- NCR Today, our group blog
- Vatican disses one of its own on sex abuse, about Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos
- Greensburg bishop denies women's order recruitment request
- Is middle ground possible on the Pope?, a column by John Allen
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The disaster is now here.
The Associated Press is reporting "Rescue crews are cleaning the first bird found coated with oil that's been spewing from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico."
Read this story for more details. Rescuers cleaning 1st oil-coated bird in La. Watch the video clip to see satellite photos of the spill and hear fisherman talk about the looming economic doom they anticipate.
Redemptorist Fr. Ricardo Elford sent an article to me from the Arizona Daily Star. A Tucson cop, Martin H. Escobar, has filed a federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's new legislation cracking down on undocumented workers. The 15-year veteran of the police force claims that the legislation will make it difficult for police to proceed with investigations in places with large Hispanic populations.
"What are we saying to the undocumented who are victims of crimes, what are we saying to the undocumented who are critical witnesses to crimes?" Richard Martinez, Escobar's attorney told the Star. The attorney also expressed dismay at the prospect of racial profiling. "Hey, there's a lot of people lawfully who speak Spanish; there's a lot of people who speak with an accent," Martinez said. "Those tell you that they're Latino or Hispanic or Mexican, but they don't tell you anything about their document status."