NCR Today

Priests for Life in $608,000 debt, faces financial peril

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In another urgent fundraising letter dated February 2012, Priests for Life is seeking $608,000 "in the next two weeks in to pay bills that are now over 90 days old."

Fr. Frank Pavone, the embattled national director of Priests for Life, states that the "financial problem we're facing is the combination of two things, really; neither of which we had any control over."

In this missive, Pavone drops from his letterhead the role of national director of the Gospel of Life Ministries.

The two outside factors that have put Priests for Life in this critical situation are the economy and donors reneging on paying their pledges, he writes.

As for the economy, Pavone plays dithering economist and says the economy has been "in a rut for three years now. And I have no idea when it's going to get back on track. But the continued high unemployment and low consumer confidence is wreaking havoc with families ... including our Priest for Life family. A fairly large percentage of your fellow Priests for Life supporters have been forced to cut back on their gifts to us for the simple reason that they are having a tough time making ends meet in their own families."

Rick Santorum's environmental \"theology\"

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The other day, I was listening to reports on the Republican primary race, and I heard Rick Santorum criticize President Barack Obama's "theology." I stopped dead in my tracks. Theology? On the campaign trail? I thought Santorum was running for president, not for pope. What in the world did he mean?

Well, he went on to say that Obama believes in "some phony theology ... not a theology based on the Bible -- a different theology." When pressed later about what he meant, Santorum said he was referring to Obama's beliefs about the dangers of climate change.

Just for the record, Obama's beliefs about climate change are based in science -- as they are for most rational people -- not "theology."

Santorum went on to explain that he was talking about "radical environmentalists." That's apparently his term for those who still think the scientific method has merit and accept the current consensus on climate change in the scientific community. (Actually, this appalling anti-science attitude seems to have wide acceptance among the Republican candidates. Could the support of oil and gas interests have something to do with clouding their science?)

Morning Briefing

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The myth and reality of the Catholic vote

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Stephen S. Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, argues at CNN that there is no such thing as a single Catholic vote, but rather, there are three distinct Catholic voting blocs.

Professor Schneck argues that one particular voting bloc will likely determine the 2012 presidential election:

For years, pollsters and political scientists have been stumped about Catholics.

On one hand, it's been pretty clear that as American Catholics go, so goes the nation. George W. Bush narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2004 and won a second term. Barack Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2008 and, with it, the White House.

It's easy to see why Catholics are sometimes seen as the swing voters whose shifting political preferences swing elections.

Should we reform the sex offender registry?

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The Missouri legislature is debating a bill, HB 1700, that would end restrictions on where convicted sex offenders can live. It would remove juveniles from the public registry. It would create four tiers of registrants, ranging from those least likely to re-offend to those who are assessed to be a continued threat to public safety. It would publish the top two tiers on a website, but not their workplace addresses. It would provide paths to get off the registry, which right now, is a lifetime listing.

Missouri's registry, like most across the country, has grown large. It has 16,000 names, including the foolish who urinated in the vicinity of a parking lot security camera, enraptured high school partners (one of whom is 18) and dangerous predators. The sheer number as well as the range of crimes makes the list as it is useless.

The Crime Prevention & Public Safety committee has held numerous hearings and meetings about the registry in the last year. Committee members agree that neither housing restrictions (like living no closer than two blocks from a school) nor public website listings enhance public safety.

Cultural wars, not jobs, play a large role in this election

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Pretend for a moment that your world was flipped over. Everything you thought right was wrong, all the threads of a civil society seemed frayed and no one appeared to notice or care. You'd be a little scared and very angry -- and you probably wouldn't know just who to blame.

That, I think, is what's behind the undying persistence of culture wars in American elections. This one was supposed to be about jobs, but right now, it has shifted unexpectedly toward cultural battles: values, family and the moral fiber of a nation. Progressives scratch their heads and wonder why, in a country struggling to get back on its economic feet, these issues boil to the top, especially among working-class and middle-class families so hard-hit by hard times.

Maynooth seminary head objects to Kennedy's portrayal

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NCR received a letter from Msgr. Hugh G Connolly, president of Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, the national seminary of Ireland. Msgr. Connolly objected to a web column by Eugene Kennedy, which was posted to our website Jan. 19. That column is here.

Msgr. Connolly requested the opportunity to respond to Kennedy’s column. To meet that request, I am printing in full Msgr. Connolly’s written statement that gives his account of the changes at the college, which were the focus of Kennedy’s column.

Pope to new cardinals: ëForget power and glory'

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Italian paper calls Dolan a papal candidate

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
Rome

tPope Benedict XVI legendarily thinks in centuries, so it’s almost always a category mistake to read his public oratory as a commentary on current events. Yet it was hard to listen to him this morning without at least flashing on the recent Vatican leaks scandal, which has created widespread impressions of power struggles and senior churchmen stabbing one another in the back.

tIn comments today to 22 new cardinals taking part in Benedict’s fourth consistory, with most of the Vatican’s senior leadership looking on, the pope issued a strong plea for a spirit of service.

t“Serving God and others, self-giving: this is the logic which authentic faith imparts and develops in our daily lives,” the pope said, “and which is not the type of power and glory which belongs to this world.”

tBenedict noted that from the very beginning, not everyone in leadership positions among Christ’s followers has been up to that challenge.

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July 14-27, 2017

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