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The taming of Martin Luther King


In this Orwellian era, when a TV entertainer like Glenn Beck is able, if only for a day, to somehow claim to advance the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. while urging listeners to flee from churches that preach social justice, a major reality check is in order.

Beck isn’t the only one, however bizarre his interpretation, who sees the King legacy wrapped up in his dream speech, which Beck says he is out to “restore and finish” with his rally at the Lincoln Memorial today. Most of the culture refuses to get near the most powerful lines of King’s prophetic life.

From previous pieces in NCR:

King’s is a challenging and complex legacy, one that continues to confront the conscience of this country, particularly as we continue to deal with matters of racism and discrimination. Unfortunately, what doesn’t get talked about much is the absolute centrality of nonviolence to his approach to social reform and how that conviction influenced his view of the conduct of the United States in the wider world.

Priest allegedly fathered child of teenage girl


The Diocese of Allentown, Pa., was recently sued by a couple who said their daughter was seduced by a priest who was a chaplain at a Catholic high school.
According to a report in The Morning Call of Allentown:

"A Roman Catholic priest allegedly seduced a 17-year-old girl while she was a senior at a Catholic high school in Reading into a sexual relationship that resulted in her giving birth at age 19, according to a civil lawsuit filed by her parents in Berks County Court.

"According to the lawsuit, the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito was removed as chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and pastor of St. Joseph Church in Reading after the parents secretly video-taped him having sexual intercourse with their daughter in the basement of their home in November."

Read the entire story here.

Parish Closings


About two weeks ago, I visited my hometown of Lockport, N.Y., for my 50th high school class reunion. DeSales High School: Class of 1960! Who would believe it? Nostalgia struck me big time when I looked at our yearbook and realized that John XXIII was pope at the time! Ah, for those days of open windows and new thinking! My classmates, I must say, have never lost their taste for that era.

But parishes are closing in Lockport, and I discovered just how sad, upsetting and divisive that can in a place like Lockport (diocese of Buffalo) when parishes have a long history in the community.

Bishops lead aid convoy to flood victims


News from Catholic News Service

Catholic, Protestant bishops lead aid convoy to Pakistani flood victims

MULTAN, Pakistan (CNS) -- A Pakistani Catholic bishop and his Protestant counterpart led a convoy of food and bottled water to southern Punjab province, where five districts are submerged under floodwaters.

The Asian church news agency UCA News reported that Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan and Anglican Bishop Alexander Malik of Lahore began their trip Aug. 26 with a prayer at the Cathedral of the Holy Redeemer, Multan, before traveling more than 100 miles south to a camp for survivors in Khan Bela. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti also joined the convoy with an additional six trucks of relief items.

"This is our diocese. We have seen death with our own eyes in visits to flood-hit areas," Bishop Francis told flood victims on their arrival. "We came through these deadly waters to bring you food and show you that we care."

"We are all Pakistanis and stand together amid this crisis," Bishop Malik said.

The two bishops then went among the many tents to give out relief packages to survivors.

VOTF Chicagoland's open letter to the pope


Shortly after the piece headlined "Some bishops questioning clerical culture" was posted, I received an email from Anne Brennan of Voice of the Faithful Chicagoland about an open letter the group had written to Pope Benedict XVI in which they compare clerical culture with a deadly cancer threatening the church.

Whether one agrees entirely with the group's views, or its suggestions for correcting the abuses of the culture, it is a worthy contribution to the discussion, which I find occurring increasingly.

I'll have more on the subject in the future. Meanwhile, the full text of the Voice of the Faithful letter and contact information is pasted in below.

Attacks on 14th amendment callous, inhumane


In the last few weeks conservative Republicans and Tea Party activists have proposed changing the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment declares that all persons born in the United States are citizens of this country.

What these conservatives really want to do is change the amendment to prevent U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants from gaining U.S. citizenship. This is how low the anti-immigrant nativists have stooped. They claim that one of the main reasons why undocumented immigrants enter the U.S. is to have babies -- the so-called "anchor babies" -- that will allow parents to gain legal status through their children.

There is no evidence that this is why these immigrants cross the border.

'Green wants to conquer'


We hear a lot about “tipping points,” those places at which momentum becomes irreversible, in connection with looming environmental challenges such as climate change. The Earth now spins toward many points of no return, reputable scientists say. Opinions vary as to how long it will take or whether indeed we have already passed through them.

“The tipping points are falling like dominoes,” said Albert Bates, founder of the Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology, at a conference I attended last year. “We are losing. We need to sprint.”

Needed for that sprint are eco-tipping points, levers that dramatically reverse environmental decline and set in motion restoration and sustainability.

There are indeed many pioneering projects and efforts around the world that are not technological fixes so much as returns to ways humans have employed for hundreds of thousands of years or to ways and means that nature herself uses.

Here’s one that Bates presented involving the new/old science of permaculture.


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS