NCR Today

(Another) Gay professor fired from Catholic college


For the past fifteen years, James St. George has taught religious studies part-time at Chestnut Hill College, a Catholic college in Pennsylvania.

Last week he received a letter from the college telling him that his services were no longer needed.

Two interesting details about St. George: he has been in a committed relationship with a man for the past fourteen years. He is also the pastor at St. Miriam, an Old Catholic parish.

Administrators at Chestnut Hill have known all along that St. George was an ordained priest in this tradition. In fact, Chestnut Hill asked him to take a faculty position at the suggestion of some of his parishioners who also work at the college.

St. George’s students who googled him were also aware that he is a gay man. Though he didn’t speak about it in the classroom, the information could be found through a cursory web search.

In what is surely not a coincidence, just days before St. George was notified that his contract wouldn’t be renewed, a local lawyer, James Pepper, wrote a letter of concern to Cardinal Rigali and two Chestnut Hill officials.

Sex abuse ruling in Los Angeles doesn't affect Vatican, attorney says


ROME -- Refusal by a federal judge in Los Angeles to dismiss a sex abuse case against the Catholic church both in the United States and Mexico, under a law that allows American courts to consider foreign claims, has no implications for efforts to sue the Vatican, the lawyer who represents the Vatican in U.S. litigation said today.

'Sex abuse is the Catholic 9/11'


ROME -- Massimo Franco is a veteran journalist who writes for Corriere della Sera, the most prestigious daily newspaper in Italy. Recently he published a book titled C’era Una Volta un Vaticano (“Once Upon a Time, there was a Vatican”), arguing that underneath the PR meltdowns and internal crises of the Vatican under Benedict XVI lies a radical historical shift – from the Vatican as the chaplain of the West, to the Vatican as representative of a minority subculture.

For centuries, he argues, the Vatican thought and acted like the representative of a cultural majority in the West – a mentality forged in the era of Christendom, and given new life during the Cold War, when the Vatican and the great Western powers were fundamentally on the same page. It’s no longer adequate to the changed cultural landscape of the 21st century, he says – and the inability of senior Vatican personnel to adapt to this new world is the fundamental force, he argues, beneath their apparent disorientation.

My essay on Franco’s book can be found here: Diagnosing the 'implosion' of Benedict's Vatican

Penny wise, peace foolish


Fr. Ted Hesburgh, former University of Notre Dame president and adviser to several U.S. presidents, is among those admonishing the U.S. House for cutting funding to the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), a bipartisan governmental organization created during Ronald Reagan's administration.

"Now is not the time, in the face of global adversity, to cut peace," Hesburgh wrote in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. "As a man of faith and reason, I know that we need to balance our budget. But I also know that you cannot balance a budget on the backs of our men and women in uniform. Nor can we take the risk of making our nation less safe."

And the USIP does just that: make our nation safer. A commenter to Hesburgh's article asked what the return on investment was to U.S. taxpayers. Rep. Michael Honda of California explains how the USIP is making America safer from terrorism in his article in support of the institute:

    Wisconsin governor gets one right


    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker deserves an “F” in labor relations. And he clearly has an inflated view of his own significance. But when it comes to rudimentary history, he scores higher marks than some of his critics.

    In the now infamous prank phone call in which blogger Ian Murphy posed as billionaire conservative bankroller David Koch, Walker offered a not-so-subtle comparison between his actions and those of the fortieth president, conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

    Massingale on Wisconsin


    Regular readers of NCR will no doubt recognize the name Fr. Bryan Massingale, associate professor of theological ethics at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

    Massingale has an opinion piece in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's approach to collective bargaining and balanced budgets. A sample:

    On this day: St. Senan


    On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Senan (pronounced Shanawn), a 6th-century bishop, founder of Irish monasteries, most notably the one on Scattery Island in the Shannon estuary, and the patron saint of West Clare.

    If you've ever landed at Shannon Airport, you've flown over Scattery Island and Senan's home town of Kilrush. In those last minutes before landing, you're flying low enough to see the round tower on Scattery Island, and the ferry crossing from Kilrush on the Clare side to Tarbert on the Kerry side, and maybe, if it's a sunny day, the dolphins.

    Morning Briefing



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    In This Issue

    July 14-27, 2017