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Some things we have been reading  


Maryknoll: Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order
Joshua J. McElwee     Nov.19, 2012



Roy Bourgeois, a longtime peace activist and priest who had come under scrutiny for his support of women's ordination, has been dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, which he served for 45 years, according to the congregation.


The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the dismissal in October, according to a news release issued Monday afternoon by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.


Dominican Fr. Tom Doyle, a canon lawyer acting on Bourgeois' behalf, told NCR he was not aware of the move.  Doyle said he and Bourgeois met with Maryknoll's superior general, Fr. Edward Dougherty, in June, and the issue of dismissal had not been discussed.


"The idea then was that things would continue and they would not dismiss Roy and they would continue to dialogue," Doyle said. "And then this just happened, unilaterally. [Bourgeois] had no idea."


Bourgeois was not available for comment Monday afternoon. 

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Catholics went for Obama.
Grant Gallicho     Mon.dd, 2012


According to CNN exit polling, 50 percent of Catholic voters went for Obama, and 48 percent for Romney. This is down from 2008, when Catholics supported Obama over McCain 54-45, but up from '04, when 52 percent of Catholics voted against their co-religionist John Kerry (47 percent supported him). This year's Catholic vote looks more like 2000, when 50 percent of Catholic voters supported Gore over Bush, 50-47. 




Extreme voices lead to politicized church
NCR Editorial Staff     Nov.6, 2012


When the bishops of the United States gather later this month in Baltimore for their fall meeting, they ought to take some time to ponder a simple question: Were their words and actions during the recent election season the kind of discourse that informs and persuades or did they contribute to the partisan shrillness that we hope our teachers are educating youngsters to rise above as they mature into voting citizens?

. . . .  The activity of the loudest and most extreme voices in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have left us the most politicized and divided church in recent memory. They have not only done a disservice to the cause of unity, they haven't done much to advance the causes they so stridently champion. 

. . . .

Not one episcopal voice was raised in objection to the slanderous and absurd claims of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, who last April compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Not one openly questioned the wisdom of the extreme partisan fight against health care reform, a fight, as it turns out, that was waged on the false claim that the reform would lead to federal dollars used to procure abortion. It didn't and it won't. Not one episcopal voice questioned the validity of trumped-up threats to religious liberty or of the ill-conceived "Fortnight for Freedom," which turned out to be a fortnight-long seminar on how not to organize a campaign.


The bishops are so beholden to the huge sums of money dumped on them by the Knights of Columbus (see story) that they can't imagine pushing back against the political agenda of an organization led by a longtime, high-level Republican operative.

. . . .

The bishops have become adjuncts to and enablers of those who politically benefit from the grinding polarities surrounding the abortion issue. They have been complicit in narrowing "life issues" politics to a single approach to a single issue. Experience should inform them by this point that their efforts are largely wasted. Election cycle after election cycle they've had their pockets picked of political capital only to arrive home empty-handed.


During the recent Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization in Rome, several bishops (none from this country) spoke of the need for a new sense of humility if the church hoped to engage the wider cultures. If the recent data gathered in the United States showing increasing numbers of people walking away from organized religion is at all instructive, then it is clear that fewer and fewer people are listening to religious leaders in general and bishops in particular.  

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Watchdog group asks IRS to probe Catholic bishops
David Gibson     Nov.6, 2012


A public watchdog group is charging the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with openly politicking on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and it wants the Internal Revenue Service to explore revoking the hierarchy's tax-exempt status.  


"In completely unqualified terms, the IRS should immediately tell the Conference of Catholic Bishops that the conduct of its members is beyond the pale," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
. . . .

Sloan argued that last-minute appeals by numerous bishops had crossed the line into electioneering. She named several prelates, including Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill., a fierce critic of President Barack Obama, who ordered his priests to read a letter at all Masses on Sunday that sharply criticized Democratic policies and warned that Catholics who voted for those policies would endanger their eternal salvation. 

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Is There a Political Plan B for the Bishops?
Thomas Reese, S.J   Nov.12, 2012


As the bishops gather in Baltimore this week for their annual meeting, they like everyone else in the country will be talking about last week's election. The U.S. Catholic bishops took a beating at the polls. Not only was President Obama reelected, despite their attacks on him, the bishops also lost on state referendums on same-sex marriage.

. . . .

Hopefully, behind closed doors, some bishops will acknowledge that the current strategy is not working and ask, "Is there a better way? Is there a Plan B?" Here I am writing as a political scientist, not as a priest or theologian. I am not challenging church teaching; I am questioning political strategy


The first step in Plan B should be "listening." The bishops need to listen to those Catholic voters who ignored their advice and find out why.  . . . .


