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Issue Date:  December 7, 2007

From the Editor's Desk

Telling 'the truth of events'

As this issue goes to press, NCR is hosting the fall meeting of its board of directors. As every nonprofit does, we will review budgets and strategic plans and assess the overall operations of the company. But at the end of the day, one focus will get the most attention -- fidelity to mission -- NCR ’s 44-year-old commitment to provide our readers with the information they need to assess and engage the life of the church in the world. It is not always an easy task. In the words of our first editors, “Among other things it will require the putting of awkward questions and the printing of awkward facts.”

This week’s cover story illustrates this well. If you have been following the issue of the ordination of women within the Roman Catholic church, you know well the tensions stirred by this topic and the official church ban that prohibits even talking about it. No speaker can address any aspect of it on church property.

NCR reports the news. We have also promised to provide our readers with the wider context of events and ideas so they can decide for themselves what is significant.

The world does not stand still and people do not stop thinking and talking and acting because change is controversial. Something important is happening in our world regarding women, their roles, rights and responsibilities as citizens and as baptized members of the church, as natural leaders and essential partners with men in deciding the future. This is part of the fuller context of the issue of women’s ordination.

As independent journalists we have taken seriously the words of Pope Paul VI, who once described the press as “a mirror” that ought to reflect “the truth of events, of facts, of daily happenings.” Using this as our guide, we chose to tell the story of women who believe they have been called by God to priesthood and who now hold that they are validly ordained within the Roman Catholic church. We think it serves our readers to let these women tell their own personal stories, to present themselves, their motives and their intentions, as essential to the human dimensions of the larger story of women in the church and world. To do less would be to fail our mission.

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Also this week, it is my pleasure to welcome a new and former staff member to NCR, Pamela Schaeffer, who served with us six years ago as NCR’s managing editor. She is a distinguished career journalist, nominated four times for the Pulitzer Prize in specialized reporting, a frequent winner of Catholic Press Association awards, who holds a doctorate in historical theology. Pam will serve as NCR executive editor, a new management level position at NCR. She will work closely with me, editor in chief, and news director Tom Roberts, in a leadership capacity to help plan future endeavors and ongoing projects. Most recently, Pam has served as the director of public relations and communications with the Society of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis. She has served as the news editor for Religion News Service in New York and the religion-ethics editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. We are most pleased to have Pam once again as part of the NCR team. You can reach her at

Contact me at

-- Sr. Rita Larivee, SSA

National Catholic Reporter, December 7, 2007

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