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Your voice has been heard! ARCC is changing its workshop from a Friday evening and Saturday to one full day Saturday October 27th.  Read on...

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.

This workshop will empower you to identify issues of injustice, then determine in community with others how to respond in a way that is both non-violent and effective.


Together we will follow the example of Jesus of Nazareth, who eschewed violence while insisting on living faithfully his relationship with the Father.


As the workshop progresses, we will become aware of the following:

  • All hierarchical systems of government are dependent on the obedience and cooperation of the governed and their social institutions.
  • The governed have the ability to limit or retain their contributions and obedience to the system.
  • If the governed retain their contributions and obedience to the system in large enough numbers and for a long enough time, the system will have to negotiate or collapse.


By the end of the workshop, you will be equipped, with tools and a community, to take action against injustice in a way that is non-violent while fully consistent with who you are before God.


Saturday, October 27, 9-5 p.m.   
Collenbrook United Church,
5290 Township Line Rd.,
Drexel Hill PA  19026


Download a poster,  a brochure and the agenda.

Register here.


For more information: contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or call 1-870-235-52-- or 1-314-837-0678. 


Pope John XXIII speaks Sept. 11, 1962

The great anticipation of the ecumenical council, just a month away from its official opening, is shining in the eyes and the hearts of all the children of the holy and blessed Catholic Church.

In the course of three years of preparation, an array of chosen minds assembled from all parts of the world and of every tongue, united in sentiments and in purpose, has gathered together so abundant a wealth of doctrinal and pastoral material as to provide the episcopate of the entire world, when they meet beneath the vaults of the Vatican basilica, themes for a most wise application of the Gospel, teaching of Christ which for 20 centuries has been the light of humanity redeemed by His blood.

. . . . 

A true joy for the universal Church of Christ is what the ecumenical council intends to be. Its reason for existence is the continuation, or better still the most energetic revival, of the response of the entire world, of the modern world, to the testament of the Lord, formulated in those words which He pronounced with divine solemnity and with hands stretched out toward the farthest ends of the world: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (cfr. Matt. 28, 19-20).

. . . .

The most grave problems press ever upon the heart of the Church.

Hence, she has made them an object of attentive study. The ecumenical council will be able to present, in clear language, solutions which are demanded by the dignity of man and of his vocation as a Christian.

. . . .

Where the underdeveloped countries are concerned, the Church presents herself as she is. She wishes to be the Church of all, and especially the Church of the poor.

. . . .

The duty of every man, the impelling duty of the Christian, is to look upon what is superfluous in the light of the needs of others, and to see to it that the administration and distribution of created goods are placed at the advantage of all.


This is called the spread of the social and community sense which is innate in true Christianity. And this is to be energetically put into action.


What is to be said concerning the relations between the Church and civil society?


We are living in the midst of a new political world. One of the fundamental rights which the Church can never renounce is that of religious liberty, which is not merely freedom of worship.


The Church vindicates and teaches this liberty, and on that account, she continues to suffer anguishing pain in many countries.

. . . .

The council desires to exalt, in a holier and more solemn form, the deeper application of fellowship and love which are natural needs of man and imposed on the Christian as rules for his relationship between man and man, between people and people.

. . . .

O the beauty of the petition in the liturgy: "Deign to grant peace and unity to a united Christian people."

O the overflowing joy of the heart on reading the 17th chapter of St. John: "That all may be one" Unum: one in thought, in word and in work.

. . . .

We desire all throughout the world to repeat and to get others to repeat with insistence this prayer during these weeks from Sept. 11 to Oct. 11, the opening day of that great conciliar assembly. These words seem to come from heaven.

. . . .

"Almighty and merciful God, through whose grace your faithful are able to serve you with dignity and joy, grant, we beseech you, that we may run without any hindrance toward the attainment of your promises. We, from all parts of the earth and from heaven, thus implore you. Through the merits of Jesus Christ, Master and Savior of all. Amen" (cfr. Prayer of 12th Sunday after Pentecost).

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Pope Benedict XVI speaks Aug. 10, 2012


Co-responsibility demands a change in mindset especially concerning the role of lay people in the Church. They should not be regarded as "collaborators" of the clergy, but, rather, as people who are really "co-responsible" for the Church's being and acting. It is therefore important that a mature and committed laity be consolidated, which can make its own specific contribution to the ecclesial mission with respect for the ministries and tasks that each one has in the life of the Church and always in cordial communion with the bishops.


In this regard the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium describes the style of relations between lay people and pastors with the adjective "familiar": "Many benefits for the Church are to be expected from this familiar relationship between the laity and the pastors. The sense of their own responsibility is strengthened in the laity, their zeal is encouraged, they are more ready to unite their energies to the work of their pastors. The latter, helped by the experience of the laity, are in a position to judge more clearly and more appropriately in spiritual as well as in temporal matters. Strengthened by all her members, the Church can thus more effectively fulfill her mission for the life of the world" (n. 37).

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Some things we have been reading
The Single-Issue Trap
Cathleen Kaveny    Sep.13, 2012

In 2007 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, a guide for American Catholics seeking to discern their political responsibilities in view of the upcoming 2008 national elections. In 2011 the bishops reissued the same document for the 2012 elections, along with a new introductory note.

. . . .

To situate these guides in the context of Catholic moral and political thought, it's instructive to note their evolution since the original 1976 version. In Political Responsibility: Reflections on an Election Year, the bishops addressed themselves to all Americans; insisting that "we specifically do not seek the formation of a religious voting bloc," they assumed implicitly that the interests, responsibilities, and perspectives of Catholics were broadly consonant with those of all Americans, particularly those who are religious.


. . . .  While it did not flinch from the problems facing American society in 1976, Political Responsibility tacitly presupposed that effort and commitment in favor of the common good would be rewarded with results. Moreover, it presumed that the church's political efforts would be joined - or at least appreciated - by all people of goodwill.


. . . . By 2007 these optimistic assumptions had evaporated. The tone of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship is decidedly battle-weary, suggesting a lament for a nation mired in political crisis and trapped in a moral self-contradiction verging on hypocrisy. Whereas in 1976 the bishops addressed the challenge of political engagement, by 2007 the predominant concern is moral skepticism and relativism; the bishops worry more about the human capacity to recognize moral truth than about the motivation to act upon it. Accordingly, their text emphasizes the church's capacity to teach the moral truth relevant to political society.


. . . . Forming Consciences is directed primarily to Catholics, and manifests a pervasive desire to steer the Catholic population toward a distinctly Catholic type of political engagement, one that will "apply authentic moral teaching in the public square." In 1976 the bishops hoped their words would "provide an opportunity for thoughtful and lively debate," whereas the 2007 document invites deference, even obedience, stressing "the moral responsibility of each Catholic to hear, receive, and act upon the church's teaching in the lifelong task of forming his or her own conscience." One might say that the 2007 drafters suspect there has been too much debate over the past few decades-and not enough effort on the part of Catholics to accept and act upon magisterial teaching. 


. . . . The most obvious contrast between the two guides is their different prioritization of the issues-in particular, the emergence of abortion as the paramount issue. In 1976 the bishops began with abortion only because they presented topics in alphabetical order. In contrast, the 2007 begins with abortion and goes on to treat the topic repeatedly and with special emphasis. Affirming the status of the unborn has not only acquired pride of place in the years since the bishops' first electoral missive; it has also acquired a certain organizational force and power. The right to life for the unborn is repeatedly used to provide the touchstone for the theoretical evaluation of other issues.  . . . .  For the bishops, there is no doubt that the right to life is the fundamental issue of social justice.


This ordering of issues shapes the bishops' advice regarding voting. "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position," they write.  (emphasis added)

. . . .

The bishops do not even raise, for example, the possibility that a particular candidate (or party) might fabricate a commitment to end abortion for strategic political reasons. Forming Consciences does not caution voters to evaluate the sincerity with which a candidate holds a particular position; rather, it seems simply to assume candidates will enact their platforms if elected to office. But aren't questions about character, integrity, and efficacy the crucial questions? What do we do, after all, when we vote in an election? Selecting a candidate for public office means judging a candidate's probable exercise of his responsibilities while in office.  . . . .  In assessing candidates for a particular office, four considerations are paramount:

  1. Competence - does the candidate have the intellectual capacity, the experience, the temperament, and judgment to do the job?
  2. Character - does the candidate have a good set of moral values and the integrity to pursue them in situations of temptation and fear?
  3. Collaboration - can the candidate work well with other people, both political allies and opponents?
  4. Connections - what are the moral and practical ramifications of the candidate's political and financial connections for the manner in which he or she will carry out the job?
The point of electing candidates to an office is to empower and enable them to accomplish a set of tasks in service of the common good. Various qualities go into being an effective political servant. In some cases, in fact, the voter's view of the party ought to be decisive. Depending on the situation, "voting the party" rather than voting for a particular candidate may be a morally justifiable strategy.

. . . .

What are the virtues of a good public servant? Recent Catholic moral theology has witnessed a resurgence of interest in the role of virtue in the moral life; it would make sense to extend the analysis to the virtues necessary for political leadership, particularly in a pluralistic liberal democracy such as our own.


In that context we might ask, Does someone who does not support overturning Roe possess ipso facto a defective moral character that renders him or her unfit for office? In my view, the answer very much depends on the reasons underlying the position. Living in a pluralistic society requires citizens to develop a sense of which views fall within the category of "reasonable, but wrong." So, for example, the character of a candidate who thinks that unborn life has no value whatsoever at any stage in pregnancy should be evaluated differently from one who thinks that American society is too divided over the issue to make fundamental alterations to U.S. constitutional law. 

. . . .

For nearly forty years, abortion has been a constitutionally protected practice, and its legal status is not immediately susceptible to any sort of significant change at the federal level. The difficulty of changing this reality via a constitutional amendment has led large segments of the prolife movement, including the U.S. bishops' conference, to concentrate on achieving that same goal indirectly, by electing presidents who will over time remake the Supreme Court. It seems to me that the divisions in the country that make the direct strategy practically impossible also tell against the effectiveness of this indirect strategy.


Moreover, the indirect strategy has significant moral problems. Supporting a constitutional amendment directly targeted at undoing Roe conflicts with few, if any, of a voter's other duties to promote the common good, and merits serious consideration. But the prolife movement's indirect strategy of making abortion a litmus-test issue for voters, with the expectation that they will elect officials who will somehow overturn Roe, does raise red flags. The duty of a voter is to promote the common good by selecting the best candidate for a political office in light of the range of factors I have outlined. Given that most office-holders have multifaceted responsibilities, voters cannot consider only one issue-even a fundamental issue-in casting their ballots. Presidential elections are no exception.

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Why Not Women?
A bishop makes a case for expanding the diaconate.
Most Rev. Emil A. Wcela     Sep.21, 2012

Very early in the life of the church, around A.D. 55, the Letter to the Philippians names the episkopoi and diakonoi among its addressees. This latter group is our focus.  . . . .  A diakonos in the secular society of the day was someone chosen and entrusted by another person with carrying out a specific task.  . . . .  Such services entrusted to a believer by God and/or the community could range from preaching the Gospel to encouraging the community to taking up a collection for hungry believers in Jerusalem during a famine.

. . . .

1 Timothy also stipulates that "women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything." Much has been written about whether these women are the wives of deacons or deacons themselves. There is good reason to believe that they, too, are deacons. Paul in the Letter to the Romans famously calls Phoebe a diakonos, the only named individual explicitly so designated in the New Testament.


. . . .

Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek in Ordained Women in the Early Church: A Documentary History, sum up the situation in the East: "Female deacons...exercised liturgical roles, supervised the lives of women faithful, provided ongoing care for women baptizands, and were seen going on pilgrimage and interacting with their own families and the general population in a variety of ways."


Testimony about women deacons in the West is much scarcer and does not appear until the fifth century.

Inscriptions from Africa, Gaul, Rome and Dalmatia, for example, each name a woman deacon. The decrees of three church councils in France, in 441, 517 and 533, prohibiting their ordination are testimony that the institution continued for at least 80 years after its prohibition. It is remarkable to note that in 1017, Pope Benedict VIII wrote to the bishop of Porto in Portugal giving him authority to ordain presbyters, deacons, deaconesses and subdeacons.

. . . .
In recent years, several Eastern Orthodox Church conferences have called for the ordination of women to the diaconate. The Armenian Apostolic Church, which is not in union with Rome but is recognized by Rome as being in the line of succession to the apostles, with mutual recognition of sacraments and orders, has always had women deacons, though only a few serve today. Their ministry includes service at the Eucharist.


. . . .

In 2009 a very significant paragraph was added to Canon 1009 of the Code of Canon Law. It states that bishops and priests "receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head; deacons, however, are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity."  . . . .  Iconic maleness is not a requirement for them.

. . . .

It is rumored that more than one bishop, from the United States and other countries, has raised the issue during ad limina visits to the Vatican.

. . . .

Regarding the ordination of women to the diaconate, it is up to episcopal conferences and bishops, to theologians and historians and to concerned Catholics to raise the issue for wider and more public consideration.

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Listen to a conversation with Bishop Emil A. Wcela.


Multi-faith Lebanon should be model for Middle East - pope
Philip Pullella &Tom Heneghan     Sep.15, 2012

Pope Benedict urged multi-faith Lebanon on Saturday to be a model of peace and religious coexistence for the Middle East, which he called a turbulent region that "seems to endure interminable birth pangs".

. . . .

Christianity and Islam have lived together in Lebanon for centuries, he said, sometimes within one family. "If this is possible within the same family, why should it not be possible at the level of the whole of society?" he asked.

"Lebanon is called, now more than ever, to be an example," he said, inviting his audience "to testify with courage, in season and out of season, wherever you find yourselves, that God wants peace, that God entrusts peace to us".

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Images from Benedict XVI's  Lebanon visit
The Bishop Robert Finn saga
Phyllis Zagano     Sep.12, 2012

One great mystery of Catholicism may be solved soon: how long does it take for something to get from Missouri to the pope's desk?
While the best way to boost a bishop's reputation is for The New York Times to call for his removal, the Bishop Robert Finn saga is clearly over the top. Only the most churchy of church types support his staying as bishop of Kansas City,-St. Joseph, Mo., where he was judged guilty of a misdemeanor in not reporting the very strange priest he had sent to a convent.

The good news is Finn got a bench trial -- no testimony, no jury -- sparing us all the agony of hearing yet again about a bishop who does not (or at least did not) "get it" about pederasty and its relatives. The bad news is despite detailed coverage in the National Catholic Reporter, some first-day-of-school articles in major media and that Times editorial, the story has faded. Finn remains in place.
So, how long will it take? Will anything happen?

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Kansas City bishop's guilty verdict raises national questions
Joshua McElwee    Sep.11, 2012

The conviction last week of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report suspected child abuse indicates that "clearly there is a problem" with how the procedures adopted by the U.S. church to protect children are being used, a key adviser to the U.S. bishops on the issue said Monday.


Central to that problem, said Al Notzon III, chairman of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board for clergy sex abuse, is the question of accountability for bishops who do not comply with the norms and conditions the body of bishops agreed to 10 years ago.  The procedures are spelled out in the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.


One of Notzon's predecessors on the review board, Judge Michael Merz, called the Finn case "a serious embarrassment to the church."


"How can you continue to preach that the charter is effective if, in fact, these types of things continue to happen?" Merz asked.

Notzon told NCR on Monday he planned to bring up the problem with the full review board, then make recommendations to the U.S. bishops.


"My concern right now is that there is a problem, and we need to address it," Notzon said. "Our role is to advise the [bishops], and clearly this is an issue that falls under that requirement."

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Msgr. Lynn loses bid for bail during appeal

John P. Martin     Sep.13, 2012

Msgr. William J. Lynn will stay in jail, at least for now.

A state appeals court Thursday rejected a bid by the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official to be free on bail while he appeals his historic child-endangerment conviction.


The Superior Court didn't include an opinion with its order - or even identify which judge made the ruling.


But it effectively adopted the arguments of Philadelphia prosecutors that Lynn's crime was serious and his sentence long enough to keep him behind bars.

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Was Monsignor Lynn Convicted of A Crime That Never Happened?
Ralph Cipriano     Sep.17, 2012

A motion to reconsider bail filed in Pennsylvania Superior Court contains a bombshell disclosure -- that former priest Edward V. Avery passed a polygraph test indicating he never touched the former 10-year-old altar boy he pleaded guilty to abusing.
. . . .

The only reason Avery pleaded guilty, according to the motion, was that he was credibly accused by a prior victim, and that the prosecution offered him a good deal.

. . . .

In their motion to reconsider bail, Lynn's lawyers say they were "belatedly notified by John P. Donohue, counsel for Edward Avery, that Mr. Avery may actually be innocent of sexual assault against" Billy Doe. "The innocence of Edward Avery, whose alleged actions served as predicate for [Lynn's] conviction, would render [Lynn] innocent of the charge for which he was convicted." 

