NCR Today

'Priests for Life needs a massive infusion of contributions...'


Jerry Horn, senior vice president of Priests for Life (PFL), sent a new desperate plea for money in a letter to donors dated Nov. 4, 2011. According to the letter, many supporters have withdrawn their support of PFL because of the controversy surrounding it. Nonetheless, Horn wants to give "Father" a Thanksgiving Day gift by raising $676,618 for PFL. He asks that the donors rush their gift to him today.

Fr. Frank Pavone, the embattled national director of PFL, was called back to the Amarillo, Texas, diocese by Bishop Patrick Zurek for a period of prayer and reflection. Zurek suspended Pavone from active ministry outside the diocese. Pavone failed to show up for a mid-October meeting with Zurek and is seeking a mediator.

Horn's letter is at least the third urgent fundraising letter in the past eight weeks. The first two letters (dated Sept. 22 and Oct. 14, 2011) were written by Pavone.

Group offers petitions, protest letters to Catholics unhappy with translation


The newly translated Roman Missal, the text of liturgical prayers and responses, will be launched later this month at Masses in U.S. Roman Catholic churches.

And at least one group hopes that once Catholics hear its very different-sounding language, they'll be moved to protest and press for change, rather than leave the church in deep disappointment.

"We want to give people a month or so to experience it," said to a spokeswoman for a group that plans to post petitions and sample protest letters on its website,, after the first of the year. "If they're upset, it is our fondest hope that people will speak out."

The group is urging Catholics to write their pastors and bishops as well as the Papal Nuncio. The sample letters can be used as-is or as a starting point for their own correspondence. The website will post further instructions in early January.

The new translation of prayers used at Mass will be initiated the first weekend of Advent, Nov. 26-27. Some changes may seem minor, while others, critics charge, are jarring, complex, wordy or just plain odd.

'The Way' becomes a love fest in L.A.


On Nov. 5, Catholics in Media Associates (CIMA) of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in collaboration with Mt. St. Mary's College Chalon Campus, hosted a screening and panel discussion of Emilio Estevez's new film "The Way."

The main attraction, besides the film, was the participation of the film's star, Martin Sheen, his eldest son writer/director, Emilio Estevez, and producer David Alexanian. The panel was moderated by communications professor Dr. Craig Detweiller of Pepperdine University. Other panelists were Jesuit Fr. Eddie Siebert, president of Loyola Productions and chaplain to CIMA, the Rev. Scott Young, executive director of the University Religious Conference at UCLA, and me.

I had the honor of interviewing Sheen about the film for NCR, so being part of this event was an added grace. I can't think of another way to put it.

Protest, arrests at nuclear site cap war tax resisters conference


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Boil it down and war tax resisters have a simple strategy: Without taxes, the government can't buy guns and fight wars.

And, capping their annual conference this weekend with a protest outside the nation's first new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility in three decades, some 60 war tax resisters said yesterday that the government shouldn't be able to build such facilities either.

The protest, which saw five resisters arrested for acts of civil disobedience, was the latest in a series of actions organized to oppose construction of the some $1.2 billion nuclear weapons plant, known simply as the Kansas City Plant. 53 people were arrested last May in a similar action.

The arrests yesterday came after an hour-long gathering, which saw activists hold signs, sing songs, and listen to presentations from war tax resisters about their motivations for withholding their income taxes. Several of the signs read "No tax dollars for nuclear bombs."

Priest: What dying has taught me about living


November is National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

The insidious cancer has been in the news recently. Apple CEO Steve Jobs ultimately died from complications related to it.

Now Fr. Everett Hemann, a longtime campus priest at Iowa State University, has pancreatic cancer and has written a reflection on what it has taught him even on the eve of going home to God.

Hemann is pastor of St. Patrick Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He has been a priest in the Dubuque Archdiocese for 37 years. He loves to fly and has a commercial pilot license. He has served two terms as the president of the National Association of Priest Pilots, and continues to fly as an instructor.

Here is the beginning of his reflection published in the Des Moines Register:

Feelings toward church reminiscent of Watergate days


They believe in the ideals, but not the institutions. They are loyal, yet troubled. They are called to obey a complex set of rules, but the powerful seem to live by a different order.

That would be a tight description of Americans during the years of Vietnam and Watergate -- and an apt summary of American Catholics today. That's not a good sign for the church, as it struggles to deal with a scandal that won't go away, and a response from on high that seems inadequate, no matter what is done.

The latest poll published in NCR shows how far American Catholics have moved away from a hierarchy tainted by hypocrisy. Majorities say Jesus' resurrection, helping the poor and the Virgin Mary are the most important aspects of their faith, while the Vatican and the celibate all-male clergy rank at the bottom.

Eastern Church in US to ordain married men


This morning The Tablet of London (scroll to bottom of page) and earlier the blog Orthocath reported that the head of one of the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome has said the Church will start ordaining married men as priests in the US.

"The Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop in the US, Nicholas Samra, said: "We are on a shoe-string of clergy to serve our Church as priests."

The American Melkite Eparchy has 35 parishes, around 27,000 members, and only "one priest to be ordained next year," he said in a speech reported in the Melkite journal Sophia.

Rome has previously ruled the ordination of married men as Melkite priests illicit.>/dd>

LGBTQ: Gifts from God


If you are on this Web site you are probably aware of the flap coming out of Boston where a bishops' advisor was forced to resign after suggesting some satanic invovlement in the births of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. This kind of nutty nonsense is not church teaching, but is a product of an outdated theology. It can also be traced back to a lamentable episcopal utterance of then, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and now Pope Benedict, who wrote that the homosexual inclination itself "must be seen as an objective disorder."


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May 19-June 1, 2017