‘Harry and Louise’ are back, with a Catholic-endorsed message

Harry and Louise are back, and this time the Catholic Health Association is among the groups endorsing their message on health care reform. The fictional couple, whose 1993-94 television ads financed by the Health Insurance Association of America helped to defeat the Clinton health care reform plan, now are urging the next president and Congress to make health care reform their top domestic priority.

In the 14 years since Harry and Louise first took to the airwaves, “the lack of access to health care has only worsened,” said Sister Carol Keehan, CHA president and CEO, at an Aug. 19 event at the National Press Club in Washington.

Joining her in endorsing the new spots were the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Hospital Association, Families USA and National Federation of Independent Business. Even the America’s Health Insurance Plans, formed from the 2003 merger of the Health Insurance Association of America and American Association of Health Plans, has signed on in support of the ads.

The TV spots will run on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and Comedy Central and on Sunday network talk shows Aug. 24 to Sept. 7, to cover both the Republican and Democratic conventions.

How Cardinal O’Malley dealt with clergy sex abuse crisis

To mark the fifth anniversary of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s installation as archbishop of Boston, a guest columnist for The Pilot, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, details how the prelate began his tenure by focusing on the clergy sexual abuse scandal that had rocked the New England see.

Barbara Thorp, director of the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach in the Archdiocese of Boston, relates how sex abuse victims teared up during the 2003 installation homily, when Cardinal O’Malley addressed them by saying “You are the wounds on the body of Christ.”

The cardinal followed up in 2006 with a “pilgrimage of reconciliation and hope” to nine parishes where children had been abused by priests, ending each visit by inviting the clergy present to prostrate themselves on the altar in repentance for the sins of abuse.

“A key to understanding Cardinal Sean’s tenure these past five years is the image of standing by the cross of Christ as the only sure path to healing,” Thorp wrote.

Controversy over ‘Bodies’ exhibits continues

In its blog, The Catholic Key, newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., reports that the controversial “Bodies” exhibits continue to raise eyebrows.

The company that organizes the exhibits of “plastinated bodies” of dead people from China has said that all of the people, in advance of their deaths, had willingly donated their bodies for this purpose, but it was unable to produce the signed consent forms. The Kansas City show, “Bodies Revealed,” ends Sept. 1.

The exhibits feature human bodies in various poses, and include an array of various organs, and there has been spectulation that the bodies on display are those of executed Chinese prisoners.

The company that produced the Kansas City show has a second show making the rounds called “Bodies:The Exhbition.” A third show titled “Body Worlds” that is touring various cities is produced by a rival company.

Priests discover blogging helps them reach the faithful

In a story from The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, staff writer Matt Palmer examines how several Maryland priests have discovered blogging as a way of spreading the word of God.

Some use the Internet technology to post their homilies, while others chart Catholic connections in pop culture.

Father T. Austin Murphy initiated his blog “Jesus Goes to Disney World” just for the fun of it, and found a loyal following.