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Prosecutors say they never received convicted priest's polygraph test
John P. Martin     Sep.19, 2012

Philadelphia prosecutors scoffed Tuesday at a new claim by defense lawyers that they withheld evidence that might have helped Msgr. William J. Lynn at his landmark child-sex abuse and endangerment trial.

The District Attorney's Office never received a formal statement or polygraph results suggesting that Lynn's codefendant, former priest Edward Avery, had lied when he admitted sexually assaulting a former altar boy, according to Hugh Burns, chief of the appeals unit.

The accuser's testimony about the 1999 attack became a cornerstone of Lynn's trial.

"To say that we knew [Avery] was innocent was, I'm sorry, it's insane," Burns said. "What we know is that he formally pleaded guilty because he had evidence that made him guilty."

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Walking a fine line between faithful witness and partisan politics
Scott Alessi     Sep.11, 2012

As Election Day gets closer, it is getting more and more difficult for the Catholic Church to convince Americans that it is not involved in partisan politics.


Following a complaint to the IRS from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, news outlets have been latching on to a story about a Texas priest who told parishioners--in writing--that they should not reelect President Barack Obama.

. . . .

The Wisconsin State Journal reported last weekend on opposition to "rosary rallies" being held at the state capitol that have openly supported Wisconsin native and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

. . . .

Catholics are of course not only supporting the Republican Party. Last week Sister Simone Campbell of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK appeared at the Democratic National Convention. Though Campbell doesn't speak in the same official church capacity as a priest or bishop, her endorsement of one party's agenda was troubling for many Catholics.

. . . .

The church would seemingly be better served to skip all the talk about candidates and elections entirely and to stick instead to the issues involved. As the bishops wrote in Faithful Citizenship, "These themes from Catholic social teaching provide a moral framework that does not easily fit ideologies of 'right' or 'left,' 'liberal' or 'conservative,' or the platform of any political party. They are not partisan or sectarian, but reflect fundamental ethical principles that are common to all people."

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Pew Ado: Catholic Leaders Endorse Candidates Despite Growing Flock Objections
Simon Brown     Sep.12, 2012

Are members of the Catholic hierarchy saying one thing and doing another when it comes to partisan politics?


In a document outlining "political responsibility" that was adopted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2007, the bishops declared that the church is "involved in the political process but is not partisan" and "cannot champion any candidate."

. . . .

But fast forward to 2012, and it's clear that some members of the church leadership have been ignoring the church's official stance.

This month, Americans United reported two Catholic churches to the IRS because they took clear-cut stands on political candidates.

The New York City-based Church of Saint Catherine of Siena's Sept. 2 bulletin contained a column by the Rev. John Farren, a member of the congregation's pastoral staff. In it, he quoted former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican who said: "We urge our fellow Catholics, and indeed all people of good will, to join with us in this full-hearted effort to elect Governor Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States."


AU reported another church that issued a similar statement one month earlier. St. Raphael Catholic Church in El Paso, Texas, ran a notice in a church bulletin dated Aug. 5 that read, "I am asking all of you to go to the polls and be united in replacing our present president with a president that will respect the Catholic Church in this country. Please pass this on to all of your Catholic friends."

Although the Diocese of El Paso later admitted that St. Raphael had gone too far and asked that the political statement be retracted (and the church complied), it's clear that many in the Catholic hierarchy are anything but non-partisan this election season.


These two incidents, remember, come less than four months after Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky notoriously compared Barack Obama to Hitler and Stalin and urged parishioners to "vote their Catholic consciences" to keep church schools, hospitals and other ministries from being shut down.


As this sort of political activity becomes more common, however, an increasing number of Catholic parishioners are saying they are turned off by pulpit politics.

. . . .

It looks like once again the Catholic hierarchy is out of touch with its flock. As (Scott) Alessi noted, some mass-goers have even walked out during sermons in which priests told their parishioners how to vote.

If those partisan prelates and priests aren't careful, they may soon have a lot in common with Clint Eastwood - they'll be ranting to empty chairs.

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Pope Names Bishop Kevin Vann To Orange, California; Accepts Resignations Of Bishops Of Orange, Rochester, N.Y.; Names Apostolic Administrator For Rochester
USCCB     Sep..21, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, 61, to be bishop of Orange, California, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Tod D. Brown, 75, from the pastoral government of the diocese. The pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop Matthew H. Clark of Rochester, New York, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Rochester diocese and named Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, New York, 69, as apostolic administrator of the Rochester diocese until the appointment and installation of a new bishop there.


The appointments were publicized in Washington September 21, by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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Conley named new bishop of Lincoln Catholic Diocese
Erin Anderson     Sep.14, 2012

Bishop James D. Conley, S.T.L., 57, auxiliary bishop of Denver, is the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln, replacing Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who has lead the diocese since 1992.

. . . .

Bruskewitz, 77, submitted his letter of resignation to the Pope in September, 2010 when he turned 75, as required by Canon Law.

Conley is a native of Overland Park, Kan., and a convert to Catholicism. He served as a priest for 23 years before his episcopal ordination, including 10 years of service to the Pope as an official in the Vatican Congregation for Bishops in Rome.

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We stand with Mormons as Christ's witnesses, says Utah's Catholic bishop
Peggy Fletcher Stack     Sep.18, 2012

Mormons and Catholics don't see eye to eye on theology, but they stand "shoulder to shoulder as witnesses of Jesus Christ" in the public square, Utah's Catholic bishop told nearly 2,000 mostly LDS students Tuesday.


The Rev. John C. Wester, speaking at an LDS Institute of Religion devotional at Utah Valley University, pointed to his presence on the Orem campus as a "wonderful sign of the ongoing collaboration between our faiths" and another "important step in interfaith relations."