Second, any new strategy needs to be realistic. Granted the current political situation, what is possible? Political strategy cannot ignore data. In the last election, Republicans ignored poll data and truly believed they would win the presidency and the senate. The great wave of Republican voters never appeared.


What is the data the bishops need to examine?


First, it is clear that there is an approaching tsunami of young voters who will eventually make same sex marriage legal in most states of the union. The likelihood of stopping this tsunami is very low. As the older opponents of gay marriage die, they are replaced by younger voters who have friends who are gay. This is a new world. If you know you are going to lose a fight, you want to fight in a way that does you the least amount of damage. Tactics that enrage their opponents will make it more difficult for the bishops to get the exemptions they desire under this new reality.

. . . .

Second, despite all the efforts by the bishops and by pro-life activists, the country is just as divided on abortion today as it was decades ago. Public opinion polls show people do not like abortion but they do not want to make it illegal. No one has come up with a strategy to change the public's mind.  . . . .


If making abortion illegal is an impossible dream in the current political environment, what is Plan B? Plan B has to be working with politicians of any stripe (including pro-choice politicians) in supporting programs that will reduce the number of abortions. 

. . . .

I do not claim to have an infallible strategy for the bishops, but after such a momentous defeat, it is time for the bishops to reexamine their political strategy. The current strategy is not working and there is no indication that it will work any better in the future. 

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Chastened Catholic bishops told they have to reform themselvesDavid Gibson     Nov.12, 2012


After sweeping setbacks to the hierarchy's agenda on Election Day, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Monday (Nov. 12) told U.S. Catholic bishops that they must now examine their own failings, confess their sins and reform themselves if they hope to impact the wider culture.


"That's the way we become channels of a truly effective transformation of the world, through our own witness of a repentant heart," Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the 250 bishops gathered here for their annual meeting.


"The premier answer to the question'What's wrong with the world?' is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming ... none of these, as significant as they are," Dolan said, citing many of the issues that have become favorite targets of the hierarchy.


Instead, Dolan said, quoting English writer and Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton, the answer is contained in two words: "I am."

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CTA honors Farrell
Zoe Ryan    Nov.11, 2012


This year's Call To Action Leadership Award went to Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell. She accepted the award Saturday morning at the organization's national conference in Louisville, Ky.


In an email to Call To Action supporters, CTA's executive director Jim FitzGerald said that Farrell is "a model of the best of Catholic leadership: where leaders invite communal discernment of the signs of the times in light of the gospel - and are not afraid to follow where the Spirit leads."


Farrell was president in April when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its doctrinal assessment on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. She currently holds the past president position of LCWR.

Accepting the award Saturday, she thanked CTA supporters in the crowd for "this recognition of LCWR which I have to say is my deep, deep privilege to represent."


"Your solidarity with women religious has been overwhelmingly significant for us and for the church. So please hear in my own expression of gratitude the voices of thousands of women religious all over the country who are very appreciative of your gestures of encouragement: the vigils, the prayers, the letters. You have spoken. You have stood with us. You have affirmed and strengthened us and that has made all the difference."

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Bishops and American nuns hold 'cordial and open' meeting
Daniel Burke     Nov.12, 2012


Three Catholic bishops met with leaders of the American nuns' group they are tasked with overhauling in an "open and cordial" meeting on Sunday (Nov. 11), according to a joint statement.


Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle led the bishops' discussion with four officials from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, including its new president, Sister Florence Deacon.

. . . .

Sunday's meeting "was open and cordial and those present agreed to meet again to continue the conversation," Sartain and Deacon said in a joint 88-word statement. A spokeswoman for the LCWR declined to say what topics were discussed or when future meetings might be held.
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Convicted bishop is Catholic hierarchy's elephant in the room
David Gibson     Nov.8, 2012


As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathers for its annual fall meeting in Baltimore next week (Nov. 12-15), one of the biggest issues confronting the prelates won't be on the formal agenda: how to cope with the re-election of a president whose policies many bishops denounced as unprecedented attacks on the Catholic Church.


But another topic not on the agenda may loom just as large for a hierarchy hoping to wield influence in the public square. In September, Bishop Robert Finn of Missouri became the first bishop to be found guilty of covering up for a priest suspected of child abuse.

Unlike President Barack Obama's election, however, Finn's status isn't a subject the churchmen are eager to discuss.


The verdict against Finn, leader of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and an outspoken conservative, initially prompted widespread calls for his resignation, a Vatican suspension or discipline from his fellow bishops.


