Angry is as angry does!—Feeling angry is normal and healthy. Learning to express anger appropriately is difficult for most people. Anger can turn into depression, guilt or anxiety, if not dealt with positively. This presentation will examine the many faces of anger, violence, depression and manipulation and offer specific guidelines for learning healthy ways of expressing anger and dealing with other people’s anger when it is directed at us.
Anger and the recovery process—Anger is a normal and healthy emotion but learning to express anger is difficult for people who have lived in chemically dependent or other stressful situations. This workshop is not only for the recovering problem drinker, but for the spouse and adult children of the chemically dependent person. It offers specific guidelines for learning healthy ways to acknowledge and express anger.
Love and addiction—Addictive love is limiting. It limits our capacity for intimacy and our ability to truly love another as an equal. It limits our personal power and freedom. This presentation will examine the differences between mature and immature love, provide a profile of healthy belonging and offer participants an opportunity to work on their own issues of establishing and maintaining on-going, meaningful interpersonal relationships.
How to make peace with the past—Our here and now conflicts with spouses, children, ex-spouses, partners, are in part emotional re-enactments from the past. The unresolved conflicts we had with our parents seem to reappear to affect our adult relationships. This presentation will provide strategies for healing the past, so it has less impact on our present feelings and behaviors and as a result, enriches our present relationships.
Be ye perfect-mission impossible!—The biblical admonition, “Be ye perfect”, often has been misunderstood and even abused. To strive for excellence, to achieve, to be successful, differs from an unhealthy perfectionism. Perfectionism is at the root of many harmful messages we received as children, which carry over into our adult lives, producing guilt, anger, low self, addiction, etc. Participants will learn how to recover from those toxic, shaming messages.
Shame! Shame! Shame!—If you grew up in a family where there was a lot of stress, you learned certain role, rules and behaviors, which produce a lot of guilt and shame and which we usually pass on to our children. This presentation will assist you in learning new ways of dealing with the effects of growing up in a high stress family where shaming and blaming were the norm.
Helping the helper heal: Clinician heal thyself—Helping professionals are not immune to the stress and pressure in their personal and professional lives. There is often a very fine line between caring and behaviors that produce “compassion fatigue”. This presentation will assist helping professionals to renew their commitment as compassionate caregivers; create a balance between caring and “co-dependent” behaviors and provide techniques for self-caring that will generate peace and serenity.
Self-care for the caregiver—Americans are living longer and their care is falling to children they once cared for or to a spouse who may still be working. While caring for a spouse or parent may be rewarding, it can also be exhausting, taking its toll on our emotions, our finances, our jobs, our families and on our own health. This presentation will provide primary or long distant caregivers resources and tools to support their role as caregiver and skills to take care of themselves.
The sandwich generation: Honor thy father and mother but be a good parent—An increasing number of adults find themselves in the position of a parenting their own children and being a caregiver for their aging parents. This presentation will examine the issues that this dual role creates and offer support and solutions for the stress, frustration guilt and anger that being in the middle of two generations often creates.
First let me remind you what I mentioned in the other sections on social change. I’m not trying to recruit you to be social workers. I’m merely using my background and training in social work, parts of which I think are transferable to how we can follow Jesus’ example as a change agent, both with individuals and larger social systems. Whether He was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, consoling those who were mourning, or advocating for justice and rights from the religious or secular systems of his day, I think we can apply social work change strategies to meeting the needs of the suffering and oppressed of our day.
More often than not, when we listen to an individual describe their problem, we find that there are at least three levels for intervention, micro, macro or a combination of both. In the previous sections on micro and macro change, we discussed various approaches to individual problems, which would include family problems (micro); and those problems that are presented as individual problems, but it soon becomes evident there is some larger system, that is not meeting the needs of the people they were meant to serve. For example, the welfare or health care systems, when for some bureaucratic reason a client is denied help and they have no other alternative. In those situations, the immediate need of the person and the need for the institution to be responsive are the foci of change (micro and macro).
If a person is starving, you need to meet their immediate needs by providing food (micro). As I mentioned before, “you can’t eat retroactively”, people’s immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing, health care are urgent and need to be met. While macro practice focuses on “cleaning up the swamp”, by focusing social change activities on those institutions, social policies and underlying causes of problems that individuals face, there is a need in most situations to deal with both the micro and macro issues.
For example, when I first moved to Arizona in the late 1960ies, social agencies and the newspapers had an “annual back to school drive” that collected clothing, back packs and pencil boxes for “needy” children going back for a new school year. They also collected money each Christmas for a program called Christmas is for Caring
That is exactly what I meant when I wrote about the Person in Environment (PIE) in the introduction to social change. We need to do both. Here is a website that has a number of good examples how this is being put to action
In the masters program at Fordham I was trained as a clinical social worker (micro practice). In the doctoral program, I specialized in community organization, social policy and planning (macro practice). For most of my professional life, I felt if I really wanted to follow Jesus’ example by applying what I learned as a social worker, I had to be involved on both the macro and micro level. So, in addition to my private practice, where I worked with individuals, families and groups as a therapist, my involvement on agency boards, professional organization, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), or by accepting appointments from three different governors of Arizona to different state boards, I used the skills I had learned in effecting change on larger social systems. I was, from a social work perspective a generalist.
As president of Parents Anonymous an agency that offered services to both parents who had abused their children, and to children who had been abused, at the same time we advocated for changes in the state’s Child Protective Service programs , when they were not effective in protecting children. Today I’m still involved at the macro level by serving as president of the board of Dillon Southwest, an international adoption agency. This gives me an opportunity to use my knowledge of adoption that goes back to the early 60ies, when I was executive director of Catholic Family Services in Schenectady, NY. Foster Care and adoption were two of the main services we provided.
The basic principle of generalist practice is that change agents are able to utilize a problem solving process to intervene with various size systems including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Working within the person-in-environment framework includes conceptualizing prevention and intervention within a process-oriented, systems model in lieu of traditional models that often limit interventions to the individual. For example, an intervention plan with a troubled adolescent might include his/her family, school, and others system that can be supportive to the adolescent.
Here is a brief framework of the major concept that underlie the delivery system for any social change organization:
Micro Level Intervention Targets
Some frameworks place family and group under mezzo and include only individuals under micro change.
Macro Level Intervention Targets
- Organizations: Corporations, Agencies
- Communities: Cities, Neighborhoods
- Society: Global, National, Regional, States, Policies
- Change Agent: Persons(s) Carrying out the change. Could be an individual providing therapy or leading a group or a team writing policies, or team advocating for a cause.
- Client or Target System: Persons Benefiting from the Change
- Action System: All Those Involved in the Change Process
- Stakeholders: Key Players in the Change Process
Finally, the knowledge and skills of the generalist are transferable from one setting to another and from one problem to another.
One of the considerations, which underlie a decision to pursue macro change, is what theologians, philosophers, and politicians refer to as the Principle of Subsidiarity. If we consider social policy as “values in action”, this basically is a values issue. This principle is considered by many religious and secular organizations as the concept that a central authority should have a subsidiary function. That is, to provide only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. In other words, it means the State shall take action only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the communities -society- and can therefore, by reason of the scale or effect of the proposed action, be better achieved at the state level. It means that policies should always be made at the lowest possible level, and that the higher level should only legislate when there is unanimous agreement that uniform regulation is necessary.
