Daily Links, April 17: Parishes reopening, 'freedom' fights, and church with grandma

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Let's start the day with some positive news: Cleveland's Bishop Richard Lennon has announced that he will in fact reopen 12 closed parishes, as he was ordered to do by the Vatican after a successful appeal by parishioners.

People are still talking about the bishops' statement on religious freedom, with the latest critical look coming from Anthony Stevens-Arroyo at The Washington Post. Commonweal responds on their blog to criticism that they're being partisan by suggesting the bishops' document is partisan.

Speaking of political issues, food stamp benefits are on the chopping block in budget talks at the House of Representatives. But are food stamps becoming a luxury for Americans?

Faith leaders are calling for people to stand up and tell their state leaders to say no to privatizing prisons.

We learned more today about Mark O'Mara, the lawyer defending George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. O'Mara tells the AP that he's a "good Irish Catholic boy" who wanted to be a priest. Draw your own conclusions on that one.

Today on our blog, Bryan Cones has been rather prolific. First, he discusses some strong comments made by Peoria, Illinois Bishop Daniel Jenky, then he does some number crunching on government subsidies for low-wage earners.

Finally, here's a letter to the editor published today by the Baltimore Sun from a woman who attended Mass with her grandmother on Sunday and had mixed feelings about how things turned out.