NCR Today

Will new Vatican office mean more belief, or more bureaucracy?



tAs of today, the Vatican officially has a brand new department dedicated to reawakening Christianity in the secular West. Whether this new “Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization” will actually trigger a Christian renaissance across the First World, however, very much remains to be seen.

tSo far, the lone concrete project announced by the office is a celebration in 2012 of the twentieth anniversary of publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

tPope Benedict XVI announced plans to create the new office, known in the technical parlance of the Vatican as a “dicastery,” on June 29, the liturgical feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Only today, however, was the legal document formally creating the office published.

Beck and the Birchers, intellectual soul mates


Ever wonder how history would have changed if W. Cleon Skousen and Robert Welch had had their own radio and tv shows, access to the internet and continued exposure on 24/7 "news" shows that need to fill every second of the day with something, anyting? If they had been able to talk daily to millions instead of spreading the word through dedicated small cells of true believers? Glenn Beck is a good bet for how it might have appeared.

Does benign neglect spell the 'Death of Christians of the East'?



tSprawl usually marks the opening stages of a Synod of Bishops, as participants use brief speeches to raise a bewildering variety of topics, and common threads can be hard to find. Attempts to identify key ideas too early in the game risk jumping the gun.

tThat said, yesterday’s first round of speeches in the Oct. 10-24 Synod of Bishops for the Middle East repeatedly seemed to flag a threat facing the churches of the region, less visible than the rise of radical Islam or the war in Iraq, but potentially no less fatal: A sort of “benign neglect” across the Catholic world, which could mean acquiescence as the spiritual and social capital of the churches of the Middle East ebbs away.

Friends of NCR annual appeal kicks off


It's October and here at NCR that means we kick off our annual Friends of NCR fundraising campaign.

So now, many of you are probably thinking ... "Oh great, one more request for money." And although in actuality, this is a request for financial assistance for NCR, our Friends campaign is so much more. It's your opportunity to be involved, to be a part of a group of people dedicated to the belief that a light must keep shining on the issues in our church and in our world. It's people who know how important this information is, to all of us, and know that NCR oftentimes is the only place where it can be found. That's why we need your help, so we can keep the NCR light shining, doing our work of keeping you informed.

Activist: It's up to us to stop nuclear war


Last Thursday, 14 anti-nuclear weapons activists were found guilty of illegal trespassing. Back in August they had stood in front of earth moving equipment at the construction site for a new nuclear weapons production plant in Kansas City, Mo.

One of the activists, Felice Cohen-Joppa has written a reflection at about the trial and the reasons she feels the activists' trepass was completely legal. Cohen-Joppa is the co-editor of the Nuclear Resister, a newsletter which tracks nonviolent resistance to war. Her letter follows:

The judge found me guilty. Even after I'd testified under oath that I had committed no crime when standing in front of a bulldozer in a muddy soybean field being cleared for the new Kansas City Plant, arm in arm with 13 others. On August 16, we had tried to stop preparation of the site for the first U.S. nuclear weapons plant to be built in 32 years. That's what brought us to Judge LaBella's Kansas City courtroom on October 7.

Israel deports Nobel Peace prize laureate


After a week of fighting an Israeli deportation order, Nobel Prize laureate Mairead Maguire was flown back to Ireland Oct 5. Israel claims Mairead, 66, had violated a 10-year ban imposed on her following her participation in the Gaza-bound flotilla last summer. But Mairead, who flew to Israel in late September, expecting to lead a women’s peace delegation, said she was “shocked” to learn of the 10-year deportation order pending against her.

Christopher Columbus, the quiz, and me


Childhood memories of Columbus Day hold for me a slight shiver of anxiety mixed with a bit of ethnic pride. The anxiety of that era had nothing to do with the horrors that were wrought, I later learned, in the wake of our hero discoverer. It had everything to do with the dual expectations of parents and nuns.

You see, during the years (late 1950s) I attended St. Aloysius Elementary School in Pottstown, Pa., the local Knights of Columbus Chapter, which occasionally held dances for Catholic youth on Saturday nights, also sponsored an annual Columbus Day Quiz.

The competition was among several of the Catholic schools in the region, each of which was allowed to send representatives to the final competition from various grade levels.

You knew this was coming. Still . . .


If you think the digital revolution has been an unalloyed joy, Google has some good news for you. Everyone else -- buckle up for a bumpy ride.

According to a report in The New York Times, engineers at Google up in Silicon Valley are hard at work on developing a car that drives itself. You just climb inside, press a button, enter in some destination information, and sit back.


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In This Issue

April 21-May 4, 2017