National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

Support for gay marriage


In a featured commentary in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle titled "My gay son: the human face of church's lack of respect," the former executive director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco says that the Church's teaching that marriage is "intrinsic to stable, flourishing and hospitable societies" is, ironically, the very reason why gay men and women in committed loving relationships should be allowed to join in civil marriages.

Gay and lesbian couples are "seeking a structure and context for their love, commitment, fidelity and mutual support," writes Brian Cahill, whose gay son and partner are "brilliant, creative, personable, moral … and certainly not 'objectively disordered'" as declared by the 2003 Vatican statement.

Cahill tackles the argument that homosexuals should not be parents, citing the high divorce rate among heterosexual couples and the 75,000 children in California's foster care system who have been victimized by their heterosexual parents. "These mothers and fathers are living proof that sexual orientation is not a reliable indicator of good parenting."

Dominican priest, Kurt Pritzl, O.P., goes home to God


My friend and philosophy professor at the Catholic University of America, Dominican priest Kurt Pritzl, Dean of CUA's School of Philosophy, died on February 21, 2011.

Our good friend, Ed Gorman, O.P., offered a moving eulogy of this extraordinary priest. The video of the eulogy can be viewed here.

Catholic University's remembrance can be read here.

May Kurt, O.P., rest in peace.

Horse Trades for the Common Good


There is a reason the Vatican does not allow nuns and priests to run for public office. Politicians, by the nature of their work, must make compromises. They have to work with people who hold different values than their own.

The Vatican expects us nuns and priests to be true believers. But it has canonized kings, the quintessential deal-makers.

These days in the United States, voters have elevated ideologues to high office, electing them ostensibly to serve us. But what they serve is their own ideology, not the common good. So we have people elected as pro-life who oppose abortion but vote to cut food aid to new mothers and their infants, who support the federal death penalty, and who have never seen a military program they didn’t like -- and who favor Styrofoam and incandescent light bulbs.

In order to serve the common good, politicians have to be willing to horse-trade, and they have to be good at it. It’s not like bluffing at poker and it’s not Russian roulette. The best politicians make deals where everyone walks away feeling like they gained something. Instead, these days we measure success by the measure of humiliation we heap on the loser.

Are we the Dupes?


Republicans seeking additional budget cuts argue that the country "is broke" and simply can't afford such luxuries as assistance to those who need help paying their heating bills.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne notes in his current column that the major problem with this analysis is that it is not true.

The contention that "we are broke," says Dionne, is smart politics and those promoting it deserve "full credit for diverting our attention with an arresting metaphor." But, he warns, "The rest of us are dupes if we fall for it.

When a nun dies


Have you ever wondered what happens when a nun dies?

When I entered our community of the Daughters of St. Paul in 1967, only one sister had died in our U.S. (and English-Speaking Canada) Province since our foundation here from Italy in 1932. Her name was Sr. Mary Attilia Trevisan. She was born in Verona, Italy, in 1900; entered the community in 1929; made profession in 1933; arrived in the U.S. in 1934; and died in Staten Island, N.Y., on October 10, 1943.

She was buried in a borrowed grave at Calvary Cemetery in Queens. (In 1978, when the next two deaths in the Province occurred, her remains were exhumed and reinterred at our just-constructed mausoleum in Boston.)

For those who do not know about the Verona archdiocese, until fairly recent times, it was a priestly and religious vocation factory, sending out more missionaries, through numerous congregations, than any other diocese in the world.

Exactly one page about her life exists in the archives of our congregation in Rome. It attests to her dedication to bring the word of God through good books to families, workers, and prisoners.

Morning Briefing


How Active Is Your God?


Here we are again. Calamities pile up on one another and the nagging, eternal still small voice cries, "Where is God in all this?"

Nature demolishes the Japanese, a Lybian madman murders his own people, a Wisconsin martinet destroys a basic human right -- and those are just the headline grabbers.

The old theodicy question arises again. How could a good God allow these assaults? Christians who sincerely believe God interevened to heal Aunt Victoria of a stroke may cringe at the suggestion that the same Omnipresent One also must have caused human and natural disasters, or at least tolerated the human treachry in the name of free will. But that's the implication of a faith that's consistent.

Deism always appears to provide a clean solution. God winds up the watch and lets it run from a remote location not unlike the owners's box in the former National Football League, without interference. But that leaves out personal experience of God, the hallmark of most Christianity, and posits a deity of chilling indifference. It isn't the God than Jesus mirrors. Yet the One manifested by Jesus is a selective micro-manager.

Rigali profile: explaining the man


One of the responses to Michael Sean Winters' posting today about Philadelphia and Cardinal Justin Rigali contains a link to a 2002 profile of the cardinal in the Riverfront Times, an alternative paper in St. Louis.

The piece was written by Jeannette Batz, a name that might be familiar to NCR readers. For a number of years she wrote a regular column for the paper. Batz is a wonderful writer, so the profile is worth it for the sheer pleasure of the read, but she is also a skilled and persistent researcher with an eye for telling detail and a talent for connecting dots that others might not even see.


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts