NCR Today

The Catholic case against Rick Santorum


I had great fun last night watching Iowa caucus returns in realtime on The New York Times election 2012 dashboard on my iPad. It was fun watching first Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Mitt Mitt Romney, and then Santorum and Romney trading places on the winners board.

If CNN's analysis is correct, and "Mojo trumps money" than the the "Santorum surge" we're seeing may mean something. And with pundits like David Brooks giving Santorum a double thumbs up for his potential appeal to Catholic and white working class voters (see: Workers of the World, Unite!, you've got to wonder what a pew sitting Catholic is supposed to think.

Should the church take in Episcopalians who believe in injustice?


The Vatican has created a new "Ordinariate" for disaffected Episcopalians who come over to the Catholic church. Most of the disaffected Episcopalians are unhappy with the ordination of women as priests and bishops, the welcoming of openly gay/lesbian clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions. Many of them believe that such practices violate the basic teachings of Christianity.

As I read such stories, I understand all the ecclesial reasons for this move, and I'm happy that former Episcopal priests can remain married as they make the move. I just wish we'd extend the same right to our own Catholic priests.

And I have nothing against Episcopalians (or anyone) choosing to join the Catholic church. I think we need an open door.

When Missouri had caucuses


My initiation to political activism came in April 1968 at a Kansas City, Mo., Democratic caucus for president. About eight Eugene McCarthy supporters, myself included, showed up at the home of the Democratic ward committeeman. We knocked on the front porch door. No answer. We knocked again, harder. There were people in the living room. Through the window it looked like they had started the meeting 15 minutes early. We knocked again. A woman came to the door and said apologetically that she could not let us in. The party regulars, Hubert Humphrey supporters, were stealing our votes.

At about 7:35 people came out. One of our men in our group blocked the path. Somebody shoved and two men threw a few punches. It's the only adult fistfight I've ever witnessed.

Service dog helps at church


From the Asbury Park Press:

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The Rev. Joel Marable stood at the altar at St. Matthew’s Anglican Catholic Church on Christmas morning and officiated at Mass, just as he has done many times before.

But this time was different.

This time his friend Donovan sat nearby, meticulously monitoring the priest’s blood pressure. Marable, the 67-year-old curate at the Newport News church, has survived a dozen strokes, and if Donovan detects any significant drop in blood pressure, he signals for the priest to sit down before he loses his balance and falls.

Donovan is a 5-year-old, 55-pound standard poodle.

Read more here at the Asbury Park Press.

Could 'dropping out' be a solution to tough times?


The early strands of a trend are often hard to find, but this one just about smacked me in the face: If movie trailers and newspaper articles are any guide, people are tired of tough times and just want to hop off the whole darn carousel, quick.

A couple of days before New Year's, my kids and I went to see the film "We Bought a Zoo." Fun, friendly family stuff based on a true story about a man who quits his job, moves his kids out of the city and spends all their savings when he buys a zoo. Even as I watched this, the story struck me as counterintuitive. In tough times, people are supposed to save their money and fantasize about finding a job with steady health benefits -- acting on impulse seems like a story for the boom years gone by.

Kentucky hospital will not become part of Catholic health system


University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky will not become part of Catholic health system Catholic Health Initiatives after a controversial three-way merger was rejected last week by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, according to the Courier-Journal.

The merger "was assailed by critics because a Catholic health system would have majority ownership of Louisville's public hospital," reports the newspaper. The deal cannot go through without the governor's approval.

The top 18 films of 2011


According to Box Office Mojo, 2011's 592 films made somewhere between $381 million (with "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part Two") and $325 (with "Redneck Carnage," which I did not see) at the box office.

I saw 119 films in 2011 -- about two movies a week. I was away for four weeks in September and October, so I missed "50/50," about a young man diagnosed with cancer, and "We Need to Talk about Kevin." I did not see "Albert Nobbs" yet, but will let you know when I do. These are films buzzing in the Oscar zone.

Here is my list of 14 films that I found most interesting in 2011. Are they the best? I don't know. But they kept my attention, told a worthy story in an artistic or clever way, shed light on the human condition, showed respect for human dignity though sometimes in a dark way, asked questions and allowed the audience to discover or make meaning without imposing or preaching. And some were wonderfully entertaining.

Click on the film's title for my longer reviews.


Haters gonna hate


"Haters gonna hate" -- an Internet meme and modern proverb. What's a "hater"? What's the history? And what's with "hate"? Read more about it in this NPR story.

"Haters run the gamut — from disrupters at political rallies to sign makers at sports contests, from erudite misanthropes to semiliterate missive senders, from stand-up comedy hecklers to dish-served-cold revenge-seekers.

They can be passionate or passive-aggressive. They can be smart or stupid. But nowadays they seem to be everywhere."

Kathy Kelly in Kabul: The Story of Bibi Sadia


By Kathy Kelly, with Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

January 3, 2012

Kabul - Bibi Sadia and her husband Baba share a humble home with their son, his wife and their two little children. An Afghan human rights advocate suggested that we listen to Bibi’s stories and learn more about how a Pashto family has tried to survive successive tragedies in Kabul.

Holding her three year old granddaughter in her arms, Bibi adjusted her hijab and launched into a narrative that began during the Soviet occupation. The mujahideen had asked Baba to bring them medicines two or three times a week for those injured in the war. For each batch of medicines that Baba delivered, the mujahideen paid him a small sum of money. When the Russian occupiers discovered what he was doing, they beat him severely. After that, the mujahideen accused him of spying for the Russians and they also beat him badly.

The vicious beatings gave him perforated ear drums requiring six operations and left him permanently hard of hearing.


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July 14-27, 2017