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Grace on the Margins

Ten years later, controversial New York church still thrives


Ten years after her historic ordination, Mary Ramerman rarely makes it into the papers anymore. Watching her minister as a priest today, it may be hard to believe that she was at the center of a highly publicized, painful battle between the diocese of Rochester, N.Y., and the parish then known as Corpus Christi in the late 1990s.

Crossing Borders with the Virgin Mary


In her book American Madonna: Crossing Borders with the Virgin Mary (Orbis Books, 2010), author Deirdre Cornell chronicles the three years that she, her husband and five children spent as Maryknoll Missioners in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Blending personal reflection, Marian scholarship and social justice advocacy, Cornell deepens our understanding of Mary by allowing us see her through the lens of Latin American people. As she journeys to various sites of pilgrimage in Mexico, we encounter the struggles, hopes and deep faith of those who inspire Cornell along the way. Mary Cornell discovers a universal Mother who invites us to cross the borders of cultural, economic and linguistic difference and to locate our common humanity and spiritual heritage.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Cornell about the ways in which the Latin American church opened her eyes to a new vision of Mary.

Jamie Manson: So much of your book is about pilgrimage. It's remarkable to look at how your own life's journey led you to explore the presence of Mary within Latin American culture. You credit your grandmother with starting you on the path.

Recognizing the church that we already are


On the evening of Friday, Nov. 4, NCR columnist Jamie L. Manson offered the opening night keynote address at the annual Call to Action national conference. The theme of the conference was “Living the Gospel of Love.” Below is the text of her speech. Read more about the address here.

I want to begin by telling a story because stories, perhaps more than any other element of faith, are vital to sustaining religious communities. Stories pass on insights; they help to give shape to religious traditions; they recall paradigmatic moments or people; they define a community; they are vehicles for revelation; even though they may be ordinary, stories can tell us a lot about the sacred.

This story, I think, does all of those things. It is a true story that happened in a place as ordinary as St. Louis and as recently as 2008. The year that stretched from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009 was especially bizarre for the Catholic Church in the United States (and, I know there is a lot of competition for that title).

The future of religious life and the plight of young adult Catholic women


Lately there has been a lot of talk about the future of religious life in the pages of NCR.

In August, Monica Clark reported from the annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Facing the challenges of aging sisters and smaller numbers of vocations, the entire conference was dedicated to contemplating what God was calling forth from these communities.

Anthony Ruff: The accidental activist


The last time Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, came to New York, he was visiting with an editor from First Things, a theologically and politically conservative journal founded by the late Richard John Neuhaus, six years ago.

Ruff recently returned to Manhattan to offer the first presentation sponsored by the newly formed New York City chapter of Call to Action. Since CTA groups are rarely allowed to meet on Roman Catholic property, Ruff gave the lecture in the common room of an Episcopal Church in Greenwich Village.

Not even Scalia should be sent away from the table


Last week on the NCR Today blog, I asked whether Justice Scalia should be denied communion because of his support of the death penalty.

I put forth this question in response to a statement at Duquesne University Law School in which he said: "If I thought that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign. I could not be a part of a system that imposes it."


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