Yet in the two months since Finn's conviction no bishop or church authority has addressed his case, nor has anyone spoken to Finn privately, according to Jack Smith, Finn's spokesman. 

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Bishops Support Dorothy Day for Sainthood
Laurie Goodstein     Nov.13, 2012


The nation's Roman Catholic bishops, in Baltimore at their semiannual meeting, voted unanimously Tuesday to support the cause of sainthood for Dorothy Day, a Catholic convert and an advocate for the poor who helped to found the Catholic Worker movement and to advance the church's teaching on social justice.

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Catholic bishops fail to agree on statement on the economy
David Gibson      

A divided Catholic hierarchy on Tuesday (Nov. 13) failed to agree on a statement about the economy after a debate that revealed sharp differences over the kind of social justice issues that were once a hallmark of the bishops' public profile.


The defeat of the document, titled "The Hope of the Gospel in Difficult Economic Times," followed an hour of unusually intense debate among the 230 bishops gathered here for their annual meeting. It left many of them openly frustrated that the prelates have not made a joint statement about the nation's economic woes four years after the recession hit.

. . . .

The failure of the bishops to pass the statement was extraordinary; in June, the bishops had authorized a special committee to write a brief reflection for consideration at this meeting, and the conference rarely rejects something produced by one of its committees.


But the bishops did not receive the draft until they arrived for the meeting, and what they found was something that pleased almost no one. The document was long, coming in at 14 pages, and many said it was dominated by spiritual terminology that ignored the roots of the economic crisis and did not suggest solutions provided by Catholic social teaching.


The first draft gave short shrift to a century of social justice encyclicals from the popes, including those of Benedict XVI, and did not even mention the USCCB's landmark 1986 pastoral letter, "Economic Justice for All," which has been hailed for challenging economic injustice in the U.S.

. . . .

But many bishops, led by Dolan, pressed the bishops on the urgency of saying something about the economy. They proposed a raft of amendments to try to make the statement more specific and relevant to impending economic decisions, like the "fiscal cliff" budget negotiations in Congress.


Those efforts proved fruitless. Despite a willingness of some bishops to vote for the statement to salvage something from the effort, it failed to garner the 152 votes needed, losing with a vote of 134 in favor, 85 against passage, and nine abstentions

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New Preaching Document from US Catholic Bishops

Here is the document on preaching approved by the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference: "Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily."



US bishops, Catholic bloggers discuss how tweets, blogs help evangelize
Carol Zimmermann    Nov.12, 2012


A group of U.S. bishops and Catholic bloggers discussed -- and tweeted about -- how to use social media to spread the Gospel message during a Nov. 11 session prior to the start of the U.S. bishops' annual general assembly in Baltimore.

In the nearly three-hour session, the group of two dozen bishops and even more bloggers talked about the challenges in keeping up with the all-pervasive social media but also acknowledged the absolute necessity of doing so in order to reach people and connect them more deeply with their faith -- or put simply: to evangelize.

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Boston cardinal reshuffles parishes to meet priest shortage
G. Jeffrey Macdonald     Nov.15, 2012


Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley on Thursday (Nov. 15) launched an ambitious, five-year plan to consolidate local parish leadership and reinvigorate an archdiocese rocked by scandal, declining Mass attendance and a chronic shortage of priests.


Starting with a first phase in January, O'Malley's "Disciples in Mission" initiative will reorganize the archdiocese's 288 parishes into 135 "collaboratives," or clusters of two or three parishes headed by a single pastor. Assistant pastors and other staff from local parishes will be reoriented to serve entire collaboratives. By 2016, every parish will be part of a collaborative.


The shift marks the latest major change for the 1.8 million Catholics in and around Boston, who grieved 69 parish closures in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Clustering parishes under shared leadership is now crucial, organizers say, in order to carry out the "New Evangelization" encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI.

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USD faculty declare no confidence in university president after fellowship cancellation 
Joshua J. McElwee     Nov.13 2012


Almost 100 faculty members at the University of San Diego have declared a loss of confidence in their president's leadership, saying her cancellation of a British theologian's visiting fellowship and her response to criticism of the move have shown her to be "ethically bankrupt."


The vote of no confidence by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, one of seven colleges at the Catholic university, is the latest response to president Mary Lyons' rescission of a fellowship for Tina Beattie, a theologian known for her work in contemporary ethical issues.


Beattie had been scheduled to begin a fellowship at the university's Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture on Nov. 6. Lyons, who says the theologian publicly dissented from church teaching by suggesting Catholics could support civil same-sex marriage, canceled the appointment in an Oct. 27 letter.

