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Unscrambling Faith and Beliefs

John Chuchman     July 2012


In the New Testament

an Act of Faith

meant to commit, to trust, to pledge,

to dedicate oneself;

it did not mean

subscribing to a set of propositions.


An Act of Faith

is a highly personal act

addressed to God.


It does include a cognitive component,

not in terms of a series of propositions,

but in recognizing and perceiving one's Truth.


There are very few references in the New Testament

to belief in propositions,

with many references to

rich, personal, practical experiences

of turning one's life to God.


Credo (I believe)

does not in any sense

signify a theoretical activity of the mind

regarding acceptance of a series of propositions.

Credo is a word that

combines the word for heart

and the word for do.

 Thus, it really means

"I give my heart to."


In Baptism,

it means

"I pledge myself to."


Clearly, Faith in the early Christian Community

was NOT primarily about

certain theoretical positions or propositions;

instead, it was about

a personal and practical way of living

centered in Jesus.


In the 17th and 18th centuries,

the content of Faith as taught

by church authorities

moved away from heart and living

while being detached from

Believing IN God

instead being attached to

Believing THAT God . . .

Faith was moved from

a commitment of oneself to God in Christ

with all one's heart and mind


an assent to theoretical expressions of the faith.


Church hierarchy

has replaced Faith with Beliefs

with the result that

Faith is less personal and more propositional,

Faith is more passive, e.g. the simple acceptance of supposed truths

without any personal engagement,


Faith seems more a mind game,

than a heart action.


Let's help hasten the move

out of passive assents to intellectual propositions

back into

a commitment to live our lives in Love

as Jesus taught.


Jesus asked no one what they "believed"

before he healed them.

He did not say,

"Your Beliefs have healed you."




A man giving his shoes to a homeless girl in Rio de Janeiro



Some things we have been reading  


An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

NPR Staff     Jul.17, 2012


Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference, tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the leadership organization is currently gathering the perspectives of all of its members in preparation for its national assembly in August.


"We're hoping to come out of that assembly with a much clearer direction about [the Vatican's decision], and that's when the national board and presidency can proceed," she says.

Listen    Transcript 

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Into the Future

Nancy Sylvester    July 16, 2012


The bishops are right. Women religious have changed, not only in the United States but throughout the world. We have changed in ways that invited us to let go of who we thought we were. Surrendering to the Spirit, we awakened to new understandings that touched our deepest core. Change at that level is transformation. It radically altered how we see ourselves, the Gospel, our church, our world and most importantly how we understand our God. This change in consciousness was not easy. No, it was painful, but like the pain at childbirth it dissolves in unspeakable awe at the life that emerges.

. . . .

The council document, Gaudium et Spes, invited the church to embrace the joys and hopes, the pain and suffering of the people of God and to be in the world and not stand apart.
. . . . 

Women religious took that invitation seriously and, urged by the official church, undertook renewal. That was an act of great obedience.

. . . .

Women religious have changed. And that change is shaking the very foundations of what continues to be a church seemingly caught in an earlier time and place. That is not what is needed now. The signs of our times reveal to us persons who are Catholic but who no longer can go to "church" because of feeling alienated and angry at the corruption and lack of integrity among many of its male clerical leaders. These persons so want to know God as adults. They are longing for a spirituality that is rooted in their faith and in their life.
. . . .

Yes, women religious have changed. And I believe that our journey has much to offer this moment in history. Together with others who have walked in similar paths, the future of our faith has been beckoning us forward since the Second Vatican Council. On the 50th anniversary of that event let us move courageously into the future claiming once again that we are Catholics and we are the church. 

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13 U.S. Senators back women religious

Joshua J. McElwee     Jul.5, 2012


Thirteen of the 17 women currently serving in the U.S. Senate have backed a resolution honoring the work of women religious in the country after a harsh Vatican rebuke.


The proposed resolution, which would give the Senate's "deepest appreciation" for the sisters' work, is nearly identical to the one that was introduced in the House of Representatives in June.


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Flaccid 'Fortnight for Freedom' fizzles for fathers

Fred Clark     Jul.11, 2012


The "Fortnight for Freedom" was a flop.


This was supposed to be a game-changer - the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' big display of political might. But instead it exposed the bishops as inept campaigners and as generals without an army.

I thought they'd be better at this sort of thing. They had some formidable assets to work with. For weeks ahead of time, Fortnight events were publicized and promoted in every diocese and every parish across the country. And they had some serious money to work with thanks to deep-pocketed (anonymous) donors. They even got a big boost of support from their allies in the evangelical religious right.

But still, it flopped. Big time.

. . . .

The bishops declared themselves the grand marshals of what was to be a glorious parade, but no one showed up to march behind them and only a meager handful turned out to line the route as spectators.

It was pathetic, really. A bunch of nuns on a shoestring-budget bus tour drew more enthusiasm and more support for their polar-opposite message. For all the millions spent and all the weeks of elaborate, top-down fanfare, the Fortnight for Freedom came and went almost without notice. 

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Top church historian sees Catholic schism ahead

Jonathan Luxmoore    Jul.10, 2012


Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.


"Christianity, the world's largest religion, is rapidly expanding - by all indications, its future is very bright," said MacCulloch, 60, professor of church history at Oxford University and an Anglican deacon. His latest book, "Silence in Christian History," will be published in the fall by Penguin.

MacCulloch said in an interview that "there are also many conflicts" within Christianity, "and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican's failure to listen to European Catholics." He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to "rewrite the story" of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a "minor adjustment" in church governance, rather than as a "radical move to change the way authority is expressed." 

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U.S. Confidence in Organized Religion at Low Point; Catholics' confidence remains significantly lower than Protestants'

Lydia Saad     Jul.12, 2012


Forty-four percent of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in "the church or organized religion" today, just below the low points Gallup has found in recent years, including 45% in 2002 and 46% in 2007. This follows a long-term decline in Americans' confidence in religion since the 1970s.

. . . .

Currently, 56% of Protestants express a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church/organized religion, compared with 46% of Catholics. This is in line with an average 12-percentage-point difference in the two groups' confidence, according Gallup polling from 2002 through 2012, with Protestants consistently expressing higher confidence 

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AUSCP logo

Association of US Catholic Priests calls for reexamination of liturgical translation

Anthony Ruff, OSB     Jul.14, 2012


The newly-founded Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has called upon the U.S. bishops to address with Roman authorities the problematic prescriptions of the 2001 Vatican document Liturgiam authenticam which brought about the new English Roman Missal.


The AUSCP, which has a membership of over 600 priests, met for the first time this past June in Tampa, Florida. The body also passed resolutions supporting the Leadership Council of Women Religious and giving them financial support during this time of Vatican-imposed restructuring, supporting the Catholic Theological Society of America and theologians condemned by the Vatican, and networking with associations of Catholic priests in other countries.


The resolution on the new English missal asserts that it has "caused disharmony, disruption and discord among many... frustrating rather than inspiring the Eucharistic prayer experience of the Christian faithful, thus leading to less piety and to less 'full, active and conscious participation'," and that it "has created pastoral problems, in particular because of its cumbersome style, arcane vocabulary, grammatical anomalies, and confusing syntax."

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Church must be open to change, say priests

Clare Quirk    Jul.17 2012


The leader of the National Council of Priests says the church must be open to change if it is going to survive, reports the Warrnambool Standard.


More than 160 members of the NCP arrived in Warrnambool yesterday for their four-day national convention.

Council chairman Father Eugene McKinnon, of Donald, said all Catholics felt the pain, hurt and mistrust of the sex abuse scandal.


"We have tremendous sympathy for the victims and we struggle to comprehend the hurt that they feel," he said. "I know some would say they don't want to hear 'sorry' but it is an ongoing pain we carry and certainly live with."


Discussion topics are likely to include marriage and the role of women in the church.

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Religious groups need to back off partisanship to shore up confidence

Matthew Brown     Jul.14, 2012


A growing number of Americans are losing confidence in religious institutions, along with schools, Congress, banks and television news, according to a recent poll.

. . . .

But those monitoring the decline in church membership and activity aren't so sure confidence in religious institutions will bounce back with the economy or when memories of scandals fade. They see a corresponding trend of people leaving their faith primarily because faith and partisan politics have become too intertwined.


"I have concluded that religious leaders need to understand the importance of avoiding partisan politics or they will literally end up preaching to the choir," said Jonathan Merritt, an author who has researched the recent flight from faith particularly among "millennials," young adults born in the early 1980s.

. . . . 

Academics Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, who wrote "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us," found the group most affected by these trends is millennials.


"To them, 'religion' means 'Republican,' 'intolerant,' and 'homophobic,'" they wrote in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs. "Since those traits do not represent their views, they do not see themselves - or wish to be seen by their peers - as religious."


The mixing of religion and party politics over highly charged social issues is not a new phenomenon. Putnam and Campbell noted religious leaders took sides along party lines over abolitionism and prohibition. But an unending string of religious liberty disputes dating back to the 1962 Supreme Court's school prayer ruling and the courting of religious conservatives by the Republican Party since the 1980s has enmeshed religion and politics in a way that experts say will have unintended consequences for both politics and religion.


Both political parties, particularly Republicans, and organized religion risk driving away today's young adults.

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Vatican Bank needs more transparency, regulators say

David Gibson    Jul.18, 2012


The scandal-plagued Vatican Bank has a long way to go in order to comply with international standards for independent oversight and financial transparency, according to a report from European officials released Wednesday (July 18).

The report from the Council of Europe said the pope's bank was compliant or largely compliant on nine of 16 "key and core" internationally recognized standards. But the council's financial transparency department, Moneyval, said the bank was deficient in seven other critical areas, including measures to combat the financing of terrorism.


The Moneyval report also blasted the financial oversight agency that the Vatican set up in 2010 to respond to international demands for greater fiscal transparency at the bank, which is officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, or IOR, its Italian acronym.


The report said that the Vatican had "come a long way in a short period of time" and was on track to be approved for the international "white list" of countries that abide by global norms on finance. But it "strongly recommended" that the IOR be "independently supervised by a prudential supervisor in the near future."

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Boys In Black Dresses

Caterina Benincasa     Jul.16, 2012

Boys in Black Dresses 



House panel's food aid cuts in farm bill called 'unjustified and wrong'

Catholic News Service     Jul.11, 2012


A proposed $16 billion cut in the nation's Supplemental Nutritional and Assistance Program is "unjustified and wrong," said a joint letter from the chairman of the U.S. bishops' domestic and international justice committees, leaders of Catholic Relief Services and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

The cuts in SNAP, once known as food stamps, "will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and struggling workers," said the July 10 letter, addressed to Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the committee's ranking Democrat.

. . . . 

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30. 

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The Moral Duty to Buy Health Insurance

Tina Rulli, PhD; Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD; David Wendler, PhD     Jul.11, 2012


The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was designed to increase health insurance coverage in the United States. Its most controversial feature is the requirement that US residents purchase health insurance or pay a financial penalty. Although debate focuses on the constitutionality of this individual mandate, the central concern is a moral matter-is it morally appropriate to require individuals to purchase health insurance?

. . . .

Rather than appeal to the collective good, this Viewpoint argues for a duty to buy health insurance based on the moral duty individuals have to reduce certain burdens they pose on others. Because physicians and hospitals have a duty to rescue the uninsured by providing acute and emergency care, individuals have a corresponding duty to purchase insurance to cover the costs of this care. 

. . . .

Individuals have a moral duty to rescue - a duty to provide aid to others in urgent need at least when doing so involves minimal risk and burden.   . . . .  Provision of care to the uninsured is estimated to cost tens of billions of dollars each year.

. . . .

Many individuals forgo health insurance assuming they will not need medical care. However, everyone is at substantial risk of needing medical care-even young adults.
. . . .

Routine acute care and emergency care are expensive.   . . . . Unless uninsured individuals pay out of pocket or incur debt, these expenses are passed on to hospitals, clinics, physicians, insured individuals, and taxpayers. In the aggregate, uncompensated care poses an enormous financial burden, totaling an estimated $56 billion in 2008.

. . . .

Not all moral duties are legally enforceable. However, the state can require individuals to fulfill their duties to not pose substantial burdens on others.

. . . .

Declining to force a blood transfusion on an objecting Jehovah's Witness respects that individual's autonomous choices and values. In contrast, allowing motorcyclists who desire assistance to die simply because they failed to buy health insurance is morally unacceptable. 

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Bishop Finn's trial set

Catholic News Service     Jul.18, 2012


Jury trial is set for Sept. 24 for Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on misdemeanor charges of failing to report suspected abuse.