In a half-hour speech punctuated by humorous and poignant personal experiences with Latter-day Saints, Wester detailed Catholic foundational beliefs as well as aspects that dovetailed or diverged from Mormon teachings.
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A Comedian and a Cardinal Open Up on Spirituality
Laurie Goodstein     Sep.16, 2012

The comedian Stephen Colbert and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York bantered on stage Friday night before 3,000 cheering, stomping, chanting students at Fordham University, in what may have been the most successful Catholic youth evangelization event since Pope John Paul II last appeared at World Youth Day. 


The evening was billed as an opportunity to hear two Catholic celebrities discuss how joy and humor infuse their spiritual lives. They both delivered, with surprises and zingers that began the moment the two walked onstage. Mr. Colbert went to shake Cardinal Dolan's hand, but the cardinal took Mr. Colbert's hand and kissed it - a disarming role reversal for a big prelate with a big job and a big ring.


Cardinal Dolan was introduced as a man who might one day be elected pope, to which he said, "If I am elected pope, which is probably the greatest gag all evening, I'll be Stephen III."


The event would not have happened without its moderator, the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and prolific author who has made it his mission to remind Catholics that there is no contradiction between faithful and funny. His latest book is "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life."

. . . .

Some journalists were admitted as guests, and the cone of silence was shattered when many students and an editor from the Catholic magazine Commonweal sent out live Twitter posts narrating the most memorable one-liners of the evening.


Mr. Colbert shed his character for the evening and offered several sincere insights into how he manages to remain a faithful Catholic while making fun of his own religion and most others.


"Are there flaws in the church?" Mr. Colbert said. "Absolutely. But is there great beauty in the church? Absolutely."

. . . . 

Mr. Colbert used his time onstage with the cardinal to air his complaints about the new English translation of the Mass, which was just introduced in American parishes this year.


"Consubstantial!" Mr. Colbert exclaimed, using a particularly cumbersome word that is now recited in the Nicene Creed. "It's the creed! It's not the SAT prep."

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Mass. Gay Couple Sues Church Over Nixed House Sale
Associated Press     Sep.10, 2012

A gay couple from Massachusetts has sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester for allegedly refusing to sell them a mansion because church officials were concerned they would host gay weddings at the site.


James Fairbanks and Alain Beret filed their discrimination suit Monday in Worcester Superior Court.


They allege that they were in negotiations to buy Oakhurst, a former retreat center in Northbridge, when church officials suddenly pulled out.


They say they inadvertently received an email from the chancellor of the diocese to the church's broker saying the reason was because of the "potentiality of gay marriages" at the home.

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Selective memory isn't sacred
Dianne Williamson     Sep.11, 2012

Over the weekend, Msgr. Thomas Sullivan told The Boston Globe that the Diocese of Worcester would never sell properties that hosted Mass to anyone who would hold a same-sex wedding.

. . . .

So much is wrong with that statement I hardly know where to begin. Neither does David Lewcon, who probably wishes that his memory wasn't so good.

. . . .

First, the monsignor was speaking in reference to the House of Affirmation, a Northbridge building whose very name is synonymous with scandal, not sacred memory. Next, his statement conflicts with what he told me in July, when I asked why the diocese abruptly pulled out of negotiations with two gay men who wanted to turn the aging mansion into an inn and banquet facility.

. . . .

But Msgr. Sullivan's outrageous claim that the House of Affirmation is among properties "sacred to the memory of Catholics" requires no judge or jury. Though founded as a counseling center for troubled priests, the House would eventually become embroiled in the clergy abuse scandal.

"For me, it's one of the least sacred places in all of Northbridge," said Mr. Lewcon, 58. He worked at the center as a teenager, and in 2002 settled a lawsuit with the diocese for $110,000 after disclosing that he was sexually assaulted when he was 16 by a priest affiliated with the center. "It's a dirty, dirty place. What went on behind the scenes, I don't even want to know about."


Mr. Lewcon is among several men who settled sexual assault lawsuits against priests closely affiliated with the House. These included the notorious Rev. Thomas Kane, founder and executive director, who operated the center based on a bogus doctoral degree. It was closed in 1987 amid financial improprieties; its victims would later refer to the center as a pedophile boot camp where children suffered repeated sexual abuse.

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Papyrus fragment with reference to Jesus' 'wife' stirs debate
Carol Glatz    Sep.19, 2012
Professor believes that the fragment refers to Jesus having a wife

Scholars are unlikely to agree anytime soon on the authenticity of a newly published text containing a reference to Jesus' "wife."
But the tiny papyrus fragment, purportedly dating to the fourth century A.D., has already stirred interest in the early church's attitudes toward marriage, sex and the role of women.


The fragment of papyrus with eight lines of Egyptian Coptic writing is the "only extant ancient text which explicitly portrays Jesus as referring to a wife," wrote Karen L. King, historian of Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, in an academic paper she delivered Sept. 18 at an international Coptic studies conference in Rome.

"It does not, however, provide evidence that the historical Jesus was married," she wrote, "given the late date of the fragment and the probable date of original composition," at the end of the second century.

. . . .

But she said the fragment is "direct evidence" that early Christians started debating in the second century whether Jesus could have been married or not.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Justin Chang     Sep.13, 2012

With: Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn, Arthur Budzinski, Jeff Anderson, Rembert Weakland, Thomas Doyle, Richard Sipe, Patrick J. Wall, Geoffrey Robertson, Laurie Goodstein, Jason Berry, Robert Mickens, Marco Politi. Voices: Jamey Sheridan, Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, John Slattery. Narrator: Alex Gibney. (English, Italian, American Sign Language dialogue)


Weaving a uniquely devastating account of priestly pedophilia into an excoriating indictment of the entire Vatican power structure, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" is an expansive and authoritative study of the widespread practice and concealment of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

. . . .

