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A Prayer for Frustrated Catholics




Dear God, sometimes I get so frustrated with your church.


I know that I'm not alone.  So many people who love your church feel frustrated with the Body of Christ on earth.  Priests and deacons, and brothers and sisters, can feel frustrated, too.  And I'll bet that even bishops and popes feel frustrated.  We grow worried and concerned and bothered and angry and sometimes scandalized because your divine institution, our home, is filled with human beings who are sinful.  Just like me.


But I get frustrated most of all when I feel that there are things that need to be changed and I don't have the power to change them.


So I need your help, God.


Help me to remember that Jesus promised that he would be with us until the end of time, and that your church is always guided by the Holy Spirit, even if it's hard for me to see.  Sometimes change happens suddenly, and the Spirit astonishes us, but often in the church it happens slowly.  In your time, not mine.  Help me know that the seeds that I plant with love in the ground of your church will one day bloom.  So give me patience.


Help me to understand that there was never a time when there were not arguments or disputes within your church.  Arguments go all the way back to Peter and Paul debating one another.  And there was never a time when there wasn't sin among the members of your church.  That kind of sin goes back to Peter denying Jesus during his Passion. Why would today's church be any different than it was for people who knew Jesus on earth?  Give me wisdom.


Help me to trust in the Resurrection.  The Risen Christ reminds us that there is always the hope of something new.  Death is never the last word for us.  Neither is despair.  And help me remember that when the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples, he bore the wounds of his Crucifixion.  Like Christ, the church is always wounded, but always a carrier of grace. Give me hope.


Help me to believe that your Spirit can do anything: raise up saints when we need them most, soften hearts when they seem hardened, open minds when they seem closed, inspire confidence when all seems lost, help us do what had seemed impossible until it was done.  This is the same Spirit that converted Paul, inspired Augustine, called Francis of Assisi, emboldened Catherine of Siena, consoled Ignatius of Loyola, comforted Thérèse of Lisieux, enlivened John XXIII, accompanied Teresa of Calcutta, strengthened Dorothy Day and encouraged John Paul II.  It is the same Spirit that it with us today, and your Spirit has lost none of its power.  Give me faith. 


Help me to remember all your saints.  Most of them had it a lot worse than I do.  They were frustrated with your church at times, struggled with it, and were occasionally persecuted by it.  Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by church authorities.  Ignatius of Loyola was thrown into jail by the Inquisition.  Mary MacKillop was excommunicated.  If they can trust in your church in the midst of those difficulties, so can I.  Give me courage.


Help me to be peaceful when people tell me that I don't belong in the church, that I'm a heretic for trying to make things better, or that I'm not a good Catholic.  I know that I was baptized.  You called me by name to be in your church, God.  As long as I draw breath, help me remember how the holy waters of baptism welcomed me into your holy family of sinners and saints.  Let the voice that called me into your church be what I hear when other voices tell me that I'm not welcome in the church.  Give me peace.


Most of all, help me to place all of my hope in your Son.  My faith is in Jesus Christ.  Give me only his love and his grace.  That's enough for me.


Help me God, and help your church.





  --  James Martin, S.J.                                                            URL

Some things we have been reading  


Pa. Catholic official convicted of endangerment

Maryclaire Dale    Jun.22, 2012


A Roman Catholic church official was convicted Friday of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy in a groundbreaking clergy-abuse trial, becoming the first U.S. church official convicted of a crime for mishandling abuse claims.


Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.


Lynn, 61, had faced about 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted of all three counts he faced - conspiracy and two counts of child endangerment. He was convicted only on one of the endangerment counts, leaving him with the possibility of 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.


The jury could not agree on a verdict for Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy.
Read more


At meeting in St. Louis, Catholic theologians defend one of their own

Tim Townsend     Jun.12, 2012


The head of the Jesuit order in East Africa explained to other theologians gathered here last week that a simple gesture had different meanings in different cultures.


In the U.S., said the Rev. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, a man beating his hand against his chest is a liturgical expression of penance. Back home, he said, the same gesture is an expression of defiance.

"Perhaps," the Rev. William O'Neill said to his fellow theologians, "that's exactly what we should be signifying."

. . . . 

Defiance was top of mind at the group's annual convention downtown. One of their own had been targeted by the Vatican earlier in the week, and there was a sense in the Hyatt Regency ballroom that the Catholic bishops had finally gone too far.
. . . .

As Catholic theology has branched out, bishops - who have the ultimate teaching authority in the church - have struggled to curb theological thinking they consider a potential source of confusion for the lay faithful. As a result, in recent years the bishops have criticized the work of a number of prestigious American theologians. And in St. Louis last weekend, the theologians were girding for a fight.


They spoke in protest against the Vatican's denunciation of Sister Margaret Farley's 2006 book, "Just Love: A Framework for Christian Social Ethics" in which the bishops found "grave problems."


We must "learn to say 'stop' to those who abuse authority only to preserve it," O'Neill, of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, told the assembled scholars. 