The prosecution contends that Bishop Finn and the diocese were legally obligated to report suspected child abuse to state authorities under Missouri law but failed to do so for six months after the discovery of child pornography on a church computer. The charge against Bishop Finn carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. The diocese faces a fine of up to $5,000.



Abuse alleged at RI Catholic school

Stephanie Morgado     Jul.10, 2012


Dozens of women who attended a high school run by the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order have urged the Vatican to close the program, saying the psychological abuse they endured trying to live like teenage nuns led to multiple cases of anorexia, stress-induced migraines, depression and even suicidal thoughts.


The women sent a letter this weekend to the pope's envoy running the Legion to denounce the manipulation, deception and disrespect they say they suffered at the hands of counselors barely older than themselves at the Rhode Island school. For some, the trauma required years of psychological therapy that cost them tens of thousands of dollars.


A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press by the letter's 77 signatories, a dozen of whom agreed to be interviewed about their personal problems for the sake of warning parents against sending their children to the program's schools in the U.S., Mexico and Spain.

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Vatican says disgraced Legion of Christ needs a new identity

Alessandro Speciale    Jul.13, 2012


The disgraced Legion of Christ religious order needs to rethink its identity before going forward with its internal reform, the papal envoy in charge of the group's overhaul told priests and lay members in a letter published on Wednesday (July 11).

. . . .

 It is not possible, the papal delegate said, "to properly and completely consider the government, apostolate and administration of the Legion of Christ without also taking the broader reality of Regnum Christi into account." 

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Breakaway traditionalists send Vatican mixed message about ending quarter-century schism

Nicole Winfield     Jul.19, 2012


A breakaway group of traditionalist Roman Catholics sent the Vatican mixed messages Thursday about ending a quarter-century of schism, indicating that there's still no resolution in sight for realizing one of Pope Benedict XVI's key priorities as pope.


The Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X said it had approved the technical, legal way it could eventually reconcile with the Holy See. But at the same time, it said it is still waiting for an "open and serious debate" to begin with the Vatican to bring church authorities around to its view of the "errors" of the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

. . . .

In a statement Thursday, the society said its recent general meeting had "determined and approved the necessary conditions for an eventual canonical normalization" in relations with the Vatican. The conditions maintain that the society's leadership would take a vote about reconciling, if it gets to that stage.


But at the same time, the society repeated many of the issues that have prevented reconciliation to date, suggesting that the documentation issued from Vatican II didn't form part of the church's core "magisterium," or definitive teachings. Rather, the society said it used as its guide the constant tradition of the church "while waiting for the day when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to tradition of the ecclesial authorities." 

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Deadline Looming for Victims of Irish Christian Brothers

Joelle Casteix     Jul.12, 2012


There is little time left: Victims of the Irish Christian Brothers or victims abused at Irish Christian Brothers schools only have until August 1, 2012 to come forward and get justice in the courts.


Last year, the Irish Christian Brothers (ICB), a Catholic religious order based in New Rochelle, New York, sought bankruptcy protection after more than 50 victims in Canada and Seattle came forward about the sexual abuse at ICB schools. The bankruptcy court instituted the deadline, otherwise known as a "bar date," for all victims of the ICB and victims at ICB-run schools to come forward to the courts.

The Irish Christian Brothers ran and currently run schools across the United States and Canada. For a list, click here or here

. . . .

Click here to learn more about bankruptcy proceedings. 

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Archbishop Chaput Visits Monsignor Lynn In Jail

Ralph Cipriano     Jul.12, 2012


Last week, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput stopped by the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia, where Msgr. William J. Lynn is being held in protective custody.


The archbishop did not bring along his mitre or his crozier. He stayed for 90 minutes. But what the two men talked about is not known.


"Archbishop Chaput did visit with Monsignor Lynn," said Kenneth A. Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese. "Their conversation was private."


"It is my understanding that it was a positive visit and I think that's all I should say," said Thomas A. Bergstrom, the monsignor's defense lawyer.

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Investigation: New allegations against Catholic Online owner

Kurt Rivera     Jul 13, 2012


He's the owner of one of the most visited for-profit Catholic websites on the planet. In an Eyewitness News exclusive investigation, we have new allegations against the Bakersfield man who owns


"Look at me. I'm sitting here in jail, and I didn't do anything," said Jennifer Wood, shackled, distraught and in jail sometime back.

Wood was accused of threatening to kill her former boss, Michael Galloway.