With a staggering arsenal of interviews, documents and archival materials at his disposal, Gibney digs deep into the case of Lawrence Murphy, a priest alleged to have abused more than 200 boys while teaching at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee from 1950-74.

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Denver Catholic Charities CEO to replace John Carr as bishops' new point man on justice issues
Catholic News Service    Sep. 18, 2012

Jonathan Reyes, president and CEO of Catholic Charities and Community Services of the Archdiocese of Denver since 2009, has been appointed to succeed John Carr as executive director of the U.S. bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. Reyes is expected to begin his new job in December.

. . . .

Before arriving in Denver, Reyes served on the staff of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., 1998-2004, first as an assistant professor of history, then as vice president of academic affairs. He has a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in European history from the University of Notre Dame.

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On Sex and Reformation in the Catholic Church
A.W. Richard Sipe     Sep.14, 2012

In 2012 the Roman Catholic Church is in the throes of a Reformation. Cardinal Carlo Martini-a voice of reason in the Church-said, "Our culture is out of date, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous."


Human sexuality is the centerpiece of a scientific and doctrinal conflict analogous to the time when Copernican observations necessitated a shift of perspective about humanity, our relationship with each other and our place in the world. The crisis of bishops and priests sexually abusing children has led to an awareness of how desperately the church needs, in the words of Martini, "to admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the pope and the bishops."


The Church is incorrect and wrong headed in its teachings on human sexuality. We can no longer defend and teach our children with a clear conscience that all sexual activity outside marriage is mortally sinful.

. . . .

The sexual hypocrisy of many Roman Catholic clergy prevails from the very top of the Vatican bureaucracy to local dioceses and parishes where bishops and priests do not believe what they teach; and equally distressing, some bishops and priests are involved in sexual liaisons' with adult women or men, other clerics and even with minors. These facts too demand serious and immediate attention and reform.

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Legionaries
Jason Berry     Sep.13, 2012

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the scandal-ridden Legionaries of Christ that had alleged the religious order defrauded a wealthy widow out of millions of dollars. Yet the judge's 39-page ruling details dubious fundraising tactics of Legionaries priests and seemingly opens a door for appeal.


"The transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets -- through will, trust, and gifts -- from a steadfastly spiritual, elderly woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious spiritual leaders raises a red flag to this Court," Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein of Providence, R.I., wrote in a summary judgment Sept. 7.

. . . .

Silverstein dismissed the lawsuit against the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Anthony Bannon and Bank of America on Sept. 7, ruling that Mary Lou Dauray, the niece of the late Gabrielle Mee, lacked the legal standing to sue.


Dauray alleged through her attorney Bernard Jackvony -- a former lieutenant governor of Rhode Island -- that, according to the judge's decision, Legionary priests in America "unduly influenced and fraudulently induced Mrs. Mee into giving approximately $60 million to the defendants -- particularly the Legionaries of Christ."

Jackvony told NCR that Dauray could not comment because of a protective order. He said that an appeal was under discussion: "We're evaluating the best way to proceed in light of the judge's decision that there was significant evidence of undue influence and fraud."

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Catholic group focuses on successor to Cardinal Francis George
Manya A. Brachear     Sep.16, 2012

A group of Chicago-area Roman Catholics dedicated to reforming its church is asking parishioners which leader they would like to see at the helm of the Chicago Archdiocese once Cardinal Francis George retires.


Members of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of progressive Catholics focused on church accountability, have set up two websites to solicit suggestions from people in the pews.

. . . .

"The average layman does not realize his duty according to canon law to make needs known when it comes to selecting bishops," said Mary Jean Cardwell, a parishioner at Sts. Faith, Hope and Charity Catholic Church  in Winnetka and one of the initiative's organizers.  

. . . .

However, the archdiocese has told parish priests that they are not allowed to advertise the public initiative in their parish bulletins. Although the cardinal supports the group's goal of energizing people in the pews, the creation of a clearinghouse for communication taints the process, the church said.


"Voice of the Faithful is an independent group that has no standing in the Catholic Church," said Colleen Dolan, a spokeswoman for the cardinal. "The idea of encouraging people to send thoughts and ideas to the nuncio (papal representative) is in canon law and is a very good idea. 

. . . .  

There's no reason why it has to go through a separate group to be filtered."


Activists contend that they aren't breaking the rules by proposing such a democratic approach. They point to Canon Law 212, which states: "Christ's faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the pastors of the Church."


The canon adds: "They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful."

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One soul's 'movin' on'
Thomas C. Fox     Sep.10, 2012

Two months ago (John) Chuchman lamented online that nearly everyone in his close family had left the church. "The American Catholic exodus is gathering momentum," he wrote. "Dioceses are closing parishes across the country."


When he brought this to the attention of an archbishop friend, the prelate told him it is "a necessary purification." Oh, Sure.

Chuchman now says he, too, is, "Movin' On." What's sad here is a person with so much to give to others finds our church too unbearably small-minded to stay within.


I don't suspect we'll stop hearing from the "poetman." But he has removed the "Roman" before the "Catholic" in his identity. Maybe this represents growth for our friend, but I feel sadness nevertheless.

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Priest accused of sexually abusing girl is head of Fernley women's shelter
Brian Duggan     Sep.12, 2012

Thomas Cronin, a suspended Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in Missouri in 1979, is also the president of a Fernley-based women's shelter called Rachel's Sanctuary.


Three members of a victims advocacy group called the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests gathered in front of the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Reno on Tuesday to call attention to Cronin's involvement with the organization.


"We want to bring things to light and make the community more aware," said Tim Lennon, a member of SNAP, adding the diocese in Reno should do more to make people aware of Cronin's affiliation. "We think there could be more, there has to be more and we're demanding more."


