NCR Today

Ohio Catholic Bishops Oppose "Race for the Cure!"


When I read this story, all I could say was, “you’ve got to be kidding!” The Catholic Bishops of Ohio have just issued a letter instructing Catholics not to support the “Race for the Cure” sponsored annually by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That foundation is the largest group funding breast cancer research in the United States.

The reason? The bishops say that the Komen Foundation does not explicitly oppose the use of embryonic stem cells in research, a practice which the hierarchy condemns. It’s not that Komen actually funds research using embryonic stem cells. The bishops say explicitly that they have no evidence of that. Rather, the bishops say they oppose Komen because of the possibility that they might fund such research… because they have not said they won’t. Huh?

Fairy Stream fairy tale with happy ending


This is a good news story.

Earlier this year I visited Cay Gao, Vietnam to see the work of Dominican Sr. Isabelle Tran Thi Kim Huong and profile her work. It was part of a series for "Women Religious: Lives of Mercy and Justice," a project supported in good part with a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters. Sr. Isabelle runs a shelter for abandoned women, many of them elderly. She is one more hard working, mission driven, Vietnamese woman religious doing the work of God.

If you did not read my report on the Fairy Stream Community this is your chance.

The new feminism of Palin and Bachmann


In an essay in the Huffington Post, Marie Griffith analyzes the peculiar brand of feminism adopted by America’s most prominent female evangelicals: Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Griffith, who serves as director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., notes that the evangelical feminism of Palin and Bachmann is a “far cry” from the original movement founded by Christian women in the 1970s.

Back then, evangelical feminists found their faith in an egalitarian Jesus. They saw clear connections between their Christian beliefs and the principles of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

These Evangelical women leaned left, while the new breed of Evangelical feminists always seem to take a hard right.

Given their conservatism, how can Palin, Bachmann and their ilk be considered feminists? Griffith offers a helpful explanation:

DignityUSA: A show of fidelity


Much has been made in recent months of the enormous drain of members from the Roman Catholic Church in the United States in recent decades. The estimated 28 million who have left for an array of reasons would constitute, taken together, the second largest denomination in the country after Catholics who remain.

That statistic occurred to me last Saturday as I sat as one of four panelists during a segment of DignityUSA’s 20th national convention in Washington. Dignity is the major organization of Catholic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics as well as their friends, families and other allies.

During Independence Day weekend more than 300 gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington for a convention headlined “Love Hopes All Things.”

Cardinal Burke coming to Kansas City


NCR readers may want to attended the July 23 conference, "Being Faithful, Even Unto Death: Catholic Wisdom on the Treatment of the Disabled and Dying," where Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signa (the Vatican's "supreme court") will be a keynote speaker.

The conference is sponsored by the St. Gianna Physician's Guild and is billed as presenting "medical, legal and doctrinal analysis of Catholic care of the disabled and dying."

Cardinal Burke is to speak at 9:15 a.m. July 23. The title of his talk is “The Mystery of Human Suffering and Dying.”

Other speakers on the bill include: Bobby Schindler and Suzanne Vitadamo, the brother and sister of Terri Schiavo, and Gianna Emanuela Molla, the youngest daughter of Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962).

Martin Scorsese and Catholic suffering


He was criticized by many Christians for his controversial movie "The Last Temptation of Christ," but a new review of Martin Scorsese's work paints the director as one of America's most Catholic filmmakers.

Even beyond "Last Temptation," Scorsese has rarely achieved widespread acceptance; his films are often called too dark and tragic for general audiences. Movies like "Raging Bull" and "Gangs of New York" can seem bleak for bleakness sake -- offering nothing more than a downbeat take on a cynical world.

But in the July edition of Harper's Magazine, Vince Passaro writes passionately about how Scorsese's strong Italian Catholic upbringing lies at the heart of the stories he tells on film. In interviews, Scorsese has admitted that one of his great themes is betrayal -- and Passaro notes that in each movie, Scorsese's turncoat ends up alone, isolated from society, a Judas who pays a heavy price. More than that, Passaro writes, Scorsese's tragic figures demonstrate "what becomes of men who are separated from God, men who are lost."

Delaware priest admits stealing from parishes


From WPVI-TV Channel 6 in Philadelphia:

A Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to felony theft after being charged with embezzling more than $350,000 from two parishes of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.

The Rev. Cornelius Breslin entered the plea in New Castle County Superior Court on Wednesday, the same day he was to go to trial on charges of stealing from St. Patrick and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception parishes.

The 59-year-old Breslin pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft over $100,000. Prosecutors agreed to drop a second theft count and two counts of falsifying business records.

Breslin will be sentenced Sept. 23, following a presentencing investigation. Sentencing guidelines call for up to one year in prison.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017