NCR Today

Two mandarin oranges


I attended a wedding this weekend north of San Francisco; it gave me a different understanding of our national debt crisis.

The last few weeks have not been a pretty time for our democratic experiment; the wailing and breast-beating since the debt deal was announced has been just as hysterical. This moment, we are told early and often, marks the beginning of the end for America's golden place among the nations of our globe. We now find ourselves, inexorably, in steep decline.

But far outside the beltway, in a small Marin County town surrounded by hills and range, a very different American debt was paid in full: two young people got married. Nothing exceptional about that, of course, except for the story of their family. Bride and groom were Jewish, and it's safe to say at least one set of parents were fully astounded as they watched the day unfold.

On this day: Bl. Ceferino GimÈnez Malla


On this day we celebrate the feast of Blessed Ceferino Giménez Malla, Patron Saint of the Rom and Sinti.

He was born 150 years ago this month. In the early days of the Spanish Civil War, 75 years ago this month, he was shot to death while trying to protect a priest.

"Zefferino Giménez Malla (1861-1936), known as 'El Pelé', was born of a Catholic gypsy family. He lived like a nomad for forty years and then settled in Barbastro (Spain). He married but had no children. Although he was illiterate, he taught the gypsy and non-gypsy children the first elements of Christianity, using the Bible above all, and he trained them to pray daily.

Citing scandals, KC diocese delays fundraising campaign


The diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, which has been in controversy over its response to several allegations of sexual misconduct by priests, has decided to delay a capital campaign "in light of the current challenge."

Announcement of the delay of the campaign came this afternoon in a letter from the diocesan vice-chancellor, which was obtained by NCR.

According to the letter, written by vice-chancellor Paula Moss to the priests of the diocese, the diocese asked its priests if it should continue with the fundraising drive, which was hoped would raise enough for the construction of a new school in the area, since "the challenge with Shawn Ratigan came to the forefront of our attention."

"When we asked our priests for advice and guidance, 75 percent of the priests recommended that we delay our consideration of a capital campaign at this time," writes Moss. "We are following that recommendation."

News of the suspension of the campaign comes as the diocese is facing criticism regarding its response to several allegations of sexual misconduct.

Belleville appeal rejected, again


From the Belleville News-Democrat:

The Illinois Supreme Court for the second time has denied a request by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville to hear an appeal of a St. Clair County Court jury verdict awarding $5 million to a former altar boy jurors found was sexually abused by a priest.

The only remaining avenue for appeal is to the U.S. Supreme Court, but only if a constitutional question can be raised.

St. Louis attorney David Wells filed the motion on behalf of the diocese asking the state appeals court to reconsider its original denial on May 25 on grounds that the award threatened the religious freedom of Illinois residents.

Church middle management speaking out


The New York Times is showing more than passing interest to the issue of the ordination of women in the Catholic church. A front page article on July 23 discussed a recent upsurge of priests publicly favoring ordination in three far flung parts of the world.

Religion writer Laurie Goodstein noted first that 150 U.S. priests, all reportedly in good standing, signed a letter of support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who is facing excommunication from the Maryknoll order and the priesthood for refusing to renounce his support of women priests.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi memorial service planned


Memorial Mass for nuncio will be celebrated Sept. 14 at national shrine

By Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service reports that a memorial mass for Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who died July 27, will be celebrated Sept. 14 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be the main celebrant of the noon Mass, according to an Aug. 1 announcement by the USCCB.


Vietnamese still dying from U.S. artillery shells


Remember the effects of our wars linger for many, many years. Just saw this AP story from Haonoi:

A Vietnam War-era artillery shell has exploded, killing three farmers who were cutting it up for scrap metal in central Vietnam.

Police say two of the men died at the scene and another died on the way to a hospital following the incident Saturday.

Tieu Viet Thanh, police chief in Binh Chau village in Quang Ngai province, said Monday that the men, who were aged 52 to 55, had collected the 105-millimeter shell near a beach in the village. The village, a former stronghold of North Vietnamese communist forces, suffered bombardment and artillery fire from American and South Vietnamese forces during the war.

Vietnamese government figures show unexploded ordnance has killed more than 42,000 people and wounded some 62,000 since the war ended in 1975.

My question: What is our moral responsibility?

A digital strategy for the U.S. Catholic church?


Thomas Shakely over at the Huffington Post lays out an interesting idea: The U.S. Catholic church, and its attendant parts, develops a coherent digital strategy.

"Catholics under 30, who embody the future of the Church, are true digital natives. They experience life in both the physical and digital space, with real world experiences like the Mass amplified across online profiles and communities, sparking curiosity and conversation among people who expect to be able to find answers (at least, orthodox clarity of information) as simply as they search for an address or pay a bill.

The digital life, in other words, impacts lines of thinking and personal formation. This leads to an inescapable conclusion: the Catholic Church is missing a tremendous opportunity."

On this day: Joseph of Arimathea


On this day, the Episcopal Church honors Joseph of Arimathea. In the Roman Catholic Church, the disciple who buried Jesus in his own tomb is venerated on March 17, St. Patrick's Day. The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates Joseph of Arimathea on July 31. He is mentioned in all four gospels.

". . . there is an ancient tradition that Joseph of Arimathea was a relative of Jesus and that, being involved in the trade between the Cornish tin mines and the eastern Mediterranean, Joseph took Jesus with him on a business trip to Cornwall in the years before Jesus began his public ministry. That part of the tradition is referred to in a poem of William Blake's that asks: 'And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen?'"


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April 21-May 4, 2017