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Federal subpoena seeks Boston College's IRA interviews


From today's New York Times:

Boston College Fights Subpoena of Interviews Tied to IRA

Boston College filed a motion this week to quash a federal subpoena seeking access to confidential interviews of paramilitary fighters for the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

The motion, filed in United States District Court in Boston, seeks to prevent the British authorities from accessing the interviews as part of an investigation into burglaries, kidnappings and murders during the decades known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Academics, historians and journalists conducted the interviews from 2001 to 2006. Known as the Belfast Project, its goal was to interview members of the IRA, the Provisional Sinn Fein and other organizations about their activities during the Troubles.

The people who were interviewed were promised that their identities would be kept confidential and that the interviews would be released only after their deaths. The transcripts are kept at Boston College.

Diocese's 'new action plan' is a tired, well-used script


Since the arrest of Fr. Shawn Ratigan May 19 on charges of possessing child pornography, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Chancery Office has virtually gushed apologetic words and resolve to do better in the future. Bishop Robert Finn has met with parishioners, priests, the press and he's issued news releases that breathlessly promise new initiatives, ask for help and contain even more apologies.

Unfortunately, there is nothing new to the scenario unfolding in Kansas City.

Morning Briefing


The call from Bolivia


Yesterday, an old friend called me from La Paz, Bolivia. He wanted to tell me about a new book that will soon be on the market called The "Poisoned Spring" of Economic Libertarianism by Angus Sibley. It is a critique of neo-liberal capitalism from the point of view of Catholic social justice teaching. The preface is by another old friend, Joe Holland, who used to work at the Center of Concern.

tI have not read it; indeed, I just discovered it. But I will read it because I could hear the pleading in my friend’s voice. He is someone who has worked with the poor of South America for decades. He cares deeply about them, and about social justice. He sees the consequences of neo-liberal capitalist policies and practices that we know only by name, policies like “free trade” or “re-structuring.”

tI’ve been thinking a lot about economic justice because the news is filled with data on unemployment, the increasing income gap and the inability of many people to afford housing. And this is in the developed world; economic conditions are far worse in the global South.

Review of 'My Sisters Made of Light'


My friend Roberta Hudlow, SL, sent me this review of My Sisters Made of Light by Jacqueline St. Joan:

This book haunts me -- I pick it up to reread sections; to revisit Nafeesa and Kulraj and the “she-lions of Punjab.” There is pain and there is beauty in it. St. Joan gives to Kulraj Singh words that fit all our stories, “Pleasure and pain are a set of robes a man must keep on wearing.”

Mainly, Adaila Prison is the stage where Baji Ajala’s story unfolds as she tells the stories of her life to a tough but curious prison director. Ajala’s stories are hard but beautifully told with the light of hope, although hope is frequently very dim.

The author’s descriptions, dialogues, and characters pull you into the story. You feel surrounded by the presence of the people of Pakistan. You also feel the anachronism of the ancient culture and the use of cell phones and the fact that one of the character’s favorite TV show is “Friends”.

On this day: St. Columcille


On this day we celebrate "the greatest Irish figure after Patrick, Columcille, prince of Clan Conaill, born in the royal enclosure of Gartan, on December 7, 521, less than ninety years after Patrick's arrival as bishop.

"Though he could have been a king, maybe even high king, Columcille chose to become a monk. His real name, Crimthann, or Fox, holds an echo of the ancient mythology, and he was probably red-haired." Page 169.

--How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill, Doubleday, 1975. (Search term: fox.)

One of the most unusual -- and disturbing -- stories you will read for some time


NCR Editor at Large Tom Roberts passed me this to glance at this morning. This news story is reported by Inter Press News Service, which focuses on the developing world, in this case an action in Ecuador presumably initiated by the highest of Catholic church officials.

As reported, it appears, in this instance our church leadership has decided to throw out its gospel teachings and replace them with some kind of a ultra militaristic medieval cult. To what end, I have no clue. We will have to find out more.

The story follows with a Quito, Ecuador dateline:

Catholic bishop emeritus Gonzalo López Marañón has been fasting since May 24 in a park in the Ecuadorian capital to call for peace and reconciliation in Sucumb'os, an Amazon province immersed in a conflict over the Vatican's decision to put the diocese in the hands of an ultra-conservative Catholic order.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017