NCR Today

Sex abuse crisis, Vatican PR woes figure in WikiLeaks scoops



Secret diplomatic cables revealed this morning as part of the WikiLeaks releases confirm that while the Vatican was appalled by revelations of clerical sexual abuse in Ireland in 2009 and 2010, it was also offended by demands that the papal ambassador participate in a government-sponsored probe, seeing it as an insult to the Vatican’s sovereign immunity under international law.

That stance, according to the cable, came off in Ireland as “pettily procedural” while failing to confront the reality of clerical abuse, and thereby made the crisis worse.

The cables also contain critical diplomatic assessments of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to create new structures to welcome disgruntled Anglicans, as well as the perceived technological illiteracy and communications ineptitude of some senior Vatican officials.

PR woes in the Vatican, according to one cable, have lowered the volume on the pope’s “moral megaphone.”

Newly disclosed cables also indicate that:

•tThe Vatican has expressed desire to resist the influence of Venezuelan Socialist strongman Hugo Chavez across Latin America;

Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A 'Screwtape Letters' for kids


“The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, based on the 1952 novel by C.S. Lewis, is the best film of this latest franchise interpreting the fantasy series -- and the first in 3D.

The cinematography is gorgeous and the fusion of CGI (computer generated images) and real characters seamless. Even more outstanding is the script that never stalls and blends characters, plot, and themes in ways that entertain and inspire. Directed by Michael Apted, “Dawn Treader” reflects a marked departure from the style of director Adam Adamson’s approach to “Prince Caspian” (2008) that chose action over story.

Walden Media and Disney partnered for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (2005) and “Prince Caspian” (2008). When Disney withdrew from the current film, Twentieth Century Fox stepped up.

The ax is laid to the root of the tree: An argument for the Dream Act


In the confusion of voices now vying for our attention, from our struggling economy (“Shopping is a patriotic act!”) and from a venomous Washington (“We cannot afford the future!”), another, barely audible voice is telling us the truth. It is the voice of Advent, and it is telling us that as a country we are in danger of losing our souls.

Children's Rights are Human Rights


United Nations member nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948. That event is commemorated on different dates throughout this month.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the U.N. general assembly on Nov. 20, 1989, and Children's Day or the International Day of the Child, is commemorated on various dates in different countries.

We do not — as yet — however have a comparable universal pledge to defend children from sexual abuse and exploitation and a day to commemorate that pledge. Why not?

The economists who support the tax cuts


William K. Black writing on the Huffington Post:

You know the Obama administration is desperate when it creates a web page citing economists who support its capitulation on taxes. And what do you know, these economists are all "wealth managers" or from major banks. This shows that Obama is continuing to promote the views of his virulent opponents, who gloried in and profited from the Democrats' recent electoral and legislative defeats.

Simultaneously, his administration is launching another petulant attack on his strongest supporters. The administration's daily floggings will continue until morale improves among progressives -- and generations of political scientists will marvel at this administration's self-destructive reflexes.

Read the full piece: The Effort to Claim That Economists Support Obama's Capitulation on Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

The tax plan and Jesus' option for the poor


Jesus was born a poor man and he ministered to the poor. He spoke about his special love for the poor. Unfortunately, it seems his voice would not be welcomed among the Republicans, including Republican Catholics and Christians who have seemingly forgotten the roots of the very faith they claim to represent.

It is unbelievable that such Republicans and some Democrats would instead have a preferential option for the very rich that represent no more than 1 percent, if even that, of the total population.

These politicians would rather give unfair tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires than support the poor and unemployed through longer extensions of unemployment benefits, including to those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Instead of supporting immediate job creation programs, they instead want to allow the very rich more money to stash away or to buy one more luxury item.

Despite their clamor for reducing the deficit, they’d rather give more tax breaks to the very rich that almost all economist agree only adds to the deficit because those tax cuts are not paid for.

But it’s the callousness and lack of humanity that bothers me the most.

Morning Briefing



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In This Issue

May 19-June 1, 2017