National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

A Prayer for Creation


The Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) is staging a "Green Pilgrimage" in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, Sept. 1-5, to foster what Pope Benedict XVI described as "binding respect for the divine gift of creation" in a telegram to organizers.

As part of the "Green Pilgrimage," an ecumenical prayer service is being held this evening in the Cathedral of St. Pölten, Austria. The following is the English text of a "Prayer for Creation" which is being read during the service. (The citations of "CV" refer to Pope Benedict's social encyclical Caritas in Veritate.)

A Prayer for Creation

Almighty God, who created heaven and earth and all they contain, come to our help at this historic moment in humanity’s journey from heaven to earth.

You are beyond all things. All things praise you, and all things give honour to you, both things that have intellect and those that do not.

The desires of all human beings are common to all, common are the groans of all those who surround you; anything that moves in the universe is thanks to You.

Mother Teresa's birthplace gets a makeover


In Mother Teresa's own words:

"By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus."

Now her birthplace, Skopje, now the capital of Macedonia, is getting a makeover.

"Its charms are many, but architecture is not usually seen as one of them. Rebuilt after an earthquake in 1963 wiped out most of the city, Skopje, the capital of the ex-Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, was for years characterized by ugly concrete blocks and strange empty spaces. But earlier this year Nikola Gruevski's conservative government produced a video that revealed the full ambition of “Skopje 2014”, its plan for a radical reinvention of the city center."

A Vatican lion who defied conservative/liberal labels


Generally speaking, the Vatican is an environment that doesn't exactly encourage individuality. Officials typically move in the shadows, subjecting their own styles and passions to the corporate interests of the Holy See. When you find a personality that shines through even here, therefore, you know you’ve got a live wire.

For the last decade, that’s unquestionably been the case with Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, who stepped down on Wednesday as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, a position he had held since November 2001.

The courage to oppose nuclear bomb makers


Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn’s recent statement questioning the wisdom of a major new weapons plant in Kansas City Mo. could provide a model for dioceses throughout the country where government and private enterprise prepare the most hideous devices of modern warfare.

The statement, largely a catalogue of papal and catechism teachings against the development of modern machines of war, is consistent with Finn’s ardent opposition to abortion and his advocacy of other life issues.

While NCR has certainly been critical of Finn’s management style and ecclesiological priorities, on this matter we applaud the courage it requires to take on a local major employer as well as the local political establishment.

Finn knows the sting of public rebuke and derision when taking unpopular moral positions. But no one questions your citizenship or patriotism for opposing abortion because that position can be chalked up to religious conviction, and it’s what the culture has come to expect from the Catholic community.

Kansas City Bishop questions local nuclear weapons plant


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Calling the continued creation of nuclear weapons a “grave moral danger,” the bishop of the local Catholic diocese released a statement this afternoon asking officials to reconsider the construction of a new major nuclear weapons production facility here.

The statement comes a week before local and state dignitaries are due to hold an official ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility Sept. 8 and two weeks after 14 activists -- many self-identified as Catholic -- were arrested at the construction site for a nonviolent peace action.

The new plant, which will make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.

In his statement Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Kansas City - Saint Joseph diocese calls for officials to “make a decision for all of humanity: that one day this facility may be transformed from a producer of weapons into a producer of goods that benefit all mankind.”

$600,000 stolen from Des Moines diocese


Catholic News Service reports:

More than $600,000 stolen from Des Moines Diocese in bank-related fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNS) -- Thieves electronically stole more than $600,000 from a Diocese of Des Moines bank account on two days in August, the diocese and the bank involved said.

As of Sept. 2, $202,000 had been recovered by the bank, according to Anne Marie Cox, director of communications for the diocese.

The theft occurred Aug. 13 and 16 after thieves illegally obtained information on the diocesan accounts at Bankers Trust and electronically transferred funds to "numerous recipients" across the United States, the diocese said in a statement Aug. 26.

Bankers Trust reported the transfers to the diocese Aug. 17 and diocesan financial officials immediately asked the bank to close the targeted accounts, Cox told Catholic News Service.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the thefts. As part of its probe, FBI agents took several diocesan computers.

The diocese is cooperating with federal agents, Cox said. She declined further comment Sept. 2, citing the ongoing investigation.

Philadelphia grand jury report available as audio book


In 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury released a 418-page report of a three-year investigation into the Philadelphia archdiocese and the sexual abuse of minors. The grand jury concluded that two former archbishops orchestrated a systematic cover-up spanning four decades that managed to successfully shield from prosecution 63 priests who had sexually abused hundreds of children.

Now that report is available as an audio book from Cherry Hill Publishing under the title: The Philadelphia Report.

Here's a review of The Philadelphia Report by the Midwest Book Review:

The Philadelphia Report
Honorable Lynne Abraham, District Attorney
Cherry Hill Publishing
24344 Del Amo Road, Ramona, CA 92065
9780984375929 $19.95 unabridged MP3 CD
9780984375912 $29.95 abridged audio CD
9780984375936 $39.95 unabridged audio CD

Celebrating a bishop-elect in San Francisco


I spent some time in San Francisco earlier this summer and wherever Catholics were gathered, the buzz was about bishop-elect Msgr. Robert W. McElroy, who will be ordained to the episcopacy Sept. 7. As auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, he is expected to be named Vicar for Pastoral Life.

It would be a fitting job, if everything that’s being said about him is true. In this age when a certain amount of healthy Catholic skepticism is often the norm, people on all parts of the ecclesiological/political spectrum just gushed about McElroy’s intellectual and pastoral genius.

“He’s always the brightest bulb in the room,” said one Jesuit, and we know members of the order don’t loosely confer intellectual superiority to someone outside “the Society.” And I heard that phrase more than once.


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts