Daily Links, Oct. 14: Funerals, firings, and funnies

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It's Friday, and to be honest, its not a big news day in the Catholic world. But nonetheless, we've dug up some interesting reads from around the web to get you through the end of the work week:

[UPDATE: Here's what happens when you post the day's news too early--late in the day word broke that Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph was indicted. So it did turn out to be a pretty big news day in the Catholic world afterall.]

Let's start off with death--The L.A. Times this week had a story about student morticians, but Get Religion points out a big flaw in the story, noting that there's little in the way of faith when it comes to educating future funeral directors. In fact, the way the story deals with how the students are taught about Catholic funerals might concern those who want the best possible farewell for their loved ones.

Religion News Service takes a look at the sobering statistics regarding child poverty, and how it is impacting families around the country. Church-based organizations, of course, are among the primary groups working to provide help and hope to these families.

Another big effort for the Catholic Church these days is putting an end to same-sex marriage, but not every person in the pews supports this initiative. Michele Somerville offers a very well-written, thoughtful explanation of why the church leaders--namely USCCB president and NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan--are out of touch with many Catholics on this issue, and why their efforts are taking the church into dangerous territory. Whether or not you agree with Somerville, who identifies herself as a Catholic, her column offers a thought provoking perspective on where many Catholics stand.

For a lighter take on Archbishop Dolan, here's some insight from his brother, Bob.

You may have seen the story earlier this week about a Catholic school in Canada offering its students credit for attending pro-life gatherings such as 40 Days for Life to pray for an end to abortion. That didn't sound like a good idea to the school's board of directors or the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, and the prinicipal might pay for the idea with his job.

And speaking of praying, did you know there is a Presidential Prayer Team? CNN has the scoop.

Finally, an uplifting note to end the week--religion can be funny, reports USA Today. The story of course quotes expert Catholic funnyman Father Jim Martin. I've been reading Martin's new book, "Between Heaven and Mirth," and it has some great jokes to remember for parties mixed in with some solid reflection on why we shouldn't take ourselves, and our faith, too seriously. Of course, we try to keep it lighthearted here at U.S. Catholic too, so hopefully you get a laugh out of our reading pages now and then.