NCR Today

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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Bill Donohue's December fundraising letter

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Bill Donohue, the one-man show at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, recently sent out his year-end fundraising letter. Donohue focuses his letter on people and organizations who "want to take down the Catholic church."

According to Donohue: "Almost alone, we brought attention to the evidence -- ignored by the John Jay professors -- that homosexuality was involved in almost all abuse cases. Not to report this was sheer dishonesty, and we refused to play the game" (emphasis included).

He goes on to boast of a "grand slam" by showing "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a "well-organized anti-Catholic front group."

Donohue trumpets a surprise press conference he held in front of the "Catholic-hating Kansas City Star newspaper." This was done to "strike back against all the familiar players out to get Bishop Robert Finn," who was indicted by a local prosecutor for failing to report a priest to the police after Bishop Finn had plenty of notice.

Of course, Donohue claims that the Obama administration, among others, is threatening religious liberty.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated

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Catholics throughout the Americas gathered in churches today to celebrate the feat of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

During his homily at a mass in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict prayed that God would guide the decisions of the Latin American people, so they could progress in "building a society based on the development of good, the triumph of love and the expansion of justice."

He added that he intends "to make an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba before Easter to proclaim the word of Christ and to strengthen the conviction that this is a precious time to evangelize with a steady faith, a lively hope and an ardent charity."

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Morning Briefing

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March 24-April 6, 2017

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