. . . .

After more than two years of selling advertising for the website, Catholic Online, she found another job, quit and asked for her final paycheck. Claiming she was owed for three pay periods, more than $5,100, Wood sent multiple emails to Galloway.

. . . .

If Galloway's name sounds familiar, there's good reason. He's the owner of the highly valuable Internet domain, In 2007, the Kern County District Attorney filed suit against Galloway for "unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices."

. . . . 

Several of Galloway's employees have contacted Eyewitness News, claiming he hasn't paid them.

. . . .

The IRS has slapped him with a $239,594 tax lien. The state of California has issued a $11,324 tax lien. The Seven Oaks Homeowners Association claims it's owed more than $6,300 for association fees. The Bakersfield law firm of Klein-DeNatale claims it's owed $94,000.

There also several allegations of plagiarism on his website.


Emails Eyewitness News obtained by Huffington Post, CNET and AOL, to name a few, accuse Catholic Online of stealing their work.

. . . . 

After four days in jail, ex-employee Wood was released and never charged. She is now working at a new job.

She filed a complaint for her back pay with the state labor board.

. . . . 

Read more


Archive stories: Allegations go back years against Catholic Online owner Michael Galloway  


Appeal Court rules Church can be held responsible for offences by priests

Independent Catholic News     Jul.12, 2012


A ruling that the Catholic Church can be held liable for the wrongdoings of its priests has been upheld by the Appeals Court today (12 July).

Last year Mr Justice MacDuff decided in favour of a woman who claimed she was raped and assaulted as a child by a priest of the Portsmouth (UK) Diocese. The Court of Appeal has upheld this decision.

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Deal lets priest charged with sex assault flee to Brazil

Ken Peters     Jul.11, 2012


The Ministry of the Attorney General plans to investigate a deal struck by a Hamilton Crown prosecutor that allowed a Roman Catholic priest charged with sexual assault to leave the country without facing prosecution.

The ministry acknowledged the agreement permitted Reverend Jose Silva to return to his native Brazil on condition that he not return to Canada.

. . . .

Prominent defence lawyer Dean Paquette said his client left Hamilton in early May as part of a resolution he negotiated with assistant Crown attorney Carey Lee.

Read more


Pa. prosecutor reopens '07 fondling complaint against Roman Catholic bishop of West Virginia

Associated Press     Jul.14, 2012


Authorities have re-opened a 2007 fondling complaint against a priest who taught at a suburban Philadelphia high school and is now the Roman Catholic bishop of West Virginia.


The complaint stems from Bishop Michael Bransfield's days at Lansdale Catholic High School in the 1970s. The Philadelphia Archdiocese said it did not find the complaint credible at the time, and passed it on to Montgomery County authorities.

But the archdiocese said last week that the complaint has been reopened.

. . . .

The development comes with the recently completed Philadelphia priest-abuse trial in which a witness testified that a priest who abused him told him that Bransfield was sexually involved with a young teen. The witness also said he was raped by the priest at Bransfield's beach house.

. . . .

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington disclosed in a sidebar conversation, made public since the June 22 jury verdicts, that Bransfield himself was under investigation for a complaint that stems from his teaching stint at Lansdale Catholic.


The statute of limitations may have been tolled, or stopped, when Bransfield left the state in about 1980 to work at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Blessington said.

 . . . .

Bransfield is from a prominent family of Philadelphia clerics. A nephew, the Rev. Sean P. Bransfield, is a judicial vicar and vice chancellor at the Cardinal's Residence in Philadelphia. Another relative, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, works for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.  

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Polish bishops fight pro-women text

Tablet     Jul.13, 2012


Poland's Bishops' Conference has denounced a Council of Europe convention aimed at prohibiting violence against women and urged the country's liberal government not to sign it.

. . . .

The bishops spoke out as the centre-right Government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk prepared to sign the April 2011 "Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence", which creates the world's first comprehensive legal framework for curbing psychological and sexual violence. Read more


Rebel priests barred from travel

Tablet    Jul.9, 2012


Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has barred clergy involved with the pro-reform Priests' Initiative (PI) from travelling to promote their cause, according to a leaked report of a meeting he had with senior priests.


He has also forbidden members who are deans from standing to have their five-year posts renewed. These measures were noted in a report of a 10 May meeting in Vienna that included some members of the PI which was leaked to the Austrian daily Kurier and published on 1 July.


