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The Easter Bunny with Real Estate


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has issued a report that argues U.S. foreign policy suffers from an ill-informed “uncompromising Western secularism” and argues that religious understanding and training of foreign policy personnel should become mandatory and that religion should become “an integral part of our foreign policy.”

It is about time. The report, the work of a task force headed by R. Scott Appleby of Notre Dame and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, pin points a phenomenon that I am sure most readers have encountered. I call this the “Easter bunny with real estate” syndrome. You meet someone who is ostensibly smart and well educated but they can’t get their head around the idea that religious people have an intellectually justifiable worldview, that religion is not merely a private peccadillo but an on-going intellectual and spiritual tradition that is rich in ways the dominant secular worldview is not. They think of religion as the Easter bunny with real estate.

How to mark Benedict's fifth anniversary


Latin Mass at the National Shrine in April

First such Mass at the shrine in nearly 45 years

If you haven't yet settled on a way to mark the fifth anniversary of the pontificate Benedict XVI, and if you're in the Washington, D.C., area, you may want to check this out.

The Paulus Institute, whose raison d'être is "for the propagation of sacred liturgy," announced today "the fifth anniversary of inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI will be commemorated in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C. by a Pontifical Solemn High Mass in the 'Extraordinary form' -- commonly known as the 'Traditional Latin Mass' or the 'Tridentine Mass.' "

The Mass will be celebrated by Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president emeritus of the Vatican's Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

The date: Saturday, April 24, at 1 p.m.

America's Wealthiest Religions


It's no secret that the distribution of wealth is inequitable in the United States across racial, regional, and socio-economic groups. But there is a distinct variance among and within America's faiths as well.

This transparency takes a look at the income levels of America's major religious groups, as compared to the average U.S. income distribution.

Read more: Transparency: America's Wealthiest Religions

Feb. 24, St. Ethelbert, King of Kent


Today is the feast of St. Ethelbert, King of Kent, a descendant of Hengist, who led the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes into England.

Ethelbert was born in 560. He was a worshipper of Odin, but in 588, when he married Bertha, a daughter of King Charibert of Paris, as part of the nuptial agreement, he agreed to permit her to continue practicing her Christian faith. Bertha brought a chaplain to England with her, and King Ethelbert gave him an old church at Canterbury.

The pope and climate change deniers


John Gehring, the communications director for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good who sometimes write think pieces for us, was a "guest voice" on the Washington Post's On Faith blog over the weekend.

His piece begins:

The Pope vs. climate change deniers

The recent blizzard of bunk coming from climate change deniers giddy over the recent Snowmageddon that paralyzed the nation's capital is a classic case of putting ideology and politics before science. While the overwhelming body of evidence from experts points to human causes exacerbating climate change - this means extreme weather and more intense storms not only rising temperatures - some politicians can barely contain their joy at the recent deep freeze.

More snippets from a conversation with Mother Millea


Last week I published the bulk of a Feb. 16 interview with Mother Mary Clare Millea of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the sister in charge of a Vatican-sponsored apostolic visitation of women religious in America. For space reasons, a few bits of that interview were left on the cutting-room floor. Given the wide interest in the subject, however, I’ll pass along here a few sections which didn’t survive the editing process, but which nevertheless contribute to the record.

These questions and answers all come from the same Feb. 16 interview with Millea at the U.S. headquarters of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hamden, Connecticut.

* * *
I was talking yesterday with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and he made the argument that it’s a mistake for American Catholics to compare today’s numbers on anything, including religious life, with the peak period of the 1950s, because historically that peak was an aberration. Do you agree?

U.S. Bishops to go to Haiti


NCR has learned that the USCCB Sub-Committee on the Church in Latin America is establishing a special advisory committee to assess the on-going relief work in Haiti. As part of the effort, a delegation of bishops will be traveling to the island next week. The USCCB will be announcing the new committee and the visit soon.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, who chairs the subcommittee, will also head the advisory panel. It will also include Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, the Archbishop of Boston, who first served as a bishop in the Caribbean in the 1980s and has extensive contacts there. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando and Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn Guy Sansaricq, the only Haitian-America in the USSCB will also serve on the advisory committee. Some members of the group will head to the island next Monday to assess the work being done and what additional efforts can be achieved.


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In This Issue

April 22-May 5, 2016


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