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Recent updates, tweets from Tom Fox in Dallas

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NCR editor Tom Fox is 'tweeting' live from the annual LCWR national assembly in Dallas this morning as M. Shawn Copeland, an associate professor of theology at Boston College, gives a keynote address.

Follow Fox on his twitter account @NCRTomFox or twitter.com/NCRTomFox. If you tweet about the meeting use #LCWR in your tweet so we can all follow along!

Here's a sample of Fox's most recent updates:


At 9:45 AM CDT: This year's LCWR conference theme: Hope in the midst of darkness. Fitting.

At 10:30: Shawn Copeland to LCWR: resist idolatry, ideology; be critical of established power.

At 10:32: Copeland to LCWR: Witness an unyielding hope that resists despair.

At 10:35: Copeland to LCWR: You are called to radical openness and suffering.

At 10:38: Copeland to LCWR: Radical openness is living-in-love with God.

At 10:40: Shawn Copeland receives standing ovation at LCWR assembly.

Chancery calls in Nashville priest over video

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A video plucked from a parish Web site and posted to YouTube by a conservative Catholic group resulted in a dressing down of a Nashville priest by his bishop. In the video, the priest questions mandatory celibacy, obedience to the pope and excluding women from the priesthood.

Read the full story: Nashville priest may get in trouble over viral video

Radio interview about the life and work of Fr. Thomas Berry

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Cosmologist, Passionist priest, and Earth scholar, Thomas Berry, was among the first of our world’s religious leaders to suggest that the earth ecological crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis. Thomas Berry dedicated his life to The Great Work of our time which he described simply as "moving the human community from its present situation as a destructive presence on the planet to a benign or mutually enhancing presence."

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, co-founders and co-directors of The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale and The Thomas Berry Foundation join host Robin Bradley Hansel of the Wisdom of the Labyrinth series on 7th Wave Network to share their stories and reflections on Thomas Berry's life, his work, his writings, and his passionate dream for our Earth community.

LCWR Leadership for What?

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I admire Sister Joan Chittister, benefit from her writing and face none of the challenges that confront her as an influential Catholic woman.

But I respectfully submit that her most recent column in which she calls for bold leadership from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is lacking a key element.

She invokes the history of splendid service rendered by American sisters as an appeal for support of their contributions at a time when Rome is questioning their fidelity and integrity.

That's fine, but redundant and deficient. Redundant because it echoes other efforts to achieve a goal that's already been achieved. American Catholics, with few exceptions, are deeply grateful to sisters for running practically everything that has kept Catholicism alive.

But how does that thankful salute change the nature and directions of the Vatican's accusations and condescensions against those sisters?

Sadly, it's largely beside the point. It would be comforting to think that women could simply enlarge their post-Vatican renewal without confronting the bias against them that blocks their progress toward equality in the church.

Dallas bishop welcomes LCWR - with media absent

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Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell warmly welcomed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on the first evening of its annual gathering, in Dallas, Texas Aug. 10, several women religious reported.

He spoke before some 750 women religious. However, his welcoming address was officially closed to the media. No written remarks were available, according to LCWR Communications Director Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Annmarie Sanders.

"We were pleased," she told NCR, "with the bishop's warm welcoming words and the positive things he had to say about women religious."

Earlier in the day Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, addressed the LCWR, but the media was kept from entering the room in which she spoke.

SNAP to LCWR: model compassion for sex abuse victims

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Standing in a 105 degree temperature outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Dallas, four members of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) held a press conference as heads of women religious communities were checking in inside the hotel lobby at the outset of the annual gathering for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

The SNAP assembly included Steve Theisen, Therese Albrecht, David Clohessy and Lisa Kendzior.

LCWR meets under tight media security

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You have to feel sorry for U.S. women religious leaders. They are under attack from the Vatican for being followers of the gospels and servants of the church. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), meeting here in Dallas for the next three days, is facing twin Vatican investigations, one a “doctrinal” inquiry and the other a look into the “quality of life” of women religious communities in the U.S. This has been very upsetting to the women, especially given the fact they believe they have been very faithful to the church. Visitations are being made to the religious communities and all community leaders have been asked to keep their silence on these visits.

Most of the women want to cooperate – or at least to appear to cooperate --with the investigators, knowing that any appearance of defensiveness will be used against them. So the pressure is on and it is showing here in Dallas.

Sadly familiar view from our Dallas hotel window

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Checked in this afternoon at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas, site of the annual Leadership Conference of Women Religious gathering. At the check in desk a clerk asked if I had any special room in mind. I answered that one with a view of the area would be appreciated. "You can see the downtown area," she remarked handing me the card key. Upon entering the room I went to the window, opened it, and saw a familiar site, long ago etched into my consciousness, the book depository out of which Lee Harvey Osward shot President Kennedy in November, 1963. It remains a haunting site. You can see the view my wife and I see as we look through the 10th story hotel window. Oswald shot Kennedy from the top floor, sixth window from the left. What a tragedy.

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