NCR Today

N.Ireland gov't to probe church sex abuse


The Irish Time is reporting:

A major inquiry into the abuse of children in institutions run by the Catholic Church and the state is to be launched in Northern Ireland, it was announced today.

The Stormont Executive confirmed the investigation will be phased-in over the next two years and will be armed with the power to compel the release of records plus the cooperation of witnesses.

Read the full report.

Catholic education at its best: Wangari Maathai


I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan woman who became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Greenbelt Movement in her native Kenya. She died of cancer after a lifetime working for social justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Because of her tireless organizing, she became a target of government opposition in Kenya over decades, suffering beatings, jailings and intimidation. But she never gave up.

The Green Belt Movement, which she established in 1977, mobilized hundreds of thousands of women and men to plant more than 47 million trees in Kenya. This was a way of restoring the environment and improving the lives of people in poverty at the same time.

Morning Briefing


Can Scalia be denied communion now?


It was widely reported this week that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended his pro-death penalty position during a speech at Duquesne University School of Law.

According to John Gehring's Bold Faith Type blog on the Faith in Public Life Web site, Scalia's lecture [link updated 9-29-11] was met with protesters who oppose the death penalty. The lecture took place just days after the controversial execution of Troy Davis.

During the speech, Scalia noted the presence of the protests, and said that he found no contradiction between his Catholic faith and his support of the death penalty. He added,

"If I thought that Catholic doctrine held the death penalty to be immoral, I would resign," he said. "I could not be a part of a system that imposes it."

Gehring did a fine job of presenting texts from John Paul II, the Vatican's Justice and Peace office, and statements from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that clearly state the church's doctrinal opposition to the death penalty. They oppose it on the same grounds that they oppose abortion: executions are seen as an assault on the sanctity of human life. This is why, just last week, Pope Benedict XVI himself asked for Davis's life to be spared.

Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage


Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, a Sister of Mercy, was named to the Modern Healthcare's HealthCare Hall of Fame last March. Read more here.

I missed that announcement, but it is never too late to sing someone's praises.

Back in 1977 I was one of seven women who opened a Catholic Worker house for women and children. We had an old convent with a dozen or so bedrooms for guests and an attic where we built walls for community bedrooms. We had to clean and paint everything, beg a kitchen stove and beds, plan house management, raise money, etc. We were up to our ears in work.

The phone rang and I answered it. It was Sr. Mary Roch. "What can I do to help?" she asked.

U.S. priest to attend Irish meeting


A representative of the newly created Association of U.S. Catholic Priests will attend the general meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests (the Irish organization) Oct. 4-5 in Dublin.

Fr. Bernard Survil, who was instrumental in the formation of the U.S. association, said he hopes only to establish personal contact with officers and members of the Irish group.

"We are two independent organizations," he said, "and we don't see that the goals of the Irish association are replicable in the United States."

Vatican II eye-witness speaks out


Earlier this month, theologian Giovanni Franzoni, a former Benedictine abbott and one of the youngest participants at Vatican II, and now one of the few remaining eyewitnesses, delivered his reflections on the council during the 31st Congress of the Asociacion de Teologas Juan XXIII in Madrid.

Fellow NCR Today blogger Bob McClory wrote about this yesterday (See Former Abbott: Paul VI undermined Vatican II), but it bears more attention.


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In This Issue

March 24-April 6, 2017