For example, if an adult can’t provide for him or herself, ideally his family should be the first ones to care for her or him. In hard economic times we see many adult children moving back home to live with mom and dad. When I was working as an intern at Welfare Center 59 in Long Island City, New York in the early 60s, before any member of a family was considered eligible to receive welfare payments, there was a legal requirement that we had to prepare a “subsistence” budget for their closest relative. If it were considering an adult child for welfare, we had to have their parents provide information about their income and expenses, and if there income was over a certain amount, they had to pay the difference between what they made and what the welfare department determined was needed for them to live on and, the welfare department would deduct the parents’ contribution from payment the department had determined a single adult needed to live on. That policy was eliminated years ago, because they found that eventually the parents who had been providing the money ended up needing welfare assistance themselves. In cases where the parents weren’t able to contribute then the potential participant would have to approach a non-profit charity agency for money to live on.
Apparently, the Principle of Subsidiarity still has value today. I noticed recently that the principle was referred to in a four page letter that Congressman Paul Ryan sent to Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to alert him to some of the issues in House Budget Committee that he chairs and was passed by the House of Representatives for Fiscal Year 2012. I suspect that he was looking for an endorsement by the Archbishop, a fellow catholic. Ryan suggested that the Budget’s reform of Medicaid and other proposals were “…informed by the principle of subsidiarity” , and went on to quote from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church that instructs: “…it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what a lesser and subordinate can do.” The fact that the congressman used this quote surprised me because he has said on a number of occasions that he was inspired to go into politics by reading Ayn Rand books and, has instructed his staff to read Rand’s work if they wanted to understand how he thinks. As far as I know, Ayn Rand and her gospel of selfishness, is not included in the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church.
Be that as it may, to the Archbishops credit, he did remind the congressman that,
“A singularly significant part of our duty as pastors is to insist that the cries of the poor are heard, and that the much needed reform leading to financial discipline that is recognized by all never adds further burden upon those who are poor and most vulnerable, nor distracts us from our country’s historic consideration of the needs of the world’s suffering people.” Amen.
- This is an academic article by Shari E. Miller, Carolyn J. Tice and Diane M. Harneh entitled: The Generalist Model: Where do the Micro and Macro Converge. Although the article is intended for professional social workers, I believe it can be useful for those of us who aren’t social workers, but wish to engage in social change at different levels. For further information contact Ms. Miller at her email address at the University of Georgia, Athens Georgia.
- Review by Michael Baxter of Charles E. Curran’s book , The Social Mission of the U.S. Catholic Church: A Theological Perspective. Published by Georgetown Press. As I was writing this section I thought, If Jesus, who shared our humanity, lived in the 21st century, he might have been a social worker. After all, during his three years of active ministry, he not only preached the essentials of loving your neighbor by responding to his/her corporal and spiritual needs, but he gave many examples of compassion for those who came to him in need (micro change). Not only that, on a macro level he was crucified because he was seen by civil and religious leaders of the time, to be a threat to their positions of power. In the words of a slogan of anti-war, civil rights, and anti-poverty movements of the 60s, Jesus was preaching, power to the people.
- Poverty, Race Research & Action Council (PRRAC)—As the title of this website indicates, it focuses on community action in the areas of race and poverty. It lists links to projects on: Housing, Poverty, Health, Civil Rights and l Human Rights. On this page on this webpage there are complete copies of articles published from 1993 through 2009. There are 201 articles, mostly regarding poverty, racism, and other issues that Jesus preached about.
African American Models of Community Organizing [PDF]. This is a research article by, Bonnie Young Laing, PhD, from Virginia Commonwealth University. After describing the methodology for the paper, she presents her analysis of the results and five theoretical concepts describing African American approaches to community organization that emerged from the data:
- cultural dynamics;
- locus of the community;
- organizing goals;
- mobilization methods;
- change strategies.
- One of the areas that the church has championed for years is Peace. From the time of my youth I can remember praying for peace at every Mass. One of the peace movements illustrious proponents is John Dear a Jesuit priest, peace activist, and the author of more than 20 books, most recently, A Persistent Peace, Put Down Your Sword, Transfiguration, You Will Be My Witnesses, Living Peace, The Questions of Jesus and Mohandas Gandhi. Here is a recent article of his that appeared on the National Catholic Reporters website. The title is, On the Galilee 72, by John Dear SJ.
