National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

Faith & Science in DC


During the 2008 GOP primaries, in one of the debates, Jim VandeHei asked Senator John McCain if he believed in evolution. The Senator paused for a moment before answering. While no man knows the heart or mind of another with certainty, I think it is safe to venture the guess that in the moment of hesitation, Sen. McCain was entertaining a political doubt, not a scientific one. Finally, he answered, “Yes.”

The correct answer, of course, would have been to point out that the question is a flawed one. One does not “believe” scientific theory, one demonstrates it. That is the point. Yet, the debate between those committed to science and religion often suffers from such confusion. Thankfully, there is an antidote at hand.

Fools rush in


Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

Gandhi once observed that if God were to come into our hungry world, it will surely be as bread.

Passover focuses the entire Jewish community on a meal, sustenance for the journey from slavery to freedom in a promised homeland where plentiful food would be the most tangible sign of God’s love. Wealth, someone else has said, is the power to eat, and this simple measure divides our world into nations so well fed they battle obesity and other nations where “food security” is the main preoccupation of the majority of the population. El Salvador is one of these.

Most viewed stories in March


Looking for a Good Friday vigil?


Here's note just received from Voice of the Faithful

National Vigil of Sorrow

Good Friday is a day of sorrow and mourning for the Catholic Church. On this solemn day, we stand in solidarity with victims of clergy abuse and, as Pope Benedict requested of the faithful in Ireland, devote ourselves to the healing and renewal of the Church. We call on our pastoral leaders to say “Stop the Hiding; Start the Healing.”

Members of Voice of the Faithful will gather in Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. We will pray together as we stand in support of the survivor community. The clergy abuse scandal has plagued the Catholic Church for far too long. It is time for accountability and transparency from the leaders of the Church, an apology is not enough. We invite everyone to join us for all or part of this special national event.

New York City
- St. Patrick's Cathedral, 12pm - 3pm

- Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 12pm - 3pm

- Holy Name Cathedral, 3pm

Washington, D.C.
- Cathedral of St. Matthew, 12pm – 1pm

Click here for more details.

The sinuous, slithery ones and us


I saw it before my brain lobes even registered I’d seen it. Its beige coils striped with deep russet hourglass shapes blended well against brown leaves, yet a mere glimpse as I approached sent a spark down my spine at light speed that jerked me back like a horror-struck puppet on a string even before my cerebellum announced to my awareness that I’d almost vexed a venomous copperhead by stepping on it.

My brother Bob and his wife Sue live in the Missouri Ozark forest. They wake spring mornings to bluebird serenades outside their window and evenings watch the moon rise through the fragrant native pines.

Every summer for the past dozen years, though, they’ve been plagued by copperheads. Last June I met one of them up close.

A half dozen or more of these beautiful (but somewhat dangerous) snakes at a time slither near their house on very warm evenings, coiling up on the steps leading to their front porch, even draping themselves over the loops of garden hose that hang nearby.

Bob tries to relocate them by means of a garden hoe and a covered bucket. When he finally loses patience with the outbreak, he kills them with a shovel.

Pope was warned in '63 of abusive priests


A story is circulating this week out of Los Angeles noting that Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, an order with a mission to serve troubled priests, warned Pope Paul VI in a 1963 letter of the dangers of keeping in ministry priests who had sexually abused children.

For a fuller treatment of Fitzgerald's awareness of the danger of priest sex abusers and his persistent efforts to warn the hierarchy see NCR's report of a year ago. Fitzgerald's letter was actually a follow up to a personal visit with Paul VI during which he warned the pope of the danger posed by such priests to children and to the church.

JPII: Under the Bus


I guess no one can say the hierarchy is not taking the threat of scandal seriously anymore. In an interview yesterday, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, spoke about the desire of many to have a full-scale investigation of charges leveled against his predecessor Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer. He said that then-Cardinal raztinger supported the investigation but others counseled against it. He had this to say about Pope Benedict’s commitment to rooting out the scourge of clergy sex abuse. “I can still very clearly remember the moment when Cardinal Ratzinger sadly told me that the other camp had asserted itself.” There was no investigation.

Did he just throw Pope John Paul II under the bus? Yes, he did.

Western Mo. Catholics rally for immigration reform


The U.S. bishops' immigration reform campaign is hitting the Congressional districts of Western Missouri today and tomorrow.

Bishop Robert Finn, ordinary of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, launched the U.S. bishops' "Justice to Immigrants" campaign in January with a postcard campaign (There was a sign-up table in the narthex of my parish church.), and the diocesan Human Rights Office has taken up the challenge.


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts