NCR Today

What's next for the Occupy movement?

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It was a scene everyone knew would come: New York City police entering Zuccotti Park to clear out Occupy Wall Street protestors. This is a movement with no method beyond making itself heard: It made that point long ago, bringing income disparity out into the economic open. But to grow beyond that it had to move forward or get moved out.

Without a new set of specific goals after making its voice heard in the initial media splash, Occupy became simply an open-ended occupation: We are all camping out here until ... until ... well, until we don't want to camp out here anymore. That is not a political statement to which anyone in power can respond -- and often-sympathetic big-city mayors find themselves in a bind very similar to the one that handcuffed New York's Michael Bloomberg.

Fifteenth anniversary of Cardinal Bernardin's burial

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It was 15 years ago today, a blustery day in Chicago, that Monsignor Ken Velo offered a homily at the funeral mass of Joseph Bernardin in Holy Name Cathedral. The following are excerpts from his remarks.

Somewhere over Greenland in mid-September, his Eminence showed me his funeral plans. I began to cry. I saw the things that he had listed. I saw my name. I saw the name of Cardinal Mahony, whom he asked to celebrate this Mass of Christian burial. . . . As I cried, he said, 'Don't worry. I have cried too.'

I was somewhat fearful, but I think the homily of this Mass in truth has been given over these past months of illness through the forgiveness he gave to all sorts of people and through his life of service and ministry.

It was here in the pulpit last October 7th, that the cardinal addressed his priests. He talked about Jesus. He told us that Jesus was a person of integrity, one who was loved and loving, and Jesus was patient, that Jesus was a man of integrity and a teacher. . . . He said to us, "Jesus' friends saw him experience an excruciating death, and they were locked in that room for fear, fearful of the limitations they had, what would happen to them.

'We are not camping'

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St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay closed down the Occupy St. Louis site last Friday night – really Saturday morning at 3 a.m. We knew it was coming. Arrangements had been made for recognizance release and to pick up tents and gear in a room at City Hall. Twenty-five occupiers volunteered and were arrested.

That Friday morning, several hundred beautifully printed posters appeared at the site. In big red letters the posters read:

"We are not camping. We have assembled peaceably to petition the government to redress grievances. This is our permit."

Then you looked closer at the printed background and saw that it was the Bill of Rights!

People are maintaining a daytime occupation in the downtown park and a sidewalk occupation on its edges from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Everybody is trying to figure out what to do next. You probably have considered that question, no matter your political stripe or activist bent.

I'm thinking we should post our grievances on the doors of corporations and banks. I got the idea earlier Friday night, the first time I was there in the dark. On the corner next to our assembly, at the top of a big building, was the neon sign, Peabody Corporation.

Bridgeport, Conn., diocesan priest remains unprosecuted for theft

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Over the last few days, there have been two sad stories involving a Belleville, Ill., Catholic priest with a shoplifting habit and a Sister of St. Joseph who gambled away close to $1 million while serving as an officer of Iona College. The former is facing a felony charge, while the latter pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement.

Meanwhile, the question rises as to what is happening with the prosecution of Fr. Michael Moynihan, the popular Bridgeport, Conn., diocesan priest, who was credibly accused of embezzling at least $529,000. Moynihan resigned as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenwich, Conn., in January 2007.

In May 2010 and June 2010, I blogged about the Moynihan case.

To date, Moynihan has not been prosecuted.

Priest ordered to leave partner of 46 years

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According to the New Zealand Herald:

The Dutch Catholic Church has ordered an 81-year-old priest to leave his partner of 46 years or be forced to quit the priesthood, the Den Bosch diocese in the central Netherlands announced on Friday.

Jan Peijnenburg's relationship with Threes van Dijck, 85, was unacceptable to other priests, the Church said.

"We are giving him the choice: either he leaves his partner or he leaves the priesthood," diocese spokesman Michiel Savelsbergh told AFP.

Morning Briefing

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Obama meets quietly with head of U.S. bishops

US Catholic bishops prepare fight for religious exceptions over gay marriage, contraception

Bishops gear up for fight with Obama

Commentary -- For U.S. bishops, economic justice isn't on the agenda, Catholic leaders, meeting in Baltimore this week, fail to put society's main problems front and center

Britian -- Catholic church plans campaign to re-evangelise inactive members, National tour of talks and workshops to help clergy and parishioners reach out lapsed membership of five million

Majority of American Catholics support transgender rights

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The Roman Catholic hierarchy rarely utters the word transsexual or transgender. And when it does, it's only to say that transgendered persons either don't exist or are suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

Add this latest statistic to the "discrepancy between hierarchical teaching and lay conviction" file: According to a recent study by the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute, a staggering 93 percent of Catholics in the United States support rights for transgendered persons.

The Public Religion Research Institute is also responsible for the study earlier this year that found that an overwhelming 74 percent of Catholics favor legal recognition for same-sex relationships, either through civil unions (31 percent) or civil marriage (43 percent).

That figure is higher than the 64 percent of all Americans, 67 percent of mainline Protestants and significantly higher than 48 percent of black Protestants and 40 percent of evangelicals.

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February 10-23, 2017

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