National Catholic Reporter
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Issue of December 7, 2007

December 7, 2007 -- NCR front cover


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   This Week’s Edition: December 7, 2007 

Vol. 44 No. 6   
Cover story -- Ordaining women
Though church bans women priests, more and more women are saying, 'Why wait?'

By Pamela Schaeffer
“What a day. What an occasion. What a rabbi!” The speaker was Patricia Fresen, a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. The day, Nov. 11; the occasion, a jubilant ceremony at a Jewish synagogue, during which Fresen would ordain two women -- the latest of a series of such ceremonies, aimed at helping women to fulfill what they say is their calling: to serve the church as Catholic priests.

Full story
Profiles of five women priests

By Pamela Schaeffer
Bridget Mary Meehan, Joan Houk, Judith McKloskey, Jean Marchant and Kathy Redig.

Full story
Reluctant bishop ordained for North America

By Pamela Schaeffer
No one was more surprised than Patricia Fresen herself when she agreed to become a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.

Full story
Ethical, scientific breakthroughs seen in new stem-cell studies

By Catholic News Service
Scientists and ethicists hailed as a breakthrough two studies showing that human skin cells can be reprogrammed to work as effectively as embryonic stem cells, thus making it unnecessary to destroy embryos in the name of science.

Full story
Global concerns dominate meeting of pope, cardinals

By John L. Allen Jr.
A Nov. 24 consistory in which Pope Benedict XVI created 23 new cardinals, including two Americans, reflected several key global concerns of the Catholic church, even as church officials struggled to respond to charges that the makeup of the College of Cardinals does not represent the global Catholic population.

Full story
Malnutrition claiming lives in rural Zimbabwe

By NCR Correspondent
Aid agencies working in rural Matebeleland in the arid southern parts of Zimbabwe report a growing number of malnutrition-related deaths as the nation battles acute food shortages.

Full story
Priest sings to build homes for the poor

By UCA News
Reluctant to ask people for money, a priest in southern Vietnam relies on a God-given talent to help him carry out his housing ministry.

Full story
Food prices, hunger figures up

By Wire Services
While millions of Americans are stocking their kitchens for holiday feasts, many groups are concerned about those who will go hungry in the weeks and months to come. Inflation has made food more expensive, making it harder for families to put food on the table and more difficult for food banks to keep their shelves stocked.

Full story
Christians, Muslims pledge to seek common ground

By Religion News Service
A wide range of Christian theologians and leaders have endorsed a document calling for increased efforts to work with Muslims for peace and justice. The move responds to an earlier call from Muslim leaders seeking common ground.

Full story
Archdiocese turns school over to grass-roots group

By Chuck Colbert
After a successful grass-roots campaign, the Presentation School Foundation took possession of a former parochial elementary school in October, bringing closure to a two-and-a-half year battle pitting the Boston archdiocese against residents of the Allston-Brighton neighborhood over a school building that came to be viewed by many as a vital institution.

Full story
NCR Editorials
Finished playing by the rules

Given that the Vatican has banned Catholics from so much as talking about women deacons or priests, is it surprising that some women are opting to fast-forward to action? They aren’t discussing whether women should be ordained; they aren’t asking for permission to be ordained; they are just doing what, as they see it, a church crying “priest shortage” needs them to do. These are women who have faithfully served the church in many ways, putting their own wishes on hold. Until finally, they have said, “Enough.”

Full editorial
SOA protest as relevant as ever

Some would say time and reality have passed by the School of the Americas protest, held annually outside Fort Benning, Ga. The name of the school has been changed to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Latin America is no longer dotted with hot wars in which SOA-trained officers oversee massacres, assassinations and death squads.

Full editorial
Editorial Cartoon
editorial cartoon

Quotable & Notable

“Any holiday that prescribes serving fried foods is guaranteed for success.”

-- Food writer Matthew Goodman on the Hanukkah latke. Originally made with cheese, latkes are now made with an assortment of vegetables fried in oil, symbolizing the miraculous oil in a lamp that lasted eight days when Jews recaptured the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.

More quotes

From Where I Stand
Joan Chittister

A peace bell rings in Hwacheon County

Full story
A cold shoulder to Cardinal Newman

By Michael True
Immersed in Catholic higher education for 40 years, I have heard administrators and clerics, though few academics, speak about something called the Catholic intellectual tradition. The presumption is that there is one, or that it’s obvious which of various and conflicting traditions within Catholicism the person is referring to.

Full story
Nation -- SOA
Behind the gates, a clash of views

By Paul Winner
As a young man, John Kiser sat in a classroom with Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez and posed a direct question: Are Christians called to be pacifists?

Full story

As numbers grow, SOA protest evolves into teach-in

Patrick O'Neill

In 1990, Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois convened a handful of mostly Catholic veterans for a fast at the gates of Fort Benning on the first anniversary of the murders of six Jesuit priests and two others at the University of Central America in El Salvador.

Full story

Church schools' lack of government support 'a disaster,' cardinal says

By John L. Allen Jr.
The Vatican’s point man on education has described the lack of government support for Catholic schools in the United States as a “disaster,” and suggested that it reflects a lack of “full democracy” that would enable parents to choose the educational option they desire for their children.

Full story
Inside NCR

Rita Larivee


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.”

Full story

Memorable Mailer

By Dick Staub
The wild man of literature was obsessed with God.

Full story
A furor over 'The Golden Compass'

By Erin Ryan
Author and atheist Philip Pullman's complex trilogy comes to the wide screen.

Full story
Leaders who've 'left the ground'

By Raymond A. Schroth
The media monitor a run-up to possible war with Iran.

Full story
 Letters to the Editor

Letters for December 7, 2007

Classifieds for December 7, 2007

News Briefs for December 7, 2007

People for December 7, 2007

Last Words
'Our ministry is largely to people on the margins. And it seems to us that the margins are getting bigger and bigger.'

-- Patricia Fresen

A memorable quote from this week's issue.

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