NCR Today

On this day: St. Jane Frances de Chantal


On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, founder, with St. Francis de Sales, of the Visitation Order.

After her husband was killed in a hunting accident, Jane Frances devoted herself to caring for her children, her father-in-law, her servants and tenant farmers, and the poor of the vicinity.

After a dream of the spiritual director she had prayed to find, she attended a sermon at Sainte Chapelle in Dijon. There she recognized the preacher, Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva, as the man in her dream. He, too, had dreamed of Jane Frances in advance of their meeting and of the religious order they would found.

Morning Briefing


If you're reading this on anything except a terminal hooked into some institution's mainframe computer, thank IBM: The Modern PC Turns 30

Organizers of the country’s biggest Catholic gathering in Pakistan say that an unprecedented crisis on the nation’s railways may hinder pilgrims from attending.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley spoke out against the new health regulations released by the Department of Health and Human Services that would mandate universal coverage for contraception.

Birth Control Coverage for Everyone? Not So Fast.

Want to help? Accompany the poor


Are you familiar with the word “accompaniment” in connection with idea of foreign aid and other assistance to the poor? If not, then a recent article in the Foreign Affairs is worth reading. It was written by Paul Farmer, chairman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and a founding director of Partners In Health, an international charity that provides health care to and undertakes research and advocacy on behalf of the sick and poor. The July 29th article is actually adapted from Farmer’s May 2011 commencement speech at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Bishop Hubbard, Cardinal Egan reflect on Gov. Carey's legacy


WARNING: The following blog posting includes quotes from two members of the episcopacy speaking well, in fact, glowingly, of a liberal Democrat politician (albeit a deceased one). Given the pattern of deep and longing intimacy between so many U.S. bishops and so many right-wing Republican politicians, the following quotes may cause scandal among believers. If you are currently taking heart medication for chest pains, please do not read the following posting. Please consult the U.S. Bishops "Family Guide for Using Media" prior to reading this blog post.

Talking faith and politics


When somebody says, "I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior," well, I can hardly argue with that.

It does go against my Catholic grain to hear such blithe confidence that, no matter one's care for the poor, marital fidelity or acts of kindness, the experience of being saved trumps all. But in fact, most of the born-again Christians I actually know are fine people, better than me for sure. So I haven't tried to talk Roman theology with them.

But now I have the uneasy feeling that the politicians are accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of the body politic.

A column last week in The New York Times says it is important to engage with these politicians. So how do I engage with Texas Gov. Rick Perry?

On this day: St. Clare


On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Clare.

For some beautiful Latin, click here. It's the Bull of Canonization of St. Clare of Assisi by Pope Alexander IV, "Given at Anagni, the sixth day before the Calends of October, in the first year of our pontificate." (1255.)

"CLARA CLARIS PRAECLARA meritis, magnae in caelo claritate gloriae, ac in terra splendore miraculorum sublimium clare claret."

The English translation is beside the Latin, but it's hardly needed. The Pope's use of alliteration makes his meaning clear.

Morning Briefing


A phone call from prison


One of the people in prison that I stay in touch with, Kenneth, killed a man in the course of a robbery. Kenneth was 14 at the time and he's been in prison about 23 years now. He has a life-with-parole sentence.

Despite a good prison record, staff recommendations and a home plan, the Parole Board continues to deny him parole. At his last hearing, one of the hearing officers asked him how they could release him against the surviving family's desires.

Kenneth called me last night, just to talk. He used his own meager pay from work in the geriatric unit to make the call. He wanted to know what I was doing and thought it was very funny that the raccoons have eaten all of our tomatoes. He told me about the dogs that men in his housing unit have taken in from the local shelter to train for adoption -- a new program that had been an enormous benefit for the dogs, for the local communities and for the inmates.

It was such an ordinary phone call that, thinking about it this morning, it breaks my heart.


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In This Issue

March 24-April 6, 2017