National Catholic Reporter

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Bishops' staffer on doctrine rips theologians as 'curse'


Theologians can be a “curse and affliction upon the church,” according to the U.S. bishops’ top official on doctrine, if their work is not grounded in church teaching and an active faith life, and ends up promoting “doctrinal and moral error.”

Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine at the U.S. bishops’ conference, has warned of a “crisis” in Catholic theology, caused by theologians who “often appear to possess little reverence for the mysteries of the faith as traditionally understood and presently professed within the church.”

Sports films and faith


Sports films are the timeless cinematic metaphor for life. I think it is a fair question to ask which of them made you cry the most? Was it "Rudy"? "Field of Dreams"? "Brian's Song"? For me it's David Anspaugh's 1986 "Hoosiers."

Some new releases, whether based on fact or fiction, fuse sports and faith quite well and are entertaining and inspiring without falling into the "message" trap. They also avoid sentimentality, though are wrought with emotion and tension. "Senna" is one of those.

More than 3,100 musicians gather to 'sing a new song'

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- More than 3,100 Catholic pastoral musicians from around the United States, Canada and Mexico gathered at the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville to prepare for the implementation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Parishes around the United States will begin using the new text -- and some new music with it -- for the celebration of Mass Nov. 27, the first Sunday in Advent.

Priests' letter supports Bourgeois


A group of "priests in good standing within the Roman Catholic church" wrote to Maryknoll superiors last month to support the priesthood of Fr. Roy Bourgeois "and his right to speak from his conscience." The letter bore the signatures of 157 priests.

Bourgeois, 73, has been threatened with dismissal from Maryknoll, a New York-based missionary order, for his public support of women's ordination and participation in such events.

"The priests felt the need to stand in support of, not only Fr. Bourgeois, but their own right to speak from their conscience," the July 21 letter said.

The letter is addressed to Fr. Edward Dougherty, superior general of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

"While we understand the difficulty of your position we hope that seeing support of ordained priests in good standing will help you come to a fair and just conclusion," the letter said.

The letter does not specifically address the issue of women's ordination, only that the signees support the right to speak from conscience. The letter and the signatures have not been made public, but NCR obtained a copy of the letter with the names.

Leprosy village residents rejoice at nun's return


BANGALORE, India (CNS) -- The residents of Chickanayakanahalli village in suburban Bangalore were ecstatic when the ambulance from the Sumanahalli Society arrived. Their beloved Sister Jean was back.

Montfort Sister Jacqueline Jean McEwan stepped out and a beaming Karilingappa Sekharappa rushed forward on his crutches outmaneuvering two dozen other people with Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, and their family members who were eagerly waiting the nun's arrival July 27.

Sekharappa, 72, embraced McEwan with the stumps of his hands, his palms lost to the disease, decades ago.
Then a group of women, several without fingers, started embracing the nun one after the other with tear-filled eyes. Healthier younger women clapped and smiled.

"This is like my dead mother coming back alive. These are tears of joy," Sekharappa told Catholic News Service, wiping his eyes with a towel.

Card. Burke speaks about 'mystery of suffering' at KC gatherings


KANSAS CITY, MO — Cardinal Raymond Burke concelebrated Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Mo., July 24 after a Saturday conference, "Being Faithful, Even Unto Death: Catholic Wisdom on the Treatment of the Disabled and Dying."

His homily at the Sunday Mass reflected the core message of the conference: to embrace suffering and see its meaning through the love of Christ. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-Saint Joseph were co-celebrants.

NCR board appoints Fox to serve as publisher


The NCR board of directors announced July 13 it has appointed NCR editor Thomas C. Fox as the company’s new publisher. The move follows the May 26 death of NCR publisher and editor in chief Joe Feuerherd.

This is the third time the 67-year-old Fox -- who began writing for NCR in 1966 and became editor in 1980 -- will serve as NCR publisher, the second in a time of transition.

Fox will hold the position of publisher until a new, permanent publisher is chosen. With Fox’s appointment, the NCR board also announced it has begun a search for a new publisher and company CEO.

“We are grateful to Tom for his long commitment to NCR and his willingness to serve where he is needed,” said Annette Lomont, chair of the NCR board. “Tom is ‘Mr. Continuity,’ the face of NCR. He embodies everything NCR stands for -- professionalism, integrity, fairness and openness. He’s also a proven manager who has created a working environment that is collaborative and respectful.”

Spencer Tracy, Hollywood priest


NEW YORK -- Screen legend Spencer Tracy (1900-1967), who won one of his two Academy Awards for portraying a priest during Hollywood's golden age, played Catholic clergymen three other times, but was never comfortable with it, reveals a forthcoming book about the star.

In "Spencer Tracy: A Biography," to be published this fall by Alfred A. Knopf, James Curtis writes that MGM director W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke had to talk Tracy into taking the role of Father Tim Mullin, the pugilistic childhood friend of Clark Gable's character Blackie Norton, in the 1936 film "San Francisco." Before then, clerical roles in films had always been assigned to character players, not leading men.

"If he had any fear," Curtis writes, "it was the fear of artificiality, the fear that lifelong Catholics would look at Father Tim and see a movie star pretending to be a priest and not the soul of a real priest." As it turned out, Tracy's portrayal was so convincing, his fan mail began to include requests for spiritual advice, leading him to reflect to his secretary, "You can't live up to an idealistic role."

Founding president of Christendom College dies


FRONT ROYAL, Va. -- Warren H. Carroll, founding president of Christendom College in Front Royal and a leading Catholic historian and author, died July 17 in his sleep at his Manassas home, according to Timothy O'Donnell, Christendom's president.

Carroll, who was 79, had suffered several strokes and was in a weakened condition from a recent bout of pneumonia when he died, said O'Donnell. Cardiopulmonary failure was the official cause of death. O'Donnell said Carroll was given last rites a week before and he had received holy Communion the day before he died.

A funeral Mass was to be celebrated July 26 at All Saints Church in Manassas. Carroll was to be buried on the college campus in a new plot behind Regina Coeli, the main administrative building, overlooking the Shenandoah River.

Growing increasingly concerned that American Catholic colleges were abandoning Christianity during the early 1970s, Carroll envisioned establishing an institution of higher learning dedicated to teaching the truths of the Catholic faith.

"Amid chaos, he brought a beautiful sense of the faith," said O'Donnell.

Exclusive interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput


DENVER-- Love him or hate him, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Pope Benedict XVI's choice as the new chief shepherd of the embattled Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is impossible to ignore.

Few American bishops relish public debate more than the 66-year-old Chaput, whose background is in the Capuchins, and who's widely regarded as an intellectual leader of the "evangelical" movement in Catholicism. He's fiercely loyal to church teaching and tradition, and passionate about taking the Catholic message to the street.

By naming him to Philadelphia, the pontiff -- who is, of course, no stranger to controversy himself -- effectively has handed the fiery Chaput a bigger cultural megaphone.



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August 15-28, 2014


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