NCR Today

Osama bin Laden's death and questions of faith


Osama bin Laden is dead. President Obama just went on television live, at near midnight Eastern Time to make the announcement.

A ten-year quest to hunt down the man considered most responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ended with an firefight with U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan, Obama said.

Bin Laden's death certainly comes with many of the typical questions. What will it mean for Al Qaeda, the terrorist group he led? Will it incense the group, or others, to launch plans for other attacks on U.S. targets?

But maybe it raises other, deeper questions.

This weekend I've been covering a Catholic Worker faith and resistance retreat in Kansas City, Mo. From across the country, people have come here to protest the construction of a major new nuclear weapons production facility.

While talking with many of those gathered -- both young and old; those who have been arrested many times for acts of civil disobedience, those who are planning to risk arrest for the first time tomorrow -- I've asked what brought them to this point, what inspired them to live a life of nonviolent witness.

Beatification of JP II: Interview with Cardinal Francis George


ROME -- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago was appointed a bishop by Pope John Paul II three different times: first in Yakima, Washington, in 1990, then as archbishop of Portland in 1996, and finally as archbishop of Chicago in 1997. One year later, John Paul also elevated George to the College of Cardinals.

tThose repeated demonstrations of papal confidence may help explain why George, 74, wanted to be on hand for the May 1 beatification of John Paul II.

tAs fate would have it, George left for Rome amid a controversy in Chicago over his suspension of the high-profile, charismatic Fr. Michael Pfleger, known for his social activism, especially on behalf of African-Americans. (Pfleger has repeatedly refused to accept a transfer from his present parish.) Chicago area media asked George to explain how much time he was willing to give Pfleger, and George replied that was mostly up to him.

“We’ll be in conversation at some point, I hope,” George said.

Activists prepare for civil disobedience at nuclear weapons plant tomorrow


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- About 110 people are meeting here now to consider risking arrest tomorrow at a vigil opposing the construction of a major new nuclear weapons production facility.

The facility, known as the Kansas City Plant, set to be the nation's first new nuclear weapons complex in 33 years, is to replace an existing one here that makes 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

Blessed John Paul II's flawed pontificate


Pope John Paul II has been beatified and is now one step from being proclaimed an official church saint. The beatification of this pope is now part of our church's history. This is clear. It is equally clear that this beatification will be linked in church history with charges that Pope John Paul II, whatever his personal holiness, was a flawed pontiff.

'I was cured during the night between the second and third of June'


The following account, supplied by the Vatican Information Office, is that of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre, the French nun whose miraculous cure paved the way for the process of Pope John Paul II's beatification.

"I had suffered from Parkinson's disease from 2001", she said, "and the
clinical signs of the illness worsened in the weeks after John Paul II's
death. On the afternoon of 2 June 2005 I asked the Mother Superior Sr. Marie
Thomas to meet with another nun who could take over the responsibilities of
the Catholic Maternity services because I didn't have the strength, I was
exhausted ... The Mother Superior listened attentively ... reminding me that
all of the order's communities were praying for my healing, invoking the
intercession of John Paul II ... They were hoping for a miracle that could
help contribute to the cause for the beatification of this pope who had been
so important to our institute. I was cured during the night between the
second and third of June of that year (2005). During the night I awoke with
a start and went to our community's chapel to pray before the Most Holy

The rite of beatification


From Vatican News Service:

VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Following the penitential act of the Mass of Beatification, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of the Pontiff for the Diocese of Rome, joined Benedict XVI, along with the postulator for the cause of beatification, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, and asked that the beatification of the Servant of God, John Paul II, might proceed:

Beatissime Pater,
Vicarius Generalis Sanctitatis Vestrae
pro Romana Dioecesi,
humillime a Sanctitate Vestra petit
ut Venerabilem Servum Dei
Ioannem Paulum II, papam,
numero Beatorum adscribere
benignissime digneris.

(Most blessed Father, Your Holiness' Vicar General for the Diocese for Rome humbly asks your Holiness to beneficently deign to inscribe the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II in the number of the Blessed.)

He then read a brief biography of the Polish Pontiff:

Karol Józef Wojtyla was born in the Polish town of Wadowice on 18 May 1920 to Karol and Emilia Kaczorowska. He was baptized on 20 June of that year in Wadowice's parish church.

Day One: NCR Webathon -- Please give generously


Greetings to everyone – especially devotees of the NCR website, Today, and throughout this week, we’re asking for your help as part of NCR’s Second Annual “Webathon.”

I will get right to the point: Your support is vital, absolutely essential, to the work of providing the independent news, analysis and commentary you have grown to expect from the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper and Website – Please take a moment, right now to show your support for the online and print journalism NCR provides to the Catholic community.

Catholic workers gather to oppose nuclear weapons plant


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Over 120 people have gathered here from across the country this weekend to call attention to the construction of the nation's first new nuclear weapons facility in 33 years, located just south of the downtown area.

Arriving from places as far away as South Dakota, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., the activists are hosting a 3-day conference aimed at building awareness of and resistance to the construction of the weapons plant, which will replace an existing one here.

The conference is expected to culminate Monday with an act of civil disobedience at the site of the new facility.

Last night, people gathered for a standing-room-only showing of "The Forgotten Bomb," a new film portraying the dangers of the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal.

Part documentary, part diary, the film follows the personal journey of director Bud Ryan as he visits survivors of the nuclear weapons blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and talks to nuclear weapons analysts, including former Secretary of State George Shultz.

Cardinal Sodano's 'peripheral issues'


Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who was Pope John Paul II’s secretary of state, second only after the pope in Vatican’s power rankings, provided a clear answer today to anyone who might yet be wondering why and how the sex abuse crisis continues to intrude on news of church events, even the beatification of a pope.

Following is a segment of a story filed earlier today by AP writer Nicole Winfield:

“Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's powerful secretary of state under John Paul, has been accused in particular of having been Maciel's most ardent protector and supporter in Rome, at one point allegedly shutting down the canonical process against him.

“Asked Thursday in Rome to comment on the Legion scandal, Sodano told The Associated Press that it wasn't the time to speak about it.

"’How can you, in such a great moment, get into such peripheral issues when the world is applauding the pope?’ Sodano said on the sidelines of a Vatican exhibit honoring the late pope. ‘I'm stunned.’"


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April 21-May 4, 2017