Do you check your e-mail in church?

Fifteen percent of you do, according to the latest “e-mail addiction survey” by AOL Mail. That percentage is up from 12 percent last year. But church is far from the most unusual place where people check their e-mail, according to the survey. Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) said they check their e-mail in the bathroom, up from 53 percent last year, while half check it while driving, an increase from 37 percent last year.

Although New York is judged the city most addicted to e-mail, it’s not the place where the highest percentage of residents check their e-mail in church. Houston and Tampa, Fla., are tied for first in that department, at 30 percent each. Seattle is next, at 24 percent, and New York is fourth, at 21 percent. Miami is the city where residents are least likely to check their e-mail in church — only 3 percent do.

A news release on the full survey results is here.

A useful tool for judging health reform plans

Our Campaign ’08 series kicked off today with an article on how the presidential candidates’ plans for health care compare to the bishops’ “Faithful Citizenship” document and the Catholic Health Association’s “Vision for U.S. Health Care.” But for those who would like to judge for themselves how a particular health reform proposal measures up — whether it comes from a member of Congress, a nonprofit organization or a candidate for office — CHA offers a useful “health reform study tool.” Try it out yourself here.

Catholic Charities campaign asks Minnesotans: ‘What kind of state do we want to live in?’

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has embarked on a campaign designed to to get people thinking about how to better respond to the needs of the less fortunate.

As The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper, reports, Catholic Charities has unveiled banners to help get the conversation started. The banners read: “Our political agenda: food, shelter, dignity.”

Father John Estrem, CEO of Catholic Charities in the archdiocese, tells the newspaper that the campaign is a call to action for Minnesotans. “It’s about people in every walk of life asking the question: What kind of state do we want to live in?” he said.

One banner is on a billboard in St. Paul above heavily traveled I-94. A second is displayed outside of the Catholic Charities-run Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul, across the street from the Xcel Energy Center, which happens to be where the Republican National Convention will be Sept. 1-4.

The center will remain open to serve the area’s needy during the convention, but access will be restricted for security reasons.

Father Estrem said the banners were not targeting the thousands of Republicans who will be in town, because they had been planned long before the GOP announced it would be meeting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The innovative campaign is not just about banners, however. Catholic Charities has opened a Web site to engage the wider community about responding to poverty.