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Archive for June 24th 2010

Catholic Workers

Applications to religious volunteer programs have risen dramatically this year as a result of the shrinking job market. In "Will Work for Free," assistant editor Kerry Weber looks at how the influx of volunteers and poor economic conditions are affecting programs like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. On our podcast Kerry discusses why she chose to spend a year with the Mercy Volunteer Corps after graduating from college and what spiritual lessons she learned from the Sisters of Mercy and the families she worked with on an Indian reservation.

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The small island of Malta may seem like a surprising choice for a papal visit, but that country's rich Catholic culture drew Pope John Paul II to travel there twice. Pope Benedict XVI made the trip in April, and U.S. ambassador Douglas W. Kmiec says that the pontiff seemed rejuvenated after his tour of some of the country's many parishes. Ambassador Kmiec also discusses the pope's meeting with sexual abuse survivors, and what living in Malta taught him about his faith as he grieved the death of his father.

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The recent Catholic Media Convention in New Orleans brought together bishops and journalists to discuss the future of the Catholic press. In attendance was Archbishop Claudio Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  After listening to the bishops’ discussion, he was moved to offer these closing remarks.

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The role of the Catholic press is a complicated one, as newspapers and magazines work to balance the desire to spread the Good News, with the responsibility to report truthfully on the not-so-good news in which our church sometimes finds itself involved. To address this complex role, the annual Catholic Media Convention brought together journalists and bishops for a panel discussion on what it means to be a faithful Catholic media organization in the 21st century, paying special attention to diocesan papers, many of which have seen drastic cuts in staff or budgets in recent years.

In preparation for the discussion, conference attendees formed small groups which presented questions and concerns—regarding issues of autonomy when reporting the news, obtaining sufficient financial backing to produce quality newspapers, and media training for bishops—that were collected and put before the four panelists: Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, La., and Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill. The discussion was moderated by Dominic Perry of the U.S.C.C.B.

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