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Issue of April 4, 2008

April 4, 2008 -- NCR front cover


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   This Week’s Edition: April 4, 2008 

Vol. 44 No. 16   
Cover story -- Hard as Nails
Hammering kids for Christ

By Greg Ruehlmann
Controversial Catholic youth minister Justin Fatica is tough and bruised, but softhearted, and few dispute that he has the knack for reaching troubled kids.

Full story
Fatica finds champions, detractors in his home church

By Greg Ruehlmann
Fatica recognizes -- and sometimes relishes -- his role as an agitator. Yet he also wants to be viewed as an obedient, devoted Catholic. “I love my church,” he says emphatically.

Full story
First Person
Race, racism engage us at gut level

By Brian N. Massingale
At Marquette University, where I am a theology professor, I teach the course “Christian Faith and Racial Justice.” Over the course of the semester, I ask the students, “What are you feeling?” I have realized that discussions of race cause deep emotions to well up, which, if not acknowledged, impede intellectual engagement with the material we are studying. I note each emotion as it is called out: fear, anger, confusion, resentment, guilt, helplessness, shame, outrage, despair, resignation.

Full story
Nation -- Analysis
Speech shows community organizer skills

By Mary Barron
Barack Obama began his career as a 24-year-old community organizer, working in neighborhoods one block at a time, building coalitions for change. In the most critical moment yet in his campaign for the presidency, when issues of his race and religion threatened to peel away supporters and leave the would-be unifier with a fractured shambles, Obama took to the stage in Philadelphia and set to work community organizing on the issue of race on a national scale.

Full story
Liberation theology frames Wright's view

By Eileen Markey
In the national discussion that followed the recent speech on race by presidential candidate Barack Obama, the phrase “black liberation theology” surfaced to describe the body of thought out of which the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, developed his view of the world, of the United States and of people of color.

Full story
Belleville priests call for bishop to resign; Braxton says no

By Catholic News Service
More than half the active priests of the Belleville diocese have signed a public statement calling for Bishop Edward Braxton to resign, citing frustration with his leadership and their conclusion that “he has lost his moral authority.”

Full story
Union ban provokes firestorm of criticism

By Patrick O'Neill
When Bishop F. Martino closed four unionized Catholic high schools in a reorganization of the Scranton, Pa., diocese last year, he said he would permit the Scranton Diocese Association of Catholic Teachers to continue to organize in schools.

Full story
Unruly Americans vie for attention

By Eileen Markey
Pope to get eyeful along U.S. route if he's looking.

Full story
Pope in U.S.
Facing east: In anticipation of Benedict's visit

By Nancy A. Dallavalle
A month ago, prompted by the latest issue of the magazine Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, I arranged a panel discussion that offered reflections on the bodily dimension of campus life at our Jesuit university. ... Meeting with a Catholic women’s group a few evenings later, one woman commented on the rumors of liturgical retrenchment. “Don’t you see, it’s always about them, they always want to have themselves at the center.” ... Catholics in the United States are now facing east, to the arrival of Benedict in April. His visit will be an important event for U.S. Catholics, particularly those on the scene in Washington and New York. ...

Full story
Catholic Education
Miracle in Memphis

By Michael Humphrey
Reopened Catholic schools bring life back to inner-city neighborhoods.

Full story
St. John alum returns to serve

By Michael Humphrey
Dave Ellis thought he was taking a tour of his old elementary school and parish when he returned to St. John in Memphis. What he was actually doing was looking over his future.

Full story
Mother sees Catholic school as safe haven

By Michael Humphrey
Elmerie Rosser does not complain about her life, but she doesn’t hide its hardships either. She is the primary caretaker of a father in the acute stages of Alzheimer’s and the single mother of a 10-year-old daughter.

Full story
Young Catholics dominate catechetical ministry in Cambodia

By UCA News
A youth wave is changing the face of the church in Cambodia, where the vast majority of catechists countrywide are young people.

Full story
Teens lead Sunday school at mission

By UCA News
As Theodorus Argo Nugroho stood before about 40 children from 3 to 10 years old, a poster with three pictures on it was displayed behind him.

Full story
Nuns' aid boosts indigenous education

By UCA News
Standing in front of a statue of the Black Virgin Mary, Delsa Justo prays for strength to overcome discrimination and the poverty of her people.

Full story
Teacher arranges study in refugee camp

By Kwamboka Oyaro
With the new academic year in Kenya underway, teacher Moses Simiyu Kalenda is once again instructing children -- just not in the place where he expected to be doing so.

Full story
NCR Editorial
17 years of distorted reality

President Bush’s attempts at defending the Iraq war as it reached its fifth anniversary in mid-March were as irresponsible as the reasons he advanced for getting the United States involved in this sorry and costly misadventure.

Full editorial
Quotable & Notable

“Why didn’t you ever answer my cries for help?!”

