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“Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is nothing else than the culmination of the way he lived his entire life. Moved by his example, we want to enter fully into the fabric of society, sharing the lives of all, listening to their concerns, helping them materially and spiritually in their needs, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep; arm in arm with others, we are committed to building a new world. But we do so not from a sense of obligation, not as a burdensome duty, but as the result of a personal decision which brings us joy and gives meaning to our lives.” — Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 269, November, 2013

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Like Benedict XVI, Pope Francis is aware that the cross looms large when we claim to be disciples of the Son of God—when we seek to live sacrificially the Gospel in our particular corners of creation. But the vision of the Church held by Francis and his predecessor includes Christians giving witness that crosses need not be avoided out of fear—especially fear that when we give all we are, we will be left with nothing. Rather, we will have more than we could expect—fulfillment, meaning, and joy.

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It's been reported that captain Bernard Sumner has a synth record in the works with British producer/songwriter Stuart Price. Unfortunately, as Sumner reveals to Spinner, that project has been scrapped.

"I believe you can do anything with enough enthusiasm," Sumner says. "To make a good record, you have to put 100 percent in. And now, you have to make about 16 to 18 songs. In the old days, when I was in Joy Division or New Order, if you did that, it would be a double album."

It's not to say that Sumner and Price haven't worked together before -- the producer, who's worked with Madonna, Diddy and the Killers, also lent his skills on New Order's last effort, 2005's 'Waiting for the Sirens' Call' -- but it's looking like it would be too much work to get enough material out.

"To do that with Stuart, that would be impossible," Sumner says. "I couldn't make two albums at one time. There's nothing in the pipeline at the moment."

As we've reported before, Sumner is focused on his current project, Bad Lieutenant. After some visa woes kept them from touring the US last fall, the band is in limbo again, as the volcanic ash that's wreaking havoc in the UK forced the cancellation of their flight to San Francisco.

They're scheduled for a four-date run in the US, starting tomorrow at the Regency Ballroom in the Bay Area before heading to Coachella this weekend. Here's hoping they can finally make it. If they do, what can fans expect? "We play some New Order and some Joy Division," Sumner says. "It's a bit of a career retrospective. It weaves together really well. We're a great band live. I'm back on the live tip."

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The threats that press upon the Church from without—threats that hinder the faithful from sincerely and joyfully sharing the Gospel and that prevent others from hearing it—are likewise diverse and plentiful. Francis admits that he will not be offering a “detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality” (51) exterior to the Church, but his review is nonetheless thorough.

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Francis’ intent in providing such painful instruction—and there is much of this in Evangelii Gaudium—is reminiscent of how the ancient nation of Israel recorded its many centuries of rebellion against a faithful God. Francis’ ecclesial analysis likewise calls to mind St. Augustine, whose Confessions continued and personalized the Old Testament’s “examination of conscience.” When Francis highlights the faults of the Church, he is not merely engaging in a pious and public penitential rite. Rather, he tells us that admitting our communal shortcomings is necessary if we as individuals and as a Church truly wish to repent and believe in the joy of the Gospel.

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The wait is over: the crowd funding campaign for the long awaited book "Au Plan K" featuring all 56 Joy Division images taken by Philippe Carly at Plan K has launched. You can help by donating as little as €5.00, while €139.00 gets you a signed limited edition version of the book delivered to your door.

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The highlight is Unknown Pleasures: An Exhibition, an absorbing collection of posters, artwork and souvenirs that chart Joy Division's brief career.