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LCWR today, AMOR tomorrow

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I feel I experienced something special during the past two weeks in Thailand at a gathering of women religious leaders from Asia and Oceania. The women seemed to come increasingly alive as they took time to reflect on scripture and the way Jesus treated women - and the way a woman challenged Jesus.

Access to education and to open discussions and reflections on spirituality and theology seem to be key in the liberation of women religious in many places around the world. Try as they might, those male clerics who are trying to contain the energy of women religious are bound to fail.

The AMOR women also seemed to recognize that women religious elsewhere can get into trouble for thinking for themselves and so they reached out to the U.S. women religious with whom they felt deep empathy. "There but for the grace of God (and a more visible place in the world church), the women seemed to say.

Okay, a single payer primer

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This from Physicians for a National Health Program:

A single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates.

Mulism feminists

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A quite interesting essay on Eureka Street (the Australian version of America magazine) by Ellena Savage, called Boobs, booze and Muslim feminists. The teaser reads:

She'd rather be wearing jeans, but is compelled to dress like a Christmas tree for the Spring Racing Carnival. Her desire to be desired for the depth of her cleavage is nominated by the designs of men in her society. No wonder some Muslim women feel the hijab subverts patriarchy.

The 'Green' Patriarch

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The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is visiting the United States. This Greek Orthodox prelate is often called the “Green” Patriarch. And his visit resurrects pleasant memories for me.

tLast year, I met him when I visited Turkey on an interfaith tour. Now, being a feminist, I am not usually impressed by patriarchs of any stripe. But I must confess, I was pleasantly surprised by Bartholomew.

The Bishop of Brooklyn Gets Political

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The fracas in Brooklyn over the recording by Bishop DiMarzio on behalf of a candidate is telling in many ways, but none more so than the way the Church’s culture tends to lag behind the mainstream culture. DiMarzio is old enough to remember a time when dealings between the Church and the State were conducted personally, and when the laity were not inclined to question their religious leaders, and religious leaders were not inclined to become publicly involved in political storms. Those days are gone.

We saw another leftover of the old days earlier this year when a Connecticut legislator questioned the way Catholic parishes were incorporated in that state. Those laws were put on the books in the 1950s and, without any particular historical research, I can guarantee nonetheless that what happened in the 1950s was the Governor of Connecticut called the Archbishop of Hartford and asked, “How do you want us to do this?”

All Souls Day

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Today is All Souls Day.

The latest teachings on Purgatory from Pope Benedict XVI:

From III:47: "Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation 'as through fire'."

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