NCR Today

11 anti-nuke activists in court this week, 2 sentenced to jail yesterday


Two anti-nuclear activists were sentenced to jail yesterday for acts of civil disobedience at the Y-12 National Security Complex, a key U.S. nuclear weapons production and maintenance compound, to protest a proposed major new facility at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., site.

Jean Gump and Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel, part of a group of twelve activists who were found guilty last May of criminal trespass at the site, were sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton to time served and three months in jail, respectively.

Construction of a major new nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the Oak Ridge complex, projected by the Army Corps of Engineers to cost some $7.5 billion, was officially announced by the federal government July 25.

Gump and Bichsel were part of a group of 13 who took part in the July 5, 2010, action, which came at the end of a 200-strong peace rally outside the gates of the complex. After a prayer vigil, 13 people climbed over a barbed wire fence onto the property and were arrested, Ralph Hutchison, a coordinator for the group opposing the new Tennessee facility’s construction, told NCR in May.

Who is Fr. Frank Pavone?


The news that Fr. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, is being recalled to his Amarillo, Texas, home diocese, to answer questions about the financial operations of the pro-life group, may have shocked his followers.

One hopes that this is a misunderstanding and can be cleared up quickly. Goodness knows we've had enough scandal.

For those not familiar with Fr. Pavone, I dipped into the archives of Catholic News Service to find two stories from the recent past about Fr. Pavone and Preists for Life.

From April 29, 2010


Pro-life 'freedom rides' set to begin this summer in Birmingham


By Catholic News Service

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CNS) -- Calling for an end to the nation's "enslavement to legal abortion," Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life announced April 27 that a series of "freedom rides" for the unborn would begin this summer.

The rides will be nonpartisan, interdenominational and nonviolent and will involve a diverse cross-section of people, Father Pavone said at a news conference in Birmingham's Kelly Ingram Park.

Former Vatican official: ICC appeal the 'usual anti-Catholic attempt'


tFor now, Vatican spokespersons are withholding comment on an appeal to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation against Pope Benedict XVI and three other senior officials for “crimes against humanity” related to the sexual abuse crisis.

tThat request was announced today by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based group with roots in the civil rights movement.

tOne former Vatican official, however, has weighed in. On the sidelines of an interreligious assembly in Munich, Germany, organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio , Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, a former prefect of the Vatican’s missionary department, offered his take.

tThe appeal to the ICC, Sepe said, amounts to “the usual anti-Catholic attempt, which tends to obscure an image [of the church] that, from a human point of view, is about the most prestigious we have in our society.”

tSepe’s comment was reported today by “Vatican Insider,” an on-line service of the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

New York, New York


I grew up in San Diego listening to my Connecticut born and bred mother praising the wonders of New York City. Her parents took her and her siblings there often to visit an aunt who lived and prospered there. For some reason the Museum of Natural History was the place she most often described for us kids.

After three years in the convent in Boston, we novices went by car to New York in November 1970, to have an experience of our apostolate of evangelization with the media and to see what convent life was like in a smaller community than that of the provincial-novitiate house.

We drove our van down the Hudson Parkway and under the George Washington Bridge, with the Cloisters to our left, and the shrine of Mother Cabrini, Sr. Anthony told us. But I fell into something that must be like ecstasy as Manhattan was revealed via the view from the then-elevated West Side Highway. It wouldn't be closed until 1973 and completely closed and demolished until 1989.

Post-9/11 Reflections


Sunday, I was the master of ceremonies for the 9-11 Unity Walk, which brought people of many faith traditions together to express mutual respect for each other’s faith traditions. And an amazing event it was. Where else can you hear a Muslim call to prayer in a synagogue? Where else can you hear “Amazing Grace” over the loudspeakers at a mosque? Where else would you find the Vatican Embassy serving cookies to everyone who comes by on the front lawn?

Morning Briefing


NCRtInt'l Criminal Court urged to investigate Vatican officials

NPR Sex-Abuse Victims Want Hague Tribunal To Investigate Vatican

AP Abuse victims seek int'l court case against pope

The Guardian Pope accused of crimes against humanity by victims of sex abuse. Victims' complaint to the international criminal court accuses Pope Benedict and three others of failing to prevent abusers

Press Release from the Center for Constitutional Rights ICC Vatican Prosecution

Television 10 years after


In the days right after 9/11, it was a constant refrain in the television business: nothing would ever be the same here, either. And things have changed in the decade since, but not in the way many foresaw.

Writing in the entertainment trade paper Variety, columnist Brian Lowry recounts that early reaction: irony was dead, seriousness would reign. I was a network news producer at NBC back then, and we all thought 9/11 signaled a sea change. How could supposed-entertainment shows with names like "Fear Factor" keep going? How could the then-emerging genre dubbed "reality television" continue in the wake of such "real" reality as 9/11? And the news: a nation obsessed for years with topics like O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson would no doubt shake itself sober and pay attention to more important matters.

But, as Lowry writes, little of that came to pass. O.J. was replaced by, well, another O.J. trial -- this one in Las Vegas. And news-based soap operas like the Casey Anthony trial continued to dominate, along with coverage of politics that had no more depth than it did on 9/10.

Godly presence at fashion show


As part of Fashion Week in New York City, this story is from Friday's New York Post:

"Father Andrew O'Connor presided over a "wedding" at designer Tara Subkoff's Imitation of Christ presentation at the W Hotel Union Square yesterday afternoon, where Lydia Hearst played the bride. But it's not O'Connor's first foray into the fashion world -- he runs Goods of Conscience, a Guatemala-sourced sustainable-fabric clothing manufacturer that made a pair of shorts Cameron Diaz wore on Vogue's cover two years ago."


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July 14-27, 2017