NCR Today

On this day: Aidan of Lindisfarne


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

"Aidan, Columcille's beloved disciple and first abbot of Lindisfarne, has far better claim than Augustine of Canterbury to the title Apostle of England,"

--How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, Nan A. Talese, 1995, page 200.

The Independent ran an article in 2008 suggesting that St. Aidan be Britain's patron saint, instead of St. George: "Home-Grown Holy Man: Cry God for Harry, Britain and . . . St Aidan."

Morning Briefing


Illinois Foster parents feel caught by Catholic Charities controversy

THE UNION representing teachers at Catholic highschools yesterday asked for the Philadelphia Archdiocese to call in a mediator to resolve a contract dispute that threatens the start of the school year.

Cuban dissidents ask Catholic Church to stop harassment by state

A Clergy Rebellion in Austria's Catholic Church

"The appeal for "more honesty" made to the world's youth by Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid last week left a sour taste in many mouths in Austria, where some say that honesty is a quality the church hierarchy has more of a tendency to punish than reward."

Legal fight over nation's newest nukes plant intensifies


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The legal battle over the construction of a major new nuclear weapons facility here intensified Monday, with lawyers for the plant’s backers intervening to slow down possible issuance of a court order forcing a city-wide vote on the plant’s construction.

The intervention, which saw some ten attorneys for the plant’s operator and construction company present a bevy of new documents to Circuit Court Judge Edith Messina, was the latest in a years-long local struggle over what is set to be the nation's first new nuclear weapons plant in 33 years.

Activists say an arrangement between the city and the federal government, which, in a first for a nuclear weapons facility, gives title to the facility to a state agency, means the city has the power to prohibit nuclear weapons production there.

Vatican paper backs Dolan on sex ed



tThe Vatican newspaper has backed Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a debate over over a new sex education curriculum in New York City, which is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a means of combating early and unintended pregnancies, especially among Black and Latino youth.

The initiative has been criticized by Dolan for, among other things, potentially usurping the role of parents in shaping the moral values of their children.

“What message are we giving our kids when we say, ‘We know you're going to do this … we know you’re going to succumb to all the temptations around you, we know everybody’s doing it, we know you can’t be good, so be careful,’” Dolan asked in a recent interview with New York television.

“I don’t know if that's a wise message,” said Dolan, who also serves as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

tIn a front page essay in the August 31 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Lucetta Scaraffia, the paper’s most prominent female columnist, applauds Dolan's stance.

On this day: St. Jeanne Jugan


On this day we celebrate the feast of "Jeanne Jugan, a Saint for old age and every age. . . . Jeanne Jugan is the foundress and first Little Sister of the Poor. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009. . . . Jeanne Jugan gave herself entirely to God and the elderly poor. As our aging population continues to grow and dignity at the end of life is increasingly threatened, Jeanne Jugan offers herself as a friend and patron of the elderly. She is a Saint for old age."

-- "Who is Jeanne Jugan?" Little Sisters of the Poor Web Site.

\"How dead is dead?\"


From "How dead is dead?" story in the Economist:

IN GENERAL, people are pretty good at differentiating between the quick and the dead. Modern medicine, however, has created a third option, the persistent vegetative state. People in such a state have serious brain damage as a result of an accident or stroke. This often means they have no hope of regaining consciousness. Yet because parts of their brains that run activities such as breathing are intact, their vital functions can be sustained indefinitely.

When, if ever, to withdraw medical support from such people, and thus let them die, is always a traumatic decision. It depends in part, though, on how the fully alive view the mental capacities of the vegetative—an area that has not been investigated much.

To fill that gap Kurt Gray of the University of Maryland, and Annie Knickman and Dan Wegner of Harvard University, conducted an experiment designed to ascertain just how people perceive those in a persistent vegetative state. What they found astonished them.

Find out what here.

Retreat from theology's frontiers


We report today that the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has sharpened its focus on the way theology is being conducted in our church today. The purpose of the congregation is to uphold Catholic doctrine. The congregation, however, misconstrues its role when it becomes the arbiter of what constitutes Catholic theology, managing and even squelching discussions within the theological magisterium. Doctrine and theology should have separate places in the Catholic lexicon.

Lessons from Libya


What appears to be the victory of rebel forces in Libya is welcome news for the oppressed people of that nation. Consolidating that victory will be as difficult as, if not more than, overthrowing Qaddafi.

There is no history or traditions in self-rule much less in democracy in that country. Nevertheless, what is inspiring is the strength of the people in wanting to take control over their lives and to achieve their liberation.

This is one more example of what is now being called the "Arab Spring" or the liberation movements starting with Tunisia, then Egypt, now Libya, and still in progress in Syria and, hopefully, in other despotic Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia.

I take from these events, including the events in Libya, two lessons.


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017