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Issue of February 22, 2008

February 22, 2008 -- NCR front cover


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   This Week’s Edition: February 22, 2008 

Vol. 44 No. 13   
Cover story -- Fr. Marek Bozek
In a face-off with authority, Polish priest stands to be defrocked

By Jeannette Cooperman
Two years ago, when Fr. Marek Bozek left his diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., to follow his heart and conscience to a Polish parish in St. Louis, he says he didn’t expect his kindly Springfield bishop, John Leibrecht, to suspend him. Nor did he expect that he would soon be cast by Catholic hopefuls as David to Archbishop Raymond Burke’s Goliath on a national stage. All he wanted, he says, was to provide the sacraments for a group of proud Catholic Poles, whose parish he believed had been unjustly suppressed.

Full story
World -- Analysis
Fr. Marcial Maciel leaves behind a flawed legacy

By Jason Berry
Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the once powerful founder of the Legionaries of Christ and favorite of the late Pope John Paul II, was buried in Mexico recently in what was described as an “understated and solemn” ceremony, a disgraced figure who was plagued in his latter years by persistent charges that he had abused young seminarians in his earlier years.

Full story
Dutch proposal stirs controversy

By Robert McClory
Some six months after the Dutch Province of the Dominican order proposed that parishes in Holland should consider selecting lay members to preside at the Eucharist, the winds of controversy show no signs of abating. A spirited debate between the proposal’s detractors and supporters is underway.

Full story
India's warming toward Israel concerns Iran

By Inter Press Service
India’s traditionally friendly relations with Iran have come under strain because of the launching of an Israeli spy satellite by an Indian Space Research Organization rocket last month.

Full story
Episcopal bishop keeps her cool in the hot seat

By Daniel Burke
For a woman sitting on a very warm seat, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal church, seems remarkably cool. Even those who disagree with her progressive leadership agree that the 53-year-old remains unflappable under duress.

Full story
Catholic university approves club for gay, straight students

By Catholic News Service
The University of Portland, run by the Holy Cross Fathers, has recognized a club that seeks to build community and understanding between students who are heterosexual and those with a homosexual orientation.

Full story
Left recovers its language of faith

By Mary Barron
Clinton, Obama find values outreach is working.

Full story
Catholic vote eyed for general election sucess

By NCR Staff
When conversation turns to religion and politics, it is often conservative evangelicals or Catholics deeply involved in “cultural issues” who draw all the attention. But it is another group entirely -- a small grouping of Catholics who lie somewhere in the middle -- who have been determining the outcome of presidential elections since 1972.

Full story
Religious Life
Daughter of Henriette and Katrina hopes in God

By Patricia Lefevere
Sr. Sylvia Thibodeaux describes herself as a daughter of Henriette Delille and a daughter of Hurricane Katrina. The slavery of the past and the chaos and dying that swept over this city in 2005 are the bookends supporting a life of many volumes -- as a teacher, principal, civil rights advocate, missionary and congregational leader.

Full story
Student exchanges aim to promote Christian unity

By UCA News
Some Catholic seminaries and Protestant-run universities run annual student-exchange programs to promote Christian unity by showing “local Christians good relations among their would-be leaders,” said one seminary rector here.

Full story
The patience of God

By Leo O'Donovan
When yesterday we entered the Society of Jesus, my fellow jubilarians tell me, we were setting forth on a journey for which there were indeed words -- the love of God, the service of our fellow human beings, a vowed life in the church -- but only a fairly shallow grasp of what they might mean.

Full story
Monk leads young people in meditation

By UCA News
“There is nothing worse than to say on your deathbed, ‘I’ve lived a meaningless life,’ ” a British monk told about 40 young people during a day of recollection.

Full story
Going green

By Kris Berggren
Sisters are renewing community life from the ground up.

Full story
Women healing earth, healing church

By Kris Berggren
While a handful of men such as Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry, who calls himself a “geologian” and Jesuit Fr. Al Fritsch, director of Appalachia Science in the Public Interest, have made major philosophical and analytical contributions to the green movement in the church, it’s largely women religious who are living the green vision by making changes in their personal and community lives.

Full story
NCR Editorials
Scathing critique unburied

A report that contains a scathing critique of the Bush administration’s planning for postwar Iraq was recently leaked to The New York Times after being hidden for two-and-a-half years. The report, commissioned by the Army and based on a study by the Rand Corporation, faults most of the major players and agencies involved in the invasion and its aftermath.

