NCR Today

Want to help? Accompany the poor


Are you familiar with the word “accompaniment” in connection with idea of foreign aid and other assistance to the poor? If not, then a recent article in the Foreign Affairs is worth reading. It was written by Paul Farmer, chairman of Harvard Medical School's Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and a founding director of Partners In Health, an international charity that provides health care to and undertakes research and advocacy on behalf of the sick and poor. The July 29th article is actually adapted from Farmer’s May 2011 commencement speech at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Bishop Hubbard, Cardinal Egan reflect on Gov. Carey's legacy


WARNING: The following blog posting includes quotes from two members of the episcopacy speaking well, in fact, glowingly, of a liberal Democrat politician (albeit a deceased one). Given the pattern of deep and longing intimacy between so many U.S. bishops and so many right-wing Republican politicians, the following quotes may cause scandal among believers. If you are currently taking heart medication for chest pains, please do not read the following posting. Please consult the U.S. Bishops "Family Guide for Using Media" prior to reading this blog post.

Talking faith and politics


When somebody says, "I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior," well, I can hardly argue with that.

It does go against my Catholic grain to hear such blithe confidence that, no matter one's care for the poor, marital fidelity or acts of kindness, the experience of being saved trumps all. But in fact, most of the born-again Christians I actually know are fine people, better than me for sure. So I haven't tried to talk Roman theology with them.

But now I have the uneasy feeling that the politicians are accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of the body politic.

A column last week in The New York Times says it is important to engage with these politicians. So how do I engage with Texas Gov. Rick Perry?

On this day: St. Clare


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

For some beautiful Latin, click here. It's the Bull of Canonization of St. Clare of Assisi by Pope Alexander IV, "Given at Anagni, the sixth day before the Calends of October, in the first year of our pontificate." (1255.)

"CLARA CLARIS PRAECLARA meritis, magnae in caelo claritate gloriae, ac in terra splendore miraculorum sublimium clare claret."

The English translation is beside the Latin, but it's hardly needed. The Pope's use of alliteration makes his meaning clear.

Morning Briefing


A phone call from prison


One of the people in prison that I stay in touch with, Kenneth, killed a man in the course of a robbery. Kenneth was 14 at the time and he's been in prison about 23 years now. He has a life-with-parole sentence.

Despite a good prison record, staff recommendations and a home plan, the Parole Board continues to deny him parole. At his last hearing, one of the hearing officers asked him how they could release him against the surviving family's desires.

Kenneth called me last night, just to talk. He used his own meager pay from work in the geriatric unit to make the call. He wanted to know what I was doing and thought it was very funny that the raccoons have eaten all of our tomatoes. He told me about the dogs that men in his housing unit have taken in from the local shelter to train for adoption -- a new program that had been an enormous benefit for the dogs, for the local communities and for the inmates.

It was such an ordinary phone call that, thinking about it this morning, it breaks my heart.

On this day: The Help


On this day, The Help, a DreamWorks production directed by Tate Taylor, opens in theaters across the country. The movie is based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett.

I finally read the book last week. How bad could it be? In last Sunday's New York Times Book Review, it was #1 on the combined print and e-book list, #1 on the e-book list, and #1 on the trade paperback list. I could mention some imperfections, but since I couldn't put it down, I won't complain.

It reminded me of various things and various people, including priests' housekeepers. I had read an article a few weeks earlier about Addie Christiansen who retired after 31 years as the rectory housekeeper at Immaculate Conception in Clarksville, Tennessee, and she was still on my mind. Click here to see her picture and to read her story, written by Jack Murphree, in the Tennessee Register.

Morning Briefing


Federal child-porn charges filed against Kansas City priest

California Diocese of Orange boost bids for Crystal Cathedral, increased its cash offer from $50 million to $53.6 million

Philippines Health chief admits part of 2012 budget will be for contraceptives "Meron, kasama doon... in essence yung condoms kasama doon."

India Bangalore Archdiocese to Launch Sports Academy for Rural Youth, partnership with a private sports development company

Windsor, Canada Convicted Basilian priest sued for $2M, serving 2-year sentence for actions in the 1950s thru '80s.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017