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On this day: St. Columcille


On this day we celebrate "the greatest Irish figure after Patrick, Columcille, prince of Clan Conaill, born in the royal enclosure of Gartan, on December 7, 521, less than ninety years after Patrick's arrival as bishop.

"Though he could have been a king, maybe even high king, Columcille chose to become a monk. His real name, Crimthann, or Fox, holds an echo of the ancient mythology, and he was probably red-haired." Page 169.

--How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, Doubleday, 1975. (Search term: fox.)

One of the most unusual -- and disturbing -- stories you will read for some time


NCR Editor at Large Tom Roberts passed me this to glance at this morning. This news story is reported by Inter Press News Service, which focuses on the developing world, in this case an action in Ecuador presumably initiated by the highest of Catholic church officials.

As reported, it appears, in this instance our church leadership has decided to throw out its gospel teachings and replace them with some kind of a ultra militaristic medieval cult. To what end, I have no clue. We will have to find out more.

The story follows with a Quito, Ecuador dateline:

Catholic bishop emeritus Gonzalo López Marañón has been fasting since May 24 in a park in the Ecuadorian capital to call for peace and reconciliation in Sucumb'os, an Amazon province immersed in a conflict over the Vatican's decision to put the diocese in the hands of an ultra-conservative Catholic order.

Lady Gaga and a path to peace


On Monday evening my wife and I attended the black-tie Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards ceremony held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The CFDA is a not-for-profit trade association that leads industry-wide initiatives and whose membership consists of more than 370 of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewelry, and accessory designers. Diane von Furstenberg, president of CFDA, hosted the evening.

The attendees walking the red carpet included many of the top people in fashion, including a bevy of Victoria's Secret super models, as well as up-and-comer designers.

The evening didn't really begin until Lady Gaga showed up, walking on 10-inch platform shoes and a revealing body suit. It was a site to behold.

First Things columnist criticizes Kansas City Bishop


Elizabeth Scalia, the popular First Things columnist and writer known for her blog "The Anchoress," has joined those critical of Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn for his handling of a case involving a priest arrested for possession of child pornography.

"By all accounts, Bishop Robert Finn is a very good man, but it seems he is a very good man who made a very big -- huge; astounding -- mistake," writes Scalia at the beginning of a blog post yesterday.

The mistake Scalia refers to is Finn's admission that he did not read a May 19, 2010, letter sent to his chancery by Julie Hess, principal of St. Patrick's elementary school, which warned that Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest, "fit the profile of a child predator."

Scalia's comments came the same day The Kansas City Star reported in a front page article that a local candidate for the deaconate had withdrawn his decision to receive holy orders because, he wrote in a letter, "I cannot promise respect or obedience that is a part of the diaconate ordination."

Real immigration reform needed


I blogged recently that New York will no longer participate in the federal government's Secure Communities program. Massachusetts announced its opposition last week.

Here is today's New York Times editorial on immigration reform:

The [Secure Communities] program sends the fingerprints of every person booked by state or local police to federal databases to be checked for immigration violations. It was supposed to focus on dangerous felons. But it catches mostly noncriminals and minor offenders, as New York said, “compromising public safety by deterring witnesses to crime and others from working with law enforcement.”

For years Mr. Obama, like George W. Bush before him, has relentlessly pushed forward with immigration enforcement schemes while failing to give any relief to millions desperate to shed their illegal status.

On this day: St. William of York


On this day we celebrate the feast of St. William fitzHerbert, twice Archbishop of York. He was born around 1090 and died on June 8, 1154.

"St William of York is one of the more obscure saints of medieval England. . . . If he is remembered at all, it is as likely as not for the miracle of Ouse bridge -- surely one of the least remarkable miracles in the annals of hagiography -- or for the unedifying mystery surrounding his death. Outside York, few people have ever heard of St William -- unless they be twelfth-century ecclesiastical historians, among whom he has achieved a certain notoriety as the man at the centre of one of the most protracted and convoluted election disputes ever to have afflicted the English church."

--St William of York, by Christopher Norton, York Medieval Press, 2006, p. 1.

Kansas City pastor homily on clarifying thought


The pastor of Holy Family parish in the Kansas City - St. Joseph diocese, Fr. Matthew Brumleve, spoke the following words last Sunday, Ascension Sunday, about Jim McConnell, a member of his parish who stepped away from the permanent diaconate program, saying he could not kneel before Bishop Robert Finn and offer his unqualified obedience. This is an excerpt from his homily:

Another way ... to clarify one’s thinking on what is valuable and
important in life – is to make a difficult decision – as Jim McConnell had to
do within the last week. Jim and his wife Cindy prayed about and struggled
with his ordination to the diaconate – in light of all that has come out about
what Bishop Finn did, and failed to do, in the recent sexual abuse case
concerning Father Shawn Ratigan.


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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