National Catholic Reporter
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Issue of December 21, 2007

December 21, 2007 -- NCR front cover

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   This Week’s Edition: December 21, 2007 

Vol. 44 No. 8   
Christmas -- Essay
A golden tenderness

By Leo O'Donovan
Duccio's 'Maesta' is both painting and prayer.

Full story
Incarnation on Rochambeau Avenue

By Eileen Markey
Every week, we bump into God at a crowded table with friends.

Full story
Parish celebrates 'Blue Christmas'

By Renée LaReau
For many people, Christmastime is a festive, frenzied blur of shopping, baking and merrymaking. But for just as many others, the holiday season can be a lonely, empty time, a time when loss, grief and loneliness come into sharp relief.

Full story
Christmas -- Bob McCahill letter
Dear friends,

“Anywhere you choose to settle, just let me know,” Bishop Bejoy [Nocephorus D’Cruze] assured me when welcoming me to Khulna diocese. I investigated six of the 13 districts within the diocese. In every place, I sought to learn whether or not Christians of any denomination reside there.

Full story
A ministry of friendship and dialogue

By Erin Ryan
For many years Maryknoll Fr. Bob McCahill has been sending an annual letter to NCR and other friends at Christmastime, chronicling his experience living among the people of Bangladesh since 1975.

Full story
Missionary builds trust, aids sick children

By Sue Schulzetenberg
For 32 years, Maryknoll Fr. Bob McCahill has lived among the poor in Bangladesh, riding his bike through the streets and helping the sick to get the care they need. The 69-year-old priest, who has been called “the Mother Teresa of Maryknoll,” encourages families to seek medical treatment for their sick children and often accompanies them to hospitals to make sure their children are admitted.

Full story
Benedict waxes lyrical on hope

By John L. Allen Jr.
A spiritual meditation, encyclical touches on vintage papal themes.

Full story
Mission stations in Seoul serve working Catholics

By UCA News
Tucked among towering skyscrapers and shopping malls in downtown Seoul, inside police stations, corporate offices and hospitals, urban mission stations quietly serve busy Catholics in or near their workplaces.

Full story
U.S. bishops fault Phan for 'considerable confusion'

John L. Allen Jr.

Faulting Asian-American theologian Fr. Peter Phan for creating “considerable confusion” about Catholic teaching regarding Christ, the church and other religions, the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. bishops’ conference released a 15-page statement Dec. 10 on Phan’s 2004 book Being Religious Interreligously.

Full story

Colorado shootings reflect big threats to big churches

By Religion News Service
With megachurches come mega crowds, mega money, and increasingly, mega security concerns. The crowds -- anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 worshipers each weekend -- can be an attractive target for a deranged shooter. Overflowing offering plates are tempting to thieves, and well-known preachers can become high-profile targets.

Full story
NCR Editorial
Torture, and who we say we are

What better evidence do we need than our current debate over torture to demonstrate the disjuncture between our view of ourselves as a moral nation and the face we present to others.

Full editorial
Editorial Cartoon
editorial cartoon

Quotable & Notable

“I did it as a tribute to Galileo Galilei, who received a similar [three-year] sentence from the Catholic church for saying the earth rotates around the sun.”

-- Manuel Pérez, a judge in southern Chile, who sentenced Fr. José Cornejo to recite seven psalms daily for three months as punishment for illegal parking

More quotes

Stephen Zunes

A nation without a state
Inconsistency and double-dealing mark U.S. policy toward the Kurds.

Full story
Art and 'the one true myth'

By Dick Staub
Werner Herzog's ecstatic vision speaks to the truth of Christmas.

Full story
Moments in Time
St Macrina, the younger

By Erin Ryan
St. Macrina -- monastic founder, miracle worker and philosopher -- was born about two years after the Council of Nicaea in 325, the eldest of 10 children in a well-off Christian family in Cappadocia. Along with Macrina, this family living in a region now part of Turkey produced an extraordinary number of saints: the girl’s maternal grandmother, for whom she was named; her parents; and three of her brothers, all bishops -- Peter of Sabaste and Cappadocian Fathers Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaraea.

Full story

The future face of television news

By Raymond A. Schroth
The television screen focuses on a storefront marked “Hillary” as a SWAT team, poised for action, huddles a few yards away. A flock of birds swoops across the screen. Inside Hillary Clinton’s Rochester, N.H., headquarters, a man with what he said was a bomb strapped around his waist terrorizes four (or was it five? or three?) young hostages and demands to speak to Sen. Clinton.

Full story
Episcopal split was long time coming

Daniel Burke

Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin, Calif., struck an urgent tone on Dec. 8 when he urged his Fresno-based diocese to defect from the Episcopal church. “God’s timing is essential,” he said before the decisive vote to cut ties with the American church and align with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone. “Delayed obedience in scripture is seen as disobedience when opportunities and blessings are lost.”

Full story

Blackwater protesters convicted

Patrick O'Neill

Seven people were convicted Dec. 5 in North Carolina District Court for trespass stemming from an Oct. 20 demonstration at the headquarters of Blackwater Worldwide in Moyock, N.C.

Full story
Inside NCR

Rita Larivee


Remembering Christmas
As humans, we have an amazing propensity for arranging our lives in cycles. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are just some of the events that come around every year. The bigger the occasion, the greater the likelihood we will commemorate it 25, 50 or 100 years from now. We find it meaningful to remember events of great significance. They cause us to rethink our humanity. Such events include major wars, natural disasters and the births and deaths of prominent people.

Full story

A giant of Catholic nonviolence dies

By Michael True
“My subject is war -- and the immorality of war.” Gordon Zahn wrote that, with acknowledgement that he was paraphrasing “the great war poet Wilfred Owen,” in the forward to a 1967 book, War, Conscience and Dissent.

Full story
A worldly summons into Divine Mystery

By Thomas C. Fox
Fr. Edward Hays encourages holy fools and Mad Hatters.

Full story
Celebrating the sacred music of Jean Langlais

By Retta Blaney
Jean Langlais lost his sight at age 3 and experienced the trauma of the occupation of Paris during World War II. These elements had a profound influence on him. They shaped Mr. Langlais, a devout Catholic, into one of the foremost composers of sacred music in the 20th century.

Full story
The dark side of American generosity
By John Perkins
Dutton Adult, 384 pages, $25.95

Reviewed by Ben Terrall

Full story

Poetry December 21, 2007

 Letters to the Editor

Letters for December 21, 2007

Classifieds for December 21, 2007

News Briefs for December 21, 2007

People for December 21, 2007

Last Words
'I don't use ecclesial language because most of those words are zombie words.'

-- Fr. Edward Hays

A memorable quote from this week's issue.

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