NCR Today

A splintering church?


For those who know the Catholic community, there is not much startling or new in the new survey of American Catholics, led by Bill D'Antonio, Mary Gautier and Michele Dillon. It is solid research that confirms the trends we have long known are in motion.

But every time I look at the data, I wonder if the bishops pay much attention to these surveys. As reported in the past, Catholics are paying less and less attention to the teachings enunciated by the hierarchy -- especially with respect to the "bedroom issues" (contraception, abortion, divorce/remarriage, same-sex marriage) -- and are relying on their own consciences for moral decision-making.

On intra-church issues, they are strongly in favor of optional celibacy for priests and the ordination of women as priests or deacons. And when it comes to weekly church attendance, Catholics are looking more and more like mainstream Protestants, with declining numbers on Sunday mornings.

An update on the cause of Father Stanley Rother


In August 2010, I wrote a story about Oklahoma archdiocesan priest Stanley Rother, who was murdered in Guatemala in 1981.

The Associated Press has done a story updating the status of Father Rother's cause for canonization:

The path to sainthood in the Catholic Church is long, but supporters of a murdered Oklahoma priest hope he will one day be recognized as a saint.

Father Stanley Rother was 46 when he was killed in July 1981 while serving in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. He had been ministering to the Catholic community there for 13 years, including during the tumultuous years of political strife in the 1970s and into 1981.

Rother knew the dangers. Other priests had been killed. But he refused to abandon his flock, writing in a 1980 letter, "The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger."

On this day: Halloween


On this day we light jack o'lanterns to ward off demons.

Growing up Catholic made me immune to scary movies. Constantly hearing about martyrs being roasted and racked and drawn and quartered made horror movies seem stupid and unimaginative. The only movie that scared me when I was a child was Disney's version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

But what about Catholic Republicans?


But what about Catholic Republicans? asks Amy Sullivan over on the Articles of Faith.

“They have as much or more influence than evangelicals, and yet all of the attention has been on evangelicals,” says Professor Mark Rozell, who studies the religious right at George Mason University.

Read the full story: How Catholic Conservatives Could Quietly Remake the Republican Presidential Race

The golden calf of Wall Street


This week on Interfaith Voices, I interviewed James Salt of Catholics United and Fr. Brian Merritt of Palisades Community Church in northwest D.C. Both have been part of Occupy D.C., the local version of Occupy Wall Street.

James Salt was one of the initiators of a large paper mache "golden calf," created by a growing religious contingent that is part of the Occupy Wall Street movement nationwide. The calf image was made to look like the Wall Street bull and was carried from Judson Memorial Church in New York to the Wall Street encampment -- with great cheers. Moses would have loved it!

Hope&Joy in South Africa: An interview with Raymond Perrier, part two


This is the second in a two-part interview with Raymond Perrier, the director of South Africa's Jesuit Institute, which initiated the Hope&Joy program. Read the first part of the interview here.

NCR: Unity seems a strong theme of "Hope&Joy."
RP: We needed to find a device, a methodology, that would ensure that all people could come together across the full spectrum of Catholicism, to provide a platform where everyone who identifies themselves as Catholic could sit comfortably.

This device, or idea, is that our church is the church of Vatican II. In one way or another, we have ended up with everyone included in "Hope&Joy."

A Vatican III initiative would have delighted a few, but it would have been alienating and jumping way ahead. "Hope&Joy" says: Let's complete Vatican II before we start new things. There is so much of the Second Vatican Council to explore, contemplate, and put into practice.

The people have bought into this idea.

Hope&Joy in South Africa: An interview with Raymond Perrier, part one


Raymond Perrier, 45, is the director of South Africa's Jesuit Institute. He looks younger than his years, has a ready smile and is known for his outgoing personality. He is engaging and articulate, and it is easy to see how his energy might be interpreted by some as ambition rather than passion to do something meaningful for the people of God in South Africa.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017