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Coverage of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

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The Natural Resources Defense Council Web site has a page devoted to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with their own on-the-ground coverage together with many excellent articles that describe the disaster and its implications and meaning, including a thoughtful piece by Lisa Margonelli, which appeared in the New York Times -- "Driving Oil Dependence Down."

Other articles include "Which Would You Choose: Offshore Wind or Oil?"; "The Impact of the Oil Spill on Community"; and "From Canada to the Gulf Coast: The Unhealthy Tale of Petroleum," and many others. NRDC has called for a time out on new offshore drilling activities.

Take action by going to the Sierra Club's Web action page site, "Say NO to more dirty, dangerous offshore drilling."

Most read stories in April

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The most read stories on the NCR web site in April were, far away, the two stories Jason Berry filed about Fr. Maciel and the Legion of Christ: and . Following this stories were:


  1. NCR Today, our group blog

  2. Vatican disses one of its own on sex abuse, about Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos

  3. Greensburg bishop denies women's order recruitment request

  4. Is middle ground possible on the Pope?, a column by John Allen

Episcopal bishop writes to the pope

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Sunday’s Washington Post printed an open letter from Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire to Pope Benedict XVI. Robinson is an openly gay bishop. He has been the center of controversy in his own church in recent years as it debated the ordination of openly gay and lesbian priests and bishops. (The Episcopal Church has since approved that policy, and is now in the process of welcoming its first lesbian bishop. Mary Glasspool).

Robinson’s letter to the pope focused on sex abuse, and he shared the problems that the Episcopal church once faced -- and they sound a lot like those the Roman Catholic church faces today in Europe and Latin America. Then, he outlined the steps the Episcopal church took to deal with the problem, saying that “we sought to change our church’s culture -- an effort that took no small amount of courage.”

Nicholas Kristof, Times' columnist, again praises work of 'lowly' women religious and priests

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For the second time in two weeks New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has singled out the inspirational Christian works being done by largely unknown women religious and priests in some of the most impoverished areas of the world. His overall point in a column published April 17th and his newest column, published May 2nd, in The New York Times is this: if the top leadership of the church has strayed from its roots, much of its base is still deeply inspiring.

Thank you, Nicholas, for sharing with your readers what NCR readers have known for so many years: Our church is filled with men and women, lay, religious and clergy, who are living selfless lives on behalf of countless marginalized and vulnerable human beings.

Vatican statement on Maciel, Legionaries

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Today the Vatican released a comminque summarizing the results of a year-long investigation of the Legionaries of Christ, indicating that Pope Benedict XVI will shortly appoint a special delegate to lead the order and a commission to review its founding documents.

The language of today's statement is remarkably blunt, referring to a "system of power" created by the founder of the Legionaries, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, designed to hide "true crimes" and a private life "without scruples or authentic religious sentiment." The statement indicated that the Legionaries must follow a "path of purification," including a "sincere encounter" with victims of sexual abuse inside and outside the order.

After years of denial, the Legionaries have recently been forced to acknowledge that Maciel lived a double life, including having a child out of wedlock with a woman with whom he was in a long-term relationship and to whom he provided financial support. Maciel has also been accused of sexual abuse of former members of the order.

Immigration Reform and Gay Rights

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Cathy Grossman over at USAToday has a post up about the letter from Bishop Wester, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, that offered conditional support for the “framework” for immigration reform legislation, presented yesterday by Sen. Harry Reid. She called me for comment, which I did, but I want to elaborate.

A couple of things are striking here. First, the “framework” emerged almost overnight. It appears to have been devised not so much as an authoritative first draft of comprehensive legislation but as an effort to reap the Arizona press whirlwind. Second, the quickness of Wester’s response shows how seriously the USCCB takes the issue of immigration reform. Third, as Grossman points out, there is the issue of how to treat same-sex couples under the immigration law.

Has Benedict brought baroque back?

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I must admit my window into religious experience is a long way removed from liturgical vestments. And I also have to say I am left scratching my head trying to figure out what could possible draw a man to wear a cape with a thirty foot train.

Jerry Filteau, NCR Washington Correspondent, who covered the Latin Tridentine Mass last weekend at the Washington Basilica swears that the cappa magna worn by Oklahoma Bishop Edward J. Slattery was every bit of thirty feet if it was an inch -- and it trailed behind him gloriously as he moved up the center aisle and through the sanctuary.

While pondering vestments as a kind of new sign language in church life I came across an article in the Catholic Herald with a banner headline that "Benedict XVI proclaims that baroque is back." It's worth a read. Whatever you think of it, you might want to take a few moments to admire photos of some baroque vestments, found at the bottom of the piece.

Hollywood to film Catholic sex abuse story

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Hollywood production companies, Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust Productions, are developing a movie that will follow the Boston Globe's "Spotlight Team" during its year-long investigation into allegations of clergy sex abuse in the Boston archdiocese in 2002.

According to the entertainment business Web site, Deadline.com, the producers hope to make the film in the mode of "All the President's Men," the 1976 Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman film that re-created Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein's investigation of the Nixon White House.

"One of the planned film's hooks is that some of the journalists are themselves Catholic and were conflicted as they researched and wrote their stories," Deadline.com reported.

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September 12-25, 2014

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