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ARCC News 28 July 2013

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John A.  Dick, Ph.D., S.T.D.                                       July 2013
 

One of my Facebook friends recently posted a notice saying: "Don't be afraid to have an open mind. Your brain will not fall out." I chuckled, and then I thought about some of my sourpuss closed-minded friends. I guess they never worried about losing their brains (although one older friend worries about going senile like her father). I'm convinced, in fact, that the sourpuss friends' brains are shrinking like dried-up raisins. More troublesome and frustrating, however, is the fact that their negative and grouchy outlook displays a short supply of Christian joy, generosity, and tolerance.

 

Being open-minded can be tough sometimes. It shakes a person loose from beliefs and values once so comforting. It enables a person to appreciate that beliefs and values are temporary and provisional stages along life's journey. We learn new things; adjust our vision and beliefs; and we re-shape our values as we go along life's road. The journey always leads, I believe, to sunrise at the horizon. I remain the perennial optimist. But we do indeed change....

 

I once thought, for instance, as I was taught in a small Catholic grade school in SW Michigan, that Protestants adhered to a false religion. Then one day I looked at my Protestant father, reading his Bible, and I started thinking: my dad is really a great guy who follows the way of Jesus and believes in God just as I do. Nothing very false religion about that. Then I went on to discover more changed beliefs and values about sexuality, sin, and adolescent growing pains; and especially about what used to be called "self-abuse."

 

There is much to be learned and appreciated from opening the doors to one's mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in. And I recommend it to sourpuss young JPII-BenXVI seminarians and ordained ministers and to grumpy old narrow-minded cardinals and bishops. They have stopped moving. They can't read the road signs; and unfortunately, for today' believers, their cars only go in reverse. (I suspect they need ecclesiastical driver's ed. And as a certified educator I am happy help them.)

 

Yes of course, there are indeed some fine younger and older people in holy orders. They deserve our appreciation and even more our moral support. Their's is not an easy life these days....

 

The grumpy ordained ones, especially hierarchical types, seem to be making most of the noise these days, however. They are circling their wagons, as they continue to condemn and complain about issues most people have moved well beyond in their own life journeys. Can a genuinely Christian father or mother, for instance, really look at a gay son or lesbian daughter and still believe their much-loved children are locked in an "intrinsically evil" condition! I remember as well a now deceased cardinal who, with tears in his eyes, approved an abortion for his university student niece who was drugged and raped. "It wasn't her fault" he said..... Examples abound.

 

Which is the greater evil: using contraceptives in a loving sexual relationship to limit the number of children a couple can provide and care for.....or condoning, sometimes for decades, the sexual abuse of young boys and girls by predatory priests? And then knowingly shifting the criminal ordained ministers to a different parish, a distant diocese, or a far-off state; and then pretending nothing evil ever happened? And this practice, let's be very honest about it, STILL continues......

But now we come to the benefits of being an open-minded believer. There are seven just like the seven sacraments....or the seven capital sins.....if you belong to the grumpy group.

 

(1) Freedom to explore and discover. A person allows himself or herself to experience new ideas and fresh thoughts that stimulate personal growth as they challenge old visions, understandings, and beliefs. It can be a very liberating look at one's contemporary world through an open mind. Remember Paul in First Corinthians: "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me."

 

(2) Experiencing personal changes. Opening up our minds to new ideas allows us the opportunity to change what we think as well as our view of the world. This doesn't mean one will necessarily change basic beliefs. It does give one the option to adjust beliefs, when one begins to think with a more open mind. I once thought it impossible for women to be ordained. I once thought Jesus' disciples were all guys. Now I know that both beliefs/understandings are pure nonsense.

 

(3) Making oneself vulnerable. This is more scary. In agreeing to have an open-minded view of the world, we acknowledge we don't know everything; and we accept that there are possibilities we may not have considered. This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating. The jar is half full or half empty. It depends on one's perspective.

 

(4) Making mistakes. With an open mind one begins to see things from others' perspectives; and one can recognize the mistakes one has made. From time to time, we all fail and fall. The challenge is to acknowledge it and then get back up again and continue the journey. That is the virtue of Christian humility and courage!

 

(5) Strengthening oneself. Open-mindedness presents a platform upon which a person can build, putting one idea on top of another. With an open mind, one learns about new things; and one uses new ideas to build on old ideas. In my field we call this ongoing theological development. Dangerous stuff for the old guard at the Vatican! Nevertheless, everything a woman or a man or a child experiences adds up. It strengthens who one is and what one believes. Note well: It's very hard to build on experiences without having an open mind.

 

(6) Gaining confidence. When a person really lives with an open mind, he or she develops a strong sense of self. One can respect and appreciate, but is no longer confined by, the beliefs of others. Then the respectful dialogue can and should begin....

 

(7) Self honesty. Being open-minded means admitting that one is not all-knowing. Even if one is a bishop or a pope....or an old theologian! Whatever "truth" one holds, each person must realize that the underlying reality in its depth has more to it than anyone realizes. This understanding creates a sense of honesty that characterizes anyone who lives with an open mind.

For some people, being open-minded is easy. It seems to come as effortlessly as breathing. For others, having an open mind can be more of a challenge. But for anyone who wants to travel the road of life, it is absolutely essential. We remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel According to John: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 


Jack Dick is ARCC Vice President   
 
 
Pope Francis' Visit to Rio
WYD stamp
Schedule 
  • Meet the President: Shortly after arriving at 1900 GMT on July 22 the pope is set to meet President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist guerrilla. The president was once an avowed atheist and supported the legalization of abortion, although her views have changed since her years of militancy. She now opposes gay marriage and is in favor of abortion only in cases of rape or when the mother's life is in danger. 
  • Marian sanctuary: Francis starts his trip proper with a visit to Our Lady of Aparecida shrine, halfway between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, on July 24. 
  • Copacabana prayers: The pope addresses crowds of young people expected on July 25 on Copacabana beach. Brazilian officials say they expect up to 1.5 million people to come for the World Youth Day celebrations.
  • Manguinhos slum: On July 25, the pope is set to walk the alleys of a "favela" that was only wrested from the control of drug gangs last year. The Vatican has said he intends to meet with families in the slum, home to about 35,000 people, which is located near the city's main airport. 
  • Prison visit: Francis is expected to visit young inmates in a Rio prison on July 26
  • Vigil and Mass: The visit culminates with a gigantic prayer vigil on July 27 followed by an outdoor mass in Campus Fidei in Guaratiba region near Rio. The camp-out is a feature of World Youth Day that has earned the events held once every two years the nickname of "Catholic Woodstock." 

