story -- Myanmar after the crackdown
An overview of a troubled land.
Burma then and now
Throughout the past millennium, several ethnic groups have lived in what
is now known as Myanmar, formerly called Burma. The most populated area is the
broad valley of the Irrawaddy River. Forested mountain ranges rise to the Shan
Plateau in the northeast, while the coastline forms the eastern shore of the
Bay of Bengal. Countless Buddhist temples dot the landscape -- most notably in
the ancient city of Bagan, where thousands of temples remain among the ruins,
and at Yangon where the gleaming Shwedagon Pagoda stands.
Refugees from myanmar find a home in Bangkok
Bangkoks Wat Prok seems to be swarming with boys in the morning.
Most are dressed in identical blue -- they get to play soccer this afternoon,
so they wear their sports uniforms all day in anticipation, and some kids are
getting in some early informal practice. Others come up to greet their teacher,
an American Maryknoll lay missioner, with a wai, the prayer-like gesture
of respect used in Thailand.
The crackdown on demonstrators by Myanmars military government in
September has provoked intense international pressure, including moves by the
European Union and the United States to tighten economic sanctions against the
regime. The juntas announcement in mid-February that it intends to hold a
referendum on a constitution in May and elections in 2010 might raise hopes
that the pressure is working, but pro-democracy advocates have dismissed the
plans as a hollow attempt to deflect international criticism.
König, Dupuis lament censure
Special Report: Dialogue between König and Dupuis
Following is a transcript of the König-Dupuis dialogue, which
took place in Vienna, Austria, July 16, 2003. The NCR staff has
excerpted it for space considerations.
At the beginning of July 2003, Cardinal König rang me to say that that he
had had a letter from Fr. Jacques Dupuis. The Belgian Jesuit had become famous
in 1998 after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith opened an
investigation into his work. Now he wanted to come from Rome to Vienna to thank König
personally for having publicly defended him in The Tablet. Although they
had spoken to one another on the telephone at the time of the
congregations investigation, the two men had never met.
Confusion expected on Zimbabwe election day
In the weeks and days leading up to Zimbabwes national elections,
the government has barred all but official bodies from providing voter
education. Civil society and church groups fear the ban will lead to massive
confusion on election day, and the confusion is insurance that the government
of Robert Mugabe will be returned to power.
Jews debate anti-gentile prayers
Tensions between Catholics and Jews over a Good Friday prayer in the
Latin Tridentine Mass have caused some Jews to take a harder look at their own
exclusive prayers and to ask whether Catholics are getting a lopsided share of
Religion News Service
IMichal Heller, a Polish cosmologist and Roman Catholic priest whose
commitment to combining the insights of science and religion stretches back to
his youth in war-torn Europe, has won the 2008 Templeton Prize.
Luther's rehabilitation called groundless
Catholic News Service
Rumors that the Vatican is set to rehabilitate Martin
Luther, the 16th-century leader of the Protestant Reformation, are groundless,
said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi.
Roman pope, American culture
As with John Paul before him, Benedict could use language lessons.
Old sins revisited
For older Catholics who remember tallying up their sins like amateur
golfers on the 18th green while waiting their turn in the confessional, news of
an expanded list of capital sins could be disconcerting. Maybe it wasnt
enough to just avoid the Big Seven (if you know all seven, you are probably an
Desperate times in Israel and Gaza
The situation between Israel and the occupied territories goes from bad
to worse. Consider recent events there: An Israeli assault in Gaza in early
March killed an estimated 120 people, about half of them civilians. An Arab
gunman attacked the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and killed eight seminary
students. Shortly after, on March 9, Israel announced plans to build hundreds
of new homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Meanwhile, rockets
continue to be fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip, where living conditions
for the Palestinian population are worsening under the impact of the Israeli
embargo. And in Washington, the Bush administration is asking Congress for a 9
percent increase in military aid to Israel that will be used to help Israel
sustain its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Im in hot water again.
-- Admiral William Fallon telling writer Thomas P.M. Barnett that the
White House was displeased, again, with his penchant for diplomacy before talk
of war. Fallon resigned as head of U.S. Central Command, shortly after
Barnetts Esquire article was published.
A conservative with wit and style
One of a kind, William F. Buckley Jr. was a one-man show who for six
decades relished one-upping the left. Whether in print, on television, from
lecture podia or in salons where he and his rightist acolytes sipped port, he
did it with grace and glee. Liberals, half-seduced by his charm and fully awed
by the breadth of his mind, took to him as their favorite conservative. Not
that the competition was heavy.
As their presidential nomination process wrapped up in early March,
Republicans appeared to be a fiancée with some doubts. Unlike the
Democrats, GOPers made their commitment: For better or worse, its going
to be Sen. John McCain. But they keep nervously playing with the engagement
ring. Was he really the one? Christian conservatives are a key element of that
St. Louis archbishop moves to have priest laicized
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is moving to have Fr. Marek Bozek,
pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, removed from the
Church paid $615 million on abuse claims in 2007
Religion News Service
The U.S. Catholic church paid out $615 million in costs related to
sexual abuse claims in 2007, even as the number of victims coming forward fell
for the third straight year, according to an annual report issued March 7 by
the U.S. bishops conference.
Santiago Charlie Feliciano spent two decades working as an
in-house lawyer for the Cleveland diocese. When he finally left in 2000, he had
been the general counsel, Bishop Anthony Pillas main legal adviser, for
16 years. Feliciano held one of the top posts in the dioceses Financial and
Legal Office. Yet, talk to Feliciano and hell tell you how large swaths
of diocesan finance remained a mystery to him.
Roundtable recommends fiscal standards for church
The eruption of the clerical abuse scandal in 2002 brought an
unprecedented level of scrutiny to how the Catholic church operates. One result
was the much-needed purge of abusive priests. The greatest legacy, however, may
be the widespread recognition that the scandal was largely the result of a lack
of transparency that affects so many other levels of the churchs
operations, especially finances.
Gender-neutral words mean sacrament must be redone, Vatican
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
Two giants of the church
Recorded in this issue is a conversation that took place
July 16, 2003, between two towering figures of the 20th-century Catholic
church, Jesuit theologian Fr. Jacques Dupuis and Cardinal Franz König,
shortly before their deaths. König, former archbishop of Vienna, had been
the only cardinal to publicly defend Dupuis when his writings fell under
Leo J. O'Donovan
For anyone to whom Gods Spirit reveals the Word incarnate
among us, there is but one full and final way to life. Jesus of Nazareths
sayings and parables seem immediately illuminating. His healing, inclusive way
with people draws you directly to him. You long to imitate his balance of
private prayer and vivid presence to others. In the witness of the Gospels, he
is both modest and commanding -- majestic in fact. His understanding of power
and his loving union with the poor transcend all our usual models of authority
Christopher de Vinck
There is an old British superstition that on the first day of the month,
if you wake up and say, first thing, Rabbit, Rabbit you will be
granted good luck for the next 30 days. If you forget to say the magical word,
and if you still wish to retain the promise of good fortune, you can repeat the
word backwards, Tibbar, Tibbar, and still keep yourself in the loop
Can today's politics shift the balance?
The need to beat somebody up
Raymond A. Schroth
PBS offers an in-depth look at 'Bush's War.'
and Joseph Cunneen
'The Counterfeiters' offers powerful drama; 'Definitely, Maybe' is a
charming romance; 'La Vie en Rose' Oscar's biggest surprise.
Letters for March 21, 2008
Classifieds for March 21, 2008
News Briefs for March 21, 2008
People for March 21, 2008
A memorable quote from this