NCR Today

Connecticut priest pleads guilty to obstruction

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From the Connecticut Post:

Former Rev. Michael Moynihan, a pastor who resigned from a Greenwich church in 2007 amid allegations that he diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars in church funds to pay for personal expenses, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal obstruction of justice.

Moynihan entered the plea in federal court in New Haven, admitting he lied to federal investigators looking into the alleged fraud. When he is sentenced, Moynihan faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Formerly the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, Moynihan diverted parish funds toward paying his credit card bills and other personal reimbursements and may have engaged in forgery and other forms of deception, according to findings of an investigation made public in 2008.

Who's exempt from contraception mandate?

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Bryan Cones, managing editor of U.S. Catholic magazine, muddies the emotional debate about the HHS ruling about contraceptive coverage with a few facts, namely the difference between a canonically Catholic organization and one with a Catholic connection that is more "historical and aspirational."

"All 'Catholic' institutions are not created equally, legally or even canonically speaking," he writes in a blog post titled, "Just which Catholic institutions are 'mandated' to provide contraception?"

Among those exempted by the law, Cones says: Catholic parishes and schools, diocesan agencies directly connected to the bishop, religious congregations, most Catholic high schools and some Catholic colleges and universities (those for whom Catholic religious education and spirituality are required components).

From the Groundhog's Point of View

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If I'm Punxsutawney Phil, I'm worried about my job.

He's the one who's supposed to be the decider, if unwittingly. He sees the shadow, we groan at the prospect of six more weeks of winter. He doesn't, we're home free.

That assumes we're in winter. But this year, and a couple years back, there's been no winter in Pennsylvania. The thermometer has rarely dipped below 25, snow has been virtually non-existent and the ground is squishy.

It looks like Phil is destined to lose his high-profile cameo; displaced by the forces of global warming. Which is technological unemployment when you come right down to it.

Shadow or no, his function may have become, as the British say, redundant. How can you have more or less of anything that doesn't exist? Alice in Wonderland was asked by the Mad Hatter if she wanted more tea. "How can I have more tea when I haven't had any tea?" she replied in more or less those words.

What's a humble groundhog to do?

Retired Cardinal Bevilacqua dies in Pa. at 88

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The Associated Press is reporting this morning that retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who led the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years, died in his sleep Tuesday night at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, a Philadelphia suburb.

His death comes just days after lawyers battled in court over his competency as a potential witness in the upcoming trial of a longtime aide in a high profile sex abuse case.

Priest sorry for disclosing names of former Austrian Catholics

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As if on cue, a Belgian priest working in Austria has come out apologizing for publicly sharing the names of Catholics who have resigned from the church.

His apology sounds lame. The priest had to have known that at a minimum, there was a high risk of embarrassing the named individuals and their families. The priest claims he was trying to emphasize to the congregation that they need to focus on building up the parish. He could have done that by de-identifying the names, by talking in real numbers and in trends and so on. Naming names was bush-league, and he looks to be facing legal problems as a result.

According to the Austrian Times:

Father Nicolaas Janssens, 51, Originally from Belgium who then trained in Aachen in Germany before starting work as a parish priest in Austria has now said that he is sorry for the row that he caused.

Morning Briefing

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Gingrich claims Romney is 'extraordinarily insensitive' to religion in run-up to Florida vote

Kansas City, Mo. -- Diocesan Investigator Expands Abuse Focus, Church Will Focus On Suspicions, Not Just Reports Of Abuse

Vatican Press Release: Towards Healing and Renewal, A Symposium for Bishops and Religious Superiors on Sexual Abuse. February 6-9th, 2012

Catholics caught in middle of birth-control battle,
Religious freedom, health concerns at odds

New York -- In Million-Dollar Theft Case, Church Worker With a Secret Past

Can you balance the military budget?

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There's a lot of military budget analysis out there. The New York Times has charted 12,000 reader responses to what should be cut.

Fred Kaplan, who writes for the online magazine Slate, has a critique of the Defense Department cuts, calling them surprisingly modest.

Kaplan concludes by saying it is time to take a deeper look at the military's roles and missions. That, gentle reader, is in part our job.

For example, is it the military's role to train police forces to protect the populace? Or would we be better off sending police to do that training -- or funding United Nations police academies?

Taking a different tack, how many nuclear weapons do we need? Do we plan to use them? Are there other ways to achieve deterrence while saving billions of dollars?

Do we expect fighter-plane dog fights? With whom?

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May 19-June 1, 2017

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