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Barnesville teen denied Catholic confirmation after Facebook post supporting gay marriage
Erik Burgess      Nov.14, 2012


If you want to be a Catholic, you have to be 100 percent Catholic. Vote No


That's the lesson one family here learned after their 17-year-old son was denied confirmation after the priest at the Assumption Church here found a pro same-sex marriage post on the teen's Facebook.


The decision by the Rev. Gary LaMoine to deny the religious rite of passage for Lennon Cihak in mid-October shocked his mother, who said her son has gone to church every week and volunteered around the community in preparation for his confirmation this year.

. . . .

But now the family is not allowed to participate in Communion there, Doug said, and he's worried as to how far the sanctions will go, expressing concern about being able to be buried alongside his parents. 

. . . . 

Shana said she contacted Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Catholic Diocese in Crookston to see what her options were to appeal, but Hoeppner said not much could be done. A more formal appeal could still be filed, she said. 

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2nd student denied Catholic confirmation in Barnesville
Erik Burgess     Nov.16, 2012


The teenager who was not confirmed at the Catholic church here after he publicly supported same-sex marriage was not the only student who was denied the religious sacrament for backing gay marriage, the church's priest said in a letter made public Friday.


In the letter, addressed to the parish of Assumption Church at 307 Front St. N., the Rev. Gary LaMoine says "a couple of candidates chose not to enter into full communion with the Catholic community because of their disagreement with the teaching of the Church concerning marriage."

. . . .

In the letter sent out to the parish, LaMoine says Lennon voluntarily withdrew from the program after LaMoine saw the photo and challenged him on why he was "rejecting a central teaching of the Church."


But even if Lennon hadn't withdrawn, LaMoine said he wouldn't have confirmed him, he said on Friday.

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Man sues Legion of Christ over father's donation
Associated Press    Nov.16, 2012


A Connecticut man has sued the Legion of Christ, accusing the disgraced Roman Catholic order of using "predatory" means to persuade his father to donate his retirement savings.

The suit filed in federal court in Rhode Island seeks to recoup some $1 million of James Boa-Teh (bo-AH'-teh) Chu's savings and $10 million in damages. Chu was a Yale University professor who died in 2009.

Paul Chu's lawsuit says his father's health was declining when Legion representatives convinced him to donate his savings.

A Legion spokesman denies the claim. 

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U.S. Ambassador to Holy See Steps Down
Edward Pentin    Nov.5 2012


The United States Ambassador to the Holy See made a farewell visit to Pope Benedict XVI today.

Ambassador Miguel Diaz is leaving his position after just over three years' service representing the Obama administration.


An embassy spokesman said he would probably be leaving Rome at the weekend to take up a teaching position at the University of Dayton, OH.   


The embassy said the move had been in the pipeline for a while, and that it had planned to announce the ambassador's departure after the Presidential Elections tomorrow, but as the farewell visit took place today, the Vatican pre-empted the disclosure by making an announcement in its daily bulletin. Ambassador Diaz, who was formally sworn in on August 21st, 2009, has nevertheless fulfilled the usual term for ambassadors which is commonly two to three years. 

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Vatican vows to fight gay marriage after gains in U.S., Europe
Philip Pullella     Nov.10, 2012


The Vatican, reacting to strong gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, on Saturday pledged never to stop fighting attempts to "erase" the privileged role of heterosexual marriage, which it called it "an achievement of civilization".

For the second consecutive day, Vatican media weighed in with forceful editorials restating the Roman Catholic Church's unequivocal opposition.

"It is clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union," Father Federico Lombardi, said in a tough editorial on Vatican Radio.

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Pope establishes new Pontifical Academy for Latin 
Vatican Radio     Nov.10, 2012


Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday issued the Motu Proprio Latina Lingua, which establishes the new Pontifical Academy for Latin. The Academy is meant to promote the knowledge and study of the Latin language and Latin literature, from classical times to the present day.

"The Latin language has always been held in high regard by the Catholic Church and the Roman pontiffs," writes Pope Benedict. 

He pointed out Latin and Greek were used in the early Church, being the universal languages of the time, and since then the Church has made Latin "her own language."

The Holy Father writes, "After the demise of the Roman Empire, the Church of Rome not only continued to make use of the Latin language, but also became in a way its guardian and promoter, both in theology and liturgy, and in formation and the transmission of knowledge."

Pope Benedict said a good understanding of Latin is more necessary than ever in the Church, due to its importance in studying Theology, Liturgy, Patristics, and Canon Law. 

