NCR Today

Loretto pioneer Jacqueline Grennan Wexler dies


Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, a former Sister of Loretto who served as president of New York's Hunter College, died Jan. 19 at her home in Orlando. She was 85.

Wexler was a woman who lived the pioneer spirit of the Loretto Community. I vaguely remember in 1967, when I heard the news that then-Sr. Jacqueline Grennan, president of Webster College (now University) in Webster Groves, Mo., was transferring control of the college to a lay board of trustees.

Since Webster was the first Catholic institution in the United States to do that, it caused an uproar in some church circles, but it was widely praised for its recognizing the institution’s potential growth as a secular institution.

Jacqueline Grennan left the community in 1967 and married Paul Wexler, a music industry executive, and adopted his two children, Wendy and Wayne Wexler. She later rejoined Loretto as a co-member.

After serving as president of Hunter College in New York City in the 1970s, she went on to become president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, where she fostered interfaith dialogue and respect among adherents of different religious traditions.

Rest in peace, Jacqueline.

New U.S. nuncio blasts corruption in Vatican operations


Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican official and now U.S. nuncio, denounced corruption in the management of the Holy See according to letters he sent the pope, the contents of which were published today in the Italian press. In the letters, Vigano reportedly said his transfer to the U.S. was a "punishment" that caused concern among others who saw an opportunity to clean up Vatican waste and corruption.
Read more here.

Chicano studies are an important part of Arizona's curriculum


Earlier this month, the Tucson, Ariz., school district, responding to pressure from the state superintendent of education, eliminated the Chicano studies curriculum in that district.

Courses in the high schools on Chicano studies had been taught for a few years with no negative reaction until recently, when extreme right-wing politicians began to say that the Chicano studies classes were characterized by expressed racial hatred of whites and possessed no academic value. They further added that no classes should focus on just one ethnic group.

These allegations came from some of the same people who, a year earlier, supported and passed state laws giving local police the authority to arbitrarily stop anyone they suspected of being an undocumented immigrant despite the fact that immigration is a federal responsibility. That law has been challenged by the administration of President Barack Obama and will be adjudicated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Priests for Life leader 'not in prison,' continues to raise money


Amarillo Bishop Pat Zurek broke his silence to Karen Smith Welch, the Amarillo Globe-News reporter who has been ably covering the dysfunctional relationship between Zurek and one of his priests, Fr. Frank Pavone. Pavone is the national director/president/chairperson of no fewer than three anti-abortion charities: Priests for Life, Inc.; Gospel of Life Ministries Inc.; and Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News:


A Roman Catholic priest restricted to ministry within the Diocese of Amarillo participated in March for Life events Monday in Washington with the permission of his bishop.


The Rev. Frank Pavone had a full calendar during Monday's annual pro-life gathering marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Who speaks for the \"Catholic left\"?


The blog post headline caught my eye: "Obama offends the Catholic left." I wondered what he had done now--but was surprised to find this piece was about the recent HHS contraceptive mandate decision.

The Catholic left is mad about that? As a self-described "leftie," I was hardly offended by the decision, so I delved into the piece.

The blog post was written by Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn, a VP at News Corp. who writes speeches for CEO Rupert Murdoch. He is certainly not "left," nor does he claim to be.

Former priests refuse to 'disappear'


About 45 years have passed since the great diaspora of Catholic priests out of active ministry and into lay life. The departure rates stayed amazingly high for a time then subsided, but continue to this day.

Now these men, in their 30s and 40s when they left, have aged into their 70s and 80s, and many are reflecting on their journey. Chicago Cardinal Francis George recently expressed regret that priests had left their God-given calling and suggested that most had at least the good sense to just "disappear." That perception may have had some validity in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th when the "fallen" clerics were regarded with either scorn or pity. Often commented on in the seminaries of those days were books like Shepherds in the Mist, which recounted the sad, frustrated, guilt-ridden lives of these betrayers of their vocation.

Morning Briefing


New drone technology further removes us from war


Yesterday's Sunday Review in The New York Times featured an article about the moral use of drones by United States.

The author, Peter Singer, asks if drones are undermining democracy.

For a while now, some ethicists have wrung their hands over the "push-button war" where pilots drop bombs and soldiers shoot off missiles without ever seeing their targets. But now drones can identify footprints, read license plates and destroy houses and automobiles without troops ever setting boots on the ground.

Thus, President Barack Obama did not seek a declaration of war in Libya, and Congress didn't seem to expect one.

Our soldiers' lives are not at risk, so the public has little reason to pay attention.

Singer says, "And now we have a technology that removes the last political barriers to war."

Restraint is not an easy virtue, and it doesn't fit within our practice of foreign policy. If we have a weapon, we use it. Current political campaigners are calling for even less restraint.


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April 21-May 4, 2017