NCR Today

Iraqi Christians mark anniversary of massacre

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According to AFP, an international news agency:

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians filled Our Lady of Salvation church in Baghdad amid tight security on Monday to mark the first anniversary of a massacre of worshippers and priests by militants.

The church's interior is still pock-marked by bullet holes, even a year after the attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, that killed 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security forces members.
Robes of the two priests who were killed were hung inside the church.

And large pictures of those killed in the attack hung outside the church yard, along with posters with messages including "We condemn the killing of Iraqi Christians" and "Where is the international voice?"

Security was very tight at the church, with rifle-armed police on rooftops in the area and security forces searching people and their bags as they entered.

The attack, and violence in Iraq in general, has deeply affected worshippers at the church.

On this day: All Saints

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On this day we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints.

Do you believe in saintly intercession? Why not go directly to God instead of asking a saint to intercede? Which saints do you pray/talk to? How do they respond? If a saint grants your petition, how do you repay the saint? Who is your Confirmation patron? Why did you choose that saint? Did you name your children for saints? Are there saints you would like to see removed from the calendar? Are there venerables and blesseds you would like to see canonized? Is there a saint who should be better known?

Morning Briefing

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Pennsylvania diocese loses workers compensation appeal

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In a slip-and-fall case involving a 72-year-old diocesan priest, Fr. James Mulligan, the Allentown, Pa., diocese, which self-insures for workers' compensation, claimed it was not responsible for 100 percent of the bills charged by the Lehigh Valley Health Network for acute care provided to Fr. James Mulligan for immediately life-threatening or urgent injuries at the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

The total cost of in-patient care was $406,338.79. The diocese paid only $142,196, short-changing Lehigh Valley Health Network more than $260,000.

The workers' compensation hearing officer ruled that the diocese owed the full amount. The diocese appealed the ruling and lost.

Read the whole opinion here.

A splintering church?

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For those who know the Catholic community, there is not much startling or new in the new survey of American Catholics, led by Bill D'Antonio, Mary Gautier and Michele Dillon. It is solid research that confirms the trends we have long known are in motion.

But every time I look at the data, I wonder if the bishops pay much attention to these surveys. As reported in the past, Catholics are paying less and less attention to the teachings enunciated by the hierarchy -- especially with respect to the "bedroom issues" (contraception, abortion, divorce/remarriage, same-sex marriage) -- and are relying on their own consciences for moral decision-making.

On intra-church issues, they are strongly in favor of optional celibacy for priests and the ordination of women as priests or deacons. And when it comes to weekly church attendance, Catholics are looking more and more like mainstream Protestants, with declining numbers on Sunday mornings.

An update on the cause of Father Stanley Rother

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In August 2010, I wrote a story about Oklahoma archdiocesan priest Stanley Rother, who was murdered in Guatemala in 1981.

The Associated Press has done a story updating the status of Father Rother's cause for canonization:

The path to sainthood in the Catholic Church is long, but supporters of a murdered Oklahoma priest hope he will one day be recognized as a saint.

Father Stanley Rother was 46 when he was killed in July 1981 while serving in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. He had been ministering to the Catholic community there for 13 years, including during the tumultuous years of political strife in the 1970s and into 1981.

Rother knew the dangers. Other priests had been killed. But he refused to abandon his flock, writing in a 1980 letter, "The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger."

On this day: Halloween

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On this day we light jack o'lanterns to ward off demons.

Growing up Catholic made me immune to scary movies. Constantly hearing about martyrs being roasted and racked and drawn and quartered made horror movies seem stupid and unimaginative. The only movie that scared me when I was a child was Disney's version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

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December 2-15, 2016

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