In an interview with the Guardian, Stephen Hawking, rejects the notion of a heaven:
Earlier this week, President Obama was in my hometown of El Paso, Texas, to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.
He had promised such reform during his presidential campaign in 2008 but never introduced such legislation during his first two years when the Democrats strongly controlled both houses of Congress and chances for such legislation looked promising.
However, the President placed his political capital on legislation to recharge the economy and especially on health care that passed. Immigration reform was put aside.
For me, the word "confession" conjures up images of dark booths with dark mesh screens -- a private place where dark deeds can be made undone away from the light. I've been Catholic all my life; I can't help it.
But that's not the image of confession for most Americans now -- maybe not even most Catholics. This very private sacrament continues its decline, and I've got to think there's one prominent person who's partly to blame: Oprah Winfrey.
When I checked Facebook this morning I had an urgent request asking "Is it not a clear violation of Church Law to sell an item that has been blessed?" The "friend" included a link to "Fr. John Corapi's Rosary Blessed by John Paul II: The Rosary prayed during his formative years."
At NCR, we play well with others. That means, for example, that our writers and contributors share their insights and analysis with different audiences -- meaning, if we’re not diligent in bringing it to your attention, that you might miss some of their best stuff.
To avoid that possibility, here are some recent highlights from NCR contributors and friends you may have missed:
Only in civil courts do lay Catholics and the broader society begin to see the true nature of Catholic dioceses and religious orders.
After all the press releases and "audited" financial statements, there remains plenty of legal head-fakes, numerous civil corporate structures intentionally created and completely controlled by the bishop or archbishop, but "separately incorporated" by tricky bishops, priests and their lawyers.
The notion is for the archbishop or bishop to hide behind a civil legal structure to "protect" diocesan assets from a forced sale. But when the deceptive legal maneuvers are peeled back in a bankruptcy court or in a litigation setting, one can quickly identify the diocese's corporate behavior for what it really is.
It's comical to listen to bishops discuss ethical decision-making in businesses or of transparency and accountability when the multiple inter-connected corporations they control and run hardly adopt such principles. See for example, reporting on the Diocese of San Diego.
Now comes the here-we-go-again case of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Catholic Center.
On this day, a century ago, twenty-two young women received their white veils at the Mallinckrodt Convent of the Sisters of Christian Charity at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
The New York Times listed 17 of them: Gertrude Schumacher, Anna Mueller, Catherine Huelsing, Clara Forst, Martha Schumann, Catherine Lang, Emelia Frank, Jane Weiss, Elizabeth Nehls, Theresa Hemmer, Catherine Wagner, Veronica Homan, Irma Blankenburg, Anna Wiltgen, Cecelia Gangelhoff, Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Puls, and Catherine Ringwald.
In an effort to promote a uniform global standard in response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis, the Vatican today issued a set of “guidelines” for bishops’ conferences around the world, and instructed conferences which don’t yet have policies on sex abuse to draft them by May 2012.
I have a lot of respect for Sojourners magazine, the evangelical/progressive publication and Washington, D.C.-based community focused on social justice issues. I know some of the editors and have written for it. That's why I was especially saddened to hear about the controversy over the magazine's decision to reject an ad calling for inclusion of LGBT families in churches.
A lot has been written about this decision, which Sojourners defended by saying they didn't want to take sides on the LGBT issue, including an excellent column by NCR's own Jamie L. Manson.
I had nothing to add to the discussion until I read one of the most recent defenses by former Sojourners board chair Brian McLaren, who claims Sojourners had to reject the ad because of its coalition-building among evangelical Christians, Catholic Christians and progressive Christians. The cost of that coalition, he argues, is: "You can’t lead a coalition that includes mainstream evangelical and conservative Catholic Christians if you are an outspoken leader on LGBTQ issues."