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Out of the Mouths of Babes

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Most everyone has by now seen the video clip of First Lady Michelle Obama speaking with students at a Silver Spring school. One of the girls said that her mother was worried because “Barack Obama is taking away everyone who doesn’t have papers” and then she disclosed that her mother did not have papers. Out of the mouths of babes.

I suppose there will be some whose ideological blinders will keep them from feeling a basic empathy with the child’s plight. I am sure such people will be on Fox News around the clock.

Dublin archbp. warns of 'strong forces' in church working against truth

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In an article titled Martin warns again of strong forces but 'it's not the Vatican', The Catholic Herald of London reports that Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin "reiterated his warning of 'strong forces' in the Catholic church which do not want the truth about clerical sex abuse to come out -- but failed to identify them."

Sr. McBride: Intent to kill?

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I have a confession to make. Catholic moral teaching has me utterly confused.

It's the recent news of a Mercy Sister's decision to allow an abortion to take place that has brought the confusion upon me. And I think Sr. McBride, who let doctors in a Phoenix hospital go forward with a procedure to separate an 11 week old fetus from her mothers womb in late 2009, must have been faced with something similar to my confusion.

Here's some background. I live at a Catholic Worker House. As part of our way of life here we try (and frequently fail) to live out Christ's mercy. Two of our guideposts are Matthew 5 and 25, particularly the bits that say 'love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you' and 'what you do for the least of these, you do for [Christ].'

The call to be a mystic

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The 20th-century Catholic theologian Karl Rahner said that if the church doesn't recover its mystical dimension then it has nothing to offer to the future. We are all called to be mystics. What does that look like? Here's my list of some characteristics:

1. The mystic celebrates relationality. The universe and planet from which we come are woven-together fabrics, made up of interconnections, mutual dependencies and relationships. We exist in the midst of a living web. The mystic know then the necessity of friendships, of the acceptance of brokenness and loss, of maintaining intimacy with the natural world that can teach important spiritual lessons. The mystic trusts that since life is indeed a complex web of interconnections, that nothing is ever really lost. Ultimately, every difficulty too is an opportunity.

Homosexuality in Africa

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Many news outlets are reporting on the gay couple in Malawi who face harsh prison sentences, (See Gay Malawi man vows to become a martyr rather than give in to homophobia.)

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries.

The Pew Forum recently completed a 19-country survey on religion in sub-Saharan Africa. The survey found that 98% of adults in Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia say that homosexuality is morally wrong.

Check it out.

Morning Briefing

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Poverty and conflict in Central African Republic

Cardinal O’Malley, commenting for the first time on a Hingham Catholic school’s decision to revoke admission of the 8-year-old son of a lesbian couple, said yesterday that “the good of the child’’ must be the church’s primary concern

Hospital colleagues of excommunicated Irish nun praise her actions

Ryan Report on clerical child sex abuse in Ireland reaches one-year milestone

Is homosexual ‘outreach’ enough?, an interfaith debate

Adding insult to injury

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Last week to add insult to injury, the governor of Arizona signed a law that does away with the teaching of ethnic studies in state public schools. This comes in the wake of that state’s controversial law that allows local police to ask individuals that they stop to prove their legal residence.

Both laws are indirectly aimed at the Mexican/Chicano communities.

The Tea Party Goes Prime Time

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Like the mariner drawn to the Loadstone Rock, I am incapable of pulling myself away from watching the video of Rand Paul’s victory speech last night in Kentucky. The son of Congressman Ron Paul won the GOP nomination for the Senate in a low-turnout primary. That might have enticed Paul to think about what he was going to say to the hundreds of thousands of voters who did not turn out last night but will come November. And, what he said was illustrative.

One of the problems faced by incumbents who have served too long in Washington, is that they develop a bad case of Inside-the-Beltway-speak. They use the jargon and lingo and acronyms of policy-making and fail utterly to present a narrative with which the average voter can connect. Rand Paul does not suffer from this affliction. Instead, his language betrays a different kind of insider talk, and his talk comes from having spent way too much time at Tea Party events.

Ecomony pinches church workers

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Religion News Service publishes every day a quote of the day. Here's the latest:

“The irony is not lost on me.”

Tim Ryan, a former children's minister at West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg, Pa., who lost his job last year and is now working as a carpenter, the biblical profession of Jesus. He was quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal reports "While the economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in generations, more clergy are facing unemployment as churches continue to struggle with drops in donations. In 2009, the government counted about 5,000 clergy looking for jobs, up from 3,000 in 2007 and 2,000 in 2005.

"Church staff are feeling the pinch, too. In an October survey, about one in five members of the interdenominational 3,000-member National Association of Church Business Administration said they had laid off staff amid the recession."

Read the full story: Joblessness Hits the Pulpit

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