National Catholic Reporter

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Peace & Justice

Curran: Abortion debate must consider 'freedom of the person'

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In the Nov. 26, 2010 issue of NCR, we published a talk -- "US Catholic Bishops and Abortion Legislation: A Critique from Within the Church" -- given by Fr. Charles E. Curran, Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Yesterday, Fr. John Yockey, a Wisconsin pastor who taught moral theology as an assistant professor at the Washington Theological Union from 1983-1992, responded to Curran’s remarks -- saying that current abortion law "condones an atrocity."

Below we have a response from Curran to Yockey's criticisms, in which Curran touches on his belief that the freedom of the individual person and the feasibility of anti-abortion legislation should have more consideration in the debate.

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I thank John Yockey for his response that combines courtesy and respect with his disagreement. Would that all our discussions within the Catholic Church could be carried on in the same spirit.

Abortion law 'condones an atrocity,' says theologian

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In the Nov. 26, 2010 issue of NCR, we published a talk -- "US Catholic Bishops and Abortion Legislation: A Critique from Within the Church" -- given by Fr. Charles E. Curran, Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

In his talk, Curran upheld official church teachings on abortion, but was critical of the way the U.S. bishops have handled the matter as a political issue. Following publication of the talk, Fr. John Yockey, a Wisconsin pastor who taught moral theology as an assistant professor at the Washington Theological Union from 1983-1992, asked to respond to Curran’s remarks.

Expert: If CIA agent in Pakistan not diplomat, not immune

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News that Raymond Davis, the American who sparked a diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Pakistan by shooting two men dead in the city of Lahore last month, was working for the CIA means U.S. claims that he is a diplomat with immunity have “no basis,” says one expert.

The revelation also raises questions about how Pakistanis will tolerate the continued American military presence in their country in the midst of unmanned drone attacks and with U.S. troops scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, say others.

Wisc. archbishop: Don't suspend workers' rights

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MILWAUKEE -- Quoting Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki issued a statement Feb. 16 that came down squarely in favor of workers' rights in the face of efforts by Wisconsin's new governor to restrict those rights.

"Hard times do not nullify the moral obligation each of us has to respect the legitimate rights of workers," Archbishop Listecki said.

"Every union, like every other economic actor, is called to work for the common good, to make sacrifices when required, and to adjust to new economic realities," he said.

"However, it is equally a mistake to marginalize or dismiss unions as impediments to economic growth."

Archbishop Listecki was responding to efforts by new Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, to push through measures restricting the rights of unions in a special session of the state legislature.

Green Bay Bishop reinstates CCHD collection

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay has reinstated the collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in his diocese and established a new diocesan commission that will be in charge of teaching about and implementing Catholic social teaching.

In a 2,100-word statement announcing the developments Feb. 16, Bishop Ricken said he was "confident that we have the necessary checks in place" to ensure that CCHD funding would not be used in ways that conflict with Catholic teaching.

He had suspended the CCHD collection in his diocese last year but said it would resume the weekend of April 2 as part of the "collection for the world's poor" in parishes of the Green Bay Diocese.

Bishop Ricken acknowledged in his statement that "for some time in this country there has been significant disagreement among people of good will" about the collection for CCHD, the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program, which funds self-help projects in low-income communities around the country.

Carr: Cutting social programs has moral costs

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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. bishops' point-man on poverty and justice issues reminded Catholic social ministry leaders that when they met last year, a blizzard enveloped the nation's capital.

There's no snow on the ground this year, John Carr said, but the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is meeting in the midst of another storm: elected politicians ready to turn their backs on the poor.

Carr, executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference, addressed the 2011 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, a four-day annual gathering of more than 300 social ministry workers from around the country.

Catholic college disallows union, federal officials question religious identity

A small Catholic college in Riverdale, N.Y., last month got some news that sent shivers across religious higher education: part-time faculty have a right to form a union on campus.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. The National Labor Relations Board also isn’t convinced that the Catholic school is actually Catholic.

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