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Inside NCR

NCR redesign on the way, priest returns

It’s coming, it’s coming. Our new design is percolating; designers and all sorts of staff members are palpitating. But because this is virtually a divine event, and the appropriate oracle hasn’t quite delivered, the date is not definite. But it’s soon.

A priest whose last subscription to NCR expired in the 1960s renewed again this past week. He sent the check without waiting to be billed because, as he said, “The doctors do not give me much time to live -- throat cancer.”

There’s more to the story. He was a “shepherd in the mist” for 20 years, he writes. While in that mist he married -- had a dispensation from his priestly status and everything. More recently, the marriage has been annulled. He, for understandable reasons, wishes to remain anonymous. He is grateful to an East Coast archbishop “for welcoming me back into the fraternity of priests.” The prelate, however, stopped short of giving him the faculties of the diocese. Says he, “Sad, but I can’t complain.”

This priest goes on to wonder if there might be any organization for priests “in like situations.” His is quite a situation. If there are no organizations, surely there are individuals who would be eager to send him a letter of support and fellowship. You could address them to Shepherd Who Came in from the Mist, care of NCR.

Meanwhile, NCR’s June 19 story on Philadelphia’s Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua continues to reverberate. Author Ralph Cipriano, whose editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Rosenthal, cast aspersions on Cipriano’s journalistic reliability, has sued his own paper for $50,000. The Inquirer, in turn, has suspended Cipriano, with pay, pending the outcome of all this.

-- Michael Farrell

National Catholic Reporter, August 28, 1998