NCR Today

Whither the Diaconate?


Invitation to NCR readers:

Deacon William Ditewig, a professor of theology at St. Leo University in Florida, is speaking at Boston College tonight (March 15) on the topic "Wither the Diaconate." Ditewig wrote the lead essay in the NCR special section on deacon Feb. 4. His essay was titled, "A letter to a newly ordained deacon."

The talk is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Murray Function Room of the Yawkey Center, Lower Campus, Boston College

For more information: or call (617-552-0470)

Amidst Nuclear Crisis, A Good Question from a Key Quarter


“If the competent and technologically brilliant Japanese can't build a completely safe reactor, who can?” syndicated columnist Anne Applebaum asks today. Applebaum’s question is perhaps the one that will be most discussed and debated in the months and years ahead.

Just as important is who’s asking it. Applebaum is no classic anti-nuke type. Far from it. She previously served, for example, as an adjunct fellow at the influential American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Washington’s foremost neo-conservative think-tank.

Bottom line: If some good number of conservatives and neo-conservatives begin to publicly question the efficacy of nuclear power, then its future as an energy source – already a big question mark – is doubtful, if not doomed.

Gluten intolerance and First Holy Communion


In several weeks' time, youngsters will be receiving their First Holy Communion. Today's Wall Street Journal has a story titled, "Clues to Gluten Sensitivity," of the increasing understanding of "gluten intolerance," as a separate condition from Celiac Sprue disease.

The Committee on Divine Worship of the U.S. Catholic bishops conference has helpful information on the subject titled, "A Short Introduction to Holy Communion and Celiac Sprue Disease," which can be found here.

Parents should work with their parish leaders to prevent unnecessary complications for those children (and adults), who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac Sprue disease.

Catholic University honors Ambassador Thomas Melady


WASHINGTON – The Catholic University of America March 14 honored an alumnus and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Thomas P. Melady, for a lifetime of achievement in service to his church, his country and the academic world.

The university's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies presented Melady with it first Bishop John Keane medallion, which bears the Latin inscription, "Academia, patria, ecclesia" – "Academia, country, church." It is intended to be awarded annually from now on.

Hear Tom Roberts on the Philadelphia scandal


As most NCR readers know, the sex abuse scandal broke out anew in February in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. A grand jury issued a scathing report, indicating that as many as 37 priests with credible accusations of child sexual abuse or inappropriate activity with a minor were still functioning as priests.

Initially, Cardinal Justin Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, denied that any such priests were still in ministry. Six days later, three were suspended. And within the past week, 21 more were suspended.

After reading these facts, which fly in the face of the “zero tolerance” policy enacted by the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their famous “Dallas Charter,” I was stunned.

And this immediately raised for me other questions: Is Philadelphia the only place where bishops are not in compliance? Can we trust the bishops to follow their own directives and guidelines? Is there need for someone to enforce compliance with the Dallas Charter?

Morning Briefing


Support for gay marriage


In a featured commentary in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle titled "My gay son: the human face of church's lack of respect," the former executive director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco says that the Church's teaching that marriage is "intrinsic to stable, flourishing and hospitable societies" is, ironically, the very reason why gay men and women in committed loving relationships should be allowed to join in civil marriages.

Gay and lesbian couples are "seeking a structure and context for their love, commitment, fidelity and mutual support," writes Brian Cahill, whose gay son and partner are "brilliant, creative, personable, moral … and certainly not 'objectively disordered'" as declared by the 2003 Vatican statement.

Cahill tackles the argument that homosexuals should not be parents, citing the high divorce rate among heterosexual couples and the 75,000 children in California's foster care system who have been victimized by their heterosexual parents. "These mothers and fathers are living proof that sexual orientation is not a reliable indicator of good parenting."


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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017