NCR Today

Vatican priest's mission for African migrants to Italy


The BBC reports on the work of Fr. Mussie Zerai in helping African migrants fleeing North Africa:

With thousands of migrants from strife-torn North Africa arriving in Italy, the BBC World Service's Outlook programme spoke to a man who is trying to assist the travellers on their perilous journey. Not a human trafficker - but a priest.

Kmiec Quits


After jostling with the State Department over his desire to work toward interfaith dialogue, prominent Catholic and conservative Douglas Kmiec resigned his post as U.S. Ambassador to Malta.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Kmiec rejected an internal State Department report that asserted his advocacy of interfaith understanding was outside his official ambassadorial mission.

In his letter of resignation, Kmiec wrote that State's inspector general had a "flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission." As a result of the investigation, Kmiec said, "my voice has been prevented from speaking, my pen has been enjoined from writitng, and my actions have been confined to the ministerial."

PBS to air documentary about clergy abuse in Alaska


When I reviewed Amy Berg's 2006 Oscar-nominated film about clergy sex abuse, "Deliver Us From Evil" about Oliver O'Grady, a former priest described as "the most notorious pedophile in the history of the Catholic Church," I wrote that it was "the most difficult film I had ever watched."

Now Frontline, a public affairs program produced by WGBH in Boston and aired on PBS, is airing the story of three sexual predators in Alaska in "The Silence," and I think this is the most difficult television show I have ever watched.

IVAW reports U.S. troops face \"horrendous health epidemic\"


Members of Albuquerque Iraq Veterans Against the War issued a warning this week about a "horrendous health epidemic" faced by U.S. troops. The statistics are chilling.

  • The military suicide rate increased 150 percent from 2001 to 2009.

  • While on average only 9.1 percent of the suicide deaths between 2005 and 2009 had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this percentage has steadily increased from 4.6 percent in 2005 to 14.1 percent in 2009.

  • Suicide rates among active-duty troops are twice as high as that of the civilian population, and veterans with PTSD are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide.

  • Official Pentagon figures show that 188,000 service members have suffered brain injuries since 2000. Of those, 44,000 suffered moderate or severe head injuries. Another 144,000 had mild traumatic brain injuries. However, previous ProPublica and NPR reporters show that number likely understates the true toll by tens of thousands of troops. Some estimates put the number of brain injuries at 400,000 service members.

Some Monday morning thoughts


Some Monday morning thoughts:

  • This story, a year old, was sent to me via a priest in Las Vegas and it certainly raises a number of questions regarding premature pronouncements of death in the cases of very early-term babies. A video of the miraculous recovery of a baby pronounced dead shortly after birth also makes one wonder if obstetricians listen closely enough to the mothers in their care, since the doctor insisted for two hours that the baby was not alive.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017