NCR Today

NCR's Tom Roberts on the Emerging Catholic Church

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NCR editor-at-large Tom Roberts appeared on KCUR's Up to Date with Steve Kraske. He discussed the Catholic church's reputation and modern changes that may force the church to reevaluate certain issues.

Listen to the program here.

Tom's book, The Emerging Catholic Church: A Community's Search for Itself, was published last October. Learn more about the book here.

Cardinal George may sell bonds to support archdiocese

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Chicago Cardinal Francis George is considering selling bonds to alleviate archdiocesan shortages.

Last week, Moody's Corporation gave the archdiocese a high A1 rating on a proposed offering of $151.5 million in bond sales. George said he is interested in taking advantage of "historically low interest rates and the good credit-worthiness of the archdiocese." But he insisted no decision has yet been made concerning a sale.

Thus far, according to the Chicago archdiocese, it has incurred a cost of $113.1 million because of sexual abuse claims. George has long pledged that parish contributions will not be used to pay any clergy misconduct awards.

Read the full story here.

Other dioceses have turned to the bond market to raise funds. In 2005, NCR carried this headline: "Wall Street sees Austin venture as new model for church financing; Dioceses are good fit for bond market, financiers say."

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.

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May 19-June 1, 2017

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