NCR Today

Disturbing the universe


Last week, I showed the documentary "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe" to a group of attorneys and other interested persons. It’s really an amazing account.

The two filmmakers are his daughters from his second marriage. They were in high school when he defended the accused attackers of the Central Park jogger, the accused killer of Rabbi Kahane who founded the Jewish Defense League, and the first World Trade Center accused bombers.

The young girls were embarrassed when their friends asked why their father would defend such men and Kunstler’s wife was terrified because the family was receiving death threats. Then Kunstler died of a heart attack. His daughters grew up to be documentary filmmakers and decided to learn themselves and tell the story of their famous father’s life.

My hope is that people will stay for half an hour after the screening to talk about the need for better defense than the overworked public defenders are currently able to provide. I would really like to have a group of attorneys who meet regularly to review not only claims of innocence but also parole hearings, jail conditions and misuse of prosecutorial power.

Avatar of secularism faces blowback for pro-papal line


Lord Palmerston, the 19th century British Prime Minister, famously said that in politics there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. Benedict XVI would probably concur on the strength of his experience in Madrid the last few days, where liberal and secular currents in Spanish society have voiced outrage over the blatantly pro-papal line emanating from -- of all places -- the government of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodr'guez Zapatero.

On this day: Mother and Queen


On this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady, Mother and Queen.

My Queen! My Mother! I give myself entirely to thee; and to show my devotion to thee, I consecrate to this this day my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being, without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am thine own, keep me, guard me, as thy property and possession.

--The Catholic Girl's Guide, edited by the Rev. Francis X. Lasance, Benziger Brothers, 1906.

Morning Briefing


Washington Public to get first glimpse of King memorial, The site is opening Monday morning without fanfare to kick off a week of celebrations ahead of Sunday's official dedication.

Phoenix diocese cathedral won't allow girl altar servers, Altar duties called part of priesthood prep

Illinois Catholic Charities loses ruling on foster care, Judge rules state is not obligated to renew agencies' contracts

Philadelphia priests gather amid abuse crisis, Many clergy feel uninformed by church, group says

Georgetown, China basketball coaches and players meet a day after on-court brawl


From the front page of The Washington Post:

Members of Georgetown University’s basketball team held a make-up session with the Chinese military team, the Bayi Rockets, one day after their chair-throwing, on-court brawl led to an abrupt end to their “friendly” exhibition game and prompted an online outpouring of disgust by Chinese fans.

A statement on the Georgetown team’s Web site said the two sides met Friday morning following “heated exchanges in an exhibition game Thursday evening.” The statement said Georgetown Coach John Thompson III and Bayi Coach Adi Jiang and their team members “shared a very cordial and friendly meeting.”

Climate Change: the "Silent?" Issue


If there is any clear mandate in Christianity, it is the call to care for our planet, for the natural world that God has entrusted to us. But for decades now, scientists have been warning us about the dangers of climate change, and the fact that human activity is the major cause of it. It is a consensus endorsed even by the Vatican.

Enter Rick Perry. He announced on the campaign trail that he does not believe that climate change is caused by human action. I’m not sure what planet he is living on, but he seems to have missed the entire scientific consensus on this issue.

What kind of military do we need to defend our borders?


Just think. What sort of military do we need to defend our borders? Tanks, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines are particularly ineffective against terrorists. Nuclear weapons use would turn global warming into a nuclear winter which won’t solve anything. The oceans and the sheer size of the nation are effective deterrents to invasion.

If we started the Department of Defense off at zero, imagine where you would put the money.

Myself, I would spend a bundle on information gathering – spying, if you like. And then I’d spend three bundles addressing the needs the spies uncovered: nation-building, job creation, trade opportunities.

But even for me, it is difficult to say: disband the DOD; toss the guns; pitch the nukes; bring the boys home. People would say, that’s crazy talk. But what is crazy, what is true mental illness, is the stockpile of nuclear weapons; the continued building of newer fighter planes designed to dogfight with Russia MIGs; the plans for new aircraft carriers to deploy the fighters. I could go on.

In the Anglican Church, Sexism Still Runs Deep


Early this week in the Guardian, Lesley Crawley offers a comparison of the sexism she faced as an engineer and the sexism she now faces as a priest in the Church of England.

Crawley describes enduring catcalls, lewd gestures, and blatant displays of pornography by her male co-workers in the factory where she was an engineer. She writes:

Although these events were difficult, it was possible to manage well as a woman in the secular workplace, because the structures were not sexist. So I knew that the law of the land entitled me to work as an engineer, and that the procedures of our company demanded equality. Furthermore, almost all of the managers, and especially the managing director, were enthusiastically committed to equality. . . .


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017