 Comments (6)

NEW YORK — On this morning’s episode of the Today show, Time magazine announced its choice of Pope Francis for the 2013 “Person of the Year,” stating that he is changing the “tone and perception” of the Church.

Reacting to the news, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a comment Dec. 11, calling it “unsurprising, considering the resonance and very widespread attention given to the election of Pope Francis and the beginning of his pontificate.”

“It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the field of the international press has been attributed to one who proclaims spiritual, religious and moral values in the world,” he said, and someone “who...READ MORE

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Mary’s Transcontinental ‘Embrace’ Shows Unity of the Americas (1929)

Following his weekly general audience, the Church’s first Latin-American pope reflected on the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

12/11/2013 Comments (1)

VATICAN CITY — At the end of his general audience, Pope Francis reflected on tomorrow’s feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, extending his greetings to all on the American continent.

“Mary’s embrace showed what America — North and South — is called to be: a land where different peoples come together,” the Pope explained after his Dec. 11 general audience address.

Following his discourse given St. Peter’s Square on the last part of the Creed, in which believers proclaim their belief in “the resurrection of the body,” the Pope drew special attention to the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“I would like to greet all my brothers and sisters on that...READ MORE

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SDG Reviews 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' (21735)

The charm and manners of Tolkien’s fairy tale are jettisoned in favor of more preposterous action scenes and a tepid love triangle in this bloated middle movie.

12/11/2013 Comments (65)
Warner Bros.

– Warner Bros.

At the climax of the last of the many sprawling, outrageous action set pieces in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — a few with some textual basis in Tolkien, many without — comes a visual conceit so spectacularly gratuitous that it beggars the phrase “gilding the lily.” What is gilded here is so far beyond lilies that, like “jumping the shark” and “nuking the fridge,” it demands to be commemorated as the standard for future excess: in this case, excess in cinematic adaptation.

“Gilding the you-know-what” (or you will know what, if you click the link, so spoiler warning) has become, by now, the stock in trade of Peter Jackson and his collaborators, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The...READ MORE

Filed under hobbit, lord of the rings, movies, sdg reviews, tolkien

SSPX and the Church Dialogue in Limbo (10253)

Relations with the traditionalist society, which is outside full communion with the Church, have deteriorated since mid-2012, but hope remains for full reconciliation.

12/11/2013 Comments (25)

ST. LOUIS — Dialogue between the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and the rest of the Catholic Church appears to have come to a complete stop. However, hope remains that a full reconciliation is possible in the pontificate of Francis, even as the SSPX faces a rebellion within its own ranks that opposes any full unity with the bishop of Rome.

“I think it is safe to say that the discussions are presently in a state of limbo,” Louis Tofari, spokesman for the U.S. district of the SSPX, told the Register.

The SSPX, a priestly fraternity of more than 560 priests, operates without any recognized status in the Church, since losing its canonical status in 1975. Pope Benedict XVI...READ MORE

Filed under catholic church, church unity, dissenters from church teaching, jesus christ, pope benedict xvi, pope francis, second vatican council, society of st. pius x

Pope Francis: Final Judgment Brings Comfort, Despite Our Fears (4119)

The Holy Father says we help determine our own judgment by the way we live every day.

12/11/2013 Comments (2)
CNA/Kyle Burkhart

– CNA/Kyle Burkhart

VATICAN CITY — In his general audience this week, Pope Francis reflected that the reality of the Final Judgment allows us to trust in God even if we are afraid, emphasizing also that our judgment begins each day through the way we live.

“Dear brothers and sisters, reflecting on the Final Judgment — despite that it instinctively raises a certain fear in us — gives elements of comfort and trust,” the Pope said in his Dec. 11 Wednesday audience.

The Pope’s weekly discourse was given to the thousands of pilgrims who flocked to St. Peter’s Square in order to hear the pontiff speak.

Turning to the final article in the Creed in which believers proclaim their belief “in life everlasting,”...READ MORE

Filed under catholic faith, creed, faith and works, jesus christ, last judgment, pope francis

Father Barron’s ‘New Evangelization’ (9294)

Latest documentary encourages Catholics to spread the Good News in today’s world.

12/11/2013 Comments (11)

– wordonfire.org

When Father Robert Barron headed to Australia to answer an invitation to roll out his Catholicism series there, he had no idea the trip would necessarily inspire another DVD on the faith.

“It came about in a certain way by accident,” said Father Barron, who is rector of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., and founder of Word on Fire, a Catholic ministry.

Since he would spend two weeks in Australia and then another two weeks in England, he decided to bring the film crew over to these Western cultures and see what they might record about the faith in those locales.

After talking with many people, from Catholic youth to bishops, what they recorded was plenty. Despite all...READ MORE

Filed under catholicism, ewtn, father robert barron, new evangelization

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