Full editorial
Small changes, big setbacks

Paradoxical efforts by Pope Benedict XVI to promote interreligious dialogue and at the same time reassert Catholic superiority are visible in the current flap over reviving, then revising, the wording of prayers that some Catholics will use this Good Friday calling for conversion of the Jews. Language is a tool of both hospitality and affront. Unavoidably, the pope’s dual agenda has raised concerns that longstanding efforts to heal Jewish-Christian relations are being undermined.

Full editorial
Quotable & Notable

“We need a little bit of silence. We need a space without the constant bombardment of images.”

-- Pope Benedict XVI encouraging the priests of the Rome diocese in “fasting from words and images” this Lent

More quotes

Colman McCarthy

A war bully, not a hero
John McCain pledges to unite the Republican Party. That’s doubtful, but what isn’t beyond question is how artfully he has united much of the media into the John McCain Adoration Society.

Full story
Demetria Martinez

Breath on mirrors
Traveling exhibit remembers human rights crimes in Latin America.

Full story
Evangelizing gone awry

By Mark Faulkner
The church in Kenya has fostered the tribalism it new deplores.

Full story
Subprime loan crisis swamps agencies

By Eileen Markey
Housing advocates scramble to assist clients facing foreclosure.

Full story
Redeemed Klansman reunites with long-ago victim

By Roy Hoffman
It was the week before Thanksgiving and Stan Chassin, a 59-year-old investment counselor, had been nervous all day.

Full story
La Raza leader battles 'extremist' rhetoric

By Michael Humphrey
The immigration debate is a major diversion away from issues on which Hispanics should concentrate their efforts, said the leader of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest civil rights group for Latinos.

Full story
Religious Life -- Viewpoint
The sister's story retold

By Marlene Sweeney
I recently left Sunday Mass shaking my head. Walking to the car I found myself ranting to my 23-year-old daughter. “Until we teach and encourage women to advocate for themselves, life in our church will not change.” She looked at me somewhat startled.

Full story
Religious Life
'God is making something new,' says superior general

By Laurie Stevens
The superior general of one of the largest congregations of vowed women religious in the world believes religious life is changing, but said she has “absolutely no fear” that it will die out.

Full story
Lay staffers embrace order's charism

By Michael Humphrey
Associates program blossoms at university sponsored by sisters.

Full story
Orders find new lifeblood with laity

By Michael Humphrey
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are hardly alone in finding new lifeblood through associates. The trend is in full swing, thanks to training programs in dozens of orders that see passing on their values and mission to laypeople as essential to survival.

Full story
'We need to be very close to the people, our ears close to the ground'

By UCA News
About 16 months before his election, a Jesuit scholastic interviewed Fr. Adolfo Nicolás about his preferred leadership style, conflict resolution, challenges the Jesuits face and leadership values he wanted to inculcate in young members.

Full story
Nuns launch plans to fight trafficking of women

By UCA News
Superiors general of about 35 women’s congregations based in India have drafted a plan to fight trafficking of women and children through educating religious as well as cooperating across congregations and with church institutions.

Full story
Inside NCR

Rita Larivee


The power of one
Judge for yourself whether Fr. Marek Bozek is worthy of praise or criticism in his head-on collision with St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke in a case of obedience versus conscience. Fr. Bozek’s decision to serve an interdicted Catholic parish trying to retain control of its own funds or, more recently, his support for women’s ordination, has him in final jeopardy. What seems noteworthy is the power of one person to hold up business as usual and bring public scrutiny to the otherwise uncontested exercise of authority.

Full story

The road to forgiveness

By Laura Lloyd
A new documentary looks at how and when people choose to forgive.

Full story
Belief and unbelief get center stage in 'Grace'

By Retta Blaney
Grace Friedman is a wife, mother and brilliant professor. Her bold assertions on the “absurdity” of religion have propelled her to center stage in the public debate over the existence of God. But Grace’s private calm is severely shaken when her son, Tom, announces a career change from civil rights attorney to Anglican priest.

Full story
 Letters to the Editor

Letters for February 22, 2008

Classifieds for February 22, 2008

News Briefs for February 22, 2008

People for February 22, 2008

Last Words
'It took a village to get into this mess. We live in a society that wants what it wants now.'

-- Karen Wallensak

A memorable quote from this week's issue.

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