Tom Roberts is NCR executive editor. Tom was NCR editor from 2000-2008. He is the author of The Emerging Catholic Church: A Community's Search for Itself (2011) and Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith (2015), both published by Orbis Books.

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Use of wide-open location data, closed-door meetings hurt Catholics

NCR Connections: We are troubled by organizations that target voters by collecting mobile phone location data when they go to Sunday Mass and also by conferences like a recent one at Boston College that includes academics and bishops but takes place behind closed doors.

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Vulnerability as strength: Keenan's key to dismantling clericalism

NCR Connections: Jesuit Fr. James Keenan really wants to turn the whole deal on its head. "Hierarchicalism," he writes, "and its lack of accountability and ability to act with impunity will be harder to dismantle than clericalism and in fact will guarantee the survival of clericalism, for the former is the father and promoter of the second." He proposes an alternative "culture of vulnerability as a path to a "servant priesthood" and a "servant episcopacy."

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NCR wishes you a light-filled Christmas

NCR Connections: "Light is not so much what you directly see as that by which you see everything else." With gratitude to Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr for that beautiful line from his latest book, it seems a fitting frame for the season and for the era.

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Thomas Doyle traces the disintegration of clerical/hierarchical culture

NCR Connections: The clergy sexual abuse crisis "is evidence of a profound contradiction that reaches to the foundational core of the institutional church," the former Dominican told a Gonzaga University audience.

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