 

 World Youth Day 2013 NCR Daily Reports

Pope Visits Brazilian Slum
Pope Visits Brazilian Slum
On first trip, Pope Francis tells youth create 'a mess,' help 'get rid of clericalism' by engaging faith outside diocesan structures 
Bradley Brooks       July 26, 2013 
 

Pope Francis showed his rebel side June 25, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a "mess" in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith. It's a message he put into practice by visiting one of Rio's most violent slums and opening the church's World Youth Day on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach.

. . . .

"I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses!" he said, speaking off the cuff in his native Spanish.


"I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!"


Apparently realizing the radicalness of his message, he apologized in advance to the bishops at home.  

Read more

 

Pope Francis: My advice is always "dialogue, dialogue, dialogue 
Vatican Radio      Jul.27, 2013 
 

Pope Francis met with leading members of Brazilian society on Saturday and stressed the importance of constructive dialogue, saying this was essential at the present moment. "Between selfish indifference and violent protest," he said, "there is always another possible option, that of dialogue." The Pope also called for more inclusive and humanistic economic and political process, eliminating "forms of elitism" and eradicating poverty. 

 

In his address to the political, diplomatic, cultural, religious, academic and business leaders of Brazil the Pope paid tribute to the country's distinct cultural tradition, looked at their joint responsibility for building the future, and stressed the need for constructive dialogue in facing the present moment. He told the leaders that the future demands of us a humanistic vision of the economy and a politics capable of ensuring greater and more effective participation on the part of all. This, he continued, is the road that we are called to travel.  
. . . .

Pope Francis concluded his address by pointing to something which he considers essential for facing the present moment: constructive dialogue. A country grows when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components. The Pope revealed that when leaders in various fields ask him for advice, his response is always the same: "Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue!" This, he said, is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow. He said fraternal relations between people and cooperation in building a more just society are not some vague utopia but the fruit of a concerted effort on the part of all, in service of the common good.  

Read more

 

Pope draws 3M for vigil after chastising 'exodus' 
Nicole Winfield      Jul.27, 2013 
 

Pope Francis drew a reported 3 million flag-waving, rosary-toting faithful to Rio's Copacabana beach on Saturday for the final evening of World Youth Day, hours after he chastised the Brazilian church for failing to stem the "exodus" of Catholics to evangelical congregations. Francis headed into the final hours of his first international trip riding a remarkable wave of popularity:
. . . .
On the beach, pilgrims staked out their spots on the sand, lounged and snacked, preparing for an all-night slumber party ahead of the final Mass on Sunday. Many of those actually paying attention to the vigil had tears in their eyes, moved by Francis' call for them to build up their church like his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was called to do.

 

"Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup!" Francis said, drawing cheers from the crowd in this soccer-mad nation.

 

The vigil capped a busy day for the pope in which he drove home a message he has emphasized throughout the week in speeches, homilies and off-the-cuff remarks: the need for Catholics, lay and religious, to shake up the status quo, get out of their stuffy sacristies and reach the faithful on the margins of society or risk losing them to rival churches.

 

In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Francis took a direct swipe at the "intellectual" message of the church that so characterized the pontificate of his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

 

Speaking to Brazil's bishops, he said ordinary Catholics simply don't understand such lofty ideas and need to hear the simpler message of love, forgiveness and mercy that is at the core of the Catholic faith.  

Read more

 

Some things we have been reading  
Francis continues Curia reform work from Rio 
Andrea Tornielli    Jul.25, 2013
 

Last Tuesday, when Francis was supposed to be resting after a long cross-Atlantic trip to Brazil, he decided to work on Curia reform amongst other things, Spanish newspaper La Razon reports. The revelation comes from Honduran cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga who coordinates the commission of eight cardinals that is helping the Pope revamp the Vatican's structures. The cardinal met Bergoglio on Tuesday afternoon at the Sumaré residence and suggested the commission prepare an instrumentum laborison Curia reform, gathering together all proposals from the bishops of the various continents, in order to make the group's work easier and more fruitful.
 
"We want the ideas to come from the bottom and bishops are enthusiastic and very eager to strengthen collegiality," Maradiaga explained. Having an instrumentum laboris that sets out bishops' proposals would help the Pope in his decision-making, the cardinal explained.  

Read more

 

Vatican denies scandal report on Vatican bank prelate
John L. Allen Jr.   

A Vatican spokesman today called a report "not credible" charging that a cleric hand-picked by Pope Francis to reform the troubled Vatican bank led a double life while serving as a papal diplomat in Uruguay a little more than a decade ago, including having a live-in male companion and visiting gay bars.

 

The charges appeared in a report published today by veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister for the magazine L'Espresso. They concern Msgr. Battista Ricca, a veteran Vatican diplomat appointed June 15 to serve as the pope's "prelate," or representative, at the Vatican bank.

 

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, issued a statement to journalists calling the report "not credible."

 

L'Espresso swiftly replied with an acerbic statement "confirming point by point" the details in Magister's story, which it said had been "confirmed by primary sources."

Read more

 

Pope Francis: joy in Brazil, worsening scandal - and a possible resignation - in Rome 
Damian Thompson        Jul.23, 2013
 

The world's press are - understandably - focussing on Pope Francis's visit to World Youth Day in Brazil: it is nice to see such positive coverage of a Pope who deserves it, such is the freshness and vigour he has brought to his role. But I can't help thinking that, if Benedict XVI were in Brazil, the media would talk about celebrations "overshadowed" by the extraordinary allegations facing Mgr Battista Ricca, the man appointed by Francis to oversee reform of the Vatican Bank. (For background, read my post here.)


The are reports that Ricca, 57, who was allegedly caught stuck in a lift with a rent boy, has tendered his resignation to the Pope. We don't know if this is true, though the level of detail about Mgr Ricca's allegedly flamboyant gay past supplied by leading Vaticanologist Sandro Magister suggests that his position is untenable. Should Francis accept a resignation, he'd leave people wondering why his own press officer brushed off the allegations against Ricca who, as director of the Domus Santa Marta hostel where the Pope lives, often eats with the Holy Father.  

Read more

 

But now the appointment of Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui is creaking, too 
Sandro Magister        Jul.25, 2013 
 

After that of the prelate of the IOR, another appointment is raising strong objections at the Vatican and outside of it.