Cronin was placed on suspension by the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City in October 2010 when a civil lawsuit was filed in Kansas City, Mo., accusing him of molesting and sexually assaulting the teenager at the Sacred Heart Parish in Hamilton, Mo., more than 30 years ago.

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Responding to clericalism and sex abuse
Scott Appleby    Sep.18, 2012

The sexual abuse of children and young adults by a tiny minority of Catholic priests is itself a terrible stain on the institutional church-but the repeated failure of the bishops and other priests to report and remove the perpetrators has magnified and deepened, beyond immediate repair, the erosion of trust and the crisis of faith within the Catholic community.

. . . .

At the heart of the sexual abuse crisis is the sin of clericalism-a constellation of ideas and practices rooted in the conviction that ordination to the priesthood confers a special and privileged status that places the priest above the nonordained baptized by virtue of the sacrament itself, unmoored from its proper setting within the moral life and spiritual pilgrimage of the individual priest.

. . . .

In a well-meaning effort to bolster a priesthood "under siege," promote vocations, and reinforce fidelity to vows, some very gifted and influential Catholic writers and teachers have fed seminarians and young priests a rich rhetorical feast-e.g., "You are living icons of the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ."

Ironically, such rhetoric borrows from the cultural discourse of radical individualism and self-exaltation, which the newly ordained are meant to confront, not replicate. Bolstering young male egos in this way can backfire, fostering a degree of pride and arrogance, especially among the untested and insecure.

. . . .

Circling the wagons against a hostile world and a laity that cannot be counted on, these enclave priests protect their own, no matter the cost. The non-ordained are once again relegated to coach class.
But this cannot be suffered. Roman Catholicism is a church, not a sect. No head can exist without its body. The faithful are not branches to be pruned but the root that gives life to the great oak.

The recently beatified 19th-century English Cardinal John Henry Newman was right when he said that the clergy - the "1 percent"- would look pretty foolish without the laity - the "99 percent." And the American Catholic laity is perhaps the most educated and gifted in the history of the church. Clericalism wastes that precious and desperately needed resource.

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Orthodox patriarch, Anglican leader to attend Vatican II celebration
Cindy Wooden     Sep.17, 2012

The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Archbishop & Patriarch and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury will join Pope Benedict XVI's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury will attend the Mass that Pope Benedict will celebrate at the Vatican to mark the anniversary of the Oct. 11, 1962, opening of the council, Vatican officials said.

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Irish leader Enda Kenny to have first meeting with Pope Benedict
Dara Kelly    Sep.19, 2012

Irish leader Enda Kenny will meet Pope Benedict this Saturday at the papal retreat at Castle Gandolfo.


Kenny is in Rome to meet the Italian Prime Minister and will go on to meet the Pope along with other European Union leaders.

Soon after taking office, Kenny made a major statement strongly criticizing the Vatican's handling of sex scandals involving their priests in Ireland.

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Bishop causes more controversy for breakaway Catholic group
CNA     Sep.13, 2012

More internal strife has arisen in the breakaway Catholic Society of St. Pius X, after Bishop Richard Williamson made an unapproved visit to a large group in Brazil.

Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, the society's district superior of South America, said the bishop's visit was "a serious act against the virtue of obedience" that did not respect the society's procedures.

. . . .

At the end of August, Bishop Williamson gave the sacrament of Confirmation to nearly 100 lay Catholics in the town of Nova Friburgo in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. He celebrated the sacrament at the invitation of the prior of the breakaway Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Cross, which has links to the society.

. . . .

The German-language Catholic website said that Bishop Williamson will be expelled from the society because of his unauthorized visit. He has also refused to stop publication of his weekly e-mail, despite the request of Bishop Fellay.

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Hundreds attend forum calling for Royal Commission
AAP    Sep.16, 2012

Almost 400 people attended the public forum at the Newcastle Panthers club on Sunday, in which people shared their experiences of abuse within the Catholic Church and other organisations.

"We filled the auditorium. We couldn't have fitted any more," NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge told AAP.


He said there was a unanimous call for a royal commission to investigate cases of abuse and look at offences which were covered up.

. . . .

"What we have seen is the failure of the existing legal system, both criminal and civil, to bring the hierarchies to account to tell the true story," he said.

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Vatican Official Blasts Extremists in Israel After Monastery Attack
Adrian Blomfield     Sep.9 2012

The Israeli government's failure to respond adequately to Jewish extremists' attacks against churches and monasteries is fostering a climate of intolerance toward Christianity in the country, a senior Vatican official in Jerusalem has warned.


Police inaction and an educational culture that encourages Jewish children to treat Christians with "contempt" has made life increasingly "intolerable" for many, said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Custodian of the Holy Land.  


The Rev. Pizzaballa's intervention, unusually outspoken for a senior Catholic churchman, came after pro-settler extremists attacked a Trappist monastery in the town of Latroun.


The door of the monastery was set fire to and its walls were covered with graffiti that denounced Jesus Christ as a "monkey."

. . . .

But the most important issue they say Israel has failed to address is the practice of some ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools that teach children it is a doctrinal obligation to abuse anyone in Holy Orders they encounter in public.

. . . .
After years of silence by the church, Rev. Pizzaballa, who is charged by the Vatican with responsibility for all Christian sites in the Holy Land, has taken the lead in demanding protection for the faith. Earlier this year he wrote to Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, urging him to take action.

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Shönborn praises 'prophetic' Martini
Tablet     Sep.13, 2012

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has paid generous tribute to the "prophetic" vision of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who died on 31 August. In his last interview, published immediately after he died, Cardinal Martini said the Church was "200 years behind the times" and called for far-reaching reforms.


