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New evangelization needed?


I have to agree with English Bishop Kieran Conry, who recently questioned Pope Benedict's creation of a new evangelization council because it seems to imply that secularization--rather than the church's own failures--is at the heart of declining numbers of Catholics in Europe and elsewhere.

"My own personal opinion — I would stress that this is a personal opinion — is that I am not entirely convinced by this secularization argument. It suggests that the church's problems are external, in other words society has gone wrong, but the church is fine," he told the BBC on Sunday.

Evangelization, or spreading the Good News, is the whole point of the church, he said, but the church isn't doing it very well. It needs "to become a little more tolerant, accessible, welcoming, compassionate. All the things that, for many people, it is not."

The story was reported by the Catholic Herald in London.

Uranium plant employees in Superman's hometown on strike


The New York Times reported Sunday that an Illinois town that houses a major U.S. nuclear processing facility connected to the cancer deaths of 42 employees is experiencing a labor dispute regarding health benefits for retirees.

According to the report Metropolis, Ill. -- named for the fictitious hometown of the comic-book character Superman and home of the plant -- has been roiled after Honeywell, the plant operator, locked out its 220 union employees.

The plant is responsible for converting milled uranium into uranium hexafluoride for nuclear reactors.

From the story:

"We deal with hydrofluoric acid," said Darrell Lillie, president of United Steelworkers Local 7-669, which represents the union workers. "We make fluorine. This is bad stuff. The least we feel like we could have is good medical benefits when we retire."

Madison Diocese offers birth control insurance, but warns employees not to use it


A state law is forcing the Madison Catholic Diocese this month to begin offering its employees insurance coverage for birth control.

However, a diocesan spokesman said employees will be warned against using the benefit and that open defiance of Catholic teaching on the issue could ultimately lead to termination.

St. Mary's Hospital in Madison has notified employees that it, too, soon will be required for the first time to cover contraception.

Both entities sought to get around the mandate by becoming self-insured, but the costs proved prohibitive.

Showtime's 'The Big C' addresses real issues of chronic illness


I watched the first episode of Showtime’s late summer offering on the Internet Movie Database. The original series was created by actress/writer/producer Darlene Hunt and Bill Condon, director of the 2004 film Kinsey, directs. The show premieres this Monday, August 16 (check local listings).

The Big C stars the thrice Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Laura Linney, (The Truman Show; Kinsey), as Cathy Jamison, a forty-ish wife, mother and high school teacher who learns she has terminal cancer with a year to live. Oliver Platt (The West Wing; Pieces of April) is her clueless, immature husband Paul and Gabourey Sidibe, who was nominated for an Oscar this year for her role in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, plays smart-alec Andrea, one of Cathy’s students. Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) and Idris Elba (The Wire) also star.

Thanking God Everyday


Actor, rapper and film/TV producer, Mark Walhberg, participates in Time Magazine's 10 Questions Column in its August 16, 2010, issue.

Question #8, submitted by Ari del Rosario, Manila, asked:

How has being a practicing Catholic helped you in your career? —
Anything that's good in my life is because of my faith. A lot of people get in trouble, go to jail and find God, and the minute they don't need God anymore, they're gone. But I spend a good portion of my day thanking God for all the blessings that have been bestowed on me. If it all ended today, I'd be happy. I've had such an amazing journey. Read more on the interview.

Another tribute for TaizÈ from the Vatican


tOne of the more intriguing chapters in the history of ecumenical détente has long been the relationship between the Vatican and the Community of Taizé, a joint Protestant and Catholic monastic order in the Burgundy region of France.

Typically speaking, anything that smacks of syncretism is viewed in Rome as toxic, yet Taizé and its late founder, Brother Roger Schutz, who boldly blend Catholic and Protestant devotions and beliefs, have been wrapped in a warm loving embrace.

The latest proof comes just today, as L’Osservatore Romano splashed a tribute to Brother Roger across its front page from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, on the fifth anniversary of Schutz’s death and the seventieth anniversary of the foundation of Taizé. The Vatican paper also devoted an entire page inside to tributes for Schutz and Taizé from a wide variety of Christian leaders, including the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Recent updates, tweets from Tom Fox in Dallas


NCR editor Tom Fox is 'tweeting' live from the annual LCWR national assembly in Dallas this morning as M. Shawn Copeland, an associate professor of theology at Boston College, gives a keynote address.

Follow Fox on his twitter account @NCRTomFox or If you tweet about the meeting use #LCWR in your tweet so we can all follow along!

Here's a sample of Fox's most recent updates:

At 9:45 AM CDT: This year's LCWR conference theme: Hope in the midst of darkness. Fitting.

At 10:30: Shawn Copeland to LCWR: resist idolatry, ideology; be critical of established power.

At 10:32: Copeland to LCWR: Witness an unyielding hope that resists despair.

At 10:35: Copeland to LCWR: You are called to radical openness and suffering.

At 10:38: Copeland to LCWR: Radical openness is living-in-love with God.

At 10:40: Shawn Copeland receives standing ovation at LCWR assembly.

Chancery calls in Nashville priest over video


A video plucked from a parish Web site and posted to YouTube by a conservative Catholic group resulted in a dressing down of a Nashville priest by his bishop. In the video, the priest questions mandatory celibacy, obedience to the pope and excluding women from the priesthood.

Read the full story: Nashville priest may get in trouble over viral video


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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