NCR Today

Maryknoll publicly rejects nuclear energy


The leadership of Maryknoll’s three orders -- the sisters, fathers and brothers, and lay missioners -- announced together today that after reflecting with “great care,” they have found that the threats inherent in nuclear energy “far outweigh the benefits.”

The announcement came in a press release this morning from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, a joint project of the three orders.

Writing that they felt the need to address the use of nuclear energy as governments around world consider building nuclear energy plants as a way to address global climate change, a statement associated with the release says that “Based on the Gospel, the tradition of Catholic social thought, and new insights into the inextricable dependence of humans on the long-term sustainability of the entire community of life, we believe that these threats far outweigh the benefits of using nuclear energy to mitigate global warming.”

As part of the statement, Maryknoll also mentions that their orders’ experience with the issue is “deep and important.”

Hackers take down Vatican's website


According to the Huffington Post:

A group of Italian hackers who claim to be members of the loose-knit international gang of cyber criminals known as "Anonymous" took down the Vatican's website for a number of hours Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A statement posted on a website claiming to be the official homepage of the Italian branch of Anonymous said the takedown was orchestrated in protest of a number of alleged abuses by the Catholic Church including past execution of heretics, the selling of indulgences, and the recent child abuse scandals involving priests.

"Today, Anonymous has decided to put your site under siege in response to your doctrine, liturgy and the absurd and anachronistic rules that your profit-making organisation spreads around the world," the hackers wrote in the statement, according to Reuters. "This attack is not against the Christian religion or the faithful around the world but against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church."

Civils rights march includes immigration


The Associated Press reports on something new this year at the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — It won’t just be about history when crowds cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge this weekend and recreate the famous civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery — it will be about targeting Alabama’s toughest-in-the-nation immigration laws and its new voter ID requirements.

Organizers expect thousands to participate in the crossing of the Selma bridge for the 47th anniversary of the 1965 incident when peaceful demonstrators were attacked by police in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” The violence helped spark passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Read the full story here.

Broken windows and rainbows: remembering James Q. Wilson


The death of a sociologist this past week reminded me of a drive I'd take as a boy with my father, in truck full of Italian bread approaching Yankee Stadium and the South Bronx.

From the age of about 9, I'd wake up every Saturday morning at 4 a.m., get dressed in the dark and hop in my father's bread truck with him. We'd load up at the bakery and make our rounds, mostly in our Bronx neighborhood. But one store took us into Washington Heights, across the East River in Manhattan. We'd drive along the Major Deegan Expressway until we could see Yankee Stadium looming ahead to our left -- then we'd make a right off the highway and through a tangle of South Bronx streets toward the river and Manhattan.

Those few blocks were lined with burnt-out and abandoned buildings -- empty tenements, torched warehouses -- and people who milled about aimlessly on the streets even at that early hour, as if waiting for a decent roof to tuck in over their heads.

For years, social scientists advocated that government pour money into these areas, assuming that income was the only problem, that fear and despair had a price and that price could fix everything that came with poverty.

Morning Briefing


Philippines impeachment: hell, fury and a mystery 'coup d'etat'


MANILA, Philippines -- Filipinos should resist believing stories about a brewing coup against President Benigno Aquino III, said Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

Allegations of military unrest are obscure, Palma said Tuesday at the CBCP's Permanent Council Meeting, and rumors just complicate the situation and sow fear among people.

Rumors of the coup started circulating Monday, when ex-Navy officer Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who led a 2003 mutiny against then-president Gloria Arroyo, said retired Armed Forces officers have been recruiting military personnel since last year for a plot to overthrow Aquino to stop his anti-corruption drive. Ex-generals have challenged Trillanes to name supposed coup plotters.

A curious exit poll you might have missed last week


Today is Super Tuesday, so we'll soon have a new dose of data from exit polls and surveys about the voting patterns of Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, mainline Protestants and other faith groups.

But one interesting trend emerged last week without much notice. In both the Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries, Mitt Romney -- the Mormon -- beat Rick Santorum -- the Catholic -- among Republican Catholic voters.

According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Romney won 44 percent of Catholics in Michigan, compared to 37 percent for Santorum. In Arizona, the gap was even wider: Romney won 44 percent to Santorum's 34 percent among Catholic Republicans.

In both states, Santorum won the white evangelical vote. The white evangelical margin was wide in Michigan (35-51 for Santorum), but very narrow in Arizona (35-37 for Santorum).

It's interesting to speculate why this is the case. Santorum, of course, has been campaigning heavily for the evangelical vote, and many evangelicals have a suspicion of Romney's Mormonism.

Invitation to Baltimore NCR readers


NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano will be in Baltimore March 8 to present a program titled "Women Deacons: Past, Present and Future."

The program runs 7:30-9 p.m. at Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women 909 Poplar Hill Rd. Baltimore, Maryland 21210.

The event announcement says there is a charge of $18.75 for the program, but tuition assistance and student rates are available on request.

Colorado town focus of radio show on tax cuts


I heard a horrifying account on the radio Saturday. It's a show called This American Life and it hosts story-tellers. The theme was tax cuts, and the story was about Colorado Springs' rejection of the common good.

The question anchor Ira Glass asked was: Is this the kind of country we want, one where government gets smaller? Or should we all pay higher taxes and keep government bigger?

The Colorado Springs answer was resoundingly for smaller government. When sales tax income declined two years ago, the city turned off street lights. Wealthier neighborhoods paid to turn them back on while poorer neighborhoods remained dark until the economy improved a little. The city would not vote for a tax increase.

Most fascinating, 15 years ago, This American Life did a story on prayer in Colorado Springs, where Pastor Ted Haggard had a project to pray in front of the home of every person in the city.

American Life League seeks money through graphic images


In her most recent fundraising letter, Judie Brown, president of the pro-life group American Life League, included graphic images of what she says are victims of abortion. She then goes on to describe the work of Planned Parenthood as killing babies, promoting immorality, forcing others to violate their consciences and making Americans pay for it. Then she asks for money and invokes God.

In her words, "Planned Parenthood is selfish, vile, murderous, scandalous -- and so far have been diabolically effective in killing our babies and poisoning the minds of our youth.

"We must marginalize them by continuing to educate the public, politicians, prelates and media mavens about their racist and eugenic origin, and we must embarrass anyone who would support them in 2012."

The above is par for the course for Judie.

What caught my eye is this paragraph:

"Too many politicians -- including Catholic politicians -- have been complicit. Too many judges -- including Catholic judges -- have been complicit. Too many bishops, priests, pastors, nuns, reporters and activists have been silent, or apologists, or cheerleaders for Planned Parenthood's depravity."


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July 14-27, 2017