The leaked document also indicated that the cardinal is seriously concerned that the PI, with its appeal to disobedience on issues including clerical celibacy and ordaining women, is disseminating material that could lead to a schism. Around 10 per cent of Austria's 4,500 priests are now members of the initiative.



Slovaks rally for fired archbishop

John L Allen Jr     Jul.16, 2012


Adding a new name to the growing list of bishops fired by Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Róbert Bezák of Trnava, Slovakia, was deposed on July 2, setting off protests and rallies in support of the ousted prelate in this overwhelmingly Catholic nation.


A 52-year-old Redemptorist, Bezák had served as archbishop of Trnava, considered the cradle of Catholicism in Slovakia, since 2009. A terse one-sentence Vatican statement did not offer any explanation for the move.


On July 6, hundreds of Slovaks attended a rally in support of Bezák. According to press reports, many carried flowers and photos of Bezák, which they placed on the square in Trnava's town center. More than 6,700 people have signed an Internet petition backing the deposed prelate, and some parish priests have reportedly offered their resignation in protest.


According to Slovak press reports, the Internet petition asserts that "we require [an] explanation, since this is an abnormal procedure which creates space for various suspicions. ... This procedure does not throw a good light on the institution of the Church, [and] it divides and disgusts believers as well as society."

Read more


Australia: Distances, demographics, disaffection underlie tales of resigned bishops

Phyllis Zagano     Jul.19, 2012


. . . . It would seem that Christianity and Catholicism have good footing in Australia.


In fact, the 2011 census found the largest "religious" grouping after Catholics is the 22.3* percent of the Australian population reporting "no religion," newly edging out Anglicans and members of the Uniting church, an Australian union of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalists created in 1977. And the largest growth among religious groups is among Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists.

Many Australian Catholics who remain -- who have not shifted to "no religion" -- are disaffected and are speaking out. Catholics for Renewal, Catholics for Ministry, Australian Reforming Catholics, and Catalyst for Renewal are among the more active groups, with other pockets of upset operating around the country.

. . . .

Against this backdrop -- more non-Christians, disaffected Catholics, fewer priests and religious -- play out the stories of three resigned bishops: Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (born 1937), Toowoomba Bishop William Morris (born 1943), and Canberra Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Power (born 1942). All three wanted to talk about the elephants in the episcopal palaces. All three found it rough going. All three resigned, more or quite less voluntarily.  

. . . .

Rome knows full well about the unrest in Australia. A 2011 petition to the pope and the bishops of Australia sponsored by Catholics for Renewal called for synods in every diocese, labeling the church "tainted by injustice and blemished by bad decisions." The petition stated: "We can no longer accept the patriarchal attitude towards women within our Church, and we fear that an extended claim of infallibility is stifling discussion on many important issues."  

. . . .

But the Vatican has not answered. Meanwhile, sex abuse and priestly celibacy and women's ordination and human sexuality remain both in the news and in the hearts and minds of Australian Catholics, at least it seems among those who have remained. 

Read more


Arlington Diocese parishioners question need for fidelity oath

Michelle Boorstein     Jul.12, 2012


Kathleen Riley knows her beliefs on the male-only priesthood and contraception put her at odds with leaders of her church. But as a fifth-generation Catholic who went to a Catholic school and grew up to teach in one, Riley feels the faith deeply woven through her. So when her Arlington parish asked for volunteers last summer to teach Sunday school, she felt called by the Holy Spirit to say yes.


A year later, the 52-year-old computer scientist feels the same spirit calling her to say no.


Last month, Riley joined at least four other Sunday school teachers and resigned from her post at St. Ann's parish after a letter arrived at her home requiring her - and all teachers in the Arlington Catholic Diocese - to submit "of will and intellect" to all of the teachings of church leaders. 

. . . . 

The Arlington "profession of faith" asks teachers to commit to "believe everything" the bishops characterize as divinely revealed, and Arlington's top doctrine official said it would include things like the bishops' recent campaign against a White House mandate that most employers offer contraception coverage. Critics consider the mandate a violation of religious freedom. 

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Shanghai has a new courageous bishop

Gerard O'Connell     Jul.7, 2012


Shanghai has a new bishop - Thaddeus Ma Daqin.  He was ordained with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI and the Government of the People's Republic of China on July 7.