- I believe the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes sums up Jesus’ and our mission as well as anything he taught in the gospels. The sermon clearly relates to social and individual change. Here are three articles by Jack Mahoney SJ that appeared on the website for Thinking Faith, a Jesuit magazine in the UK. I found each of these articles very thought provoking and nourishing. The author brings up issues that I never considered.
- Making the Reign of God a Reality, by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, National Catholic Reporter, July 22, 2011. Since Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom or Reign of God, and it is our role as Christians to acknowledge the Reign of God that is within us an spread this throughout the, a macro and micro task indeed, I thought Bishop Gumbleton’s article said this as well as anyone could and would be inspirational for our
- How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule. “A Report from the New Economy Working Group”. As described on page 3, “This report addresses issues and options largely ignored by the current public conversation on financial reform. It confronts the need to not simply fix or reform Wall Street, but rather to create a Main Street-based money and banking system accountable to local communities and responsive to their needs. The intention is to redirect the conversation to deeper issues and options that the establishment has so far kept off the table. The essential issues are straightforward matters of values and power readily understood by most everyone—as this report intends to demonstrate.”The report was prepared by an ongoing New Economy Transitions discussion series organized by NEWGroup and the New Economy Network—an informal alliance of individuals and organizations. It is forty-one pages that are well worth reading, even though you might not agree with all their conclusions, our economy should be one of the major targets for change.
- Here’s a brief video of Keith Olberman interviewing Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton. The topic is America’s Widening Wealth Gap. This gap between the very rich and the very poor was not what Jesus had in mind when preached on the shores of Galilee.
- We Didn’t Start the Fire, a song by Billy Joel. It alludes to headline events from March 1949 (Joel was born on May 9 of that year) to 1989, when the song was released on his album Storm Front. The song’s title and refrain mention “the fire,” an allusion to conflict and societal turmoil. This particular rendition on youtube focuses on the war in Vietnam and war in general; Joel asserts that social conflicts can’t be blamed on his generation alone, as “the fire” has been “always burning since the world’s been turning.” As I viewed this video, I felt as if my whole life was passing before my eyes. PEACE!
More resources will be added.
When one dreams alone, it is only a dream.
When many dream together,
it is the beginning of a new reality.
During my professional career as a social worker I was able to engage in a number of activities that focused on macro social change. As a priest in Schenectady, NY, I was on the board of several social agencies that provided an opportunity to put Jesus’ mission of making major changes in the civil and religious institutions of his time. For Jesus, his efforts to make changes on a macro level, eventually lead to his death. If he had lived during the sixties, I suspect that he would have been a Freedom Rider and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to champion the cause of civil rights. My activities in macro social change were much tamer. In Schenectady, in addition to civil right movement, I was involved with the Community Action Programs of the Office of Economic Opportunity, (which was part of the so called War on Poverty), The Laity and Clergy Against the War in Vietnam, and through my professional organization I was an advocate in for the Medicaid program in the mid-sixties.
In Arizona I was elected president of Friends of Welfare Rights, (an advocacy group for welfare recipients); was appointed to the Forster Care Review Board, (an advocacy group for foster children), by Governor Bruce Babbitt; The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners by Governor Fife Symington III (a board that was responsible for licensing health care professionals) elected as President of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and was president of the Arizona Chapter of Parents Anonymous (an agency to prevent child abuse). I’m presently the president of Dillon Southwest, an international adoption agency. I’m not giving you this information because I’m applying for a job or tenure, but as examples of the types of macro change agencies I was fortunate to be involved in. All these agencies were actively engaged with changing systems to protect different constituencies. Some, like Parents Anonymous also provided services to individual children and parents.
