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Marcus Slavenas: A Lost Vet Finds the Church View Comments
By Dan Petrella

ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2003, Marcus Slavenas got the phone call that changed everything. He had just finished work and saw that he had a voice mail from his dad: “Please call me back, Marcus.”

From the sound of his father’s voice, he knew someone in the family was dead.

When Marcus called back, his dad gave him the bad news: His younger brother, Brian, had been piloting a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that was shot down near Fallujah, Iraq. Brian was dead, along with 15 others.

Marcus went home and threw a fit, throwing chairs, making so much noise that his downstairs neighbors called the landlord.

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Dan Petrella is a freelance journalist from Champaign, Illinois, who writes and fact-checks for various publications, including Chicago, Illinois Alumni and The News Gazette of Champaign. He reports for www.cu-citizenaccess.org of Urbana on social and economic issues and is a research consultant on a business book for Third Angle, Inc., of Wilmette, Illinois. During the 2009-2010 school year he was a teaching assistant for the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois.

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Gregory VII: The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII. 
<p>Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer’s attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself. </p><p>Gregory’s papal letters stress the role of bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots. </p><p>Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.” Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.</p> American Catholic Blog In Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was taken to God. Christ opened the path to us. If we entrust our life to him, if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our Savior.

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