NCR Today

Retired Cardinal Bevilacqua dies in Pa. at 88


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


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.

Morning Briefing


Gingrich claims Romney is 'extraordinarily insensitive' to religion in run-up to Florida vote

Kansas City, Mo. -- Diocesan Investigator Expands Abuse Focus, Church Will Focus On Suspicions, Not Just Reports Of Abuse

Vatican Press Release: Towards Healing and Renewal, A Symposium for Bishops and Religious Superiors on Sexual Abuse. February 6-9th, 2012

Catholics caught in middle of birth-control battle,
Religious freedom, health concerns at odds

New York -- In Million-Dollar Theft Case, Church Worker With a Secret Past

Can you balance the military budget?


There's a lot of military budget analysis out there. The New York Times has charted 12,000 reader responses to what should be cut.

Fred Kaplan, who writes for the online magazine Slate, has a critique of the Defense Department cuts, calling them surprisingly modest.

Kaplan concludes by saying it is time to take a deeper look at the military's roles and missions. That, gentle reader, is in part our job.

For example, is it the military's role to train police forces to protect the populace? Or would we be better off sending police to do that training -- or funding United Nations police academies?

Taking a different tack, how many nuclear weapons do we need? Do we plan to use them? Are there other ways to achieve deterrence while saving billions of dollars?

Do we expect fighter-plane dog fights? With whom?

Let's not compare folks to Hitler, OK?


Bishop Joseph P. McFadden of Harrisburg, Penn., must not have read my NCR blog post chastising Cardinal Francis George for the lazy and often logically invalid use of "the KKK card" last month.

I argued that comparing your opponent to the KKK (as George did with some gay activists) was as bad as the infamous logical fallacy "Reductio ad Hilterum," which tries to "prove" that something is undesirable or evil by pointing out that Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich advocated or implemented a similar thing.

According to Religion News Service, McFadden angered the local Anti-Defamation League and ACLU, who claimed he trivialized the Holocaust by comparing today's educational system to Hitler's and Mussolini's because, they tried to establish "a monolith so all the children would be educated in one set of beliefs and one way of doing things," the bishop said.

Who Controls Birth Control?


The overwhelming percentage of American Catholic laity, sometimes with the tacit consent of their parish priests, rejected the official ban on contraception, many in the name of the internal forum, or conscience.

A sad aftermath is in play as the leadership of the U.S. church reacts against the Obama Administration's ruling that most major Catholic institutions must provide insurance coverage to their employees. The protest is done in the name of conscience.

Their case would be a lot stronger if those institutions weren't presumably staffed primarily with Catholics who were themeselves practicing artificial birth control or approving it for others.

It's easy to imagine an institution comprised pricipally of Catholic employees or students being required to enact a policy in the name of the leadership's conscience which violates their own consciences. Especially when the lay majority has had no involvement in establishing the morality of the contraception issue itself.

Ratzinger, Rahner, et al. On Celibacy (1970)


A reader from Arizona sends in this note:

Ratzinger, Rahner, et al. On Celibacy (1970)

This is an interesting perspective of Joseph Ratzinger some 41 + years ago.
Someone who is now so opposed to optional celibacy was in favor of it at least discussing the subject over 41 years ago. I don't know whether or not you are aware of this article. It might make a good read in NCR. I certainly enjoyed knowing this information.

I always enjoy reading NCR. Keep up your outstanding reporting and articles.


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July 14-27, 2017