 

It is that of thirty-year-old Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, the only Italian among the eight members of the newly created pontifical commission reporting on the organization of the financial-administrative structure of the Holy See, instituted by Pope Francis on July 18: 

 

In the chirograph that institutes the commission its members are authorized to access all of the "documents, data, and information" of every Vatican administrative organism, without any official confidentiality to obstruct them.

 

An extraordinary coup for an expert in communication like Francesca Chaouqui, who works at the multinational Ernst & Young but is also an assiduous informer forDagospia.com, the number one collector in Italy of leaks and dirt concerning the world of the Vatican.

 

Not only that. From her Twitter page it emerges that Francesca Chaouqui has a direct connection with Gianluigi Nuzzi, whom she says she admires. 

 

Nuzzi is the journalist who received and published the confidential documents taken from the desk of Benedict XVI by his butler Paolo Gabriele, who was afterward arrested and sentenced.

Read more

 

Pope sets up body to overhaul Vatican's finances, administration 
AFP     Jul.19, 2013
 

Pope Francis set up a special commission of lay experts on Friday tasked with overhauling the economic and administrative structure of the Vatican in a radical bid to streamline and clean up the scandal-hit institution.


The commission will delve into the workings of the Vatican's bloated departments and draft reforms to tackle instances of favouritism or corruption, simplify procedures, improve transparency and put economic resources to better use.


The commission is tasked with the "simplification and rationalisation of the existing bodies and more careful planning of the economic activities of all the Vatican Administrations," the Vatican said in a statement.


It will offer specialist advice on how to "avoid the misuse of economic resources, to improve transparency... to work with ever greater prudence in the financial sphere; to ensure correct application of accounting principles," it said. 
Read more

 

A Pope with only one master
Tablet       Jul.20, 2013
 
On the agenda of Pope Francis, the chief administrative item is the reform of the Roman Curia. This was the radical commission he was given by the College of Cardinals at his election. He has recently been telling friends how difficult it is proving, while being urged to get a move on by Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, former chairman of the German bishops' conference. In fact, with the Roman August shut-down fast approaching and the group of cardinals he has appointed to advise him on curial reform not due to meet until October, it is a little early to become impatient.  
 
The issue he has already been wrestling with is about personnel. He inherited Pope Benedict's appointments, including the key figures of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as Secretary of State and Archbishop Gerhard Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Cardinal Bertone had become the focus of much of the discontented grumbling that grew inside the Curia as Pope Benedict's papacy drew to its unexpected close. That problem may solve itself, as at 78 he is overdue for retirement. Whether the position of Secretary of State survives the impending curial reform is for the Pope's group of cardinal advisers to consider. But the grand title does not immediately resonate with the Sermon on the Mount, which seems to be the tone in which Francis is trying to restyle the papacy.  
 

Archbishop Müller is a more complicated case, not least because he was the personal choice of Pope Benedict with whom Pope Francis still has regular discussions. But the archbishop is clearly out of step with the new mood, for instance in his astonishing recent statement that divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion cannot appeal to God's mercy. He is not going to be able to live it down. It is well known that many of his fellow German bishops - and others elsewhere in the world - strongly disagree. 

. . . . 

Pope Francis is already encountering resistance, and recently told a friend that the changes he was making in the Vatican had been difficult: "It has not been easy, there were many 'masters' of the Pope here and they have been in their positions for a very long time." That also suggests the changes he has in mind are far-reaching. If so, he has indeed grasped the measure of the challenge he faces - to save the Catholic Church from itself. 

Read more

 

Conservative Catholics and Religious Right Unite for Revamped Culture War 
Bill Berkowitz           Jul.26, 2013 
 

Over the past few decades, there have been numerous attempts by both Religious Right leaders and Republican Party officials to woo Catholic officials and Catholic voters. These days, while the GOP is still paying attention to winning Catholic votes, the Religious Right is spending more time focusing on forging alliances with high-powered Catholic Church officials.

 

In a new essay, veteran journalist Frederick Clarkson maintains that, "Evangelicals and Roman Catholics have found common ground - and the motivation to set aside centuries of sectarian conflict - by focusing on these issues while claiming that their 'religious liberty' is about to be crushed. The movement is mobilizing its resources, forging new alliances, and girding itself to engage its enemies. It is also giving fair warning about its intentions. It may lose the long-term war, but whatever happens, one thing is certain: It won't go down without a fight."
. . . .
One of the enduring memes coming out of the Christian and Catholic Right these days is that their "religious liberty" is under attack. Everywhere you look they claim their rights are threatened. Same-sex marriage advances at the peril of their "religious liberty." Striking down of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, is an affront to their "religious liberty." Pharmacists refusing to fill certain prescriptions, bakers declining to bake wedding cakes for same-sex marriage couples, county clerks claiming their religious beliefs forbid them to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples, all fall under the conservative right's "religious liberty" banner. And, according to the Christian Right/conservative Catholic coalition, Obamacare is a major blow to "religious liberty."
. . . .
Clarkson maintains that "The aggressive, overt political engagement of the Catholic Bishops is an historic shift in American politics and religion. That they would find such fundamental common cause with the likes of Tony Perkins and James Dobson is unprecedented and will have a lasting impact on American public life. "
These "religious liberty" battles are the latest in an ongoing culture war that most Americans appear to have tired of a long time ago. Nevertheless, as Clarkson pointed out, with conservative Catholic leaders joining "the Christian Right [in] increasingly see[ing] the federal government as tyrannical and oppressive, and ... experimenting with a more militant style of resistance," there is no end in sight.  

Read more

 


Austrian Priest Helmut Schüller 
US Speaking Tour
   

Fr. Helmut Schüller, founder of the Austrian Priests' Initiative is on a U.S. speaking tour this summer.  His "Call to Disobedience," signed by a majority of Austrian priests, has brought worldwide attention and momentum to addressing the crises in the Catholic Church. Today, he leads a practical movement that recognizes the Holy Spirit among the laity and the necessity of reforming church governance.   

 

New York City
July 16 
Chicago
July 24 
San Diego
July 31 
Boston
July 17 
Cleveland
July 25, 26 
Los Angeles
August 2 
Philadelphia
July 19 
Detroit
July 26 
Portland
August 4 
Baltimore
July 20 
Cincinnati
July 27 
Seattle
August 5 
Washington DC
July 22  
Denver
July 29 
Manhasset NY August 7
 
Fr. Helmut Schüller in the news
See The Catholic Tipping Point for more information.
 
