NCR Today

Martin Luther King, Jr. and noisy contemplation


On this week’s Interfaith Voices, we deal with a number of topics: the religious dimensions of the Arizona shooting tragedy (a wonderful conversation with EJ Dionne), a rundown of the religious composition of the new Congress, and a special look at Eric Cantor, the new House Majority Leader, who is –- religiously speaking -– a rare species: a Jewish Republican. We probe why most Jews are democrats.

But our final interview is with Lewis V. Baldwin, author of a new book: Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin is a Professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University, and this is the third book he has written on King.

King is someone who inspired me as a young person to become involved in social justice and peace. Since his assassination in 1968, we have heard a great deal about King’s activism, his speeches and sermons. But this is the first work published on his prayer life. And it probably reveals the source of his inner strength.

Hungary bishops resigns amid investigation for fraud, other crimes


From the Associated Press:

Hungary's Catholic Church says that a bishop whose diocese is being investigated by police and prosecutors for fraud and other crimes has resigned.

The Hungarian Conference of Catholic Bishops says that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Mihaly Mayer and named Andras Veres to temporarily oversee his duties in the Diocese of Pecs, in southern Hungary.

Head of Vatican's finance watchdog named


Catholic News Service reports:

Pope names head of Vatican investments to new watchdog agency

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI named the president of the Vatican's investment agency to head a new watchdog agency charged with monitoring all Vatican financial operations.

Italian Cardinal Attilio Nicora, 73, is president of the new Financial Information Authority, which the pope instituted Dec. 30 to oversee the monetary and commercial activities of all Vatican-related institutions, including the Vatican bank.

The pope also named the members of the four-person executive board.

Read the full story: Pope names head of Vatican investments to new watchdog agency

Gun Shy but Smelling Smoke


I'm skittish about using the "smoking gun" analogy with reference to the Vatican's go-slow-on-abuse letter to the Irish bishops. Tucson's still in the rear view mirror and, besides, guns shouldn't smoke either.

But with all due respect to John Allen, his effort to reduce the significance of the Vatican's warning to a "public relations embarrassment" that doesn't rise to the level of a deadly weapon misses the point in my opinion.

The "1997 letter" as it will be exhibited in the court document doesn't itself carry the decisive load of guilt. It is, rather, this item adds to the cumulative stack of evidence of malfeasance.

As burden of proof grows, the efforts to explain the evidence as a misunderstanding of good intentions or as so historically conditioned that it would have made common sense at the time become even less credible. Ambiguity doesn't neutralize primary motivations.

Morning Briefing


Is Vatican letter on abuse a 'smoking gun'?



A January 1997 letter from the papal ambassador to Ireland, communicating the opinion of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy about a set of proposed Irish policies on priestly sexual abuse, confirms that in the late 1990s the Vatican was ambivalent about requirements that bishops be required to report abuse to police and civil prosecutors.

Tucson, assassination attempts and fame


As the nation examines its civic conscience in the aftermath of the Tuscon shootings, a Secret Service study reveals that politics rarely motivates political assassins. Instead, those shooters are driven by a much more American malady: the quest for fame.

That's the central conclusion of a compelling report on NPR. The radio network takes a close look at the "Secret Service Exception Case Study Project," begun in the mid-1980s, shortly after the attempt on President Reagan's life.

Psychologist Robert Fein worked with the Secret Service, reviewing files of assassins and attempted shooters -- many unknown to the public. Fein and his team also interview some of the infamous, to get additional insight into what propelled them. Their results were published in 1999.

We want our country back


Like many other Americans, I was very moved and impressed by President Obama's memorial address at Tucson concerning the victims of last week’s horrendous tragedy. One could not help but be affected as the President spoke of the individuals who died and especially nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

Watching her young parents hold each other and shed tears as the president remarked on their daughter’s wonderful personality and how she was already excited and curious about public service, I couldn’t help but think of my own children when they were Christina's age. It was a reaction common to many other parents, I am sure. How would we have reacted to the shooting and killing of our young children? I hope in the same courageous way as Christina’s parents.

I was especially moved when the president called on us to rethink our political discourse and our political differences and commit ourselves to imagining an America through Christina's eyes -- an America where people first and foremost worked to help each other and to establish a more perfect union and one aimed at achieving liberty and equality for all.


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017