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Habemus papam in Twitteratum: Pope to tweet (in Latin?)
Bryan Cones    Nov.11 2012


Now that Pope Benedict XVI is entering the Twitterverse -- with the pope's first 140 characters to appear before the end of the year--I'm wondering how his embrace of this new(ish) communications medium relates to this week's creation of the Vatican's new Pontifical Academy for Latin Studies. Maybe he could use the former to promote the latter?


The juxtaposition of the two announcements for me encapsulates the church's struggle with the contemporary world: On the one hand, even the Vatican recognizes it is increasingly fading from relevance and so reaches for new media to get its message out. Unfortunately, all those new media are fundamentally "democratic" in nature--a papal tweet is likely to have about as much authority as one from Lady Gaga--and that's only after B16 manages to get as many followers as Gaga (which may take a while). 


On the other hand, the Vatican gets downright testy about what the democratic culture embodied by the likes of Twitter produces. L'Osservatore Romano and papal spokesman Federico Lombardi were downright sarcastic in their response to the approval of gay marriage in three states last Tuesday and the advance of similar legislation in France: "why not contemplate freely chosen polygamy, and naturally so as to not discriminate, polyandry?" So we get a brand new papal institute for Latin studies, where the "goal is to promote both written and spoken [!!] Latin." And here I thought the Vatican itself was an institute for the promotion of Latin! Obviously the two aren't directly connected, but still.

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In the curia, everyone dressed as he should

Vatican Diary    Nov.19, 2012


An internal memo prohibits the clergy from wearing secular dress and imposes the return to the cassock, including bishops visiting Rome.  Here is the complete text of the letter, signed by Bertone at the behest of the pope.

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Vatican computer tech convicted in leaks scandal
Frances  D'Emilio   Nov.10, 2012


A Vatican court on Saturday convicted a Holy See computer technician of helping the former papal butler in the embarrassing leak of confidential papal documents and gave him a two-month suspended sentence in the last trial in the scandal.


Claudio Sciarpelletti, a 48-year-old Italian who is a computer program analyst in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, testified that he had played no role in helping to leak the documents, which later formed the core of an Italian journalist's book alleging corruption in high ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy.


Last month, Paolo Gabriele, who served Pope Benedict XVI his meals and helped him dress for ceremonies, was convicted in a separate trial for the theft of the documents from the papal apartment and is serving an 18-month prison sentence in Vatican City.


Gabriele and Sciarpelletti are the only Vatican employees to be formally investigated in the case, which distressed the pope, embarrassed the Vatican hierarchy and left many wondering about the competence of the Holy See's security apparatus.

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Australia: Royal Commission into Catholic Church's Paedophiles
Gianluca Mezzofiore    Nov.12, 2012


The Catholic Church in Australia is under fire after Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a federal inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse in churches, charities and schools.


Accusations of a massive cover-up by the Church have mounted in the past weeks after a case emerged in the Hunter Valley region north of Sidney. Officials are also investigating a separate series of priest sex abuse allegations in the state of Victoria.

"There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil. I believe in these circumstances that it's appropriate for there to be a national response through a Royal Commission," Gillard said.

The Royal Commission, which is the top investigating institution in Australia, will look into a wide range of cases across the nation

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Vital to get this inquiry right
Michelle Grattan    Nov.12, 2012


The federal government had little choice but to set up a royal commission into child sex abuse, given the horrific evidence, the extent of what has happened over many years, the cries of victims and the reaction of an appalled community.

But responding to both the problem and the public outcry brings difficulties that will become even more apparent as the work gets underway.

Obviously the commission had to go wide. While the Catholic Church has been the focus of many of the allegations, it could not be singled out.

But once you went beyond it, where to stop? It could not just look at churches. State institutions, schools of all types, sporting bodies, even the boy scouts - the list is endless and the PM says they are all to be included.

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Sex victims to number thousands
Michelle Grattan     Nov.20, 2012


The federal government's royal commission into child sexual abuse is expected to be the biggest inquiry held in Australia, involving thousands of victims and hundreds of organisations.

A government consultation paper sent to premiers on Monday flags that the massive investigation - lasting years and probing religious and secular organisations as well as government bodies - is set to facilitate victims making compensation claims and will be able to refer matters to the police as it goes along.

With this week's Age/Nielsen poll showing 95 per cent support for the commission, the government is asking the states and stakeholders to provide written feedback by next Monday on the terms of reference and the inquiry's form and timetable. The paper has also been sent to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Greens leader Christine Milne, crossbenchers and stakeholders.

Asked about the poll result, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her government would need to carefully handle the public's high expectations.

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There will never be any women priests, insists Papal Nuncio
Majella O'Sullivan     Novm.12, 2012


The Pope's envoy to Ireland has ruled out any possibility of the ordination of women.


Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown said the church's teaching on the subject was clear.


He said the Pope had spoken definitively on the subject in 1994 and the church was "simply unable to do that".  His comments are at odds with the majority of Irish Catholics who believe women should be ordained.


A study commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests in February revealed that 77pc of Catholics believed women should be ordained.


Former president Mary McAleese has also spoken out in favour of women priests and revealed recently, following the publication of her book, 'Quo Vadis? Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law', how she was "lambasted" by the former Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, for her views.

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Welby confirmed as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury
Tablet        Nov.9, 2012

Downing Street this morning confirmed Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury following widespread press speculation.


Welby, 56, who has been Bishop of Durham for a little over a year, gave a press conference at Lambeth Conference this morning which he began by praying, "Come, Holy Spirit."


In his opening statement he praised the riches of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality, adoration, contemplative prayer, and Catholic social teaching.

The former oil executive addressed head-on some of issues causing division in the Church of England. He voiced his strong support for the ordination of women as bishops, which is to be voted on later this month. Regarding the Government's plans to legalise gay marriage he chose his words carefully, saying he supported civil partnerships and opposed homophobia, and would examine his own thinking "carefully and prayerfully".


The archbishop-designate will be enthroned in March. 

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New Coptic Orthodox patriarch says no to Sharia-inspired constitution
Asia news    Nov.6, 2012


For Anba Tawadros II, the newly elected patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Christians and other minorities should have their place in the future Egyptian constitution, which has become hostage to Islamists following the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in recent elections.


 In his first press release, the prelate said that the Church would oppose any step taken by the constituent assembly to impose Islamic law on the country.  . . . .  


Elected on Sunday, Anba Tawadros II was the bishop Behayra (Rosetta, Nile Delta). A trained pharmacist, he studied at the Anba Bishoy Monastery and has been committed to the reunification of all the Churches, especially of Copts dispersed around the world.  

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Tunisia Battles Over Pulpits, and Revolt's Legacy
Neil  MacFarquhar   Nov.11, 2012


On the Friday after Tunisia's president fell, Mohamed al-Khelif mounted the pulpit of this city's historic Grand Mosque to deliver a full-throttle attack on the country's corrupt culture, to condemn its close ties with the West and to demand that a new constitution implement Shariah, or Islamic law.

. . . . 

Mosques across Tunisia blazed with similar sermons that day and, indeed, every Friday since, in what has become the battle of the pulpit, a heated competition to define Tunisia's religious and political identity.


Revolution freed the country's estimated 5,000 officially sanctioned mosques from the rigid controls of the previous government, which appointed every prayer leader and issued lists of acceptable topics for their Friday sermons.


That system pushed a moderate, apolitical model of Islam that avoided confronting a dictator. When the system collapsed last year, ultraconservative Salafis seized control of up to 500 mosques by government estimates. The government, a proponent of a more temperate political Islam, says it has since wrested back control of all but 70 of the mosques, but acknowledges it has not yet routed the extremists nor thwarted their agenda.

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Nun faces grand larceny charge tied to casino gambling
Dan Herbeck     Nov.5, 2012


A nun with a casino gambling problem will be charged today with stealing more than $100,000 from two churches where she worked in Orleans County, The Buffalo News learned late Sunday.

The felony grand larceny charge will be filed against Sister Mary Anne Rapp, who in recent years has been assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Holley and its sister church, St. Mark, in nearby Kendall.


Sister Mary Anne is scheduled to answer the charges in Kendall Town Court this evening, Orleans County District Attorney Joseph V. Cardone confirmed Sunday night.

"This is a situation that was brought to our attention by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and has been under investigation for months by the [Orleans County] Sheriff's Office," Cardone said. "It's not a situation where the sister has been living an extravagant life. I think there are indications that she has a gambling problem."

Investigators believe that donations made by parishioners were stolen by the nun, and she has been treated for an addiction to casino gambling, sources close to the case told The News.  

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Prayers requested for Robert Blair Kaiser


From: kaiserbob 
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2012 11:15 AM 
Subject: My cancer 

Quite by accident, medics discovered (while looking for something else) that I had a mysterious mass in my upper chest. Long story short: they did a biopsy and found a malignant growth (about 2.5 inches long) in my 

So I plunge into a new adventure. I have two of the most experienced oncologists in Phoenix working on my case: Jeff Isaacs and Michael Feinstein. They've already moved to set me up for a whole series of tests. A PETSCAN of my whole body (to see where else the cancer may have spread), an MRI of my brain, a deeper analysis of the material taken in my biopsy, five different blood analyses, etc etc. (P.S. I've never smoked.) They have already judged that the growth lies in a space between my lungs and is wrapped around a vital vein; for that reason, they cannot perform any surgery. That's good news to me. I'd rather face chemotherapy. That won't start for two or three weeks, which is good.

