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Oil spill hymn


The Gulf oil spill probably doesn't make you feel like singing, but a hymn written for the occasion calls for contrition and stewardship.

Written by Presbyterian minister Carolyn Winfrey Gillette in response to the ongoing oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, "O God, the Great, Wide Seas Are Yours" laments:

Forgive us when we disobey
And fail to care for what you’ve made.
Consuming more than what we should,
We harm the waters you call good.

Its final verse implores:

God, may we hear your call anew
To care for all these gifts from you.
May we protect the sea and shore
By using less, conserving more...

Male teachers in Catholic schools


A great discussion over on America's blog: Do Catholic Elementary Schools Need More Male Teachers?

Approximately 11 percent of teachers at Catholic elementary schools are male (including priests and brothers). Some say that is far too low.

The elementary school my kids attend has two male teachers on a staff of about 24 serving around 400 students. I'd say that is too low.

My oldest son had a bit of a shock when he moved to high school last year and had just two women among the eight teachers he saw every day.

Top-10 stories for June


Top 10 most visited pages on in June:

  1. NCR Today, our group blog

  2. Apostolic Visitation: Why Bother? Why be Bothered?, a column by Sr. Joan Chittister

  3. Pope sees the Devil behind timing of sex abuse crisis, reporting by John L. Allen Jr.
  4. t
  5. Mandatory celibacy at the heart of what's wrong, commentary by James Carroll

  6. Ethicists fault bishop’s action in Phoenix abortion case, reporting by Tom Roberts

Connecticut clergy grossly negligent


Under Connecticut's state law known as the Religious Corporation Act, which codifies the church's Code of Canon law, the ordinary (in this case Archbishop Henry Mansell), the vicar general (in this case just-retired Bishop Peter Rosazza), and the pastor (in this case Fr. Kevin Gray), along with two lay trustees, had the fiduciary duty to the Sacred Heart Parish Corporation for the financial and overall well-being of Sacred Heart Parish Corporation in Waterbury, Conn. According to this extraordinary report by the Hartford Courant, Fr. Gray used over $1 million for personal use for some seven years.

Based on these published facts, a first-year law student would conclude that Archbishop Mansell and Bishop Rosazza were grossly negligent in fulfilling their fiduciary duty to the parish corporation under state law.

For the Vatican, summer begins today



tFamously, the Vatican has its own sense of time, and today is a good reminder of the point. In the rest of the Northern Hemisphere summer officially began this year on June 21, but in the Vatican summer really begins today, after the conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, when the pontiff heads for Castel Gandolfo.

tThe Prefecture of the Papal Household has announced that while Benedict is at his summer residence, all private and special audiences will be suspended, and for the next three weeks (July 14, 21 and 28), there won’t be any general audiences either.

In effect, that means Benedict won't be doing much official business for the rest of the month. Among other things, that could afford him time to put the final touches on the second volume of his book Jesus of Nazareth. The pope told American Rabbi Jacob Neusner, whose writings Benedict quoted extensively in the first volume, that the manuscript was essentially complete in a meeting in a January. The writing had been slowed down last summer when Benedict broke his wrist at the start of his summer vacation.

I agree with Michael Steele


Michael Steele, the head of the Republican National Committee, has come under major criticism for his comments concerning the war in Afghanistan and, in particular, his assertion that the Obama administration should have learned from history that no foreign intervention or occupation has ever succeeded in that war-torn country.

Some Republicans are calling for Steele's resignation and some Democrats are making political-hay over Steele's remarks.

However, the fact of the matter is that Steele is right on this point: Previous foreign interventions whether the British or Soviet all came to unsuccessful conclusions. The U.S. involvement will not succeed either and all evidence points to that. While President Obama will pay the political price for this, we should not have been surprised at his escalation of the war, since during the campaign he was very clear that his priority would be Afghanistan and not Iraq. Still, it is a disappointment to others and me who voted for him as a peace and diplomacy candidate to see him beginning to become mired in this endless war.

I suppose this was almost inevitable


I suppose this was almost inevitable: Michael Hastings Lands Book Deal Following Rolling Stone McChrystal Bombshell (HT to NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard for this.) The publisher is Little, Brown and Company. Rumor has it the book went for seven figures.

A media release on the book deal says, "The book will offer an unfiltered look at the war, and the soldiers, diplomats and politicians who are waging it."

Elise Boulding, leading peace activist, passes


Elise Boulding died June 24. She "was to peace studies what Rachel Carson was to conservation and Margaret Mead to anthropology," Colman McCarthy, NCR columnist, peace activist has written. "She gave academic legitimacy to the study of pacifism as both a moral force and a practical alternative to violence -- all the way from military violence to domestic violence."


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