NCR Today

Vote: What was your top religion story for 2011?

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As 2011 draws to a close, year-end lists run rampant across the Internet. There are lists for the best movies, the best songs, the best novels, the biggest news stories, the most-watched YouTube videos -- the list goes on and on.

Well, we here at NCR wanted in on the action, too. The editorial staff has chosen its person of the year, who will be announced in the Jan. 6-19 print edition, but we wanted your input for the top news story.

Cartoonist draws ire of New Jersey Irish

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Thomas Nast, whose antislavery political cartoons propelled him to notoriety in the 19th century, has ignited another uproar: whether his anti-Irish and -Catholic drawings should disqualify him from the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Irish and Catholic groups are waging a campaign against including the father of the American political cartoon in that group of notable New Jerseyans, arguing that he routinely depicted them in an unfavorable light.

"He portrayed the Irish as drunken apes, and the image still remains today. We have a lot to offer beyond that," said Sean Pender, president of the New Jersey Ancient Order of Hibernians, a fraternal group with 2,500 members that is campaigning against Nast's nomination. The Knights of Columbus in New Jersey has also joined the cause.

Morning Briefing

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ALBANY, N.Y. -— Scandals renew NY push to protect sex victims, state lawmakers plan to revisit lifting time limits on victim lawsuitss, an issue pitting the Catholic Church and other institutions against advocates for children.

Opinion: The Catholic case for Gingrich, for now By Thomas Peters

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Nun cleared of selling babies in Sri Lanka

ST. JOHN's, Newfoundland, Canada -- Roman Catholic priest charged with 38 sex offences

Rick Perry's recent TV ad

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Have you seen it?

I'm referring to Rick Perry's recent TV ad, trying to appeal (I think) to evangelical Christians (and maybe others) in Iowa before the caucuses. Here's the text of what he says:

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I'm Rick Perry and I approve this message."

My answer to Perry:

First criminal hearing for Bishop Finn moved to January

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The first hearing in the criminal case against Bishop Robert W. Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, has been postponed until Jan. 12.

Both Finn and the diocese were charged in October by authorities in Jackson County, Mo., with separate counts of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested in May for child pornography.

The hearing was originally scheduled for Dec. 15. Mike Mansur, the communications director of the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, told NCR the delay came at the request of the bishop’s lawyers.

News of the delay comes about a month after Finn dodged separate charges of failing to report abuse in Clay County, Mo., by agreeing to give the prosecutor there wide-ranging oversight of diocesan review procedures in the county.

The diocesan chancery is located in Jackson County. The parish where Ratigan last served as pastor is in Clay County.

Make peace, not war, and we could save money

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This past Sunday, the New York Times published a long editorial called "A Pentagon the Country Can Afford."

It's a very practical look at cuts in troop numbers, civilian attrition, increase in health care premiums, and base closings. Then there are the cold-war systems: fighter airplanes for instance, imagined for fighting MIGs; the aircraft carriers that deliver fighter planes; nuclear attack submarines and missiles -- not to mention the nuclear weapons themselves.

It is actually not difficult to generate $1.2 trillion in military cuts that pose no threat to the defense of the nation.

What we really need to talk about, though, is what makes us secure. Is it nuclear weapons and fighter planes, a fighting force? What about a reputation throughout the world that we are a generous, peace-loving nation? Now there's a goal I aspire to.

Morning Briefing

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Broken Hill, Australia -- Bishop orders school to reinstate student who was expelled becasue parents are gay

Dublink, Ireland -- Archbishop says Dublin diocese facing crisis: Its biggest crisis since emancipation in 1829. Weekly Mass attendance down to 14%; average weekly contribution per person at Mass below 2.20 euros.

Mexico -- Mexican worshippers underwhelmed by papal visit There are no Benedict-related items for sale here. "That Holiness is not very commercial," explained Jorge Sanchez, a 30-year-old vendor.

Opinion: Catholic Church cannot ordain women priests by Katherine Thomas

People of faith should celebrate Hillary Clinton's statement

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On Dec. 7, International Human Rights Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to the United Nations in Geneva. That day, she made a statement defending universal human rights that should be celebrated by Catholics and all people of faith. Yet it has not gotten the media coverage nor the praise it deserves from the leaders of faith traditions, like, say, Catholic bishops.

In short, Secretary Clinton said the human rights and equality of all human persons include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. And she injected that sentiment directly into the foreign policy of the United States, saying that the U.S. will defend that principle with both foreign aid decisions and diplomacy. It was a breathtaking statement in many ways, but one that should be applauded by everyone concerned about universal human rights. I may be wrong, but I have yet to hear any Catholic bishop praise that statement. [The bishops oppose gay marriage, but they claim to defend the equal rights of LGBT people otherwise].

Here is the essence of what Clinton had to say:

Morning Briefing

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February 24-March 9, 2017

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