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State Question 790: Helping the “least of these” while healing the past

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley        October 16, 2016

In all the turmoil surrounding the presidential election, many people overlook the fact that there are a number of other very important elections on the ballot in November as well. These could have profound effects on the lives of many Oklahomans, especially the neediest. One of these important issues is an Oklahoma ballot measure called “State Question 790.”

If State Question 790 passes, Oklahomans would remove a current major threat to religious organizations – including Catholic social service agencies – who serve the poor, refugees, the disabled, the homeless, the hungry and many other needy people in our state.

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Election Day is approaching: what are we to do?

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley       October 2, 2016

In little more than a month, American citizens will be going to the polls to elect local, state and national leaders, and to weigh in on many questions that will help shape our society for years to come. The right to vote is a precious thing. It is a privilege that we never can take for granted. Even more than a privilege, however, voting is a moral responsibility for those who are eligible to vote.

Admittedly, like many other people, I am more than ready for the campaign season and Election Day to be behind us. It has been deeply disturbing. The quality of candidates that we voters have to choose from for certain offices is far less than we might have hoped and certainly far from consistent with many of the historic values and aspirations of this great nation. For Catholics who take seriously their public responsibilities and seek to integrate their deeply held religious beliefs with their civic duties, we are faced with a more difficult discernment than in any election in recent memory. At the top of each ticket, we are faced with deeply flawed candidates. (That shouldn’t come as a great surprise, however, since all of us are flawed and sinful human beings.) Some Catholics who I have spoken with are so disheartened by our choice of candidates for president that they are considering staying home on Election Day.

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Open eyes, open doors, open hearts

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley          Sept. 18, 2016

During the week of Sept. 5-10, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City hosted leaders from the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities. Jan Benton, executive director of NCPD and Esther Garcia, NCPD manager of programs and outreach, were here to assist us in assessing the needs of families and persons with various types of disabilities and to formulate a more effective response to these important members of our parishes.

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Life as camino

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley          Sept. 4, 2016

On Aug. 10, I set out from Oviedo in Spain with my friend and fellow pilgrim, Bishop James Wall, to walk the ancient Camino Primitivo. Over the next 14 days, we would cover 212 miles as we made our way toward Compostela. The Camino Primitivo is the oldest of the network of pilgrim ways that make up the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), which for the past 1,100 has carried pilgrims to the tomb of Saint James the Greater in the cathedral of the city that bears his name, Santiago de Compostela.

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Shaping a culture of life: what about the death penalty?

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         Aug. 21, 2016

High profile mishaps involving the execution protocols in our state as well as exonerations of death row inmates resulting from DNA evidence and/or new evidence have many people reconsidering their support of the death penalty.

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Here we go again

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley           August 7, 2016

As the old French proverb goes, “The more things change the more they stay the same.” Two years ago a local Satanist generated considerable controversy when he announced that he would be conducting a black mass during which he intended to desecrate a consecrated Host before an audience of paying customers at the Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City.

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The trifecta!

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley              July 10, 2016

As I turned the page of the calendar and bid farewell to the month of June, I did so with a sense of relief, but also with a good measure of gratitude.

Why relief? The month of June was hard on many fronts. We saw the continuing onslaught of horrific terror attacks: first in Orlando, then in Istanbul. Our hearts are crushed with grief for the innocent victims of violence who are being sacrificed on the altars of hatred and intolerance.

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Standing for freedom

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley         June 26, 2016

For the fifth consecutive summer, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a Fortnight for Freedom to celebrate religious liberty as our first and fundamental freedom.

We are in the midst of this annual observance now. It began June 21 on the eve of the feast of the two great English martyrs for religious liberty, Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher. It will conclude on July 4, the birthday of our nation and its commitment to liberty and justice for all.

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Make time for leisure this summer

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley             June 12, 2016

In Oklahoma, summer means heat. But, for many people summertime also is when we look forward to a much-anticipated vacation. Whether that means spending time leisurely at one of our beautiful Oklahoma lakes, a trip to the mountains, the beach or just time at home with family and friends, our vacation time is precious.

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It’s about more than restrooms

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley                  May 29, 2016

Earlier this year I came across an “all gender” restroom in the airport of a large American city. I had never seen such a thing. I snapped a picture. It struck me as strange, certainly not something I would expect to find in Oklahoma, for example. That may be about to change.

The media have been highlighting recent legal attempts in some states to keep boys out of girl’s restrooms and vice versa. This latest restroom controversy is a manifestation of the new battleground over “gender.” This battle, however, is about more than who can use which restroom. According to rules just issued by the Obama administration, public schools ought no longer to differentiate between boys and girls based on their biological sex, but now ought to acknowledge and accept their personal “gender identity.”

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