NCR Today

Sad week for feminist Catholics?


My first reaction to yesterday's news that Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois is being threatened with dismissal from his order was sadness. This man has given his life for others, and he has faced more than his fair share of persecution. Now the ultimate rejection: excommunication.

Then today the news about the U.S. bishops blasting Sister Elizabeth Johnson for her book on the Trinity.

They say bad news comes in threes. I'm afraid to check the NCR website.

But then I remember how my friend Janine Denomme, who followed her call to ordination through the Roman Catholic Womanpriests organization, was excommunicated then denied a funeral in her home parish. Those rejections hurt, but she never let those who persecuted her win. They only have power, she said, if you give it to them.

Voucher Bill Debated


The House of Representatives just voted down an amendment (offered by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton) to the Washington DC voucher bill that would have gutted the program.

Soon to be debated: a voucher program that would provide $500 million over five years in direct assistance to poor families in the District of Columbia. Among the program’s supporters: former DC public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, ex-mayor Adrian Fenty, and the Catholic Church. House Speaker John Boehner, who along with Senator Ted Kennedy used to co-chair an annual dinner to raise money for DC’s Catholic schools, also strongly backs the bill. Some have termed it his “pet issue.”

If that’s the case, Boehner has chosen well.

Generally speaking, DC’s public schools are terrible, just awful. Few of us would choose to place our own children in the DC school system. That is, if we had the money. The poor families that have benefited from the program in the past, and others with young children just entering school, support the program by large margins.

The bill will get near universal support from the House’s Republican majority, strong opposition from the Democratic minority.

Johnson's book undermines the gospel, bishops say


The U.S. bishops' committee on doctrine has condemned Sr. Elizbeth Johnson's book Quest for the Living God in a statement released this afternoon.

NCR's John Allen has the story: U.S. bishops blast book by feminist theologian

Here's the press release from the bishops' office with links to to the full statement and introductory remarks by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, who chairs the committee.



Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God distorts Catholic concept of God
Book does not recognize divine revelation as the standard for Catholic theology
Differs from authentic Catholic teaching on essential points

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine authorized a statement March 24, critiquing Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, a book by a Fordham University Professor, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, New York.

For historic Catholic church, bell silent no longer


From The Advertiser:

It's time for the bell to ring again at St. Paul the Apostle. The oldest African American Catholic church parish in the Diocese of Lafayette dedicated the erection of a new bell tower on Tuesday, the signature event of a year-long capital campaign marking the church's century of service in Lafayette.

"This is our 100th year," said the Rev. Robert Seay, who has been at St. Paul for 10 years. "The bell tower is one of many improvement projects we're working on this year."

For many, it will be the highlight project as it focuses on a bell that has an even longer history than the church.

"The bell was cast in 1884 by the McShane Bell Co.," Seay said. "African Americans here wanted the bell for St. John Cathedral, and raised $1,500 at the time to purchase it. Then when St. Paul was founded, the bell was hung in the tower."

Dressing as a mini-bulletin board for God


I was catching up on some reading this weekend and came across an article in Ladies' Home Journal about women who “dress according to their faith, not mainstream fashion.”

It took me by surprise for a couple of reasons. First, that an article featuring a roller-skating, habit-wearing religious sister would be in a magazine more known for articles on parenting and pot roast and, second, that the five profiles were written objectively and with respect for the subjects.

Thinking nonviolence while bombing Libya


I am so aware of my own human impulses to kill, to seek revenge, to cast blame. When I lived at the Catholic Worker and kids got into trouble they would say “Nonviolence is your strength,” quoting my Cesar Chavez button.

I’d answer, “Nonviolence is the ideal I strive for. I might not live up to it.”

The kids would laugh and promise to be good. They were secure in the confidence I would never hit them, and I was secure in that confidence too. I wouldn’t hit anyone.

But I recognize in myself the desire to hit, or, in the current case, to bomb Libyan airbases. I recognize the desire of the revolutionaries to fight. I even recognize Gaddafi’s desire to strike out in righteous indignation and repress the rebellion. I’ve felt all those impulses. I just know they won’t lead to anything good.

Young men and women in Egypt and Tunisia stood together and faced down violence. They were probably plenty afraid, but they had the good fortune to live through the experience and taste dignity and empowerment. Together they own their revolution. What is ahead of them is difficult and may fail. But they’ve made a good start.

On this day: St. Gwladys and St. Gwynllyw


On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Gwladys and St. Gwynllyw, the first saints in whose story King Arthur and his knights, Sir Kay and Sir Bedevere, appear.

King Gwynllyw (pronounced Gwin-th-lew) abducted Princess Gwladys, after her father, King Brychan, rejected his request for her hand in marriage. The subsequent battle between Gwynllyw's men and Brychan's men came to an end when King Arthur intervened on Gwynllyw's side.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017