NCR Today

Thinking about Bishop Zavala's resignation

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The day after Bishop Gabino Zavala's resignation became public, the local National Public Radio station did a call in show on the topic "Is celibacy relevant in the Catholic church today?".

It was kind of a historical, theological look at celibacy. NCR regulars will recognize the contributers to that discussion, NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano and A.W. Richard Sipe, who ocassionaly contributes to NCR. In fact, Sipe's latest contribution is an essay titled: The reality of celibate life: Reflections from Henri Nouwen

The show is worth a listen.

Robert Kennedy's grandson considers a run for Congress

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With longtime liberal U.S. Rep. Barney Frank from Massachusetts retiring from Congress this year, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Joe Kennedy III, grandson of Robert F. Kennedy and son of former Rep. Joe Kennedy II, announced Thursday he's resigning his job in a state prosecutor's office and exploring a run for Congress.

My decision to look seriously at elected office is grounded in a deep commitment to public service and my experience -- both my own and that of my family -- in finding just, practical, and bipartisan solutions to difficult challenges," Mr. Kennedy said in a statement.

Mr. Kennedy, 31 years old, would run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), who announced recently he won't seek re-election after his seat was redistricted.

Beyond being part of a storied political family, Mr. Kennedy's background is a classic for an aspiring politician: He attended Harvard Law School and served in the Peace Corps before becoming a prosecutor.

Five observations on the new cardinals

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Naming new cardinals is among the more important acts of any papacy, because the cardinals form the "electoral college" that will pick the next pope. That’s arguably even more significant this time around, given that Benedict XVI will turn 85 in April – and although there’s no sign of any health crisis, at that age it’s natural to begin thinking about what might come next.

Here are five quick observations about the 22 new cardinals named today by Benedict XVI, including 18 who are under 80 and therefore eligible to participate in a future conclave.

The consistory, when today’s nominees will actually enter the College of Cardinals, is set for Rome Feb. 18-19.

Bring on the Italians

tIt was already a commonplace observation about Benedict XVI that in some ways he has “re-Italianized” the Vatican and the papacy, perhaps a product of his comfort level with Italian ecclesial culture after spending almost the last thirty years in Rome.

Pope names 22 new cardinals, including Dolan and O'Brien

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Pope Benedict XVI today announced the names of 22 new cardinals, including 18 under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope. The list includes two Americans: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and the former archbishop of Baltimore.

Woo takes helm at CRS

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I've long been a fan of Catholic Relief Services, having witnessed their work firsthand in India and Ethiopia as part of trips won through CRS's Eileen Egan Award for Journalistic Excellence program. I've also been a fan of Ken Hackett, who led CRS for the almost 20 years I have been covering the organization and who retired last month.

Luckily, I'm also a fan of the new president, Dr. Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame, my alma mater. While I don't know Woo personally, a close friend who worked with her at ND speaks very highly of her as a colleague and a Catholic.

Although it seems like we shouldn't have to be noting this in the year 2012, Woo is the first woman to head one of the world’s largest international humanitarian relief organizations.

The story of a near-death experience and three plastic saints

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This is one of those odd-but-true stories people tell around the holidays. It involves me, my near-death and three plastic 3-inch figures.

Bear with me.

Seven years ago this Christmas season, my insides exploded. I thought I had severe stomach flu -- and everyone around me readily agreed. ("Oh, for sure. There's a bad strain of it sweeping through this year; my sister-in-law's cousin from Philly ... ") Despite the insane pain, I got on a jet and flew from Los Angeles to visit my parents in Florida.

A few hours after I walked in their door, I fell on my mother's kitchen floor in unbearable agony. My father raced me to the hospital -- where the doctors discovered my large intestine had blown open and was spilling bile all over my internal organs. The last thing I remember as they wheeled me into the operating room: The surgeon turned to a nurse and said, "There isn't much time."

I woke up the next day in intensive care, with a 15-inch scar up and down my mid-section. I stayed with my parents for five weeks before I was well enough to head home to L.A. During that time, something miraculous happened: I got to know my mother and father again.

Kansas health center offers staff time off for mission work

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Ashland Health Center, a public 24-bed hospital in rural Kansas, was facing staffing shortages common in many rural areas until it changed its approach and began recruiting health workers interested in doing mission work, according to the Associated Press.

As a benefit, it now offers employees 8 paid weeks off each year -- which can be used for mission work or any other purpose.

"The idea: people willing to care for the sick and suffering in developing nations might be content to do the same in a town of 855 people, more than two hours away from the nearest Starbucks," reports the Associated Press.

Letter to Pax Christi members following bishop's resignation

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In a statement this morning, the leadership of Pax Christi USA reacts to the news yesterday that their bishop-president, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, has resigned from ministry after acknowledging he is the father of two teenage children:

Dear Pax Christi USA members, partners and friends,

It is with great sadness that we write to you today about the resignation of Bishop Gabino Zavala. Pax Christi USA learned of Bishop Zavala's resignation yesterday. In a letter addressed to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (where Bishop Zavala was an auxiliary bishop), Archbishop Jose Gomez stated that Bishop Zavala's letter of resignation was accepted by the Vatican after he had disclosed that he is "the father of two minor teenage children who live with their mother in another state."

Morning Briefing

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17 more Haitian boys sue Perlitz, claiming abuse, The suits bring to 21 the number of plaintiffs who claim they were abused by Perlitz in his Project Pierre Toussaint program between 1998 and 2008.

Kansas City, Mo. -- SNAP says it will keep working with victims

Ottawa, Canada -- Courtroom fury as Catholic bishop walks free just hours after child porn sentencing

Philly archdiocese expected to announce major round of school closings Friday. Opinion: Catholic school crisis hurts all, by Robert H. Palestini

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April 21-May 4, 2017

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