NCR Today

Cardinal George keeps pot boiling

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It was expected that Chicago Cardinal Francis George would apologize or issue a clarification a few days after he compared members of a gay liberation group to the Ku Klux Klan. This he often does when he speaks impulsively or chooses an inept metaphor.

In this case, he did not retreat, choosing instead to throw more coals on the fire.

In an interview with Fox News Chicago before Christmas, George had commented on concerns at a north side parish that the gay pride parade scheduled for next June would interfere with its Sunday Mass services. He said, “You know, you don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism." This prompted a flood of objections from gay supporters and community groups. Some demanded that George resign.

Morning Briefing

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Cincinnati, Ohio -- Catholic school fires woman for being pregnant as a result of artificial insemination, which violated Catholic teachings and her employment contract.

Minna, Nigeria -- Our of security concerns, Bishop Uzokwu orders cancellation of traditional Midnight Masses on New Years Eve. Suggests early evening prayer services instead.

Worcester, Mass. -- Diocese seeks to have Filipino priest defrocked because of child porn possession. It is believed he has fled to his native Philippines.

Doors open for Anglicans to join Catholic Church Jan. 1

Snow and ice church

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On the ABC News blog:

"A Church built entirely of snow and ice had its grand opening in the Bavarian village of Mitterfirmiansreut Wednesday night. Villagers built the church, which is made up of more than 49,000 cubic feet of snow, to commemorate the construction of a similar snow church in the village 100 years ago."

Read more of the story here.

Santa in the sanctuary

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I have mixed feelings about Santa.

Sure, he represents the spirit of giving, is based on a saint and can be very useful for coercing good behavior out of children for about three weeks out of the year.

On the other hand, he has come to symbolize the overemphasis on presents, the blurring of the line between "wants" and "needs" and general excessive materialism during what should be a spiritual season. Nothing says "Gimme" like a kid making a list for Santa.

While most parents love to encourage the magic of Santa, making the annual photo on a store Santa's lap an important tradition, others shy away from embellishing the story too much. For it is a story, after all, and one children eventually learn is based on much "fibbing" by their parents.

But if you really want to get controversial, try bring up the topic of Santa in church.

As part of Christmas Eve family Masses, some parishes have added a visit from Old St. Nick, perhaps in part to pique the interest of kids who can't help but be thinking of what will be under their tree the next day.

Pennsylvania diocese loses appeal, to pay health provider $264,000

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Back in October, I blogged that the Allentown, Pa., diocese lost its appeal in paying a health care provider for services provided to one of its priests, Fr. James Mulligan, who slipped, fell and injured himself.

The diocese lost its appeal for re-argument and will be required to pay about $264,000 to the Lehigh Valley Health Network:

In a slip-and-fall case involving a 72-year-old diocesan priest, Fr. James Mulligan, the Allentown, Pa., diocese, which self-insures for workers' compensation, claimed it was not responsible for 100 percent of the bills charged by the Lehigh Valley Health Network for acute care provided to Fr. James Mulligan for immediately life-threatening or urgent injuries at the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

The total cost of in-patient care was $406,338.79. The diocese paid only $142,196, short-changing Lehigh Valley Health Network more than $260,000.

Morning Briefing

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Cardinal George shoots from hip, hits foot again

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Chicago Cardinal Francis George was roundly criticized Friday after he compared members of the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan. The cardinal was concerned that the planned route of the gay pride parade in June 2012 would interfere with services at a North Side parish.

"You know you don't want the Gay Liberation Movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," he said while taping an interview for Fox News.

"I think the cardinal's remarks were inappropriate and disrespectful," said Greg Harris, an openly gay state representative whose district includes the parade route. "We should always treat each other with respect, even when we disagree."

Meanwhile, parade organizers have agreed to delay the start until noon to accommodate Sunday parishioners along the parade route.

Spielberg at war again with 'War Horse'

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Among the many themes that emerge or converge in the films of director/ producer/writer Steven Spielberg are lonely children and war, specifically World War II.

These themes can be found in the kids in "E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) as well as the Oscar-winning "Schindler's List" (1993), in which viewers may remember the little Jewish girl in a red coat, waiting for transport to the Nazi death camps. They can be found in "The Color Purple" (1985) (for which Spielberg deserved an Oscar) and one of my personal favorites, this year's "Super 8," where Spielberg captures children who are lonely or estranged from or in tension with their fathers.

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July 14-27, 2017

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