 
"Choosing to de-frock": A Jesuit resigns to protest injustice in the Church
Rebel Girl      Jul.15, 2013
 
Fr. Bert Thelen, SJ, celebrated his last mass as pastor at St. John's Parish at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska -- a position he held for 14 years -- on June 16, 2013. In a letter to his family, friends and colleagues (full text below), Fr. Thelen announced that "I have decided to leave ordained Jesuit ministry and return to the lay state, the priesthood of the faithful bestowed on me by my Baptism nearly 80 years ago." Fr. Thelen was ordained to the priesthood in 1968 and enjoyed a 45 year career with the Jesuits, including a 6-year stint as Jesuit Provincial in Wisconsin.


In his letter of resignation, Fr. Thelen says that his spiritual journey has led him to the realization that "we need to end the world view that structures reality into higher and lower, superior and inferior, dominant and subordinate, which puts God over Humanity, humans over the rest of the world, men over women, the ordained over the laity." And he adds that "following my call to serve this One World requires me to stop benefiting from the privilege, security, and prestige ordination has given me. I am doing this primarily out of the necessity and consequence of my new call, but, secondarily, as a protest against the social injustices and sinful exclusions perpetrated by a patriarchal church that refuses to consider ordination for women and marriage for same- sex couples."

 

Before going on to criticize his former order specifically, Fr. Thelen asserts that he has "become convinced that the Catholic Church will never give up its clerical privilege until and unless we priests (and bishops) willingly step down from our pedestals." He adds that resigning would "put me in solidarity with my friend, Roy Bourgeois, my fellow Jesuit, Fr. Bill Brennan, the late Bernard Cooke, and many other men who have been 'de-frocked' by the reigning hierarchy. It will also support the religious and lay women, former Catholics, and gay and lesbian couples marginalized by our church." "I want to stand with and for them," vows the now ex-Jesuit. 

Read more

 

On August 11 St. Clare Feast Support Sisters, 
Pray for Authentic Dialogue 
Nun Justice Project       Jul.19, 2013
 

From August 13-17, an estimated 800 Catholic nun leaders will gather in Orlando, FL for the annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

 

On or around the weekend before the LCWR gathering, the Nun Justice coalition is asking you to sponsor or privately join in a special prayer service honoring St. Clare of Assisi whose feast is August 11.     

 

You can download the St. Clare prayer service here. 

 

Pope Francis intentionally chose St. Francis of Assisi as his namesake, and worked collaboratively alongside St. Clare and her sisters rather than against them.    
 

Your prayer honoring St. Clare witnesses to your hope and expectation that Pope Francis and Archbishop Sartain, will not only speak, but listen and authentically dialogue with the sisters of LCWR as St. Francis did with St. Clare."

 

Please join us in prayerful solidarity with U.S. women religious still suffering because of their courageous witness to the crying need for just treatment and structures of dialogue for nuns and all laity in the Church.   

 

With gratitude,

Members of the Nun Justice Coalition

The Nun Justice Project is a grassroots movement supported by the following organizations: American Catholic Council, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, CORPUS, DignityUSA, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, Quixote Center, RAPPORT (Renewing a Priestly People, Ordination Reconsidered Today), Voice of the Faithful, WATER: Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, Women's Ordination Conference. 
 
"Impressed by Pope's Emphasis on "Synodality" in the Church" 
Gerard O'Connell      Jul.21, 2013
 

Archbishop John R. Quinn, emeritus of San Francisco and former president of the US Bishops Conference, was in Rome recently for the conferring of the pallium on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, his third successor in that archdiocese. He attended the ceremony in St Peter's Basilica on June 29, at which Pope Francis spoke about the importance of synodality in the Church day.  Since this is a topic close to his heart - he has written two books around this subject: "The Reform of the Papacy" (1999) and "Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church" (2013), I asked him for his reaction.
 
What did you feel when you heard Pope Francis, in his homily, speak about primacy and synodality?
I was particularly struck by the Pope's homily. He gave strong emphasis to collegiality and synodality in the Church and, departing from the written text, restated his thought saying, "Synodality is the path of the Catholic Church." This and his other remarks about collegiality were welcomed enthusiastically by the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople.


I read his homily not only as a kind of doctrinal statement but also as a statement of his program as Pope. He appears to be focusing somewhat on synodality and collegiality because, in his homily at mass on the following Saturday, he spoke again about the importance of structures of communion.  

Read more

 

Dolan: Francis is, and isn't, what we expected 
John L. Allen Jr.       Jul.24, 2013 
 

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was among the 114 cardinals who elected Pope Francis last March, so he's in a unique position to answer a fascinating question about the recent conclave and its aftermath.


The question is: Did the cardinals really know what they were getting in Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina? Or, have the first four and a half months of his papacy been as much of a revelation to them as to the rest of the world?


According to Dolan, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.


The pope's simplicity, humility, and closeness to the people are no surprise, Dolan said, because the cardinals had heard all that - the only surprise is how well he seems to be pulling it off.


On the other hand, Dolan said, the cardinals also thought they were electing a dynamic manager, and so far the pace of change has been slower than some expected.
Perhaps, Dolan said, Francis has built such a reservoir of good will that it may be easier to push through change down the line.
. . . . .
On other matters:  

  • Dolan confessed to fears for Francis' safety, and said he may have to learn to allow himself to be "handled" a bit more.
  • Francis has boosted the "reputation and credibility" of the church, Dolan said, making it easier for bishops to move the ball on many fronts. 
  • Dolan conceded that he's resentful of praised heaped on Francis at the expense of Benedict XVI, saying it's both "hurtful" to the former pope and also "inaccurate."
  • Dolan said that Francis is pushing him to a personal examination of conscience - for instance, Dolan said, he's wondering about the wisdom of living in the relatively elegant archbishops' residence in New York, and in general about some of the "perks" and "cushiness" of being a bishop.
  • In response to recent criticism over his handling of sex abuse cases while serving as the Archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009, Dolan expressed frustration - insisting that, in his own mind, the charges "were already behind us."

Read more

 

Path for Romero's beatification cleared now examination of doctrinal orthodoxy is complete 
 Gianni Valente     Jul.26, 2013
 

The Salvadorian archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero "was a great witness of the faith and of social justice" and the verification process for the doctrinal "nihil obstat", or approval, of his cause for beatification was sped up under Benedict XVI's pontificate. The news was revealed by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Müller. As Francis embraces Latin American Catholicism, in Rome, the German bishop and theologian confirms that no more doctrinal obstacles stand in the way of "San Romero de America's" beatification. This is the name many faithful have given to him. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave the go-ahead for the beatification when Ratzinger was still Pope.  

