NCR Today

On this day: St. Ursula

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Ursula, patron of the Ursuline Order.

St. Angela Merici, who founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535, "created a religious community of women which was fundamentally different in its self-concept from other Orders existing then, e.g., Benedictines or Poor Clares. The basis for this was the spirituality which she explained in her writings--the Rule, Counsels, and Legacy. Angela combined open-mindedness and religious commitment in a way which had hardly been possible for women until that time.

Morning Briefing

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Opinion: In its efforts to help pass a state constitutional amendment against gay marriage in Minnesota, the Catholic Church is creating a troubling precedent.

Faith communities seek federal partnership to combat domestic violence

Catechism said to immunize Catholic voters against political 'spin'

NYT Editorial: Accountability in Missouri, Missouri officials deserve credit for puncturing the myth that church law and a bishop’s authority can somehow take precedence over criminal law — and the safety of children.

Opinion: Catholic humanism is superior to today's exhausted secularism

Louisville hospital 'will not entirely follow' Catholic directives

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Partners in the proposed University of Louisville merger (including Jewish Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives) this week explained to the public during a meeting organized by the Louisville Metro Board of Health "how procedures currently banned by the Catholic Church would or would not be performed at a merged University Hospital," according to this report by Louisville radio station WFPL.

Audience members learned that the hospital "will not entirely follow Catholic care directives" if the merger is approved, as well as details on how the hospital would handle a number of reproductive services, according to the report. But critics said they are still looking for clearer answers.

UC-Irvine priest-faculty member makes $10 million gift

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In the good news department, the Orange County Business Journal is reporting:

A University of California, Irvine, professor who is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and has worked to establish common ground between science and religion in the debate over evolution donated $10 million to the School of Biological Sciences there.

Francisco J. Ayala will fund the gift—the largest by a faculty member in UCI's 46-year history—from a vineyard he has owned for decades.

"When you can do good things, you should do them," said Ayala, a native of Spain, in a statement. "This is a way of showing my gratitude to this university, which has been so good to me, where I have been able to do my research and teach wonderful students, and where I have been honored in so many ways. In a larger context, it's a way of expressing my gratitude to this country. I came to the United States as a student, with no intention to stay, and yet here I am."

Bishops bet on World Series outcome

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According to the St. Louis archdiocese newspaper, St. Louis Review:

"Archbishop Robert J. Carlson (of St. Louis archdiocese) has prompted a World Series wager with former Cardinals fan, Bishop Kevin W. Vann from the Diocese of Fort Worth, TX, official home diocese of the Texas Rangers.

"Bishop Vann has strong ties to the St. Louis area. He is a Springfield, Illinois native and grew up watching the Springfield Cardinals, then farm team for the St. Louis Cardinals. He studied at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and graduated in 1981. As a former Cardinals fan, Bishop Vann has agreed to a friendly wager on the series with Archbishop Carlson.

"If the Cardinals win, Bishop Vann will send a taste of authentic Texas BBQ along with a Stetson cowboy hat. If the Rangers take the title, Archbishop Carlson will send a taste of local St. Louis favorites, including toasted ravioli from The Hill, Gus's pretzels, locally-brewed Schlafly Beer and Fitz's Root Beer, along with a Cardinals baseball cap to replace the caps Bishop Vann discarded when he moved to Texas.

Morning Briefing

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Brussels -- Roman Catholic bishops applaud ban on embryonic stem cell patents

Louisville, Ky. -- Officials field questions on hospital merger, dozens of questions about reproductive and end-of-life care, health insurance for employees and other issues.

South Bend, Ind. -- Federal Judge once again blocks St. Joseph's High School deal. Judge says city council favoring Catholic religion.

Phenix City, Ohio -- St. Patrick's Catholic Church free lunch program continues to gain steam

New book probes 'crisis of authority' in Catholicism

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I've been writing and talking about responsible dissent in the church for about 20 years, and now comes a new book that examines the whole issue of authority from the viewpoint of history, theology, tradition, Scripture and canon law.

It is titled "The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity." Among the contributors are heavyweights including Fr. Francis Sullivan,
Charles Taylor, Lisa Sowle Cahill and Francis Oakley.

Here is a review from America magazine.

Faith and presidential politics

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An op-ed column in this morning's Washington Post caught my eye. It was titled "Why a Candidate's Faith Matters," and the author is Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. Several days ago, when he introduced Rick Perry at a public event, he referred to Mormonism (the faith of both Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman) as a "cult." At the time, he was quite rightly criticized for religious bigotry.

Had he been introducing candidates in 1960, I wonder what he would have said about John F. Kennedy and his Catholicism.

In this column, Jeffress not only defended his remarks, he claimed that religion should play a role in deciding on a candidate for president. He acknowledges that Article VI of the Constitution says that there shall be no religious test for public office, but says that refers to government litmus tests, not individual judgments.

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May 19-June 1, 2017

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