Archives for July 2015

NFPC This Week, #623 – 7/26-8/1/2015

Of Note This Week –

Mistaken perceptions of “the bishops”

In his “Of Many Things” column for America (Aug. 3-10, 2015) editor-in-chief, Father Matt Malone, SJ writes that oftentimes many Catholics have perceptions of “American bishops that are flat out wrong, even uncharitable, and we should challenge them.”

He wrote that in his travels meeting many bishops over the last few years there is no monolithic community of men who think and act the same way. He goes to note, “to assume that ‘the bishops’ all vote the same way when they entre the voting booth,” is inaccurate.”

Fr. Malone writes that “being a bishop in 2015 is a thankless and almost impossible job … You don’t have to agree with everything the bishops say and do in order to see that they deserve our gratitude and prayers, as well as our best efforts to truly listen to them before we insist on being heard,” he concludes.

For Fr. Malone’s entire commentary, click here.

Minnesota parish launches prison outreach

Seeing prison ministry as an underdeveloped outreach, the parishioners at St. Joseph parish in Rosemount, Minn. along with their pastor, Father Paul Jarvis, are organizing monthly prayer services for prisoners and their families, as well as regular prison ministry workshops for Catholics who want to join the outreach.

The organizers hope to create a collection of parishes and faith communities in the Twin Cities to provide an ecumenical outreach to people who are incarcerated.

The group had its first meeting in March when 15 people made a yearlong commitment to lead the prison ministry outreach. The outreach is to begin with a four-day retreat during which participants will work closely with inmates and get to know their stories.

The prison ministry outreach was profiled in The Catholic Spirit (April 23, 2015), the St. Paul and Minneapolis archdiocesan newspaper.

Click here for the entire profile.

National Catholic Development Conference & Exposition

The 47th annual National Catholic Development Conference & Exposition will take place from Sept. 12-16 at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The theme of the assembly is Invigorating your Mission Through the Magic of Catholic Philanthropy. Keynote speakers include Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF, president and CEO of NCDC and Terry Axelrod, Founder and CEO of Benevon, a corporation that trains and coaches nonprofit organizations to customize a systemic process for engaging and developing relationships with individual donors. For more information and to register, go to – Or contact NCDC, 734 15th St., NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005-1013. Tel: toll free (888) 879-6232, (202) 637-0470. Fax: (202) 637-0471.

Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving

7_PillarsIn Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving, James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick give examples of servant–led companies that have integrated specific servant leadership principles and skills into corporate cultures and policies. In many ways this volume develops principles of Robert K. Greenleaf’s classic text Servant Leadership [Paulist Press, 1977]. So what are the Seven Pillars? We’ll list them as they correspond to chapters in the book.

Pillar I – Person of Character
Pillar II – Puts People First
Pillar III – Skilled Communicator
Pillar – IV Compassionate Collaborator
Pillar V – Foresight
Pillar VI – Systems Thinker
Pillar VII – Moral Authority

Available for $26.95 from Paulist Press, 997 Macarthur Blvd., Mahwah, NJ 07430. Tel: (800) 218-1903. Fax: (800) 836-3136. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Revised Edition)

Spirit_FireSpirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Revised Edition), by Ursula King is a biography of the famous French Jesuit mystic and paleontologist. King captures the essential elements of de Chardin’s life that helped bring Christian theology into creative dialogue with modern science and explore the profound dimensions of the human condition. This volume is enhanced with scores of photographs that document his life––from the trenches of World War I, to the paleontological research in China  and travels in the Gobi Desert. The book also explores his difficulties with church authorities, the posthumous publication of his writings, and his ongoing legacy. Available for $26.00 from Orbis Books, P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, NY 10545. Tel: (800) 258-5838. Fax: (914) 941-7005. E-mail: [email protected]. Web site:

The connection between subsidiarity, solidarity, and the common good

Tom Roberts, editor-at-large of the National Catholic Reporter (July 30, 2015) writes that oftentimes in our polarized political state of affairs, the terms subsidiarity and solidarity are viewed to represent separate strains of tradition, usually in opposition to each other.

He is referring to topics discussed at a recent conference held at the AFL-CIO Washington, DC headquarters tilted “Erroneous Autonomy: A Conversation on Faith and Solidarity.” The one-day conference on June 15 was organized by The Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America and the AFL-CIO.

Roberts writes: “Solidarity is seen as the portion of teaching with communitarian emphasis and inclination toward large, society-wide solutions. Subsidiarity, on the other hand, is popularly understood as inclining toward the individualist, let-the-locals-take-care-of-things end of the scale.” This separation is a misreading of subsidiarity, Roberts notes, referring to comments made by Stephen Schneck, IPR director, at a panel discussion at the conference.

Catholics understand community, he said, “not as so many individuals connected by contracts, but as a corporate whole — a moral and cultural body that, like any body, is comprised of limbs and parts the differences of which contribute to the good of the whole.”

“The good of the whole by which by which solidarity and subsidiarity are measured is called, in Catholic social teaching, the ‘common good,’” Schneck noted.

For the entire NCR commentary, click here.

For the NFPC This Week posting on the Erroneous Autonomy conference, click here.




Update on ICE – Ruprecht Company immigrant labor dispute – 8/3/2015

For the latest developments on immigrant workers who got caught up in the ICE (Immigrant and Customs Enforcement) audit of the Ruprecht Company, a privately-held meat processing and food manufacturer located in Mundelein, IL, access the link below.

For decades UNITE HERE Local 1 has represented workers at Ruprecht. Local 1’s collective bargaining agreement expired in August 2013, resulting in an ongoing labor dispute since then.

Since our last posting, Ruprecht has announced that it would be terminating 109 employees, including UNITE HERE members, between July 24th and August 7.

UNITE HERE has requested an immediate in-person meeting with Secretary Johnson and Secretary Perez to discuss our request to:

  • Rescind the Ruprecht audit and advise the company that it is not required to take any action on the basis of the previous notice;
  • Provide affirmative relief to the affected employees; and
  • Clarify how the administration intends to prevent ICE from interfering in the enforcement of labor law.

Please sign on to the letter demanding a meeting with Secretary Johnson and Secretary Perez.

Enforcing higher wages easier said than done

As more and more municipalities pass legislation to substantially increase wages among minimum-wage workers, labor advocates see the possibility of a hollow victory if the promise of higher pay doesn’t become a reality.

A New York Times (July 26, 2015) analysis notes “the question of enforcement is particularly important given that the increases are coming primarily at the local level, which means that a business could be required to pay substantially more than its counterpart a few blocks away.”

The analysis cites a survey conducted in 2009 by researchers at UCLA and the University of Illinois at Chicago that indicates for decades enforcement of wage rules has relied on complaints from employees, either in the form of a lawsuit or a formal complaint to state and federal authorities.

The analysis goes on to inform readers that in California, there is a claim about wage theft filed every four minutes, according to Julie Su, the state’s labor commissioner

In Los Angeles, there aren’t enough investigators to keep up with the task.

For the entire NY Times analysis, click here.

Dealing with a sex offender in the congregation

Religion News Service (July 25, 2015) posted an essay providing church leaders with tips on dealing with a member of a congregation who is a sex offender. The author is “Boz” Tchividjian, a former child abuse chief prosecutor and is the founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). He is also an Associate Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law.

He calls for a “careful grace” and defines it “an educated understanding of offenders and how they act. A careful grace starts with putting the needs of children and survivors first.”

He writes that churches should require sex offenders to sign a written contract that articulates clear behavioral boundaries relating to any church-related function with consequences for failing to comply and that articulates on-going pastoral care that the offender must receive from the church.

Tchividjian uses scriptural references to support his thesis that the church’s doors and ministry be open “to anyone who calls upon Jesus’ name (Romans 10:13). God’s grace through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ, makes a way for all who have sinned, even if that sin is also a heinous crime (Ephesians 2:8).”

For the entire RNS essay, click here.