Showing courage and leadership, Bishop Ma told the congregation of more than 1200 people present at the ceremony- including government officials - that he would no longer hold any position in the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA).  At the time of his ordination he was vice-chairman of Shanghai CCPA and a member of the national CCPA's standing committee.


The CCPA was created by the Beijing Government in the late 1950s to control the Catholic Church in the mainland, but Benedict XVI stated clearly in his 2007 letter to Catholics in China that this association is "incompatible" with Catholic doctrine.

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Shanghai ordination under investigation

UCA News reporte     Jul.11, 2012


Two government-sanctioned Catholic Church organizations today announced an investigation into the recent ordination of a Vatican-approved bishop in Shanghai for violations of bodies' regulations.

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and the Bishops' Conferences of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) said in a statement posted on their website that the ordination of Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin on July 7 "allegedly violated seriously the BCCCC's regulations with regard to bishops' election and ordination."

A Church source in Shanghai added today that the bishops who participated in the ordination ceremony have also been included in the investigation.

. . . .
Questions linger on the whereabouts of Bishop Ma, with some suggesting that he has been arrested and others saying he has been restricted to the grounds of the Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai. 

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Father of pope's imprisoned butler defends son over leaks of sensitive Vatican documents

Nicole Winfield    Jul.15, 2012


The father of Pope Benedict XVI's imprisoned butler said in a letter published Sunday his son was honest and that he hopes the truth will emerge concerning the leaks of sensitive Vatican documents.

. . . . 

While Andrea Gabriele defended his son, he hinted that the motivation behind the leaks was to expose wrongdoing for the sake of purifying the church. He said he hoped that Benedict's call to carry out "the necessary cleaning of the church" is realized.


"Paolo is paying the price firsthand for a reality that's difficult to understand until the motive of what has happened is made public," he wrote in the letter to Italian television station Tgcom 24, which published it on its website.

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Priest in lesbian communion-denial saga out at the Washington archdiocese

Michelle Boorstein   Jul.9, 2012


Remember Father Marcel Guarnizo, the black-caped Catholic priest who denied a lesbian communion at her mother's funeral in Gaithersburg in February? Guarnizo became a lightning rod for both sides after that incident; some saw him as a hero of orthodoxy while others found his behavior cruel and un-Catholic. 


Guarnizo, who grew up in Northern Virginia but became a priest in the archdiocese of Moscow, Russia, was placed on administrative leave in March by the Washington archdiocese, where he was assigned on a temporary basis. His pastor at St. John Neumann parish and archdiocese officials said at the time that he wasn't being removed because of the communion controversy but because he engaged "in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry."


The archdiocese now confirms that Guarnizo is "no longer in ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington," according to a spokeswoman. 

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Improvising Illinois priest barred from pulpit

Tim Townsend     Jul.10, 2012


An Illinois priest forced out of his parish by Belleville's Catholic bishop for improvising prayers during Mass will no longer be able to preach in public as of today.

The Rev. William Rowe said Monday that Bishop Edward Braxton has suspended him and removed his "faculties," or license to practice ministry under church law. The move has been associated in recent years with the punishment of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors.


Rowe, the pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Mount Carmel, Ill., has not been accused of abuse, but he has clashed with Braxton over altering the liturgical prayers of the Roman Missal - the book of prayers, chants and responses used during Mass.

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Cardinal Burke boosts lavish, Latin liturgy

Robert McClory     Jul.18, 2012


I think all Catholics should be required to view this video released by the Catholic News Service. 

The call of beauty

It reveals in vivid color an ideal form of the Mass, as explained by Cardinal Raymond Burke, outgoing prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. In my opinion, it reveals more clearly where the institutional church is heading and what can be expected from Rome in the forseeable future as "abuses" of the liturgy are corrected, Burke says. 

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Episcopal bishops OK trial gay blessing prayer

Rachel Zoll     Jul.9, 2012


Episcopal bishops approved an official prayer service for blessing same-sex couples Monday at a national convention that also cleared the way for transgender ordination.


At the Episcopal General Convention in Indianapolis, the House of Bishops voted 111-41, with three abstentions, to authorize a provisional rite for same-sex unions for the next three years. The liturgy next goes to convention's deputies for their authorization.

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Orthodox Church in America dismisses archbishop for failing to remove rapist priest

David O'Reilly     Jul.18, 2012


Citing the sex-abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and at Pennsylvania State University, the Orthodox Church in America has dismissed its presiding archbishop for failing to remove a priest who had raped a woman and been jailed for other violent acts. The Holy Synod of the church, whose members number about 85,000 in the United States and Canada, announced this week that Metropolitan Jonah, 52, had stepped down Saturday after ignoring the church's procedures for responding to sexual misconduct.

. . . .

Jonah's resignation is not the first scandal to mar his church in recent years.


In 2005, the OCA's former treasurer, Protodeacon Eric Wheeler, accused the administration of spending millions of dollars in church assets for personal use or to mask deficits in church accounts.


According to some reports, Jonah was elected primate three years later because, as the newest bishop, he was untainted by financial scandal.

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Pope Benedict XVI preparing to sue mag

Jul.11, 2012


A German magazine has said that Pope Benedict XVI was preparing to sue it for publishing a cover satirising the "Vatileaks" scandal that has rocked the Vatican.


Titanic magazine's July edition featured a picture of the German-born pontiff with a yellow stain on his white cassock and the headline: "The leak has been found."


Titanic then published on its home page a copy of a letter sent by Archbishop Angelo Becciu to a German lawyer in Benedict's name asking him to take "the necessary legal steps against this publication".


"The Holy Father tasks you to institute proceedings against this violation of his personal rights," the letter added.


The magazine's editor Leo Fischer said in a statement: "Benedict must have misunderstood us."


He said the cover showed a Pope who had accidentally spilled a soft drink over his cassock in his exuberance.

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Kerala: the Church

Outlook India     Jul.23, 2012


Outlook India is one of India's top selling English weekly news magazines.  The cover story for the July 23 issue is Kerala: the Church with the following articles:


Danger of a Lifelong Story Line

Richard Rohr, OFM       Jul.18, 2012


As I grow older, I find more and more people, in all fields of life, who seem more and more trapped and unfree. They seem unable to adjust to their own growing truth. The price is just too high, and so they choose security over honesty. In my field, I see bishops, priests, and ministers, who in moments of private honesty, reveal they do not really believe this or that any more, but they have to pretend to believe it to be faithful to the persona they built and created in their first 40-50 years. After a while, they actually think they DO believe it, but their lack of enthusiasm, commitment, or joy shows you that they do not. It is so much easier to repeat formulas and keep everybody-and your own soul-at bay. I would say this pattern represents the norm not the exception, at least in the church.  . . . .   If you do go to the depths, the price of speaking your honest truth from that level is just too high. Imagine all the people you would upset! It will call your job and self image into question. Plus, it is like throwing your previous life script out the window and admitting that much of it was mistaken.

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Letter to the editor


In your list of "A fortnight for Freedom" (July 7), the author writes that Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated for allowing doctors to save the life of the mother instead of trying to savee the life of the fetus. In fact, when the mother was showing signs of imediate danger of dying, the 12 week old fetus was already deprived of oxigen (and therefore dying). It would have been totally impossible to save the fetus. Without intervention, both the mother and the fetus would have died. Only the mother's life had a chance to be saved, so it was a choice between letting both of them die or save the only life that it was possible to save, the mother's life. That makes the bishop's position not only extreme, but cruel


Marta Pecuch-Herrero



Higgs Boson



New Translation of the Roman Missal 


Sacrosanctum Concilium 21 


In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.


In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.


Cup or Chalice?, John R. Donahue,SJ, Commonweal


We  recommend that you watch these sites during the transition to the new translation:


1.  Misguided Missal

2.  U.S. Catholic; Special Section on the New Liturgy

3.  PrayTell blog

4. Louisville Liturgy Forum

5. Liturgiam Authenticam critique


Upcoming Event 




You are aware of injustice in the Church.  

You know action must be taken to stand against it until it is brought into the light. You are not alone! 


The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) invites you to a time of reflection and empowerment - moving from identifying issues, to taking effective action in response.


October 26 & 27, 2012 (Friday 6-9 p.m, Saturday 9-5 p.m.) Collenbrook United Church, 5290 Township Line Rd., Drexel Hill PA  19026


Download a poster and/or a brochure.  

Registration information here.





Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church















text ARCC to 22828


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