National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

The American UnPrincipled Project

 | 

We are disposed, in this culture, to defer to expertise, to respect the seriousness of academic credentials, and to accord academics a place of honor and prominence in our political and social discourse. But, it is difficult to do so when academics engage in silliness.

Professor Robert George of Princeton University has begun something he calls the American Principles Project. The website announces its commitment in patriotic platitudes: “The United States of America does not need new principles. It needs renewed fidelity to the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution….If these timeless principles are to be restored and our national commitment to them renewed, then a new voice is needed in American politics, a voice that is unafraid to stand up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong.” Lucky for the future of freedom and democracy that Professor George’s voice is so handy, so we can restore America’s principles, although I confess I was unaware they had been stolen.

Horrors! Catholic children exposed to gender equality!

 | 

Not long ago, the Cincinnati archdiocese banned Sr. Louise Akers from teaching because she supports the ordination of women.

That was bad enough. Then, Dr. Carol Egner, a laywoman and a gynecologist who was incensed by this injustice, wrote a letter supporting Akers to the Cincinnati Inquirer. Her pastor read the letter, and had the gall to demand that she write another letter retracting her position. When she rightly refused, he banished her from her volunteer teaching position with a 6th grade religion class at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

What is it that these men fear? Exposing children to the gospel ideal of gender equality? Open discussion of an issue of great importance in our church? The thought of actually sharing ministry equally with women?

Did you know Sept. 21 is International Day of Peace?

 | 

"Peace is every step," writes Thich Nhat Hanh. So the question: What step to take?

The United Nations' International Day of Peace is supposed to be a global holiday, a chance to highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace. Established by a U.N. resolution in 1982, "Peace Day" has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

On Sept. 21, people all over the world will stop what they are doing at high noon and pray for peace for one minute in acknowledgement of the United Nations International Day of Peace. The UN's goal is get 1 million people to sign the pledge to pray for peace.

Support our sisters

 | 

NCR online Young Voices columnist Kate Childs Graham has launched a new Web site, www.ThankYouSister.com, where she is collecting letters in support of women religious.

Visit the Web site for complete details, but basically Kate is looking for letters that "share personal stories about how women religious have impacted your 'quality of life,' express messages of gratitude and/or convey general messages of support."

Bishops oppose 'hard-hearted' line on immigrants in health care debate

 | 

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.

tSix Hispanic bishops visited Congress today to press an agenda featuring health care, immigration reform, education, housing, and anti-poverty efforts. Most immediately, the bishops argued that any health care reform package should offer coverage for immigrants, including the nation’s estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants.

t“Any reasonable reform has to include the immigrant community, including some kind of safety net for undocumented immigrants,” said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif.

“If we leave out that segment of society, it will not only affect them but it will prejudice the health of American society in general,” Soto said, insisting that it would be “foolish and hard-hearted” to exclude immigrants from the health care system.

Soto said the bishops have recently picked up “conversations” about moves in Congress to deny undocumented immigrants the ability to pay out-of-pocket for their own health care, a possibility Soto described as “more a matter of a runaway anti-immigrant rhetoric rather than common sense approach to health care.”

Two new collections of Fr. Thomas Berry's important writings

 | 

Two collections of the writings of Fr. Thomas Berry have been published recently, just a few months after his death in June.

One is The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality and Religion in the Twenty-First Century, published by Columbia University Press. The other is The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth, published by Orbis Books. The former is edited by Berry's friend and student Mary Evelyn Tucker; the latter edited by Tucker and her husband John Grim.

Both contain important essays Berry wrote during his long career as a scholar, cultural historian and geologian. Berry had prophetic insight about our engagement with the Earth and was one of the first to link the ecological crisis to our religious views and assumptions.

More pain in Detroit as archdiocese cuts back personnel, services

 | 

The Archdiocese of Detroit earlier this month announced a major financial restructuring of its Central Services. In response to a critical cash-flow situation, the Archdiocese of Detroit has announced a major financial restructuring of its central operations that it involves its programs, properties and positions. In the words of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, "The financial realities of our current circumstances are sobering; the resulting changes for the administrative structure of the archdiocese are significant."

Separating the sacred and the secular

 | 

In light of several discussions going on at NCRonline.org -- such as here, here, and here -- the comments today of Pope Benedict XVI to a group of bishops from northeast Brazil who had just completed their "ad limina" visit, seemed especially relevant.

He tells the bishops not to see the shortage of priests as "a normal state of affairs," and warns against "the 'clericalisation' of the laity."

"The lay faithful" must be active "in real life," he says, "while priests must distance themselves from politics."

It seems to me that this is call to separate the sacred and the secular. Is that possible? Is it desirable?

Here's the report from the Vatican Information Service:

Pages

Subscribe to NCR Today

Feature_ad_Family-synod3.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 26-October 9, 2014

09-26-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.