Daily Links Feb. 15: In other news edition

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Mexican bishops, like their U.S. counterparts, offered a list of voter guidelines that is drawing some criticism. Mexican Law prohibits church involvement in electoral politics. The guidelines don’t issue directives, but emphasize the importance of church teaching for Catholic voters.

Claretian Father Paul Smyth reports on the symposium on the church and sex abuse, Towards Healing and Renewal, and comments that "This symposium, the fruit of decades of experience, will only be of value if the guidelines and proposals presented are taken up and put into action by the church’s leadership."

Detroit Catholic parish Nativity of Our Lord has been recommended for closure, upsetting parishioners and non-Catholic neighbors. The parish is credited with positive growth in its neighborhood, and many residents fear what will happen if it closes. Other neighborhoods face similar decline if their local parish closes, thanks to the number of social services provided: "If it is providing food services, helping the homeless, closing (a church) is really a symbolic death knell of a neighborhood," said demographer and Data Driven Detroit Director Kurt Metzger. "Whether they're Catholic or not, people view the churches as community magnets and a community resource," Metzger said. "When the church goes--in many cases--it's the last thing there."

What men want in a wife has changed much in the past 70 years. The most desired attribute, “dependable character,” has been replaced by “mutual attraction, love.” Also declining in importance: Chastity and similar religious background. But “education, intelligence” jumped several spots, from 11 to 4. Social historian Stephanie Coontz writes, “For a woman seeking a satisfying relationship as well as a secure economic future, there has never been a better time to be or become highly educated.”

Poor air quality = poor health. (Um. Duh?)

And finally, while the brouhaha/maelstrom/kerfluffle  (depending on your point of view) over the contraception mandate has been taking place, this happened.  Former State Department official Dennis B. Ross thinks maybe it’s now time for diplomatic talks with Iran.