NCR Today

Majority of American Catholics support transgender rights


The Roman Catholic hierarchy rarely utters the word transsexual or transgender. And when it does, it's only to say that transgendered persons either don't exist or are suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

Add this latest statistic to the "discrepancy between hierarchical teaching and lay conviction" file: According to a recent study by the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute, a staggering 93 percent of Catholics in the United States support rights for transgendered persons.

The Public Religion Research Institute is also responsible for the study earlier this year that found that an overwhelming 74 percent of Catholics favor legal recognition for same-sex relationships, either through civil unions (31 percent) or civil marriage (43 percent).

That figure is higher than the 64 percent of all Americans, 67 percent of mainline Protestants and significantly higher than 48 percent of black Protestants and 40 percent of evangelicals.

New York diocese has free cash reserves of $130 million


Investment expert Richard Grafer of Pathway Investments, LLC, in Port Washington, N.Y., has analyzed Rockville Centre, N.Y., diocese's financial statements and makes the following observation:

"The Diocese of Rockville Centre ('DRVC') has finally published its last audited financial statement for the year ended August 31, 2010. A report summarizing my analysis of all the DRVC financial statements on a consolidated basis is attached.

"As you can see, Diocesan free cash reserves remain at the very high level of $130 million. Approximately $80-96 million of these reserves are excessive based upon the maximum allowed per generally accepted industry standards. Despite the existence of these excess reserves, the DRVC has taken some actions in the past two years that appear to effectively cut services at a time when they are most needed."

In 2006, the diocese released a statement explaining why it has excess cash reserves. While dated, in its conclusion the diocese said:

William F. Fore donates Religion-Online to Claremont School of Theology


The Rev. Dr. William F. Fore, executive director of the National Council of Churches Broadcasting and Film Commission for 25 years, has placed one of the world's richest treasure houses of online religious information into the care of the Claremont School of Theology.

Fore is the designer and senior editor of, one of the most used online resources in the area of religion. According to Google, the site had 10 million hits this year from visitors in more than 200 countries. The site also grants liberal rights to download material and copy for nonprofit educational purposes, asking only that sources be cited.

Under the section "Catholicism," there is a translation of the book "The Christian of the Future" by Karl Rahner (1967), "a reflection on the nature, limits, and possibilities of change taking place in the Roman Catholic Church during and since the Second Vatican Council," available in its entirety on the site.


Conference is \"like a home\"


"It's kinda like a home, visiting home" is how Jackie Starkey of New York City described attending the Call To Action national conference in Milwaukee Nov. 4-6. "There's a great warmth here, and a great sense of community."

Watch the video below to here more comments from Call to Action.

Call To Action, a Catholic church reform group based in Chicago, holds an annual conference around the first weekend of November.

Call To Action is a national organization with 25,000 national members, and its 53 local chapters throughout the U.S. have members in addition to national members, according to its website. The national organization was founded after the 1976 U.S. bishops' national Call to Action conference in Detroit.

The weekend revolves around keynote speakers, exhibits, workshops, presentations and a liturgy. More than 2000 people attended this year's conference.

Members, consultants named to bishops' religious liberty team


This just in from the U.S. bishops’ conference:

Bishop William Lori, (the next archbishop in Baltimore??) has announced his line up for the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty (See Bishops aim to protect religious liberty, Bishop to Congress: Religious freedom subject to 'rapid erosion' and Bishop faces tough question.)

New members of the ad hoc committee include

  • Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania;

  • Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. of Philadelphia;

  • Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas;

  • Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta;

  • Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis;

  • Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix;

  • Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois,

  • Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama;

  • Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle

  • Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

Check out 'Conversations with Sr. Camille'


The newest addition to our list of illustrious columnists is Mercy Sr. Camille D’Arienzo, who ever two weeks will post an interview (see first interview) with Catholics (some better known, some lesser known), exploring their spiritual journeys. D’Arienzo, a highly respected woman religious and former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, will present these interviews under the title, “Conversations with Sr. Camille.” We hope you follow her work and sign up to be alerted when she posts a new interview. D’Arienzo is a long time religion commentator; she is a prolific writer and author of a soon-to-be-published book, “Stories of Forgiveness.”

New Episcopal bishop inspired by 'progressive Catholics'


I love telling people that I recently interviewed the new Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., who will be consecrated on Saturday, because many ask, quite innocently, "Oh, who is he?"

Then they discover that the new bishop is not a "he," but a "she." Her name is Rev. Mariann Budde, and she comes to Washington from Minneapolis.

Her election as bishop bolsters yet again the thesis of my recent book, Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling.

Women continue to rise to new levels of leadership in the world of religion. As a Catholic, however, I find myself echoing the prayer: "How long, O God, how long" until we can celebrate such an event? Meanwhile, I rejoice with my Episcopal sisters and brothers.

Rarely have I interviewed a religious leader as impressive as Budde. She built a small, struggling parish in Minneapolis into a growing, vibrant spiritual community. In person, she comes across as a deeply spiritual woman: caring, articulate, knowledgeable, democratic in spirit, with a sense of where she hopes to take the diocese.

NCR now available on your tablet or mobile phone


NCR on the iPadThe digital version of NCR is now available via the Kindle app on Apple and Android-powered devices. Cost is $1.99 per month, with a free 14-day trial subscription available

Owners of an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or any Android-powered tablet computer or smart phone can download the Kindle app in the app store. Search "National Catholic Reporter" to start your subscription. Every two weeks, you'll receive the same content as the print newspaper subscribers delivered right to your device of choice.

'Family Circus' creator Bil Keane dies at 89


What would we do without cartoons and cartoonists?

I've got such admiration for these artists. If I could only draw, I tell myself.

My bet is that most of us have enjoyed the cartoon Family Circus on more than one occasion over the years. The Wall Street Journal reports on Bil Keane's death yesterday, Nov. 8, 2011. It's a great read. He'll be missed.

Here's a link to the Family Circus website.


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017