Read more

 

Religious progressives hold stronger appeal among Millennials 
Robby Jones       Jul.18, 2013
 

Since the rise of the Moral Majority movement in the 1980s, there has been considerably more ink spilt on examining religious conservatives than religious progressives. 

. . . .

Despite the lack of attention given the religious left, a new religious orientation scale developed by PRRI and Brookings finds that a significant number of Americans-approximately 1-in-5 (19 percent)-are religious progressives.  The findings also show the difference in size between religious progressives and conservatives is smaller than conventional wisdom might suggest: religious conservatives comprise 28 percent of the population, outweighing religious progressives by just nine points. 

. . . .

Despite serious challenges, there are some signs that religious progressives may have stronger future growth potential than religious conservatives. For example, the average age of religious progressives is 44-just under the average age in the general population of 47-while the average age of religious conservatives is 53. And there is a nearly linear decline in the appeal of religious conservatism with age. Religious conservatives make up smaller proportions of each successive generation, from 47 percent of the Silent Generation (ages 66-88) to 34 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 49-67), 23 percent of Generation X (ages 34-48), and 17 percent of Millennials (ages 18-33).  Millennials are nearly twice as likely as the Silent Generation to be religious progressives (23 percent vs. 12 percent).  Among Millennials, religious progressives significantly outnumber religious conservatives; additionally, 22 percent of Millennials are nonreligious.  

. . . .

 If the current patterns continue, these shifts promise to reshape significantly the public face of religion and the calculations of political campaigns.  

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Cardinal Burke labels social justice Catholics communists  
Joshua J. McElwee       Jul. 26, 2013
 

BurkeThe cardinal who heads the Vatican's Supreme Court has apparently called Catholics who focus on social justice ministry instead of ornate liturgies akin to communists.

 

 

Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis known for a preference for Latin Mass and long robes during liturgies, makes the comments in an interview posted Thursday by the Catholic news agency ZENIT.

 

"Some argue the liturgy is mostly about aesthetics, and not as important as, say, good works done in faith," the interviewer asks Burke. "What is your view of this argument that one often hears?"

 

"It's a Communist misconception," Burke responds. "First of all, the liturgy is about Christ. It's Christ alive in his Church, the glorious Christ coming into our midst and acting on our behalf through sacramental signs to give us the gift of eternal life to save us."  

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Shanghai's Catholic Church in disarray 
Tom Phillips       Jul.22, 2013
 

The crisis has exposed the fault lines that remain between the Vatican and Beijing, and has been described as the worst faced by the church for decades.


The problems started on July 7 last year, when Thaddeus Ma Daqin, Shanghai's newly ordained auxiliary bishop, infuriated Party officials and stunned congregants and clergy by using his ordination to renounce the Patriotic Association, a Beijing-controlled organ that controls theChinese Church.


Since then, Ma - who had been in line to take over as Shanghai's next bishop - has been under house arrest at a seminary in the city's suburbs.


The crisis was compounded in April when Shanghai's incumbent bishop, Aloysius Jin Luxian, died at the age of 96.


With Bishop Jin gone and no sign of Bishop Ma being released, China's wealthiest and perhaps most important Catholic diocese has been thrown into uncertainty.

Worshippers had been left "shocked, grief-stricken and anxious overcome with grief and dismay", said Father Michael Kelly, the head of UCA News, a news agency that covers Catholic issues in Asia. "It is the worst of times."  

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Vatican appoints replacement for disgraced Cardinal Keith O'Brien 
Severin Carrell and Lizzy Davies      Jul.24, 2013 
 

A senior Vatican official has been appointed to replace the disgraced Scottish cardinal Keith O'Brien as archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

 

Monsignor Leo Cushley, 52, a close and influential adviser to Pope Benedict and his successor Pope Francis, is based in Rome as head of the English-language section of the Vatican's civil service, functioning as a senior career diplomat for the Holy See.

 

The appointment to succeed O'Brien, five months after he resigned in disgrace after the Observer revealed allegations of sexual impropriety, has come sooner than commentators had expected, suggesting the Vatican is keen to draw a line under the affair.

 

In a statement to mark his appointment, Cushley alluded to the O'Brien crisis by acknowledging it was a "delicate" time for the Scottish church, and warned he would need months to get to grips with his new post and the damage caused by the scandal.  

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Cavan priest Fr Francis Duffy named as new Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois 
Liam Cosgrove       Jul.17, 2013
 

Fr Francis Duffy has been named as the new bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois Diocese.


The County Cavan native was officially unveiled on the steps of St Mel's College this morning in front of around 100 spectators. 

. . . .

Fr Duffy will not officially take over as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois until his ordination is confirmed at a ceremony later this year.


No official time has been given as to when that may happen, although October has been mentioned as a possible target date.  

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Msgr. Wilfrid Paradis, expert at Vatican II, dies at 91
Carolyn Disco     Jul.16, 2013 
 

Msgr. Wilfrid Henry Paradis, an expert adviser at the Second Vatican Council who went on to reshape Catholic religious education in the United States, died June 25. He was 91 and had been a priest for 64 years.

. . . .

While a young monsignor, Paradis was accredited as an official peritus, or expert, at Vatican II, one of about 460 from around the world. He also served as Manchester Bishop Ernest Primeau's chief aide from 1960 to 1965, working on a preparatory commission for the council and attending all four of its sessions. When the council was meeting in Rome, he lived and worked with prominent figures such as Jesuit Fr. John Courtney Murray, author of the council's groundbreaking text on religious liberty, and Swiss theologian Fr. Hans Küng.  

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Newark Archdiocese stirs outrage after allowing accused molester to live in parish 
Mark Mueller/      Jul.20, 2013
 

Parishioners at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Oradell first noticed the man in November. Each night, he slept in the rectory. Every morning, he attended Mass in the soaring brick church, across the street from the parish's elementary school.


What parishioners didn't know - what neither their pastor nor the Archdiocese of Newark told them - was that the man was an accused sexual predator.


The Rev. Robert Chabak, 66, was removed from ministry in 2004, when church officials determined there was evidence to support allegations he molested a teenage boy over a three-year period in the 1970s.


In the years since, Chabak has lived in a home once owned by his mother in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River. When Hurricane Sandy damaged that home, the archdiocese allowed him to take up residence at St. Joseph "out of a sense of compassion," said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Archbishop John. J. Myers.


But no one informed parishioners, who now say the archdiocese and the pastor, the Rev. Thomas Iwanowski, knowingly put children at risk.


It would be months before a few members of the parish discovered Chabak's background. Under pressure from those parishioners, the archdiocese removed Chabak from St. Joseph in February, transferring him to a retirement home for priests in Rutherford.

