National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

Madoff investors brace for lawsuits; Redemptorists could be affected

 | 

As I reported on February 11, 2009, with the assistance of NCR's Editor at Large, Tom Roberts, the Redemptorist Fathers of the Baltimore Province lost a substantial amount of money invested for years with Bernie Madoff.

"The Redemptorist Fathers of the Baltimore province may have to “reduce, suspend or cancel” some of their ministries because of “significant” losses they suffered as clients of Bernard Madoff, the New York financier charged with defrauding thousands of investors in an elaborate Ponzi scheme."

Besides an initial statement, the Redemptorist's immediately lawyered-up. I spoke at length with the Redemptorist's lawyer, who made a curious argument as to why he wouldn't tell me the actual amount of the investment loss. He compared my question to asking my neighbor how much my neighbor has in his checking account. In addition, the lawyer then began making an incredible argument under the U.S. Constitution that a religious order has a Free Exercise of Religion right to secrecy. I'm not kidding.

Religion at the airport

 | 

If a Catholic should pull out rosary beads on an airplane, or a nun or a monk went through airport security in a religious habit, it would probably not raise suspicions. Many, if not most, security agents are familiar with these symbols.

But what about a Sikh turban or ceremonial dagger? Or a Muslim head scarf? Or what about the Jewish teenager who boarded a plane at La Guardia airport in January 2010 and began to pray by taking out his Teffilin, a set of small prayer boxes that are wrapped around the arm and head. To the flight attendant, it looked suspicious, like he was strapping himself in cables or wires. The pilots decided to land the plane…..and the 17 year old became known in the media as the “Teffilin Terrorist.”

Maryknoll statement on SOA

 | 

Thanks to Maryknoll Father Joe Veneroso for acquiring the statement from the Maryknoll order about their decision to cut funding to the School of the Americas Watch, which I posted about yesterday here.

A few comments:

* Apparently the decision was made in May, though not communicated to SOA Watch until recently. So it had nothing to do with the recent Vatican statement about women's ordination.

College Students Chosen and Trained to Advise Bishops

 | 

Six universities and colleges have been asked to partner with Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University and the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management to address the growing challenge of keeping talented young adult Catholics engaged in church leadership roles following their graduation from university.

The program, ESTEEM–Engaging Students to Enliven the Ecclesial Mission—debuts this fall at St. Thomas More, Yale, Michigan State University, Stanford, Sacred Heart University, and UCLA.

In Congo only the church works

 | 

Great article in The Tablet of London today:

Anguish of a beautiful people: An African tragedy, by Jan de Volder

"The Democratic Republic of Congo has been celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence. But the end of colonialism has been marred by poor governance and bloodshed. Only the work of missionaries in education and health care has prevented total chaos. ... Even on a political level, the Church in Congo was and is influential."

Say It Isn't So Maryknollers

 | 

The news from Heidi Schlumpf about Maryknoll's shutting off aid from School of the America's Watch looks like another sign of how far a fear-ridden church can twist priorities to get its way.

This deprives the major protest against America's training of repressive Latin American militia of a reported $17,000. It's not a huge figure in itself but signals a much more pervasive moral decay.

Like many other Americans, I've held the Maryknoll order in high regard for its commitment to justice and humanitarian missions. That makes it even tougher to be critical of it's priests and brothers for apparently caving to pressures from Rome.

The reason given for ending support for the Weach is that its leader, Ray Bourgeois, believes women should be ordained to the priesthood.

Bowing to a Vatican petrified by women is, therefore, given a higher moral priority than standing against sharpening the military skills of Latin Americans, some of whom have been linked in the past to war crimes against opponents of established regimes.

Morning Briefing

 | 

Pages

Subscribe to NCR Today

Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

February 27- March 12, 2015

02-27-2015.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.