Macro social work practice encompasses a broad spectrum of practice, including planning, program development, community organizing, policy analysis, legislative advocacy, program evaluation, task-oriented group work, community education, and human services management. The macro program prepares students for careers in multiple arenas with a wide range of populations and social problems. It prepared me to follow on the path that Jesus made over 2000 years ago.
Suggested Readings for Macro Social Change
- The Journal for Faith, Spirituality and Social Change—This bi-annual academic journal invites discussion on the dynamic dimensions of inter-faith dialogue and multi-faith action across a range of social change issues. All articles, which are peer reviewed, are freely accessible on-line.
- Journeys into Justice: Religious Collaboratives Working for Social Change—This website provides descriptions of a number of “change” projects that individuals might be interested in joining. It also has inspiring profiles of change agents that include the famous and not so famous and their contributions to positive social change.
- Justice, with Michael Sandel, Harvard University—This website is a course on Justice by Professor Sandel. His class is now open to the world on this website. You can join nearly 1000 students at Harvard’s Sanders Theater to view his interactive lectures about justice, equality, democracy and citizenship by clicking on “Watch Episodes” at the top of the home page; then click on “Visit Community” where he deals with issue of: affirmative action, is torture ever justified, the common good, and many more issues. This is a fantastic website and Michael Sandel is a great teacher. He has been compared to a “rock star” on a recent book/lecture tour of presentations in Asia and he inspired one university in Japan to offer a course based on his recent book, “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?”
- Religion and Social Justice in America by Austin Cline in “about.com,” [May 15, 2010]—The author of this article acknowledges the role that religion has played in social justice, which generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights and recognizes the dignity and worth of every human being, while contemporary fundamentalists’ “…focus on private sexual morality to the exclusion of almost all else.”
- Change.org offers opportunities to engage in a variety of social change projects or even start your own project as a change agent.
- Sojourners, faith, politics, culture—This website includes access to articles in the magazine Sojourners, blogs, and a wealth of information on putting faith into action. It’s “…mission is to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world”.
- The Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life—This article is a brief discussion that focuses on the role of religion in positive social change and through advocacy. After defining and describing advocacy, it looks at how faith traditions can motivate, use their social capital and community base to effect change by advocating for social issues.
- Fausel, D. (2006): Globalization: Opportunities for Positive Social Change. Journal of Social Change. Vol. 1. (3-30) [PDF]—This is the first edition of the Journal of Social Change. The journal includes five articles on social change at the macro level. My article is the first one beginning on page 3. At the end of the article on pages 26 through 30 there is a section on Electronic References for Global Social Change. It provides 25 websites with brief annotations of the content for each site. They are divided into three sections: Macro, Micro and Educational social change.
- Here are two presentations from the website Heaven on Earth Creations. The first one is a preview of a DVD, The Globalized Soul. It features commentary by visionary spiritual activists, such as Rev. James Trapp, Uncle Bob Randall, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Sister Joan Chittister, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, Roshi Joan Halifax, Mirabai Starr and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The preview showcases inspirational sacred music by Enya, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, and Harold Grandstaff Moses. It emphasizes the potential for the oneness of our planet. The possibility of the diversity of religions becoming a spiritual e pluribus unum.The second offering is an essay by Kell Kearns, The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for the New Humanity. “A humanity free of war, oppression, and fear, born to te realm of endless potential, eternal life, and co-creation of the universe, itself.”
- This religious blog in the Dallas News includes verses of Woody Guthrie’s song, This Land is Your Land, that is often left out from renditions by popular folk singers. The article itself is interesting and shows how songs of social action can contribute to social change, and the comments by respondents are equally interesting.
- The website of the Catholic Worker founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin is a model for how she and those who followed her put into action the teachings of Jesus, particularly as they related to the poor and disadvantaged and how we can make a change in their lives. The website includes an abundance of information about Dorothy and Peter and their work and legacy in the Catholic Worker movement.