But even then, parishioners said, Chabak repeatedly came back to St. Joseph to spend the night.

The furor has led to Iwanowski's ouster as pastor, effective July 31. It also has spawned fierce criticism of the archdiocese, which has come under fire repeatedly for its handling of predator priests.


Most recently, Myers faced calls for his resignation in April and May after it was revealed the Rev. Michael Fugee had extensively interacted with teenagers despite a lifetime ban on ministry to children. Fugee has since been criminally charged with violating a judicial order.
Daniel O'Toole, the parishioner who led the effort to remove Chabak from St. Joseph, called Iwanowski and Myers "spectacularly tone deaf" given revelations about clergy sexual abuse and said the church has repeated its "past sins" by "recycling a problem priest into an unsuspecting community."  

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Suit Accuses Archbishop Carlson of 'Attempted Tampering' 
Kevin Killeen      Jul.17, 2013
 

Archbishop Robert Carlson is named in a civil suit, accusing him of attempted tampering with physical evidence in the case of a priest accused of sexual misconduct.


The suit alleges Carlson telephoned the mother of a Lincoln county teenaged girl - a girl under the age of seventeen - who had reportedly been molested by Father Joseph Jiang. The suit claims Carlson asked the mother to give to him a check for $20,000 Jiang had reportedly placed on the family's car.


"This suggests the Archbishop was possibly attempting to coverup the crime of trying to buy off the parents," Chackes said.


Chackes says the check appeared after the parents of the girl had discovered the abuse, confronted Jiang, and he admitted it. Instead of handing over the check to Carlson, the family gave the check as evidence to police. Jiang was then charged with sexual misconduct and witness tampering.  

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Niece asks RI high court to overturn Legion ruling, allow her suit over wealthy aunt's estate 
Associated Press       Jul.18, 2013
 

Lawyers contesting the will of a widow who gave some $60 million to a secretive and disgraced Roman Catholic religious order are trying again to have their case heard, filing court papers in an attempt allow the woman's niece to sue.


The papers, filed Wednesday with the Rhode Island Supreme Court, argue that Mary Lou Dauray has the right to intervene in the estate of her late aunt, Gabrielle Mee, a devout Catholic who gave most of her money to the conservative religious order the Legion of Christ. Mee died in 2008.


The lawyers seek to overturn a ruling by Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein, who threw out Dauray's lawsuit last year, saying she had no standing to sue. But he said at the same time that evidence existed that Mee was unduly persuaded to give the Legion her money and detailed how the Legion slowly took control of her finances as she became more deeply involved in the movement.


A church investigation determined that the Legion's founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children. The Vatican took over the order in 2010 and Pope Benedict XVI ordered a wholesale reform.


Dauray's lawyers have said that Mee was defrauded by an order whose leaders orchestrated an effort to hide its founder's misdeeds from her aunt. Silverstein said in throwing out the lawsuit that some of what was before the court raised a red flag because Mee transferred millions to "clandestinely dubious religious leaders."
In Wednesday's filings, Dauray's lawyers argue that Dauray is legally interested in Mee's estate and that Mee's most recent will was obtained by fraud and undue influence by the Legion.  

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Nun Serving Time for Stealing $128,000 from Parishioners 
Sheila Cosgrove Baylis     Jul.18, 2013
 

Sister Mary Ann Rapp has been sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years of probation, and 100 hours of community service, for stealing $128,000 from two small parishes in Orleans County, N.Y., say news reports. 

 

Rapp pocketed the money from the weekly collection plate and other church funds between 2006 and 2011, reports upstate New York TV station WGRZ. 

 

In her statement before the court Monday, she said she took the cash to sustain her gambling addiction. 

 

The judge has ordered Rapp to pay back the full amount stolen from St. Mark Church in Kendall, N.Y., and St. Mary in Holley, N.Y.   

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Pax Christi USA official statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act 
Pax Christi USA      Jul.23, 2013 
 

On June 25, 2013, the United States Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act by a 5-4 decision. Due to the Court's decision, unless Congressional action is taken, the 1965 Voting Rights Act has no effective means of enforcement.


Pax Christi USA finds this decision deeply saddening and very troubling. People of faith and goodwill must call upon Congress to remedy this wrong. 

. . . .
Voting is one of the most fundamental ways that we, as citizens, can express our opinions about issues that impact our lives and our pocketbooks. This civil and human right is imperative for a free and democratic society. As society changes and grows, so do the voices of that society. All members of a democratic society must be allowed to have our voices heard and our views expressed in order for ours to be a truly functioning society.


Pax Christi USA calls upon Congress and all people of faith and goodwill to honor the historic struggle for civil rights and re-affirm universal voting rights with an effective enforcement provision.  

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Pax Christi cuts ties with JustFaith Ministries  
Patrick O'Neill       Jul.17, 2013 
 

In a June vote by its governing assembly, Pax Christi USA opted to cut its ties with JustFaith Ministries, the Louisville, Ky.-based organization that provides faith formation resources "that link spirituality and social mission."


The decision, which took effect July 1, ends a three-year "formal partnership" between the two organizations that share many goals in their missions, including numerous peace and justice components. The dissolution of the partnership, prompted in part by budget limitations, will save Pax Christi a $30,000 annual fee paid to JustFaith Ministries. The peace group shared its partnership with Pax Christi International, which is in negotiations to maintain the affiliation.


As part of the partnership, JustFaith promoted Pax Christi's mission in program materials used primarily in small groups in parish settings. Pax Christi was also invited to send representatives to promote the organization at local JustFaith program groups, held near the end of each JustFaith program. To date, more than 4,000 JustFaith programs in more than 40 states have registered approximately 40,000 people.

 
"Our hope was to increase awareness of PCUSA and increase membership" through the JustFaith partnership, said Sr. Patricia Chappell, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and executive director of Pax Christi. "And what we came to realize is that is not happening."


JustFaith founder and president Jack Jezreel said Pax Christi's decision is disappointing and said the affiliation resulted in "a lot of exposure" for Pax Christi in JustFaith programs.   

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Lefebvrists chide pope over visit to immigrant island 
ANSA      Jul.16, 2013
 

The Italian chapter of the Catholic traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) condemned Pope Francis on Tuesday for visiting immigrants and refugees on the island of Lampedusa. 


In a statement, the Lefebvrist breakaway group criticized the pope for going against centuries of Church efforts to "preserve Catholicism" in the face of the "Mohammedan invasion," recalling "popes, among whom many saints, who armed fleets to stop the (armed, of course) Muslims in Italy". 


