The recent news of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's statement on transgender policy brought back memories of a phone call Jesuit Fr. James Keenan received some 22 years ago from a psychotherapist who worked with clients, including Catholics, struggling to understand their gender and wanted to talk to a priest who would listen to them.
"I will not say anything about the conversations, not because they were confessional, which they were not, but because they were confidential," Keenan writes. "I will say, however, they were transformative for me. I never heard such narratives. More than anything, I realized how extraordinary their experiences were."
Read reactions to the Milwaukee Archdiocese's policy aimed at persons who do not identify with their biological sex, stipulating that parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations must require people to use bathrooms associated with their birth gender.
Immigrants in New York City still fear accessing public benefits or protection, despite the change in the presidential administration, according to a new study by the Center for Migration Studies.
The study and report, released last month, examined concerns around using public benefits, public health services, engaging with law enforcement and the impact of COVID-19 in immigrant communities. It also was the topic of a Jan. 31 webinar.
"Catholic parishes and Catholic social service providers already play an important role in connecting immigrants to city services, helping them apply for benefits, and hosting educational programs," executive director Donald Kerwin told NCR. "This study found that religious institutions — as well as immigrant-serving community-based organizations and schools — were some of the organizations that immigrants trust the most."
Though immigration remains a polemic topic in political circles, just 44% of Americans recently surveyed by the Public Religion Research Institute said it was a "critical issue" in the U.S. A majority favored a path to citizenship for those who are in the country without legal permission.
Both U.S. Rep. Susie Lee of Nevada and Bishop George Thomas of Las Vegas published op-eds in the Las Vegas Sun on the subject of abortion last week. "The back-and-forth leads me to issue a heartfelt plea to all who plan to write on this topic: Be precise and be generous," writes NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters.
ICYMI: U.S. President Joe Biden joined Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, in marking the International Day of Human Fraternity on Feb. 4, stating that faith demands respect for the dignity of every human person.
ICYMI: People must "reject all forms of racism, bigotry and injustice" and recognize "we are each made by God and are deserving of respect and dignity because of just that," Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory said in a Black History Month address.