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NCR seeks new Young Voices columnists

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The National Catholic Reporter is looking for writers under the age of 30 to join our weekly online Young Voices column.

Young Voices writers pen a 1,000-word column once every six weeks or so as part of a rotation with other columnists. Topics are up to the author, but pieces with a religious bent are preferred. (This does not always mean strictly Catholic reflections; wider Christian reflections or thoughts on spirituality are also acceptable.)

Can the old-movement spirit power the new Francis movement?

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Sixty years ago, the kind of lively Gospel Christianity Pope Francis talks about today was flourishing in the U.S. and 25 other countries. It was achieved through the so-called "movements" -- the Young Christian Workers (YCW), the Young Christian Students (YCS) and the Christian Family Movement (CFM). Small groups from parishes or schools were gathering regularly to examine various problems of life in their own areas, like poverty, politics, racism or culture. They would then discuss how a particular issue relates to Gospel values.

Surveys in the Dumpster

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NCR's admirable reporting startlingly concludes that roughly two-thirds of U.S. bishops haven't broadly sought opinions from lay Catholics on family-related issues prior to the Synod on that subject later this year. The Vatican had promoted the idea by preparing a survey for that purpose, but, as NCR found, most didn't follow through.

Why not if it had Rome's endorsement?

Reasons vary, of course, but the question might as well be, why should they?

Pope Francis disappoints, but not completely

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It was inevitable, and the time has come. I need to write my first critical blog post on Pope Francis. It turns out that the Vatican guesthouse, Domus Sanctae Marthae, does not appear to be far enough away from the apostolic palace. Francis is unfortunately starting to sound too much like a pope. The powers that be may be getting to him even at his current residence.

Finding a parish I can love aligned with a pope I can follow

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When Pope Francis encourages compassion for those judged and excluded by the church, I can't really include myself among those alienated masses. I'm not gay. I'm not a woman. I'm not divorced.

But he speaks to me as a lifelong Catholic estranged from a hierarchy too often in conflict with what seem to me to be basic Christian values.

True, Francis has not changed the policies that perpetuate the discrimination I find so objectionable.

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In This Issue

April 11-24, 2014

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