Gives me time to finish a book I have been working on for six months -- a ghosted autobiography. Tom Doyle is a Dominican priest who warned the U.S. bishops way back in 1985 that if they didn't do something drastic about their wayward priests, they'd have to start defending themselves on lawsuits all over the nation, and they could end up losing a billion dollars. They ignored him, and had him fired from his job at the Vatican 
embassy in DC. Seven years later, the whole scandal blew up in Boston and other victims started going to the civil courts for relief. Now, the bishops have paid out more than $2 billion in settlements, seven dioceses have gone bankrupt, and 30 million Catholics have left the Church. Meanwhile, Doyle goes on giving expert testimony in courts all over the world. He's on the side of the victims, which has made him a hero to thinking Catholics and a pariah among the bishops.

I intend to keep writing and smiling -- laughing even as much as I can -- and exulting over the victories of my favorite football teams, the Oregon Ducks, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and the SF 49ers. (An old friend of mine, Norman Cousins, found out he had cancer, and laughed himself well, and wrote a book about it.)


P.S. Please forward this to others you know who still believe in prayer. I already have a bunch of nuns praying for me, nuns from New York to New Zealand.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Kaiser served on the board of ARCC .  He requests that prayers be directed to/via John XXIII.
From: kaiserbob 
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 4:36 PM

Results from all five of my tests -- PETSCAN of my whole body, nuclear bone scan, CT scan of my neck and sinus, brain scan -- reveal no cancer anywhere, except in a small area of my upper chest called "the media." Terrifically good news. On Monday, I will be seeing my oncologist, Dr. Jeff Isaacs, who will tell me what kind of treatment lies ahead. Many thanks for your prayers -- and keep me on your list, okay?



Fr. John Kavanaugh, S.J. dies at 71.
Kristen Milano   Nov.7, 2012


On Monday, Nov. 5, John Kavanaugh, S.J. passed away at 71 from long-term health complications in Saint Louis University Hospital. Kavanaugh was a philosophy professor at Saint Louis University and the founder of the Ethics Across the Curriculum program, an initiative at SLU aimed at encouraging and sustaining ethics-based research, service and teaching among the University's faculty. 


Kavanaugh was ordained a priest in the Society of Jesus in June 1971. He spent some of his early years as a priest working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, where he helped care for the dying patients she was working with. At SLU, Kavanaugh taught a course in Medical Ethics and was an outspoken opponent of the U.S. military involvement in Iraq and of the death penalty.


He was a regular columnist on issues of ethics for America Magazine, a Jesuit publication, and wrote several books, including "Following Christ in a Consumer Society" and "Who Counts as Persons? Human Identity and the Ethics of Killing."

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New Translation of the Roman Missal Missal

Translation at the US Bishops' Conference Meeting
Anthoy Ruff, OSB   Nov.14, 2012

The new Roman Missal came up at the meeting of the US bishops yesterday morning. The question on the agenda was whether to approve the "Scope of Work" for the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours.  . . . .   USCCB votes 203-14 with one abstention to move on to the Liturgy of the Hours.


Bishop Brom of San Diego, California, rose to say this:

I'm hearing from the priests ... that we not rush headlong into further translations and using the Roman Missal that we have now in its English version as the basis . . . .


Then Bishop Matano of Burlington, Vermont rose to say this:

I do think it is a bit counter-productive to go back in time and give a critique of the new Roman Missal.  . . . .


There is a marked contrast between the two bishops' statements: two quite different visions of leadership, two quite different visions of the relationship between the bishop and his priests, two quite different visions of how to unify the Church, two quite different visions of what to do with input from priests and people.


After Bishop Trautman expressed his agreement with Bishop Brom, the re-vote was taken. The motion to go ahead with the Liturgy of the Hours project again passed, this time 189 to 41 with one abstention.


Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Bishop Matano's vision of authority and leadership works for the bishops: regarding translation but also regarding every issue and challenge facing the Catholic Church.


