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Koreans resume hunger strikes opposing proposed naval base


The gutsy and persistent campaign to oppose the construction of a South Korean naval base on Jeju Island continues.

Bruce Gagnon reports that Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, former chair of the South Korean Film Critics Association, and Sung-Hee Choi, a member of the Korean peace organization SPARK, have resumed their hunger strike in protest of the base.

Gagnon, a Maine-base peace activist and founder of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, has been chronicling the Jeju campaign on his blog,

In a June 3 article for NCR I reported that Yoon-Mo concluded a 57-day hunger strike after his release from jail on June 1. But he and Choi, who was arrested during an anti-base protest and is still in jail, are now fasting again, says MacGregor Eddy, a Californian activist who is participating in the demonstrations at Gangjeong Village, site of the planned naval base.

Doctrine committee has Johnson's letter, will respond


BELLEVUE, WASH. -- The U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine will respond soon by letter to theologian Sr. Elizabeth Johnson whose 2007 book, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, was severely criticized by the group, according to the executive director of the bishops’ Secretariat for Doctrine.

Rep. King examines terrorist \"recruitment\" in prisons


From NPR:

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday that looks at terrorist recruitment inside the walls of American jails and prisons. The last time New York Congressman Peter King (R) examined radicalization among Muslims, he generated a huge backlash from religious and civil rights groups.

But people who study prisons said the number of criminals who turn to extremism behind bars is small but worrisome. And they all point to the same case to open the conversation.


"Prisoners in jail often are looking for a new alternative, and being converted to Islam, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that," King says. "In fact in many cases it's ideal for prisoners. This is the religion they've been looking for."

In fact, prison authorities say Islam, the fastest growing religion inside prison, has a positive effect on inmates' behavior. Experts who track extremism said they aren't talking about the kind of Islam that most people, including most prisoners, follow.

Reflections after the American Catholic Council meeting


I’m a veteran of conferences on church reform. I started out at the first Women’s Ordination Conference in 1975, attended the original Call to Action (the one the U.S. Bishops called in 1976) and participated in numerous Call to Action and Women’s Conferences since then. I’ve even attended a couple in Europe, including the 8th of May Movement in the Netherlands.

So, the American Catholic Council meeting in Detroit this past weekend (June 10-12) was of great interest to me. I was especially interested in signs of change and maturing in the movement. Here’s what I sensed and observed:

  1. The issue of women’s ordination, and gender equality generally, has risen to a new level of prominence on the roster of reform. It is at the top of many reformers’ lists -- men as well as women. It’s clear as never before: the denial of women’s equality just makes no sense to most Catholics anymore, especially these Catholics.

Asian bishops acknowledge global sex abuse problem


In response to the Vatican’s May 16th request that all bishops to formulate policies on the sexual abuse of minors, the Federation of Roman Catholic Asian Bishops’ Conference will host a 6-day seminar in Bangkok on “The Impact of Pedophilia.”

Msgr. Charles Scicluna, a official at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the Vatican’s chief sexual abuse prosecutor, will join the bishop in creating new, specific guidelines.

Hisashi Yukimoto of Religion News Service reports (See Asian bishops say abuse isn't just 'a problem of the West') that many Asian bishops have admitted to an increase in “letters from different quarters of the church that pedophilia has already become a considerably serious problem in Asia.”

An announcement on the Federation’s website is remarkably candid:

“Let us not be complacent that pedophilia is a problem of the West or the other continents of the world; it is equally prevalent in many countries of Asia.”

Fostering tolerance in religion


This story about Eboo Patel offers hope that some positive change is coming to religious tolerance.

From today's New York Times:

Interfaith activism could be a cause on college campuses, he argued, as much “a norm” as the environmental or women’s rights movements, as ambitious as Teach for America. The crucial ingredient was to gather students of different religions together not just to talk, he said, but to work together to feed the hungry, tutor children or build housing.

“Interfaith cooperation should be more than five people in a book club,” Mr. Patel said, navigating his compact car to a panel discussion at Elmhurst College just west of downtown Chicago, while answering questions and dictating e-mails to an aide. “You need a critical mass of interfaith leaders who know how to build relationships across religious divides, and see it as a lifelong endeavor.”

On this day: Harriet Beecher Stowe


On this day, two centuries ago, Harriet Beecher was born in the parsonage at Litchfield, Connecticut, to the Congregationalist minister Lyman Beecher and his wife, Roxana Foote. The baby born on June 14, 1811, would grow up to become the author of the most important novel of the 19th century.

Click here for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. At the right, click on the live stream for today's 24-hour reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin, beginning at 10:00 A.M. Eastern. At the left, click on the Museum Store for various editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin, including an annotated one edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS