NCR Today

Ursuline sister, SOA prisoner of conscience, dies


Ursuline Sr. Claire O’Mara, a Massachusetts native who spent 17 years in Latin America with her order before later spending time in jail in protest of the School of the Americas, passed away Jan. 8, the feast of the Epiphany, in New York. She was 89.

O’Mara, who entered the Ursulines in 1945, was known for her dedication to the people of Mexico, Peru, and the Bronx, and to issues of social justice.

Compelled by the story of fellow Ursuline Sr. Dorothy Kazel, O’Mara was arrested at the gates of Fr. Benning, Ga., at the age of 74 in November, 1994, along with twelve others.

Asked on the eve of her trial for the action whether she was scared of possibly going to jail, O'Mara said in a 1996 interview with NCR that she was “too old to be nervous” about going to prison.

O’Mara also said it was partly the Kazel’s story that inspired her to make a 25-hour train ride to join the protest.

Can Romney take care of the 'least of these'?


As any political observer knows these days, Mitt Romney is under scrutiny (to describe the current attacks politely) for his role at Bain Capital, a firm he headed from 1984 to 1999.

Bain Capital is a venture capitalist firm that specializes in buying out companies that are new or struggling and might not have ready access to capital. It's not uncommon for firms like Bain to cut costs in newly acquired enterprises, restructure them and lay off employees.

The questions raised about Romney's time at Bain focus on whether he is a "job creator" (Romney claims that 100,000 jobs were created by Bain during his tenure) or a heartless "vulture capitalist" (Newt Gingrich's phrase) who laid people off in droves and reaped profits from liquidations.

I continue to be amazed at the number of commentators who are aghast that anyone would question the practices of capitalism ... as if morality did not apply to money markets and jobs and benefits. Financial practices can be perfectly legal and still be immoral, depending on the circumstances.

I think some of these candidates should check out Catholic social and economic teaching for some basic principles of fairness and equity.

Immigration outreach discussed among conference participants


SALT LAKE CITY -- In case you haven't heard, the U.S. bishops' conference has a special campaign directed toward immigration work. And some parishes have even started committees named after the group.

Justice for Immigrants, the campaign that started in 2005, is focused on uniting and mobilizing Catholic institutions and people of Catholic faith and people of other faiths "in support of a broad legalization program and comprehensive immigration reform." In keeping with the U.S. and Mexican bishops' pastoral letter, "Strangers No Longer," it is also committed to maximizing the church's influence on this issue, according to its website.

El Paso bishop sues priest to recover funds missing from parish


El Paso Catholic Bishop Armando X. Ochoa has sued a controversial priest and his brother, alleging they mishandled thousands of dollars in church money.

The Rev. Michael E. Rodriguez, who was reassigned from San Juan Bautista Parish, El Paso, on Sept. 20, 2011, to Santa Teresa de Jesus Parish in Presidio, Texas, denied any wrongdoing.

Morning Briefing


On Chinese sweatshops


Just days after public radio's "This American Life" aired an episode about Chinese sweatshops, 150 workers at an electronics factory in Wuhan threatened to commit suicide by jumping off the factory roof because of poor working conditions.

The UK's Telegraph reported:

Foxconn, which manufactures gadgets for the likes of Apple, Sony, Nintendo and HP, among many others, has had a grim history of suicides at its factories. A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 18 workers throw themselves from the tops of the company's buildings, with 14 deaths.

Foxconn's reaction: to install nets around the building.

It's hard to claim ignorance about the conditions under which so much of our stuff is made these days, but Mike Daisey, a self-described "worshiper in the cult of Mac," had to see it for himself. So he went to Shenzhen in southern China and talked to workers outside of a Foxconn plant and visited other factories under the guise of being an American businessman.

In Salt Lake City, Catholics focus on immigration


SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Catholic bishops' immigration conference in Salt Lake City this morning focused on details about current laws and legislation, as well as the status of enforcement and concerns from people who work in immigration-related areas.

The focus of the conference is to closely look at state and local immigration initiatives. The conference dives into detail, rather than just brushing over general immigration facts.

Vatican's visitator: 'Great hope' for 'new flourishing' of religious life


The women appointed to head up the Vatican’s visitation of U.S. women religious says that the three-year study gave her “great hope for a new flourishing of vibrant religious life” in an interview posted this morning.

Mother Mary Clare Millea’s comments come three days after news that reports of the apostolic visitation have been quietly submitted to Rome.

The email interview, posted at the National Catholic Register’s website, seems to show Millea, who is also the superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with a fairly positive outlook on the continued role of women religious in the U.S.

In answer to one question on the decline of communities of women religious, Millea responds that she was “encouraged to note” that “many congregations have increased their efforts to present the consecrated life as a viable and joyful way of serving the Church.”

“Conversations on this topic are taking place among religious within their own communities as well as with members of other congregations,” writes Millea.


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July 14-27, 2017