Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

The NCR Gathering Spot

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

The NCR Gathering Spot

Article excerpt

This paper comes to you wrapped in a pitch to buy subscriptions. It is way out of my comfort zone as a journalist to be pitching anything. But NCR, I believe, is more than worth a little discomfort. So I am asking for your assistance. Tell more people about National Catholic Reporter.

There are few places where, in Fr. Brian Hehir's phrase, "adult conversation" occurs in the church today. That's where NCR comes in. Such conversation requires informed participants, and no other Catholic outlet puts as many resources into gathering information as NCR. The gathering of news was at the heart of our founding 40 years ago and remains at the heart of our mission today. Our newsgathering occurs without control by the hierarchy or the restraint that would understandably have to be exercised at a publication owned by a religious order. We are not subsidized by the church, which gives us an independence rare in Catholic publishing. We try to use that independence as wisely and fairly as time and resources allow. We know we don't perform the charge we give ourselves perfectly. That's why our letters and opinion columns are open to some pretty strong criticism of our efforts and deep disagreements with our editorial positions.

Last month, Fr. Hehir told a gathering at Boston College, "The laity needs to say, at every level, 'We simply won't accept anything less than adult conversation'--which is not rebellion or an attempt to defy the church" (NCR, Oct. 24).

It may not be rebellion, but it is certainly a revolutionary idea.

Fr. Hehir is a priest's priest, arguably one of the finest minds in the U.S. church today and certainly one of its most respected representatives in the wider culture. His words bear attention.

"You can't have a situation," he said, "where men and women in corporations, universities, politics, in charge of their own lives . …

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