National Catholic Reporter

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A reflection on motherhood: one life well-lived


Every four years the presidential campaigns roll out their version of motherhood and apple pie. This year is no different. While the recent public discussion on motherhood was ramping up, the life of one mother, Anne-Marie Gallagher, was coming to an end. After suffering a serious stroke earlier this year, Anne-Marie went home to God peacefully surrounded by her family in upstate New York on April 14.

Anne-Marie, a distant relative of mine, lived a quiet, but extraordinary life, a life that offers much to ponder.

School leader: Mexican American Catholic College's charism in peace and justice


NCR met recently with Arturo Chávez, president and CEO of the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) at the college's new campus in San Antonio. What follows is a look at the institution's mission and its role in preparing leaders for the U.S. church and for the wider Catholic world on the occasion of MACC's 40th anniversary.

NCR: Congratulations on this milestone. Forgive me, but you don't look old enough to have been here 40 years.

Chávez: Thank you. I've been here 12 years. I began on the faculty and became president in 2007. But I first came to MACC as a teenager, attending a weekend mini-pastoral conference. Bishop [Ricardo] Ramirez [of Las Cruces, N.M.] asked each of us to introduce ourselves. I said: "I'm Arthur Chávez." Right away and in front of everyone, he asked me: "Who were you before you called yourself 'Arthur?'" His question made me so mad, but it was the beginning of my reclaiming and rediscovery of the culture I had left behind.

Tell us a bit about your ethnic and cultural background.

CARA study: Priests not content with bishops on sex abuse front


To varying degrees, U.S. priests continue to harbor discontent with church leaders and at times feel like they are walking on "eggshells" as a result of the clergy sex abuse crisis, reports a recently released study.

Carried out by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, "Same Call, Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood since Vatican II" also says the scandal:

  • Caught many priests off guard, that they had been "unaware of the full scope of the problem";

  • Was "almost never" linked by study participants to homosexuality or clerical celibacy as underlying causes;

  • Should include the question: "Is there a dark side to priestly fraternity?"

Based at Georgetown University, the CARA researchers used a sample of 2,400 diocesan and 800 religious priests. It employed surveys, focus groups and individual interviews.

Two chapters -- a little more than a fourth of the book-form study -- focus on the sex abuse issue. Both chapters are largely based on interviews and anecdotes.

'For Greater Glory' moving, but glosses over aspects of war


In 1917 the Mexican Constitutional Congress adopted a new constitution. It confirmed the separation of church and state first decreed in the 1857 constitution, returned subsoil rights to the government from ownership and control by foreign corporations, established the basis for secular education, and provided for land reforms. Five articles restricted the power and liberty of the Catholic church. These forbade public worship outside of churches, restricted the church’s right to own property, closed monasteries, deprived clergy of civil rights, forbade the wearing of clerical or religious garb, and banned clergy from criticizing the government or commenting on public affairs in the press.

University archivist works to make Catholic history just a click away


The word archives conjures an image of a dark room with file cabinets, covered in dust, filled with papers that are delicate, containing fading, often illegible writing, all of it overseen by an ancient cleric who is greatly concerned to make sure that no one enters his precinct with a ballpoint pen.

Maria Mazzenga, archivist for The Catholic University of America in Washington, is out to shatter that image. I first met Mazzenga at the frequent brown-bag lunches hosted by the university’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, where we are both fellows. She can scarcely contain her enthusiasm about the university’s collections, which include the papers of famous churchmen like Msgr. John A. Ryan, and also the papers of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Merton scholar Shannon dies at age 94


His whole life, Msgr. William Shannon fed his thirst for knowledge by teaching and learning.

Shannon, a priest of the diocese of Rochester, N.Y., a religious studies professor and a well-known Thomas Merton scholar, died April 29 at the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester motherhouse. He was 94.

"Bill saw his life as a series of conversions," said Christine Bochen, a professor at Nazareth College in Pittsford, N.Y., and a colleague of Shannon's when he taught there. His last book, How to Become a Christian Even If You Already Are One, explored those conversions.

Bochen described his "profound gift of presence," which didn't include just his memorable laugh. It was his ability to "truly listen to people, to empathize with where they were, to be interested in their questions and their concerns," she said.

William H. Shannon was born Dec. 6, 1917. He was ordained on June 5, 1943, and was named a monsignor in 1966. He was assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Cathedral from 1943-45. In 1946, he was appointed professor of religion at Nazareth College and was named a full professor in 1958.

Ann Romney's choice to stay home is one many lack



If Mark Twain was right, that work is what you do when you would rather be doing something else, then Hilary Rosen's jibe that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life" was credible. Rosen, a CNN talker and Beltway operative who toils in Washington in the election strategizing industry, intended her comment as a putdown of the wife of Mitt Romney.

Heat from the resulting firestorm caused Rosen to back off. She apologized to Ann Romney. But why? She was right, doubly so.

Campus ministers help graduates transition into the 'real world'


Graduating college students shouldn't feel like they're being jettisoned into the "real world," as if the life they have been living is some kind of "unreal world," say campus ministers counseling students during this perennial time of transition.

"Don't discount the past years as unreal," Jesuit Fr. Jack Treacy tells graduating students at Santa Clara University in California, where he is director of campus ministry.


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