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Inside NCR

This week’s issue is a heavy one, replete with the world’s problems, yet leavened with a spirit of hope. For example:

  • A trial ends in Guatemala City, convicting three military men and a priest in the savage killing of a bishop. Juan Gerardi was a target only because he was committed to truth-telling in a place and time when power was better served by lies.
  • Nearly 4 million women are physically abused each year by their spouses or live-in partners, in many cases the men who have promised to love and honor them for life. And millions of others are affected by domestic violence, if only because -- as is the case with some members of our staff -- they have passed by a house and heard the screams or seen a man hit a woman on the street.
  • Children are also victims, and in society’s efforts to address the problem of abuse in the home, presumably innocent people get caught in the web. That is the case with Maria, featured in our cover story package, on page 6.
  • And then we are reminded again, on page 15, of reports describing sexual abuse of nuns by clergy in 23 countries, particularly in Africa. We first wrote about these reports in mid-March.

If you look beyond the obvious in these stories, you’ll see that, though each is based on bad news, the events that brought them to the surface are actually good news.

The trial in Guatemala was a landmark. The convictions are a first step toward justice and a victory for individuals and organizations that have courageously labored in behalf of truth.

In society’s efforts to address the problem of domestic violence, Catholics are increasingly involved. Clergy, sometimes slow to recognize the seriousness of the problem, are beginning to follow the lead of nuns, who have been in the forefront.

In the case of sexual abuse of nuns by clergy, the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life in South Africa has pledged to seek ways to combat it.

It may not be light reading in our news pages in this second issue of summer, but it isn’t as dreary as it might at first appear. In each case, the articles we entrust to our readers are just as much about people working for justice and a better world as they are about the problems that all of us, in one way or another, face.

As we go to press with this issue, we are missing our dedicated editor Tom Roberts, even as we vicariously revel in the two weeks he is spending with his family at the Jersey shore. This vacation marks the first time in the NCR staff’s memory that Tom has made a complete break with land phones, cell phones and e-mail. He’ll be back next issue, tanned and fit.

-- The editors

National Catholic Reporter, June 29, 2001