Macro Change in the Church
There are a number of catholic organizations whose major focus is making changes in the church. These are loyal Catholics, who might dissent on some issues but have the best interest of their church at heart. One of their goals is for the institutional church to acknowledge and put in action the importance of the “sensus fidelium”, which literally means the “sense of the faithful.” The term originated with the early Church Fathers and has been championed by among others St. John Henry Newman. He wrote in an essay entitled, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine:
Consulting the people is not to be regarded as just a friendly gesture on the part of the pope or bishops. Consultation is something the laity have a right to expect. Their view may serve at times as a needed witness of truth of a revealed doctrine.
Unfortunately the monarchical structure of the church has ignored the sensus fidelium more often than it has recognized it. I will provide examples in future blogs. Below are just a few of the lay movements working for change in the church.
- American Catholic Council (ACC)—As described on their website: “American Catholic Council is a movement bringing together a network of individuals, organizations, and communities to consider the state and future of our Church. We believe our Church is at a turning point in its history. We recall the promise of the Second Vatican Council for a renaissance of the roles and responsibilities of all the Baptized through a radically inclusive and engaged relationship between the Church and the World. We respond to the Spirit of Vatican II by summoning the Baptized together to demonstrate our re-commitment. We seek personal conversion to renew our Church to conform to the authentic Gospel message, the teachings of our Church, and our lived context in the United States. Our reading of the ‘signs of the times’, as we experience them in the US, our plan and our agenda are set out in our Declaration.”ACC held an Assembly in Detroit in June of 2011, where they had close to two thousand participants from all over the country and as far away as Australia. It brought together some of the major organizations that have been working for social change for years. Their website above, has copies of the Their Mission, The Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibility, Goals, etc. as well as a complete report of the Assembly and opportunities for local groups to be involved in the future. The fact that this meeting was so well planned and it brought together a coalition of groups that had been working independently, I believe is very important sign of the old adage that there is in strength in numbers. If the Tea Party get over 500,000 together in such a short time, why can’t the “sensus fidelium” unite for change?
- Call to Action (CTA)—As they state on their website: “Call To Action draws its mission from the US Bishops’ 1976 Call To Action conference, and the ‘Call for Reform in the Catholic Church’ proclaimed by more than 20,000 signers articulates its goals for our Church. It began as a response to the challenge of the Second Vatican Council, held between 1962 and 1965, for all members to ‘scrutinize the signs of the times’ and respond in the light of the gospel. The council provided a wake-up call for lay Catholics who had tended to defer initiatives entirely to the clergy.”Unfortunately, the bishops who put that movement in motion gradually distanced themselves from CTA because of some church-justice issues. There is a full discussion of the dynamics between the hierarch and the laity under About Us/Our History banner on their website. Without the same backing of the bishops it had originally, the movement became a national movement, focusing on both societal issues and reform in the church.
Voice of the Faithful—As described on their website under the banner Who We Are: “Voice of the Faithful is a lay organization of faithful Catholics, who organized in 2002 as a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. We started in the basement of a church in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and have since expanded worldwide with more than 30,000 members.
- Support survivors of clergy sexual abuse
- Support priests of integrity
- Shape structural change within the Catholic Church
Our Mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. We work towards achieving our mission by pursuing three goals:
Sadly, many of the bishops in the United States did not favorably respond to the last of the tree goals. My own experience in the diocese of Phoenix Arizona was that our local group in Phoenix was not allowed to hole meetings on any of the Catholic Church’s properties. We met in several libraries. The message I got from that decision by the local bishop was, “So much for the voice of the faithful, that property belongs to me, and your voice isn’t welcome. Just follow the old cliché of “pray, pay and obey”, this is my church.” Arizona wasn’t the only place where VOF wasn’t welcomed by the “high hats” it was widespread throughout the United States.
Future Church—As described in their website under the banner About Us:
Our Mission: Future Church seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership.
Our Vision: Future Church works for:
- Just, open and collaborative structures for Catholic worship, organization and governance.
- A return to the Church’s early tradition of both married and celibate priests.