Last week Francis chose Lampedusa, an island off the coast of Sicily, as the destination for his first official trip as pope, drawing attention to the plight of thousands who cross the Mediterranean - and the many who die in the process - each year trying to immigrate through Italy. SSPX said the visit reflected the influence of a "Masonic plot to create a multi-cultural society"  

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Pope Francis Time Magazine Cover: Social Media Sees Horns; Does The Pope Look Like The Devil? 
LA Times       Jul.22, 2013
 

Social media is on fire with the latest cover of TIME magazine featuring Pope Francis. The issue shows the Pope in profile and according to many observations online, it shows the Pope with devil horns. While there are no actual horns, the tops of the "M" in "TIME" sit above the Pope's head looking like devil horns. This, of course, raises the question: Was this an intentional symbolic move by the magazine or was it accidental? 

Time pope cover

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Australia inquiry hears of 50-year cover-up  
Stephen Crittenden  |  Jul. 12, 2013 
 

The Hunter Valley in New South Wales, two hours north of Sydney, is best known for its vineyards, surf beaches, coal mines and polluting power stations. But in recent years, the region has also become known as the epicenter of Catholic sex abuse in Australia.

 

Since 1996, seven priests, four religious brothers and six lay teachers of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese have been convicted. The church has paid compensation to the victims of eight other  priests, and four priests and two brothers are currently facing abuse or concealment charges. There are 400 known victims.

 

Now, a special commission of inquiry in Newcastle has heard that leaders of the diocese knew of the numerous pedophiliac activities of one priest, Fr. Denis McAlinden, for 50 years, but did not notify police until 2003.

 

The inquiry was established in November after allegations by a senior Hunter Valley detective, Chief Inspector Peter Fox, that the Catholic church "covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the church."  

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Lucas Finally Fronts the NSW Enquiry (Or: Hear Evil, See Evil, Record No Evil) 
Lewis Blayse       Jul.25, 2013 
 

Fr. Brian Lucas has admitted to the NSW inquiry into Catholic Church cover-ups of child sexual abuse within the Newcastle-Maitland diocese that he did not take notes during meetings to ensure they could not be used later in court.


The meetings were of a committee established by the Bishop to review allegations against local priests. Lucas is a frequent media spokesman for the Sydney Archdiocese, headed by Cardinal George Pell. The name of the third member of the committee is the subject of a suppression order.


Lucas, who is also a lawyer, said it was a "serious and well understood dilemma" within church legal circles that clergy risked being charged with the crime of misprision of a felony (covering up a crime) if they did not go to police with victims' complaints. He said he was prepared to take this risk when priests admitted their crimes to him.


One of the Australian Catholic Church's most prominent and senior figures, Lucas admitted he also advised other clergy it was a good idea not to take notes of interviews with priests accused of sexual abuse so they "couldn't be successfully used in legal action."


Clearly, Lucas is defying the law. His close association with Cardinal Pell demands a reply from Pell, who remains on holiday in his palatial, $30 million apartments in Rome. Pell should be called before the enquiry to clarify this matter, but of course that is unlikely since the enquiry officials would probably think he was far too important to be called before them to answer the obvious questions.  

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Dublin archbishops dumped pedophile priest on unknowing California parish 
Patrick Couhinan       Jul.13, 2013 
 

Three former Archbishops of Dublin have been damned in the latest publication of the Murphy report into clerical abuse of Ireland - and accused of dumping a known paedophile on a parish in California.


Current archbishop Diarmuid Martin has abjectly apologized for the behavior and asked for forgiveness.
The previously unpublished Chapter 20 of the Murphy Report was finally released on the orders of Dublin's High Court on Friday, almost four years after the remainder of the document was made public.


It contains damning allegation against the Archbishops over their handling of former priest Patrick McCabe, now 77 and a convicted serial child abuser.


At one point in 1988 McCabe was sent to St Patrick's psychiatric hospital in Dublin but while there he told diocesan authorities he had secured a job working with homeless people at Stockton, California.


The report says that McCabe left hospital in February 1988. It concluded: "The bishops decided to let him go to the USA. They, in effect, set him loose on the unsuspecting population of Stockton, California. There is no record that they notified the Bishop of Stockton of his arrival."


McCabe was extradited from America in August 2010 but walked free from court last March after an 18 month jail term was backdated by a judge.  

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It's official: Gay marriage is legal in Britain 
 Ian Dunt        Jul.17,2013
 

The historic event ends years of often emotional debate about the change to the law and will be greeted with euphoria by gay rights campaigners.


The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act passed its final vote in the Commons yesterday evening, after MPs waved through amendments made in the Lords.
There were cheers in both houses of parliament after Speaker John Bercow announced the news.


The first gay and lesbian weddings will take place next summer.


Opponents are still angry about the legislation and there are fears in Tory HQ that it will be a continued sore point with elderly Conservative voters.  

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'Shadow war' targets Christians in Syria 
John L. Allen Jr.     Jul.15, 2013
 

Christian minorities face threats in many parts of the convulsed Middle East today, but perhaps nowhere is the danger more acute than in Syria amid that nation's bloody civil war.


An Internet video that went viral in late June, purportedly showing the beheading of three Christian clergymen by Syrian militants, was initially believed to capture the death of a Catholic priest named Fr. François Murad.


It turned out to be older footage of uncertain provenance, but that didn't make Murad any less dead. According to officials of the Franciscan order that had given him refuge, Murad actually was shot to death on June 23 in the town of Gassanieh, in a convent where the 49-year-old monk was in hiding.


Reports suggest members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant Islamic group that's part of Syria's rebel alliance, killed Murad.


The killing represents the latest shock for Syria's Christian community, which has become one of the primary victims of the violent standoff between rebel forces and the Assad regime.


Christians have long been an important minority in Syria, composing roughly 10 percent of the population of 22.5 million. The majority is Greek Orthodox, followed by Catholics, the Assyrian Church of the East, and vari­ous kinds of Protestants.


Syria was until recently a destination of choice for Christians fleeing the violence in Iraq, but all that changed with the eruption of civil war in 2011.


The kidnapping of two prominent Orthodox bishops in April underscored the new dangers. A group of armed men took the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo, Youhanna Ibrahim, and the Greek Orthodox metropolitan of Aleppo and Iskenderun, Boulos al-Yaziji, on the road to Aleppo. Their driver, a Syrian Orthodox deacon, was shot to death.


To date, the whereabouts of the bishops remain unknown.


