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Sheehan's threats to cohabitating couples


A letter from Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe on the topic of marriage, divorce and cohabitation was read all Masses this past weekend. It reaffirmed parts of church teaching about marriage and laid down the law for those not following it, namely those who live together without getting married, or those in civil unions, whether married previously or not. He counseled the divorced to seek annulments, but said others should be banned from the sacraments and other parish participation, including serving as godparents.

From the letter:

1. People in the above three situations cannot receive the Sacraments, with the important exception of those who agree to live chastely (“as brother and sister”) until their situation is regularized. Of course, those in danger of death are presumed to be repentant.
2. These people may not be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, not only because of scandal, but even more because one commits the sin of sacrilege by administering a Sacrament in the state of mortal sin.

Sisters confront Goldman Sachs over executive pay


From the UK's Guardian newspaper:

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia and the Benedictine Sisters of Mt Angel – all investors in the bank – have put their name to a proposal to review its remuneration policies, after it emerged its five most senior employees were collectively awarded $69.5m in pay last year.

The securities and exchange commission disclosed the challenge in a filing ahead of Goldman Sachs' annual meeting next month.

The nuns asked that "shareholders request that the board's compensation committee initiate a review of our company's senior executive compensation policies and make available a summary report of that review by 1 October, 2011 (omitting confidential information and processed at a reasonable cost). We request that the report include:

  1. An evaluation of whether our senior executive compensation packages (including, but not limited to, options, benefits, perks, loans and retirement agreements) are 'excessive' and should be modified.

Our treasure: The pentagon's global information grid


This Lenten task I assigned myself, a sober look at where we Americans keep our treasure (Mt. 6: 21), turns out to be suitably penitential. I’m hoping you, dear reader, are willing to keep up.

Today’s Government Accountability Office Pentagon boondoggle is the Global Information Grid, something The New York Times itself puts in unattributed quotes as the “‘mother of all networks,’ intended to interconnect all military elements swiftly and securely.”

The thinking that undergirds this grid began in St. Louis in the 1970s when engineers at the Defense Mapping Agency began to map points on the earth ten feet apart, entering into the computer daily temps, altitude, and coded landmarks like trees, buildings, lakes and cornfields. Of course within about 20 years satellite imaging and the GPS overtook surveyors on the ground.

You would think that GPS plus World Wide Web connections would do the trick. And indeed the GAO and the Times -- as well as the soldiers in the field who use these tools -- find them sufficient for a lot of what’s needed.

Invitation for NCR readers in Pennsylvania


NCR columnist Jesuit Fr. John Dear will be giving a talk, "The Road to Peace: Practicing Non-violence in a World of Violence and War," today in Lewisburg, Pa. He will be speaking at Bucknell Unviersity at at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Bucknell's Catholic Campus Ministry. Click here for details.

Roy Bourgeois and Bill Callahan: Vive!


When I heard about the patriarchal ultimatum (recant your support of women’s ordination or be dismissed) given to Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois I was stunned, but not surprised.

It brought my mind back to the day when my good friend, Bill Callahan, then a Jesuit, was dismissed from his order. Although Bill’s dismissal was wrapped in different language, his advocacy for women’s ordination was a major part of the accusations against him.

Both men provide powerful public witnesses for their beliefs. Roy preached at the 2008 ordination of a woman friend in the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement. Bill was a plenary speaker at the first Women’s Ordination Conference in 1975 and launched Priests for Equality that same year, with women’s ordination as a prominent part of the charter.

Supreme Court Bolsters School Aid Program


Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Arizona taxpayers do not have the “standing” necessary to challenge the state’s tuition assistance program. Under the program, taxpayers can direct up to $1000 (for couples) of their tax payment to support private schools.

Among the largest beneficiaries of the program are the state’s Catholic schools. While the ruling is narrow, the local effect is that the program should continue well into the future. Meanwhile, church-state separatists are not happy with the decision, written by associate justice Anthony Kennedy with a dissent from the court’s newest member, Elena Kagan.

Self-exiled Oakland priest pleas for church reform


Tim Stier, a Catholic priest in voluntary exile and is a resident of Oakland, has written an opinion piece in the Oakland Tribune.

"When I listen to Catholic bishops of late, I find myself wondering what planet these men inhabit," he writes.

On clerical sex abuse, he writes: "Philadelphia is not atypical; it just happens to have a courageous district attorney (a practicing Catholic no less). The Catholic Church is in a state of collapse due to an institutional culture defined by secrecy, elitism and denial."


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS