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Issue of March 7, 2008

March 7, 2008 -- NCR front cover


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   This Week’s Edition: March 7, 2008 

Vol. 44 No. 14   
Cover story -- PeaceWomen
Beautiful women

By Renée LaReau
Women have their own way of avoiding war and creating peace.” These are the words of Samsidar, an Indonesian activist who was one of 1,000 women collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

Full story
Women's center tackles big issues in cozy space

By Renée LaReau
The women’s center where 1,000 PeaceWomen is on display is a new initiative for Xavier, a Jesuit university in Cincinnati with more than 6,600 students. Jennifer Wies, director of the center, said the exhibit provides an opportunity to publicize the center among the wider community.

Full story
Australia's Rudd apologized to Stolen Generations on 'graced day'

By Penny Edman
With the first item of business in the first post-election session of Parliament, Australia’s new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd completed an item of old business left undone for more than a decade. Rudd apologized to the Stolen Generations.

Full story
Raw sewage runs in the streets of Gaza

By Mohammed Omer
A stream of dark and putrid sludge snakes through Gaza’s streets. It is a noxious mix of human and animal waste. The stench is overwhelming. The occasional passerby vomits.

Full story
German bishops' new leader promises liberal agenda

By NCR Staff
The new chairman of the German Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference has promised continuity with his sometimes controversial predecessor. He was delivering on that promise within days after his election, speaking against clerical celibacy and for greater ecumenism.

Full story
India's bishops strive for gender equality in church bodies

By UCA News
Acknowledging that the presence of women in Indian church structures is still “inadequate,” India’s bishops have decided to reserve 35 percent of seats in church bodies for women.

Full story
Pope in U.S.
Imagining the perfect papal visit

By Richard R. Gaillardetz
If he pays attention, Benedict will find great diversity in the American church.

Full story
Study finds fluid religious affiliation

By Adelle M. Banks
If you’re Buddhist in the United States, you’re most likely a white convert who lives in the American West.

Full story
Catholics lose more members than any other group

By Greg Trotter
In the marketplace of American faith, Catholicism is the big loser.

Full story
Chosen few get stadium tickets for papal Masses

By Religion News Service
Christine Larrabee is grateful there were witnesses. Otherwise the news would have been a tough sell at her Catholic church in Cranford, N.J.

Full story
Film argues for gentler church approach to divorce

By Religion News Service
Divorced people no longer feel as if they are wearing a scarlet “D” on their chests when they walk into most houses of worship.

Full story
Wealth & Responsibility
The opus prize

By Emilie Lemmons
Rewarding heroes $1 million at a time.

Full story
The 2007 Opus prize winner: Br. Stan Goetschalckx

By Emilie Lemmons
As Gerald Rauenhorst was shaping his vision for the faith-based, $1 million Opus Prize, he drew inspiration from two giants in the world of religious philanthropy: Mother Teresa and financial investor Sir John Templeton.

Full story
Photo essay of Br. Stan Goetschalckx's work

Full story
Carrying on a legacy of philanthropy

By Emilie Lemmons
When it was time for Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst’s children to go off to college, it came as little surprise that all seven of them chose Catholic colleges.

Full story
Report: Ignoring girls' welfare carries high price

By Abra Pollock
Investing in young women and girls in developing regions must be a top priority for governments, multilateral agencies and the private sector, say the authors of a report released in January.

Full story
NCR Editorials
Beautiful, powerful women

As film aficionados ease away from the glitter of Oscar Night, we might all take note of the world’s need for beautiful people. What would our stories be without the perfect faces to embody our own aspirations, the lithe forms to carry us vicariously into the romance and drama the movies depict? A Web site displays in seamless morphed succession the history of the faces of Hollywood’s leading film actresses, their high cheekbones, full lips and alluring eyes -- accepted and familiar standards for beauty.

Full editorial
Examine the Catholic exodus

Among the many fascinating findings of the recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing the porous borders of the country’s religious denominations and the diversity of religious expression in this country, is the sobering note that the Catholic church has been hemorrhaging membership in recent years.

Full editorial

Quotable & Notable

“So what’s a pro-life, pro-family, antiwar, pro-immigrant, pro-economic-justice Catholic like me supposed to do in November?”

-- Joe Feuerherd, former NCR Washington correspondent, writing a Washington Post op-ed that criticizes the U.S. bishops’ election-year document “Faithful Citizenship” and some individual bishops for exalting abortion over other social concerns

More quotes

Kris Berggren

A Compact Lenten practice

Full story
A lesson from Egypt

By Brad Hirschfield
A U.S. rabbi meets members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Full story
No neat fit for social ministry message

By John L. Allen Jr.
Perhaps the most memorable image in recent Catholic life to express the church’s social teaching is that of a “seamless garment,” invoked by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago to capture what he called a “consistent ethic of life,” including antiabortion efforts as well as support for the poor and opposition to the death penalty and war.

Full story
For a virtual dose of reality, a different kind of video game

By Michael Humphrey
The sit-in, the boycott, the prayer vigil and the video game -- no, it’s not a Sesame Street exercise about which of the four doesn’t belong. This is a wake-up call to activists about what is going to create social change in the digital age.

Full story
Vatican supports Boston area parish closing

By NCR Staff
A Vatican ruling that backs Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s closing of a Lowell, Mass., church doesn’t bode well for other area parishioners appealing the archdiocese’s decisions to close their parishes.

Full story
Young Catholics respond to a chance to shine

By David Briggs
There are a lot of differences between the 5 p.m. Sunday Mass at St. Ambrose Catholic Church and the regular morning Masses at other local Catholic churches.

Full story
Wealth & Responsibility
Charities brace for leaner economy

By Eileen Markey
As the specter of recession looms over the U.S. economy and Americans begin to tighten their belts, managers of major Catholic charities are preparing for the possibility of smaller donations at a time of increased need for the services they provide.

Full story
Dow Jones unveils 'dharma index'

By Daniel Burke
Financial news powerhouse Dow Jones & Company has launched new “dharma indexes” to track the stocks of companies that observe the values of dharma-based religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

Full story
Bishop calls for carbon taxes in rich countries

By Catholic News Service
Carbon taxes in the world’s richest countries should be used to ameliorate the effects of global warming in the world’s poorest countries, said an Irish bishop.

Full story
Poll: Many perceive economic unfairness

By Jim Lobe
An average of nearly two out of three people in 34 countries around the world believe that the benefits and burdens resulting from changes in their nation’s economy over the last few years are not being distributed fairly, according to a multinational survey released by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Full story
Inside NCR

Rita Larivee


Responsible citizenship
“Wealth & Responsibility” is the title of a special section we introduced a few years ago with the goal of raising questions about individual accountability and the use of resources for the common good. Our aim was to heighten awareness that, as partners in both a secular society and the Christian tradition, we are required to respond to the needs of the human family. Simply put, “How do wealth and Christianity fit together?”

Full story

Feminist theologian Anne Carr dies

By NCR Staff
Feminist theologian and expert on Karl Rahner and Thomas Merton, Sr. Anne Carr died at her home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago Feb. 11. She was 73.

Full story
Jesuit professor, prolific writer dies

By Religion News Service
Fr. Walter J. Burghardt, a Jesuit priest known for his electrifying preaching style and commitment to social justice, died Feb. 16 in a Jesuit infirmary in Merion, Pa. He was 93.

Full story
Heroes of our time

By Greg Gaut
We fight each war twice -- once in real life, and a second time with words, as contending forces try to mold our collective memory of the conflict. The Vietnam War, for example, ended decades ago, and today the United States enjoys friendly relations with the communist government of Vietnam. But Americans still battle over the meaning of the war and what lessons it teaches. The same is true of the Cold War, the great standoff between the United States and the USSR, which provided the rationale for American intervention in Vietnam.

Full story
Calling all writers
Calling all writers!

Send submissions for future topics in our “Variations on a Theme” feature to (We prefer e-mail.) Or you can send them by regular mail to: Themes, Rich Heffern, NCR, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111 or fax them to (816) 968-2280.

Full story
'The Wire' depicts a community on the brink

By Raymond A. Schroth
The story of HBO’s sensation “The Wire” -- not extremely popular but acclaimed by the media as “The best show on TV” -- goes back to 2000, to a TV semi-documentary, “The Corner,” based on the 1997 book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. Written by journalist David Simon and retired policeman Edward Burns, the book was about the beatings, shootings, drug dens and family failures in one wretched Baltimore neighborhood in 1993.

Full story
Gems from home and abroad

By Kevin Doherty and Joseph Cunneen
'Praying with Lior' is a poignant documentary; 'Caramel' depicts sisterhood in Lebanon; 'The Band's Visit' a charmer from Israel.

Full review
Lenten reading
By Macrina Wiederkehr
Sorin Books, 224 pages, $18.95
Compiled by Thom Satterlee and Robert Moore-Jumonville
Liguori Press, 122 pages, $9.95

Reviewed by Rich Heffern

Full review

Poetry March 7, 2008

 Letters to the Editor

Letters for March 7, 2008

Classifieds for March 7, 2008

News Briefs for March 7, 2008

People for March 7, 2008

Last Words
'There is something about human nature that you learn by teaching little kids that you don't learn anywhere else.'

-- Sr. Christine Athans

A memorable quote from this week's issue.

Mother Theodore Guerin, founder of the Sisters of St. Mary of the Woods in Indiana, was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. A caption below a reproduction of a painting of the saint, in the Religious Life section of the Feb. 22 issue, referred to her as Blessed rather than St.
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