NCR Today

Catholics pleased with HHS Plan B decision


Yesterday, Catholic News Service Reported: The U.S. bishops' pro-life spokeswoman said she was relieved that the Obama administration has decided not to allow the Plan B One-Step "morning-after pill" to be sold without a prescription to those under 17. (Read more.)

The Catholic Health Association is also applauding the decision. The CHA released the following statement this morning:


WASHINGTON, DC (December 9, 2011) – Sister Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), issued the following statement.
The Catholic Health Association is very grateful to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her intelligent and courageous decision to prevent very young adolescents from purchasing and administering unsupervised the strong hormone contained in the drug known as Plan B.

NCR announces new internship program


It pleases me to announce a major new initiative at NCR, the Tom Bertelsen Internship Program. This is a paid internship program made possible by a generous endowment gift by Bertelsen, a former investment banker. Bertelsen is currently the chief financial officer for the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Calif., and chief financial officer for the St. Rose Corporation, an affordable housing and child care center in San Francisco. He is chair of the board of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University and a trustee of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He serves on the NCR board of directors.

Faith vs. charity in day-to-day life


I spoke yesterday on an evangelical television station about some legislation being written to reform criminal sentencing. Then the host asked me, "What is the role of your faith in choosing to do this work?"

Well, actually, I don't think my faith has a role per se. I didn't say that on television. I talked about love and quoted St. Vincent de Paul about leaving Christ at the altar to answer Christ ringing the doorbell.

(Here's an interesting aside. I just did a quick Google search in case it was not St. Vincent whom I had quoted. Among the top 10 search results I got were "God's promises are real," "Inspiring Text Messages," "The Kneeling Christian -- How God answers Prayers" and "Send a text message to God's phone number." Who knew?)

But I did make a mental note to think a little more carefully about the role of faith in my day-to-day work. I have faith in the goodness of human nature, but I suspect that comes more from my experience than from my internalization of Genesis, where God saw that the works of creation were good.

Do men hate going to church?


We are airing a fascinating and funny interview on Interfaith Voices this week. It's a conversation with David Murrow, author of a newly revised book, Why Men Hate Going to Church.

Most observers know that it's sometimes hard to find many men in the pews of Christian churches. Women also predominate in lay leadership (though in Catholic churches, not on the altar!).

Murrow's book is not directed at Catholicism per se; it's directed at Christian churches in general. And he offers workshops with local groups about suggested changes aimed at getting men back in the pews.

Morning Briefing


Philadelphia -- Lawyers against testimony of retired cardinal in abuse case. Anthony Bevilacqua's "memory is not simply impaired, it is devoid of any recollection of the people, documents or underlying facts which comprise this prosecution or the events of the last 20 years,"

Arlington, Texas -- Huge Vietnamese Catholic church to be dedicated

Pope Benedict To Visit Cuba Next Year

Minnesota -- Gay marriage - a Lutheran leader's plea to Catholic bishops. Church leaders should embrace, engage all, says the former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

'Women & Spirit' now available in DVD form


We written before about the widely acclaimed exhibition that has made its way around the US: “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America,” the 3,200-square foot display featuring the courageous work of women religious through the American experience.

That exhibition is now available in DVD form. The mother of the exhibition, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, has now produced a documentary narrative to bring this story to those who might not have had a chance to see the exhibit and to those who have, but want to refresh the memories.

William Bole: a new slant on consumerism


William Bole, a friend and former colleague, has always demonstrated a great gift for understanding the connections among ideas and actors in the religion world and for relating those connections with a storyteller’s instinct and wit.

I worked with him for a number of years (he was Washington correspondent at the time) during my stint at Religion News Service in New York and often marveled at his ability to join a certain gentleness to a critical and unblinking approach to news.

He’s recently begun a blog, Theopol, and it is a worn description to those who know him to describe his new venture as “thoughtful,” but that’s what it is, far more thoughtful than most efforts one comes across in the ether. Take a look. He’s just posted a different take on seasonal consumerism – and don’t cringe. You won’t be preached at; you may be encouraged to think, gently, about what’s going on. Check it out:

Morning Briefing


Catholic Healthcare West, Sutter pay $2.3 million to settle Medicare double-billing case

Ireland -- Bishops urge government to abandon its plan to cut child benefit for the parents of third and subsequent children -- arguing that the move could be “devastating” for larger families on low incomes.

Detroit, Mich. -- U.S. Catholic Church increasingly turning to foreign-born priests to staff its parishes as it struggles with the decline in the number of American men studying to wear the Roman collar

Sheen “nourished” by narrating Dalai Lama’s book. Martin Sheen is voice of the audiobook of “Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World,” a new book by the Dalai Lama.

You too can be part of the democratic process


Saw this on Yahoo! News:

What question would you like to ask the Republican presidential candidates about income inequality? .

Yahoo! News and ABC News will host a Republican presidential debate on Saturday, December 10, at Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Here is your opportunity to ask the candidates your specific questions about income inequality. Let us know and we may include your question in the debate. You can also tweet your question to #IowaDebate.

Make sure to check back and watch the debate on December 10 at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on ABC News. We’ll provide the link

Learn more or ask a question.

From the mouths of babes


The few weeks before Christmas generate more dinners with good friends than any of the prior months.

On Friday evening, my wife and I dined with two other couples for our annual holiday dinner. We had a wonderful time. I asked our friend Carol if her 6-year-old daughter, Fiona, has generated any hysterical one-liners, which she regularly does.

Carol shared this story:

So Fiona and I are walking on the street in our neighborhood when a car comes flying around the corner.

In a panic, I grab Fiona's hand and pull her back and away from the oncoming car and blurt out, "Jesus!"

"MOM!" Fiona immediately responds.

I brace for the inevitable child-correcting-the-parent moment when Fiona says, "How did you know it was Him?"


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March 24-April 6, 2017