NCR Today

Vatican rips China for 'intolerance' and 'repression'



tA blistering Vatican statement today accuses China of “unacceptable and hostile acts” during a recent government-orchestrated assembly of Chinese Catholics, which it said smacked of “fear and weakness," a "repressive attitude” and “intransigent intolerance,” producing a “grave loss of trust.”

tNot only is it unusual for the Vatican to target a specific country in such public fashion, but today’s statement also ruptures the quiet diplomacy that has characterized the Vatican’s “China policy” since the papacy of Paul VI.

tMost observers say the current row marks the most serious crisis in Sino-Vatican relations in recent memory, with one prominent Catholic expert on China gloomily claiming that things are headed “back to the time of Mao.”

tThough there are no reliable religious statistics in China, conventional estimate peg the country’s Catholic population at around 13 million. China has long been a top diplomatic priority of the Vatican, not only because of its status as an emerging global superpower, but because China experts believe there’s significant potential for missionary expansion if the climate for religious freedom were to improve.

Bishop Olmsted's ultimatum


We just posted a story about Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted's ultimatum to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center: Follow my orders or lose my endorsement.

Mike Clancy, a reporter for The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, broke the story yesterday. He subsequently agreed to write a story for us. We didn't rush to post the story, because we wanted to see if we could get deeper into the story after the initial flurry that inevitably follows the breaking of a story like this.

Circus performers at the Vatican


This from "Michael Sean Winters' "Can't Stop Laughing" Department.

Four acrobats took their circus act to the Vatican yesterday, performing for Pope Benedict during his weekly general audience. The men took off their shirts as they came on stage to begin their show, which lasted a few minutes. They lifted each other in acrobatic poses, keeping balance with their bodies supported only by their arms, at one point creating a human tower. The pope looked on, and at the end of the performance he clapped and briefly got up as he greeted them. The group is called the Pellegrini Brothers and were invited as part of a convention on circuses organized by the Vatican's office for migrants.

Morning Briefing (corrected)


I fixed the links that were broken. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Phoenix: Church role in St. Joseph's Hospital care debated

Phoenix: Readers chat with Republic reporter about bishop's order

Seoul: KKorean priests lose confidence in their cardinal

Lawrenceville, Ga.: Church set to buy land, Waste transfer station once proposed for area

Detroit, Mich.: Churches offer services for those feeling blue

WikiLeaks source held in solitary confinement for seven months


Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to the international organization WikiLeaks, has been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for the last seven months, reports Glenn Greenwald in an article for the online magazine Salon.

Manning, who was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command July 5, is suspected of leaking the "Collateral Murder" video -- which shows an U.S. Apache helicopter attack which led to the deaths of Iraqi civilians and two Reuters journalists -- and U.S. diplomatic cables.

In isolation, Greenwald reports, Manning is barred from exercising and has been denied access to even "a pillow or sheets for his bed."

Amdist it all, "the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation."

Punk rocker joins Irish classical singers in Christmas recording


Finally, some good news coming out of Ireland. From the Catholic News Service (Dublin):

The Irish trio of clerical classical singers The Priests has teamed up with former hellion and punk rocker/Irish folk singer Shane MacGowan for a recording of "The Little Drummer Boy."

The track, also known as "Peace on Earth," was always going to be included on The Priests' third album, "Noel," but mindful of the success of the 1977 recording by Catholic crooner Bing Crosby and glam-rock star David Bowie, the clergymen thought a collaboration with another singer might provide a counterpoint to their classically trained voices.

"Our management told us Shane was available and we were delighted by the idea," Father Eugene O'Hagan, one of The Priests, told Catholic News Service.

A gifted songwriter, MacGowan, former lead singer with The Pogues and later a band named The Popes, became widely known for his alcoholic binges both on and off stage. His song "Fairytale of New York," recorded in 1987, is the Christmas song most requested and played on radio in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Morning Briefing


Phoenix bishop warns hospital on health-care rules, The bishop wants the hospital to give him more oversight of its practices

Stockton diocese pays two siblings $2M, abused as children by Oliver O'Grady

'Deliver Us from Evil' priest arrested in Ireland, Oliver O'Grady had been arrested in the Dublin

Rochester, N.Y.: Church leader joins state’s stem cell ethics panel

Dissident: Cuba won't let me accept rights prize, Guillermo Farinas' hunger strike helped pressure Havana into releasing political prisoners this year

Letter to the Editor: Catholics and the 2010 election

Afghan youth, US veterans teleconference


This is one of the effects of war, it makes people rough and violent.
                       --Afghan youth speaking during
                       Advent teleconference with a US veteran.

Every Sunday in Advent from 1-2 p.m. eastern time, Afghan youth and U.S. veterans have been sharing their experiences of war and occupation in a remarkable series of tele-conferences that are free and open to the public.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017