For his first crop of new cardinals, Pope Francis seems to be using red hats to teach, offering a lesson in the realities of life in a global church.
I think for the moment of Pope Francis' call to all of us to extend our selves in new ways to assist those on the peripheries of our society. Those out of jobs, in an economy lacking jobs, especially those capable of supporting families with real wages, come to mind. More than a million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits, as meager as these are, because the Republican Party refuses to extend these benefits. They say these "handouts" have gone on too long.
NCR Today: Pope Francis chose 19 prelates for the honor of cardinal, most of whom hail from the global south. North American only got one.
Since publication of my article "Who are going to be the new cardinals?", I have received numerous emails complaining that their archbishop was not listed among the 23 most likely to be cardinals. Since comments have been temporarily suspended, I will give voice to these readers here.
You meet John Dear and you never forget it. He doesn't grab you by the collar and preach nonviolence, he does not berate or insist -- he just is. Calm, grounded, funny, intelligent, he is one of the best walking advertisements for the Catholic church living today.
I've been in a lot of public demonstrations in my life, but my very first was in support of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty. It was a large rally in downtown Pittsburgh, where I was teaching at the time.
And I actually remember the speech President Johnson gave announcing the War on Poverty in 1964. I cheered his words, and Congress at the time applauded loudly. But I have to wonder how our Congress today would react to those same words. A few cheers, perhaps, but many would be stone-cold silent.
NCR Today: Crdl. George on defensive; Vatican won't extradite Polish archbishop; time for church to woman up; desegregating Ga. Catholic schools.
I was watching "The Sound of Music" (the original movie version) on TV just before Christmas, and there was Julie Andrews, declaring her love for Captain Von Trapp. In the midst of her admission, she sings, "Nothing comes from nothing; nothing ever could." Those words hit me with a powerful force. She was proclaiming in lyrical form the foundation of the Thomistic argument for the existence of God. I thought, Yes, she is right. This is what I think, too. Good for you, Julie.
NCR Today: Toronto women like the pope and there's an upsurge in new churches in Canada; Join an event for Saturday, Human Trafficking Awareness Day; contraception and the Little Sisters of the Poor
The Little Sisters of the Poor have been a fixture in Baltimore for many years. They are a behind-the-scenes order ministering lovingly to the elderly in the community, including many elderly priests. I'm pretty sure that none of their members or those they minister to has any direct issues related to contraception. Yet they have wound up in the spotlight of the battle with the Obama administration over the mandate to offer contraceptive services as part of the insurance packages offered by the Affordable Care Act.