Chicago Sun-Times

July 2009 Archives

Shootings: Do We Care?

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July 29, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Homicides may be down in Chicago, but shootings are up.

By how much? Great question, but a hard answer to come by.
» Click to enlarge image
Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin

July 25, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Thursday was a day of headlines. Mark Buerle's perfect pitching. The stock market over 9,000.

Military helicopters swooping into Lincoln Park as Barack Obama came back home.

But for Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman, none of that could compete with the headline being written in his own life story.

July 21, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Christopher Kennedy is now debating whether to jump into the 2010 Democratic primary for Illinois governor, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Asked to confirm that Tuesday, Kennedy's spokeswoman, Casey Madden, would only say, "Chris is keeping all his options open."

July 18, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

"I'm in," declared West Side Congressman Danny Davis by phone from Washington on Friday morning.

Davis had worked late the night before on President Obama's health-care bill, which passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee just before midnight. But as much as Davis loves policy work, as important as his seat on the Ways and Means committee is to Illinois, after six terms he's coming home.

July 15, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

"If he's running for re-election, I will vote for him twice, if I could."

-- Adeline Bracy, 59, on Sheriff Tom Dart, as she searched for answers about loved ones buried at Burr Oak Cemetery

Tom Dart Superstar could well be the wild card of Illinois politics.

July 11, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Illinois has just two marquee political players. Only two whose names are writ large and whose poll numbers pop.

One of them lives in the White House and doesn't come home much anymore. The other just decided there's no place like home.

A one-on-interview on her decision NOT to run for governor or US Senate.
Join us at 7P on WTTW's Chicago Tonight on Channel 11!

July 8, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Cable commentators told us all day Tuesday that the whole world was watching the wall-to-wall coverage of Michael Jackson's memorial.

But I knew that wasn't true.

Some people, no matter how much they might have admired the talents of Michael Jackson and his music, just didn't have the time.

July 4, 2009

BY CAROL MARIN Sun-Times Columnist

Oh, dear. Now the Vatican has launched a probe of American nuns.

I'm calling it "Law and Order: The Convent."

Rome, according to the New York Times, is "quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition."

Just when you thought Catholic bishops couldn't find another way to infuriate the flock, darn it, they've done it again.

Both probes were reportedly initiated by conservative prelates unhappy that American nuns are not sufficiently toeing the line of Catholic orthodoxy, not wearing habits, not living in convents and not keeping their mouths shut about the concerns of women in a modern world.

Don't these sisters know their place?

For centuries, that place has been at the foot of the church, running schools, operating hospitals and working with the poor. While diocesan priests lived in rectories with more rooms than they could use and housekeepers to cook and clean, the sisters lived in tiny cells, did their own scrubbing and potato peeling, and provided the church with a dirt-cheap work force. The diocese, in turn, gave them less than a subsistence wage with neither pensions nor health insurance.

The sisters, through their own communities, pooled their pennies to provide for their own needs. Younger nuns today work in higher-paying jobs (lawyer, doctor, professor) in the secular world, keeping only a small stipend and sending the bulk of their earnings to the motherhouse to support elderly sisters.

When I heard the news of these two Vatican investigations, one of the first calls I made was to my friend, Sister Gwendolyn Durkin.

Sister Gwendolyn is 84. Bright as a diamond, sharp as a steak knife, she cut right to the chase.

"What do they think we are? We are educated women. Why can't we speak about the role of religious women in the church? We are not puppets," she said.

Sister Gwendolyn, a Chicago hospital administrator who retired at 74, is nobody's radical.

"I was actually one of the last to quit wearing a habit. I hated giving it up, but those old habits were tight around your neck and the top of your head," she said. "Not wearing it doesn't make a better or worse Sister of Mercy."

Amen, sister.

There can be good reasons for the church to conduct a study of its nuns. Their numbers are declining fast. Their communities are shrinking. And we all could, in whatever work we do, profit from studying how well we're performing.

But frankly, these investigations are really about dissent in the Catholic Church and how to stop it. You know, women's ordination, homosexuality, birth control, abortion and celibacy.

And this process is nothing more than an assertion of control. Because the conclusions of the studies will stay confidential, the sisters may never know the outcome. But just by conducting the probes, the bishops are warning the sisters to sit a little straighter in their chairs.

Am I missing something here?

Were the recent, awful church scandals about nuns?

Don't think so.

Ironically, it was a sister who warned the Chicago Archdiocese in 2000 about the Rev. Daniel McCormack, the pedophile priest. She was ignored as McCormack continued to molest children until he was finally arrested in 2006.

All nuns aren't saints, and all bishops aren't bad guys. But for my money, the sisters have a better record but have gotten a raw deal compared with the men of the church. (Let us never forget obstructor-of-justice Cardinal Bernard Law, who lives lavishly in Rome these days.)

Which takes me back to my pal, Sister Gwendolyn.

"I hesitate saying this, but why are they being so hard on the sisters?" she asked.

Because, sister, bishops don't investigate the faithfulness of bishops.,CST-EDT-carol01.article

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