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Words fail us: Parishioners respond to the new Missal a year later
Meghan Murphy-Gill   Nov.11, 2012

And the survey says...
1. The following best describes my current attitude toward the new Mass translations:
  • I still dislike the new translations and am unhappy that I'll have to put up with them for the foreseeable future. - 49%
  • I don't particularly like the new translations, but I've come to accept them and they're not that big of a deal to me. - 17%
  • I personally enjoy the new translations as much as, if not more than, the old version. -17%
  • I was unsure about it at first, but I've grown accustomed to the new translations. - 6%
  • Other - 11%
2. Sometimes I still slip up during Mass and accidentally use the old responses.
  • Agree - 74%
  • Disagree - 14%
  • Other - 12%
3. I intentionally continue to respond at Mass using the old translations.
  • Agree - 22%
  • Disagree - 66%
  • Other - 12%
4. The new translations have had a positive effect on my participation in and/or prayerfulness during Mass.
  • Agree - 21%
  • Disagree - 70%
  • Other - 9%
5. The hardest wording in the new translations for me to get used to has been:
  • "Consubstantial with the Father." - 56%
  • "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof." - 46%
  • "Incarnate of the Virgin Mary." - 44%
  • "Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." - 36%
  • "This is the chalice of my Blood." - 36%
  • "And with your spirit." - 30%
  • "I believe" instead of "We believe." - 29%
  • "It is right and just." - 20%
  • Other - 17%

Representative of "other": 

I miss the "protect us from all anxiety" in the priest's words during the Our Father. I cannot connect with "keep us safe from distress" nearly as much.
6. I know people who have left to worship in other churches because of the changes in the Mass.
  • Agree - 25%
  • Disagree - 66%
  • Other - 9%
7. I wish we could just go back to using the old translations.
  • Agree - 54%
  • Disagree - 29%
  • Other - 17%






Words fail us: Priests respond to the new Missal a year later
Scott Alessi   Nov.12, 2012

And the survey says...

1. Which of the following responses best describes your current attitude as a priest toward the new Mass translations:
  • I dislike the new translations and still can't believe I'll have to use them for the foreseeable future. - 58% 
  • I don't particularly like the new translations, but I've come to accept them, and they're not that big of a deal to me. - 17% 
  • I personally enjoy the new translations as much as, if not more than, the old version. -9% 
  • I was unsure about it at first, but I've grown accustomed to the new translations. - 4% 
  • Other - 12%

Representative of "other": 

"Some parts I like more, some parts I like less. But overall it has been much ado about nothing."
2. If it were an option, I would still use the old translation of the Roman Missal when presiding at Mass.
  • Agree - 76%
  • Disagree - 16%
  • Other - 8%

Representative of "other": 

"There are certainly defects in the older translation; perhaps the best option would be a choice of combining parts of each version."
3. Sometimes I still slip up during Mass and find myself using the old translations when I'm presiding.
  • Agree - 84%
  • Disagree - 10%
  • Other - 6%
4. The new translations have had a positive effect on my own prayerfulness during Mass.
  • Agree - 16%
  • Disagree - 75%
  • Other - 9%
5. My parishioners have pretty much stopped remarking on the new translations.
  • Agree - 49%
  • Disagree - 36%
  • Other - 15%

Representative of "other": 

"They have just surrendered and recognize that no matter how they feel about it they will not be listened to."
6. Members of my parish have told me they were leaving to worship in other churches over the changes in the Mass.
  • Agree - 10%
  • Disagree - 74%
  • Other - 16%

Representative of "other": 

"None have specifically said it, but I feel the new texts have contributed to more infrequent Mass attendance. "




How to fry an egg in liturgical English
Fr. David Bird, OSB    Nov.15, 2012


Graciously pour thine unctuous oil into a singular and worthy vessel until the fullness of heat without smoke-filled aroma ascends to the heavens; and with thy worthy and venerable hands take one egg and gently and delicately break into the warmed fruit of the olive, being careful that the yoke and albumin do not become consubstantial; when, in the fullness of time, this product which you have already begun to make has fulfilled its purpose, ensure that this produce, this spotless produce, this delightful produce, this tasty produce, has become acceptable in God's sight, pleasingly remove it from the pan, sprinkle condiments on it like the dewfall, that it may make manifest his goodness that is vouchsafed to it; may it be found acceptable in his sight and be borne to a place of refreshment at thy table where it may nourish thy spirit; for extra manifestations, please use prevenient oil.

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Upcoming Event     

Elephants in the Living Room 

Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB 

on the The New Roman Missal  


Fr. Ruff participated for several years as an active member of ICEL.  From his perspective as a member of the ICEL, Fr. Anthony will look at the new mass translations and the real history behind the changes.

St. Robert Bellarmine

27101 West Chicago

Redford, MI

Friday, December 14, 2012

1:00 PM

A light lunch will be served at noon.  Please RSVP Tom Kyle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 248 477 7223 if you would like to have lunch.  



Association for the Rights of Catholics in the  Church 870-235-5200






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