-- Question asked of Jesus in a letter found in the car driven by gunman Matthew Murray, who killed four people at a Colorado missionary training center and evangelical megachurch in December before killing himself

More quotes

Colman McCarthy

In praise of the peaceable machine

Full story
Rosemary Ruether

The whys of Holocaust denial

Full story
Toward a Catholic Kama Sutra

By Gordon J. Hilsman
On our 25th wedding anniversary, my wife and I listened to a series of CDs by Wendy Doniger, an expert on the infamous fourth-century Hindu classic The Kama Sutra. It occurred to me then that readiness is approaching for the communal formulation of a “Catholic Kama Sutra,” a gathering together, revising and refining of Christian tradition honoring the sexual loving aspect of life as deeply spiritual.

Full story
World -- Analysis
Baptism sparks new pope-Islam upset

By John L. Allen Jr.
Rarely does an Easter Vigil become a news event, but this year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica got the world’s attention. The reason: One of seven new Catholics personally baptized by Pope Benedict XVI was a high-profile Muslim, an Egyptian-born Italian journalist widely regarded as the successor to Oriana Fallaci in terms of visceral protest against Muslim extremism.

Full story
Fractious papal-Jesuit 'marriage' has a moment of détente

By John L. Allen Jr.
Among the most complicated and at times most strained relationships in the Catholic world is that between the Society of Jesus and the pope. As the dust settles on the Jesuits’ 35th General Congregation in Rome, a Jan. 7-March 6 international assembly to ponder the religious order’s future, one question thus hangs in the air: Did Benedict XVI and the Jesuits reach détente?

Full story
Prelate's death underscores Iraq chaos

By Catholic News Service
Citing the recent death of an Iraqi archbishop and the fifth anniversary of the start of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Pope Benedict XVI issued “a loud and concerned outcry,” appealing for an end to the bloodbath and hatred tearing apart Iraq.

Full story 
Lifelong search for knowledge, meaning

By Chris Herlinger
Childhood of displacement left its mark on Templeton winner Fr. Michal Heller.

Full story
Study: Spirituality a big part of kids' happiness

By Religion News Service
Spirituality is a major contributor to a child’s overall happiness -- even more so than for adults -- according to a new study from the University of British Columbia. The study tested 315 children ages 9 to 12, measuring spirituality and other factors such as temperament and social relations that can affect an individual’s sense of happiness.

Full story
Catholic Education
Charley's needs led to more inclusive schools

By Albert de Zutter
Parents wanted special education for Catholic kids; they raised funds, found ways.

Full story
Beyond video games: Students build empathy online

By Heather Grennan Gary
When Kelsey Peltz signed up for the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., she didn’t know that part of the coursework would be discussing water issues -- and life in general -- with Palestinian students from Bethlehem.

Full story
Values trump vanity -- ditching the dance

By Patricia Lefevere
School earns kudos for canceling prom and its discontents.

Full story
Teacher cowrites book to show 'How fun it is to be Catholic'

By Patricia Lefevere
Before seniors rush out the door of Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, N.Y., into the real world of college, jobs and committed relationships, they will receive one item they may tote in their rucksack a few more years.

Full story
What's the latest gang symbol? Try the rosary

By Esmeralda Bermudez
Never did Jaime Salazar imagine that wearing a rosary-like crucifix to school would provoke a national stir.

Full story
Rethinking adult faith formation

By Heather Grennan Gary
Make knowledge secondary to nurturing spiritual lives, says writer.

Full story
Inside NCR

Rita Larivee


Passing on the faith
Much of today’s paper is about kids, our kids and the dedicated educators who are showing us a way to leave no child out. Whether or not you have children, the stories make everyone a parent and equally responsible for the young in our midst and in our lives. I can’t say for certain, but I suspect this issue of NCR will get read and passed around more than some of our other issues. Why? Because the stories touch the core of family life. If I’m wrong, let me know.

Full story

A historian's historian

By Margot Patterson
An unorthodox traditionalist, John Lukacs challenges both the right and the left.

Full story
A passion to restore the rule of law

By Laura Lloyd
Guantánamo lawyer seeks justice for client accused if war crimes.

Full story
Calling all writers!
Calling all writers!

We know you’re out there. Regularly you send us reflections, essays, stories about your lives. We’re giving you a little extra room to flex your writing muscles in our “Variations on a Theme” feature. It works like this: We provide a topic. “Envy,” say. You send us a few paragraphs about an experience you’ve had with envy. Make it a true story from your life. We’re looking for candor and honesty. Our next topic is Black Sheep.

Full story 
Treasures of the Vatican

By Maggie D. Hall
Art from St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

Full story
Brittanic capers

By Kevin Doherty and Joseph Cunneen
''The Bank Job' is solid entertainment; 'Miss Pettigrew' is deliberately weightless; 'Run, Fat Boy, Run' lacks direction.

Full review
The ingredients of genocide
By Ben Kiernan
Yale University Press, 724 pages, $40

Reviewed by Darrell Turner

Full review

Obituaries April 4, 2008


Poetry April 4, 2008

 Letters to the Editor

Letters for April 4, 2008

Classifieds for April 4, 2008

News Briefs for April 4, 2008

People for April 4, 2008

Last Words
'In her decades of observation, invitations to increased reverence were usually thinly disguised calls by clerics for increased clericalism.'

-- Nancy Dallavalle

A memorable quote from this week's issue.

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