Kidnapping Christians reportedly has become a growth industry. In late February, the website Ora pro Siria, operated by Italian missionaries in Syria, launched an emergency fundraising appeal called "Ransom a Christian." The website said the going price for a kidnapped priest was in the neighborhood of $200,000.'


It's not just clergy who find themselves in harm's way. In June, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land reported that a cluster of Christian villages along Syria's Orontes River had been almost totally destroyed in the fighting, forcing thousands into hiding.


"Of the 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Ghassanieh, as just one example, the local pastor reports that no more than 10 people remain," said Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, director of the custody, adding that bombs had also seriously damaged a Franciscan mon­astery in Knayeh near the border with Lebanon.


As NCR went to press, a Greek-Catholic monastery in Qara was under assault by rebel forces. Officials of the Norbertine order told Vatican Radio they had lost contact with a 74-year-old Belgian missionary, Daniel Maes, living at the monastery.  

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First Vatican envoy to Malaysia sparks Muslim anger over 'Allah' 
Siva Sithraputhran     Jul.17,2013 
 

The Vatican's first envoy to Malaysia has opened a storm of controversy by apparently supporting the use of the word "Allah" by Christians, prompting a rebuke from the government and condemnation from nationalist Malay groups in the majority-Muslim country.


The row underlines growing intolerance in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious country following an election in May that deepened the divide between majority Muslim Malays and minority ethnic Chinese, many of whom are Christian.


Archbishop Joseph Marino was summoned to the foreign ministry on Tuesday after his comments last week on the issue.


"Archbishop Marino was advised to be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the host country and that the issue he commented on is still under the Court of Appeal," the foreign ministry said in a statement.


Marino, who arrived in the country in April, apologized for any "misunderstandings and inconveniences" his comments may have caused, but some Muslim organizations have demanded a full retraction or the envoy's expulsion.


"The ambassador's comment has touched on the sensitivities of Muslims and should not have happened, more so in the (fasting) month of Ramadan," Hassan Ali, the head of JATI, an Islamic group, was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.


In his first media interview since starting his new role, Marino said last week he supported the arguments made by the Christian Federation of Malaysia on why Christians should be allowed to use Allah.  

. . . .

Scholars say Christians in Malaysia's two states on Borneo island have been using Allah to mean God for over 100 years, mainly as they use Indonesian translations of the Bible.


Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million population, see using the word Allah in Christian publications, including Bibles, as attempts to proselytize.


On Tuesday, the chief minister of Kedah state, Mukhriz Mahathir, said the state government would not allow the word Allah to be used by non-Muslims in their holy books.


"We cannot accept their excuses because hidden behind those excuses is the aim of turning Muslims into disbelievers of the religion," Bernama reported Mukhriz, a son of long-serving former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, as saying.


Christians, including about 800,000 Catholics, make up about 9.1 percent of Malaysia's population. Malays are by definition Muslims and are not allowed to convert.  

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Christians in Sudan face increased hostility 
Fredrick Nzwili |      Jul .16, 2013 
 

Despite a promise by the Sudanese government to grant its minority Christian population religious freedom, church leaders there said they are beset by increased restrictions and hostility in the wake of the South Sudan's independence.


In 2011, South Sudan, a mostly Christian region, split from the predominantly Muslim and Arab north, in a process strongly supported by the international community and churches in the West.


The two regions had fought a two-decade long civil war that ended in 2005, following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The pact granted the South Sudanese a referendum after a six-year interim period and independence six months later. In the referendum, the people of South Sudan chose separation.
But while the separation is praised as good for political reasons, several churches in Khartoum, the northern capital, have been destroyed and others closed down along with affiliated schools and orphanages.


Christians in Sudan are facing increased arrests, detention and deportation with church-associated centers being raided and foreign missionaries kicked out, according to the leaders.


"The situation of Christians and the church is very difficult at the moment," said Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok of the Khartoum Archdiocese.
After the secession, President Omar al-Bashir promised a country governed by an Islamic constitution where Islam is the official religion. 

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Internal conflict in Polish church leads to a popular priest resigning from his post 
Warsaw Business Journal       Jul.16, 2013
 

Father Wojciech Lemański, a Catholic priest known for his role in Polish-Jewish dialogue and for his recent public statements on a number of social issues, has effectively stopped being parish priest at Jasienica near Warsaw. He is in conflict with his superior Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who ordered him out of the parish for disobedience and failing to comply with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church.


Father Lemański did not agree with the decision and said that he would appeal against it. Initially, he refused to leave the parish, in which he was supported by a large group of parishioners. In the afternoon, he issued a statement saying that he has decided to leave.


Father Lemański's conflict with Archbishop Hoser has been closely watched by the Polish media for the past few weeks. In a radio interview, he accused the archbishop of antisemitism, claiming Archbishop Hoser had asked him in a private conversation, whether "he was circumcised" and whether he "belonged to that nation."
Father Lemański has been given two options by the Church officials - retire or be transferred to another parish, where he would serve as an auxiliary staff. 

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Orissa: Catholic nun gang raped  
Santosh Digal        Jul.15, 2013
 

A 28-year-old nun was kidnapped and raped for a week by a group of men in Bamunigam, Kandhamal District (Orissa). She was held between 5 and 11 July, but the case was made public only today. "The perpetrators must be brought to justice without delay and the law must take its course. What happened is a disgrace," said Mgr John Barwa SVD, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, who condemned the attack.


The nun, a Kandhamal native, lives in Chennai (Tamil Nadu), where she is studying in college. According to her testimony to police, she received a phone call from a woman about two weeks ago, who reported that her mother was very sick.


On 11 July, the attackers left the sister at Berhampur train station, threatening her not to tell anyone about what had happened. The victim managed to reach her village where on 13 July she filed an official complaint.


For now, police arrested her cousin, Jotindra Sobhasundar, and Tukuna Sobhasundear, a friend. The other attackers are nowhere to be found.


The nun received medical assistance and tomorrow her superior will visit her.  

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New Translation of the Roman Missal

 Petition To Cardinal O'Malley  

 

Please sign the petition below, no later than Labor Day.  Then, on or about September 8th, a copy of this letter, along with all the signatures, will be sent by the Misguided Missal Team to Cardinal O'Malley.  This will allow him time to prepare for his meeting in October with Pope Francis, and his other seven newly appointed advisors.  Please make copies of this letter for anyone who does not use the internet or is otherwise unaware of our web site.  All are invited to sign it, pass it along, and send it to Cardinal O'Malley by September 8th.

  
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