NCR Today

Tony Danza interrupts priest at New York funeral


In the "you can't make this up" column is this story from the New York Post:

It could have been a funeral-home scene out of a "Sopranos" episode. At the wake for crime author Philip Carlo, Tony Danza angrily interrupted the priest, claiming he was talking too much about God and not enough about the best-selling biographer of mass murderers, including Richard Kuklinski and Richard Ramirez, during his eulogy.

A source at Thursday's wake at Peter C. La Bella Funeral Home in Bensonhurst said the priest -- "who said he was a substitute priest from a federal prison, which made some people smirk -- started to ramble on and on about religion, quoting the Bible and making mourners uncomfortable.

"Tony, who was one of Carlo's closest friends, walked right up to the priest and said angrily, 'Excuse me, but this is not about you. It's supposed to be about my friend, and if you can't do that, maybe you should let someone else speak!'

Morning Briefing


NCR thanks donors for generous support


The National Catholic Reporter Board of Directors met in Milwaukee Nov. 4-5, just before the Call to Action National Conference.

During the busy days of strategic planning and discussion, the board took time to honor Rhoady and Jeanne Marie Lee for their remarkable commitment to Catholic philanthropy.

In this video, NCR editor Tom Fox presents an award to the Lees in recognition of their generous and ongoing support of NCR.

Can't see the video? View it here.

Koppel: Lack of facts signals the 'death of real news'


I wrote yesterday about narcissism and politics -- how American self-absorption may lead us to make rash voting choices based not on facts but on self-centered emotions. (A lot of this is detailed by Jennifer Senior in New York magazine.)

This is not a partisan malady (or observation), and it doesn't just infect politics. In a recent opinion piece published by The Washington Post, former ABC News heavyweight Ted Koppel makes much the same argument in describing how journalistic standards have devolved into left-right talking heads who bicker on TV for fun and profit.

Koppel writes this new kind of hyper-partisan "news" comes from "a national sense of entitlement."

He goes on to say:

Amidst Dolan hubbub, easy to forget bishops are virtually powerless



American media like church politics that slant vertically. They prefer top-down arrangements where authority flows from undisputed head to the obedient limbs. That makes it easier to define officially who's in and who's out, how to identify the approved teachings and to whom to show deference.

In theory, at least, the Catholic church has fit that description.

New politics of religion pivots on Islam, Obama



Two insightful observers of the intersection of religion and politics in America, E.J. Dionne and Bill Galston, believe a “new politics of religion” emerged in the 2010 elections, the hallmarks of which are two forms of deep public ambivalence – about Islam, and about the religious beliefs of President Barack Obama.

According to a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute,which forms the basis of the Dionne/Galston analysis, 45 percent of Americans agree that Islamic teachings and values are at odds with the American way of life.

Meanwhile, 51 percent regard Obama’s religious outlook as different from their own, while only 40 percent say the president's beliefs are similar to theirs. (Dionne and Galston said they deliberately wanted to go deeper than the stale question of how many Americans still believe, inaccurately, that Obama is a Muslim.)

Those findings were presented in a new Brookings Institution report authored by Dionne and Galston, which was released today. I was part of a group of journalists that got a sneak peek on Monday in Miami Beach, and there’s also much of interest in the report from a Catholic point of view.

Green your holidays


You'll be celebrating during the holiday season, on Thanksgiving and around Christmas. While this is a time of joy and family reunion, so many of us get wrapped up in buying gifts, planning and attending parties and events, or competing with our neighbors for the best holiday decorations. All the hustle and bustle can mean that we forget to consider our impact on the environment as we go about our holiday activities.

You can travel green, eat green, give green, and party green. For tips on how to do this see Green Your Holidays, an offering of the EarthShare Web site.

Three keys to reading the Dolan win at the USCCB



Clearly the big Catholic news in America this week is the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, upending the custom that the outgoing vice-president, in this case Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, more or less automatically ascends to the top job.

I wasn’t in Baltimore covering the bishops’ meeting, so I don’t have any insider scoop on the politics of that result. The consensus explanation seems to be that Dolan’s victory signals a broad conservative shift within the conference, perhaps coupled with concern that debate over Kicanas’ role in the Daniel McCormack case in Chicago might mean he would be hobbled by controversy over the sexual abuse crisis.

Without questioning that analysis, I’ll offer three observations about the significance of Dolan’s election.

Seminaries producing 'half-baked priests'


These aren't my words and I didn't chose the headline. Here's a story that comes to us from UCA News:

Some seminaries are producing “half-baked priests” because professors lack the skills to form all sides of their students, the secretary of the Association of Rectors of Major Seminaries (ARMS) said on the sidelines of a conference this week.

Professors have degrees that equip them for academic training but not to deal with “the complex nature of priestly formation,” Father John Kulandai said.

Read the full story: ‘Seminaries producing half-baked priests’


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July 14-27, 2017