"For me Cardinal Martini was one of the truly great and impressive episcopal figures who was totally committed to the Church and to his episcopal ministry," Cardinal Schönborn said on prime-time Austrian state television on Sunday 9 September.

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Trial for pope's ex-butler, other Vatican worker to start Sept. 29 in document theft scandal
Frances D'Emilio     Sep.17, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's ex-butler and another Vatican lay employee will go on trial next week in the embarrassing theft of papal documents that exposed alleged corruption at the Holy See's highest levels.


Judge Giuseppe Dalla Torre said Monday the first session would begin Saturday, Sept. 29.

. . . .

The Vatican has promised a public trial by a three-judge panel but said no still or video cameras will be permitted.


Vatican officials say they are still looking into the possibility of other accomplices.


Conviction on the theft charge could bring up to six years in jail.

Besides allegedly pilfering the documents, Gabriele is also accused of taking a check for €100,000 (then about $125,000) made out to Benedict and donated by a Spanish Catholic university.

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Vatican hires Swiss anti-money laundering expert to boost efforts to fight financial crimes
Associated Press     Sep.11, 2012

The Vatican has hired a Swiss anti-money laundering expert to try to improve its efforts to fight financial crimes.


The announcement Tuesday comes two months after the Holy See passed a key European financial transparency test but received poor grades for its financial watchdog agency and its bank.


The Vatican said attorney Rene Bruelhart would help strengthen the Vatican's regulatory framework to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

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Italian web gives Pope a tough time
Andrea Tornielli    Sep.11, 2012

Benedict XVI is having a hard time getting his message across. Even on the web. And even in Italy. Italian reputation management company "Reputation Manager" has demonstrated this in a study published on "Expansion". Using its software system and a dedicated team of editorial staff for the analysis of data relating to the Italian web world, including social media, Reputation Manager compared the digital identities of Pope Ratzinger and the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist leader, Tenzin Gyatso.

Results show that the web, videos and social networks all appear to give a "balanced" image of the Dalai Lama, whereas descriptions of the Pope were "emotional and negative".   "The emotional impact of conversations regarding the two important religious figures which were examined by Reputation Manager, can be summarised as follows: almost half of online content relating to the Pope (48,74%) has a negative tone and a prejudicial impact; only 7% of the content is positive though generally lukewarm and lacking enthusiasm; the rest of the content is neutral.

. . . .

"The personal image of the Pope and his religious decisions and positions are pretty unpopular - says Andrea Barchiesi, Managing Director of Reputation Manager -. Despite the Pope's greater socio-cultural closeness to Italians, or possibly because of this, the web has been dominated by negative opinions on what Benedict XVI says and does in our country in particular and the strong emotional impact this has on online commentators."

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Pope appoints 35 clergy members, including Dolan, as synod members
Cindy Wooden     Sep.18, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and 35 other cardinals, bishops and priests to serve as full members of the Synod of Bishops.


The papal appointees, whose names were announced Tuesday, will join more than 200 other synod members who were elected by their national bishops' conference, serve as the head of a Vatican office or were elected by the Union of Superiors General, the organization for the heads of men's religious orders.


The synod is scheduled for Oct. 7-28 at the Vatican to explore the theme, "New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith."


Twelve cardinals, including Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, and diocesan bishops from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe also were named synod members by the pope.


The prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, and the president of the Communion and Liberation movement, Fr. Julian Carron, were among the papal appointees, as were the superiors general of three religious orders of men: the Camillians, the Schonstatt Fathers and the Carmelites.


According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can serve as full voting members of the synod, but the popes always have appointed laymen and laywomen to be among the synod's experts and auditors. That list is expected to be published shortly.

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Pope Benedict Names Saint Hildegard a Doctor of the Church, One of Only Four Female Saints Ever to Receive Title
PRWEB     Sep,12, 2012

Prophetic and bold, the 12th-century abbess Hildegard von Bingen took incredible personal risks to fight for the rights of women and the oppressed, centuries ahead of her time. Today, she's about to receive recognition worthy of such a visionary, as Pope Benedict XIV will declare her a Doctor of the Church on Oct. 7, 2012-making her one out of only four women ever to receive the title.

. . . .

The foretelling teachings of von Bingen have struck a chord with the current German-born Pope Benedict. Bingen's influence on him may be tied to his love of classical music, while the rise of interest in medieval women also plays a role. Insistent about societal reform, Hildegard's teachings guided the church to lead with just and moral principles. In the last few years, Benedict has repeatedly referred to her writings and prophecies, especially in difficult times when addressing the church's sexual abuse controversy.

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New Translation of the Roman Missal

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


Evangelii Nuntiandi 27: Salvation Offered To All - Not Just Many


27. Evangelization will also always contain - as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism - a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all (people), as a gift of God's grace and mercy.[Cf. Eph 2:8; Rom 1:16. Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaratio ad fidem tuendam in mysteria Incarnationis et SS. Trinitatis e quibusdam recentibus erroribus (21 February 1972): AAS 64 (1972), pp. 237-241] And not an immanent salvation, meeting material or even spiritual needs, restricted to the framework of temporal existence and completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles, but a salvation which exceeds all these limits in order to reach fulfillment in a communion with the one and only divine Absolute: a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which indeed has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity.


Upcoming events
What Does Nun Justice Mean for the Future of the Church? 
A Panel and Discussion
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2012 7:00 - 9:00 pm.  at    Cranaleith Spiritual Center
13475 Proctor Road, Philadelphia, PA 19116
For more information, contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 215-726-8664


A Day of Reflection with MICHAEL MORWOOD
God, Jesus, and Prayer in a New Story of the Universe


SATURDAY - OCTOBER 20th: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Spirit of Life Community
Congregational Church of Weston/UCC 130 Newton St., Weston, MA 02493