- A return to the Church’s earliest tradition, modeled on the inclusive practice of Jesus, of recognizing both female and male leaders of faith communities.
- Regular access to the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life and worship, for all Catholics.
The website also contains a number of projects that they are working on. For example, A Call for National Dialogue on the Future of Priestly Ministry and has a list of articles on current issues both within the church and the broader community.
National Catholic Reporter (NCR)—Although not a membership organization like the other groups above, the NCR has a broad readership beyond diocesan newspapers. As described on their website under the banner, About Us:
“In 1964, National Catholic Reporter (NCR) began as a newspaper and is now a print and web news source that stands as one of the few, if not the only truly independent, journalistic outlet for Catholics and others who struggle with the complex moral and societal issues of the day. Approximately 23% of the U.S. population identifies itself as Catholic, the largest religious body in this country, and NCR is the only significant alternative Catholic voice that provides avenues for expression of diverse perspectives, promoting tolerance and respect for differing ideas.
NCR is a religious news source with worldly interests; and though a large amount of its reporting deals with issues of the Catholic Church, an equal amount of its coverage is a marriage of the religious, political and social forces shaping public policies and institutions. We are concerned for all people and we are committed to shaping a world that recognizes the dignity of every human being, regardless of religious belief, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other characteristic. Throughout our history, we have been a voice for the disadvantaged and the marginalized, and we have told the stories of injustice that others simply will not print.
Catholica—As described on their website is a cyber initiative that has grown organically from a small group of lay Catholics who first met about five years ago when the CathNews discussion forum was established. They were individuals characterized by a search for a deeper understanding of their faith but, in many cases, also struggling with significant challenges in their own lives.According to their editor, Brian Coyne, “they ended up forming a private cyber community and have organised retreats and meals together and continue to meet with one another both in cyberspace and in their own homes. The friendship extends across the oceans of the world and has led to myriad wonderful relationships and shared experiences. The Catholica initiative seeks to share the wonderful experiences we have had with others, particularly those who might be struggling with challenges in their lives who seek a compassionate ear.None of us pretend to have all the answers and, self-evidently, we don’t think the Church does either. We do believe God has a few answers though and as a Church community we can assist one another in hearing what God’s answers might be.”
The daily topics are interesting, stimulating, often provocative, and draws a very active interaction with a wide variety of opinions. It’s the first e-mail I open up in the morning and if I’m not careful, I could spend most of the rest of the morning, reading and often interacting with others
The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC)—is a confederation of Catholics and community of men and women of goodwill and conscience who are linked to each other in the common pursuit to promote justice for survivors of sexual abuse especially by any clergy from any and all religious institutions.NSAC celebrates the lives of survivors indelibly marked by courageous suffering and struggle against the burdens of sexual violence and insidious denial. It stands in solidarity with survivors in their lifelong struggles for justice.The scandal of the pedophile priests and the bishops who covered up for them created shock waves throughout the Catholic and non-Catholic communities starting in 2002, when the Boston Globe brought this outrageous behavior to the public’s attention. New cases of child molestation by clergy continue to be reported on a weekly basis both throughout the United States and Europe. Despite the bishops agreement in their meeting in Dallas in 2002, to enforce “zero tolerance”, for pedophile priests, they have shown little leadership in punishing accessory bishops, who allowed this abomination to go on and on. This scandal continues to need more transparency and for bishops to take more responsibility for the actions and lack of actions.
In many cases bishops were, either accessories to the crime before it was committed (moving a known pedophile to a new parish without informing the parishioners) or an accessory after the fact.
Criminal Law Lawyer Source describes an accessory after the fact as “…an individual who knowingly shelters or aids a criminal after they commit a crime. The accessory does so in order to help the felon evade arrest or criminal prosecution.” Even though it might be difficult to legally prove this in court it would get the situation out in the open and expose the type of behavior that was going on among the “High Hats”.