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Revising the forecast on GMOs


tHarold Macmillan, British Prime Minister in the late 1950s and early 60s, is famously credited with perhaps the best reply ever when asked by a reporter what might throw a government into tilt: “Events, my dear boy, events.”

tHis point that was that the best-laid plans often founder on the shoals of unforeseen events – an insight that applies to the fine art of futurology every bit as much as politics. A case in point comes this week from the Philippines, where the bioethics office of the Filipino bishops’ conference has announced that it will not oppose the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to solve a persistent rice shortage in Asia.

tIn The Future Church, I take up the subject of GMOs. I note that while the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Sciences has been strongly GMO-friendly, Catholic leaders in the global south have been more critical:

Nov. 19, Mechtild of Magdeburg


Today is the feast of Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1279), a Beguine and a mystic who ended her days at the monastery at Helfta with St. Gertrude the Great.

Wouldst thou know my meaning?
Lie down in the Fire
See and taste the Flowing
Godhead through thy being;
Feel the Holy Spirit
Moving and compelling
Thee within the Flowing
Fire and Light of God.


This edition of Mechtild's book, The Flowing Light of Godhead, was published by Paulist Press in 1997.

This icon of Mechtild by Fr. William McNichols, was inspired by Carol L. Flinders' book,>Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics.

Cardinal George's Committees on Catholic Identity


I know that some felt nothing but shock and dismay at Cardinal George’s announcement that “we have recently begun discussions on how we might strengthen our [the bishops’] relationship to Catholic universities, to media claiming to be a voice in the Church, and to organizations that direct various works under Catholic auspices.”

Mass of reconciliation at Notre Dame


While reporting for NCR at the Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, Bishop John Michael Botean mentioned to me that Frs. Ted Hesburgh and Emmanuel Charles McCarthy will concelebrate a Mass of reconciliation at the University of Notre Dame today. The Mass marks the 40th anniversary of the university's suspension of 10 students for their protest of CIA and Dow Chemical recruitment activities on campus.

Botean reminded me that the students' suspension led McCarthy (a Melkite priest, strong pacifist and father of the girl whose cure was later the miracle leading to sainthood for Sister Benedicta of the Cross -- Edith Stein) to resign from the ND faculty.

The students who were suspended had lain down in front of an administration building to prevent others from interviewing with a CIA recruiter.

Catholic focus on climate change


Climate change and the protection of creation will be the focus of a major campaign coordinated through the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.

The Coalition plans to introduce an ambitious effort to reach all the country's 19,000 parishes through what is being called the Catholic Climate Covenant: The St. Francis Pledge to Protect Creation and the Poor. The covenant is an extension of efforts to more fully implement the U.S. bishops' statement on climate change.

Executive director of the Coalition, Daniel Misleh, disclosed campaign plans Oct. 25 in an address to the 39th Annual Peace and Justice Awards Dinner of the Commission on Catholic Community Action of the Cleveland diocese.

The covenant, according to the coalition's online fall update, will be the campaign's cornerstone. It will "offer a distinctively Catholic perspective on global climate change." It will also invite people to "deeper prayer, more learning and sincere action in this time of environmental uncertainty and challenge."

Cappa Magna finding way into church pomp


The cappa magna, according to the Random House dictionary is "ceremonial cloak having a long train and a silk or fur-lined hood, worn by cardinals, bishops, and certain other dignitaries." Ordinarily scarlet for cardinals and purple for bishops, the train has varied in length and, it is reported, was originally used as a covering for the back end of a horse.


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In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015


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