NCR Today

Beatification Q&A #3: Why make saints out of popes?


ROME -- Here’s a true story, drawn from the only-in-Rome files.

tI was sitting at a restaurant with a friend Monday night when the hostess came by to chat. She mentioned the bad weather (it’s been raining off and on), but went on to say that as a believing Catholic, she finds a bit of gloom appropriate for Good Friday and Holy Saturday, a reminder of Christ’s suffering and death. When she learned I’m a journalist covering the beatification of John Paul II, she became animated in talking about how much the late pope had meant to her as a Roman.

Video of nuclear weapons facility protest


Two Buddhists are banging fan drums as they walk through the downtown area of Oak Ridge, Tenn. They're marking a fast beat while chanting a Japanese mantra in low, hushed tones. As they walk their yellow robes are billowing in the wind.

Step by step they move forward. They weave through the trafficked streets and low-rise buildings of the "Secret City" -- so known because of its veiled history as the location where the uranium used in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was enriched.

Behind the Buddhists march over 160 activists. They've all gathered to protest a proposed major new facility at the nearby Y-12 National Security Complex, a key nuclear weapons production and maintenance complex.

NCR first covered the April 16 event last week.

Now, the group which organized the protest has made available video from the April action.

Where to watch coverage of the beatification


Anyone wanting to watch the beatification Mass of John Paul II will be plenty of choices, according to TVNewser, a blog on

Live coverage begins Sunday morning at 4 a.m. eastern time.

Of course, we recommend CNN, where our own John L. Allen Jr. will be backing up CNN anchor Jon Mann and CNN correspondent Jim Bitterman. Jose Levy will provide coverage for CNN en Espanol.

Weigel bats aside criticism of John Paul II's speedy canonization process


From CNA: Scholar and papal biographer George Weigel batted aside criticism of John Paul II's speedy canonization process, saying accusations that the pontiff is responsible for scandals that took place under his watch are ultimately unfounded.

“The investigation into John Paul II's life has been very thorough, and the results fill four thick volumes,” Weigel told CNA in an April 25 interview.

Author of the 1999 biography of John Paul II, “Witness to Hope,” Weigel first countered the claim that the late pontiff's canonization process has moved too quickly.

Story here.

Some priests said to see pedophilia as within celibacy vows


A retired Catholic bishop in Australia has claimed that some priests do not view the molestation of boys as a breach of their celibacy vows.

Geoffrey Robinson, the former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, blames the absence of women from church life as a catalyst for the sexual abuse crisis enveloping the faith.

There was also a view among some offenders with whom he had worked that a priest's celibacy vows weren't broken if a boy was involved.

"We've met it often enough to see it as a factor. That's what the vow of celibacy refers to, being married. If it's not an adult woman, then somehow they're not breaking their vow," Adelaide Now quoted him as telling the magazine.

See full story.

Childless by choice


This is impolitic in a country that extols the virtues of having children and it certainly goes against Church teaching that all married couples should be "open to fertility," but I found an article on being childless by choice refreshing.

Although it was ironic (or prophetic, depending on how one looks at it) to find the article in a magazine titled "More," I was glad to see the subject addressed openly. The sad fact is that there are people who should not be parents. One look at this, or this, or this demonstrates the indisputability of that claim.

On this day: Touch me not.


On this day, we hear a different version of the events of Easter morning.

Yesterday, in Matthew's Gospel, the women were "filled with awe and great joy", but today, in John's Gospel, 20:11-18, Mary Magdalene gets it wrong, as she did in Sunday's Gospel, John 20:1-9.

In Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, HarperOne, 2009, John Dominic Crossan demonstrates how the Beloved Disciple is exalted in John 20, and Peter, Thomas, and Mary Magdalene are denigrated.

Beatification Q&A #2: What's the deal with miracles?


ROME -- In one way or another, miracles have always been part of the sainthood process.

Well before the Catholic church had a formal system of canonization, grassroots devotions to saints were usually premised both on someone’s reputation for personal holiness and their wonder-working power. By the 16th century, a candidate for sainthood who wasn’t a martyr had to have a “reputation for sanctity and miracles” in order to be beatified, and at least two more miracles had to be documented before canonization. John Paul dropped the number to one miracle for beatification and one more for canonization, but the requirement remains.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017