NCR Today

Fewer Americans live in middle-class areas as country divides between rich, poor

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Today's letter to Archbishop Tim Dolan, head of the U.S bishops' conference and the Archdiocese of New York, from the leadership of Catholic Democrats is complemented by the release of a new study by Stanford University researchers.

Their conclusions are grim:

"In the latest sign of a deteriorating middle class, growing number of Americans are living either in poor or affluent neighborhoods, not somewhere in between, a new study finds.

Thirty-one percent of households lived in either affluent or poor neighborhoods in 2007, according to a study by Stanford University researchers that analyzes Census data in 117 metropolitan areas. That's more than double the 15 percent that lived in affluent or poor neighborhoods in 1970.

Vatican blasts ad of kissing pope

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Update: Hours after the Vatican condemned an Italian ad campaign that depicted Pope Benedict XVI kissing a Muslim leader, the Italian fashion house Benetton withdrew the photo.

The Vatican today blasted as “completely unacceptable” a new advertisement by the Italian clothing giant Benetton, which shows Pope Benedict XVI kissing an Egyptian imam as part of a new campaign titled “Unhate.”

Other ads in the same series show President Barack Obama kissing Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smooching Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Posters with the images have appeared in Benetton clothing stores across the globe as well as in newspapers, magazines and on Internet websites.

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.

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May 19-June 1, 2017

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