NCR Today

Kansas City pastor homily on clarifying thought

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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.

Kansas City diaconate candidate leaves program, citing diocesan failings

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A Kansas City candidate for the permanent diaconate, Jim McConnell, informed his local parish this week that because of recent developments within the diocese he has decided step away from the progam. The following is a letter he posted on his parish Web site.

Dear Holy Family Parish:
After a great deal of soul searching, prayer and reflection, I have decided not to accept the call to Holy Orders that I have received.

Because of the recent disclosure of failures within the diocese to protect the people of St. Patrick Parish from harm, I cannot promise respect or obedience that is a part of the diaconate ordination. To me this breakdown in the system that was put in place to protect God's children is inexcusable.

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that I will not be able to serve Holy Family Parish as your deacon. Holy Family has been my spiritual home for over 30 years, and I have received great love and support during many joy filled and sometimes very difficult events in my life. Cindy and I will continue to support Holy Family in what ever way we can and wish to express our appreciation and love to all of you.

Jim and Cindy McConnell

The new evangelization - dumpling style

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A Vietnamese priest created a giant dumpling to mark Dragon Boat festival and to attract Catholics back to Church. Presumably, non-practicing Catholics enjoy a free meal just as much as everyone else. At least this priest is at least trying to generate interest in his parish, which is commendable.

According to Union of Catholic Asian News, an independent Catholic news source in Asia:

Catholics' evolving dialogue on equality

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Bishop Joseph Sullivan, the retired auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, reflects on how "My own understanding of [the gay and lesbian] community has also evolved over the course of four decades of ministry."

He writes:

Catholics and other religious people who support LGBT rights do so because of their experience of engagement with members of the LGBT community. They are not rebels in their churches, but people who have taken spiritual messages of inclusiveness and welcoming to heart.

On this day: Bd. Anne of St. Bartholomew

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On this day we celebrate the feast of Bd. Anne of St. Bartholomew.

She was born in 1549, "the child of peasants living at Almendral, near Avila, and their family name was Garc'a. . . . she was drawn to religious life, and she was admitted to the Carmelite convent of St Joseph at Avila on 7 November 1570. On 15 August 1572 she was professed as the first lay Sister of the Reform. From 1575 to 1582 she was the close companion of Teresa and accompanied her on nearly all her journeys."

Calling on Caterpillar to protect human rights

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A month ago I went to the General Dynamics annual shareholder meeting outside of Washington, D.C. You may remember I was going to introduce a resolution calling for investigation of corporate human rights practices with an eye to developing a human rights policy. The resolution got 17 percent of the votes cast.

This is important. By Securities and Exchange rules, shareholders cannot tell management what to do unless they take over the board. So resolutions can only make recommendations to the board. But because management controls so many proxies, the SEC says if a resolution gets 3 percent of the vote, it can be reintroduced the next year. The shareholder proponents did well at General Dynamics.

Tomorrow I am driving to the Caterpillar meeting in Little Rock, Ark. Little Rock? you ask. Perhaps you thought their HQ was Peoria, Ill. Well, yes, it is. Apparently the company is running away from the small band of activists. We criticize Caterpillar's sale of weaponized D9 bulldozers through the Pentagon to the Israeli Defense Force.

The taxman cometh: Scranton diocese to pay taxes on closed churches

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The downsizing of dioceses around the country, sometimes dramatic, is creating a tax revenue opportunity for local towns and cities. In Scranton, Pa., the diocese is going to begin to pay taxes to the county on closed parishes. One interesting type of case involves parishes that are substantially closed, but have periodic religious activities. Should these properties be taxed? If so, how?

Another interesting aspect of this new tax issue for dioceses is where will the money come to pay for these new tax bills within diocesan budgets, which up until the time of parish closures did not exist. Will the liability be sent downstream to the remaining, open parishes, say, by increasing the diocesan tax on parish general revenues called a cathedraticum? Or, will payments come from the bishop's annual appeal? The money has got to come from somewhere.

Episcopal church in Bladensburg to convert to Roman Catholic parish

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The Washington Post today reports:


An Episcopal church in Bladensburg has decided to become the first in the Washington area -- and one of the first in the country -- to convert to a Roman Catholic parish, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington announced Monday.

St. Luke’s, a small, tightknit congregation founded in 1895, had been thinking about becoming Roman Catholic since 2009. Last year, in the wake of a remarkable bid by the Vatican to reach out to disaffected Anglicans, it made an overture to the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Catholics see the same thing differently: Malick's \"The Tree of Life\"

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A couple of weeks ago "The Tree of Life" won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival though some audience members booed the film while others applauded it. Robert De Niro, the president of the international jury, said "It had the size, the importance, the intention, whatever you want to call it, that seemed to fit the prize…. Most of us felt the movie was terrific."

Peter Bradshaw, writing in The Guardian on May 15 said the film was "mad and magnificent."

One of the core concepts of media literacy education is that people can look at the same film or television program and interpret it in vastly differing ways, all of them valid. How is this possible? Because each viewer, if one might follow a Thomist principle, "receives according to the mode of the one receiving."

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December 2-15, 2016

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