Read more





'Nuns on the Bus' take on Paul Ryan

Mary C. Curtis     Jun.11, 2012


In April, a statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops highlighted its criticism of budget proposals from House Republicans and Congressman Paul Ryan as failing to protect the poor and vulnerable.  

The next day, the Vatican announced disciplinary action against a group of American nuns for offenses including sponsoring conferences that featured "a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."

So, asks Sister Simone Campbell, who heads the censured social justice group NETWORK, which got the most attention? The way she sees it, her "Nuns on the Bus" tour to spotlight issues of social justice - across nine states, including Ryan's Wisconsin - is perfectly in line with Catholic teaching. "We're sticking with the bishops on this one.''

The tour just happens to coincide with the "Fortnight for Freedom," the bishop's pushback against the Obama administration's contraceptive health-care plan.

Read more                             Video                             Schedule


Corporate Retaliation  - John Chuchman

Bishops in limo

To counter all the favorable PR being garnered by

Nuns on a Bus,

we will be launching

Bishops in Limos

to tell the Vatican side of the story. 




Sampling of Commentary on LCWR Situation


A 'Hostile Takeover' of Women Religious

Joan  Chittister   Jun.8, 2012


After the Vatican's "hostile takeover" of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in April, I was particularly struck by one joke I encountered: "Go Catholic ... and leave the thinking to us."


I laughed-but not much. That one, it seems, is too close to the truth these days.

. . . .   

Sartain, Blair, and Paprocki have been appointed to oversee the group: to approve its programs, create its constitutions, determine its operational procedures, and define the content of its conferences. As in, "Leave the thinking to us."

As in, women can't do it themselves. Or, women aren't moral agents. Or, women don't know what they're doing. Or, the girls need to be controlled. Or, father knows best.

. . . .

The sisters have listened to every side of every question in an attempt to discern their best role in the church, their best gift to these people at this time. This has apparently made them, in the minds of some, a danger to the faith. How sad.


Even more disturbing is the fact that not one bishop, let alone the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been put into receivership by the Vatican, however many pedophile priests were protected. No official document says that the bishops need guidance in their decision-making, however bad their decisions have been.


Only women are faced with that-the very women whose work with the poor might well be able to give the church its best information about where the church ought to be and what it ought to be doing there.

Read more

Watch Joan Chittister on CNN with Christiane Amanpour



Bishop takes another swing at the sisters, nuns

Cathy Lynn Grossman     Jun.11, 2012


Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo is a stickler for doctrine. He's one of three bishops named by the Vatican to take over running the umbrella group of U.S. nuns and sisters called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, is tired of bishops being blamed for beating up on saintly sisters.


He's got good cause, says Blair, who issued a column and YouTube video blasting the LCWR again this weekend. It is Blair's research that prompted a stinging report of the LCWR as dissenters who fail to live holy lives and promote true doctrine.

Reality Check with Bishop Leonard P. Blair, STD


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Nuns' leader decries church environment of fear

Rachel Zoll     Jun.18, 2012


The leader of the group representing most American nuns challenged the Vatican's reasons for disciplining her organization, insisting that raising questions about church doctrine should not be seen as rebellion.


Sister Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said Monday that Catholics should be able to search for answers about faith without fear.


"I don't think this is a healthy environment for the church," Farrell said in a phone interview. "We can use this event to help move things in that direction-where it's possible to pose questions that will not be seen as defiance or opposition."

Read more


Vatican official warns of 'dialogue of the deaf' with LCWR

John L Allen Jr    Jun.12, 2012


In the wake of Tuesday's meeting with representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Vatican official responsible for a recent crackdown said he still believes the relationship can work, but also warned of a possible "dialogue of the deaf," reflected in what he sees as a lack of movement on the Vatican's concerns.


Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, floated the possibility that should the LCWR not accept the reforms outlined in an April 18 assessment, the result could be decertifying it in favor of a new organization for women's religious leaders in America more faithful to church teaching.

Read more


Pope makes final offer to breakaway SSPX group

Alessandro Speciale     Jun.13, 2012


The leader of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) met for more than two hours with officials from the Vatican's doctrinal office on Wednesday (June 13), as negotiations to end a decades-old split in the Roman Catholic Church draw to an end after almost three years of talks.

. . . .

According to the Vatican Insider website, Pope Benedict XVI reviewed a final draft of a reconciliation proposal aimed at bringing the SSPX back into "full communion" with the Vatican. The draft was then submitted to Bishop Bernard Fellay, the SSPX superior general, during Wednesday's meeting by American Cardinal William J. Levada, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


An SSPX spokesman, the Rev. Alain Lorans, told Agence France-Presse that it will be "a few days" before Fellay decides whether or not to accept the Vatican's final offer. Its contents, he said, won't be made public "before the end of this week or the beginning of the next," adding that today's meeting was "just a step."

Read more


USCCB 2012 June General Assembly


Agenda               CNS stories               Videos 



Bishops agree to prepare message on work and the economy

Dennis Sadowsi     Jun.14, 2012


The U.S. bishops June 13 approved a proposal to draft a statement on work and the economy as a way to raise the profile of growing poverty and the struggles unemployed people are experiencing.

Titled "Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy," the message would advance the bishops' priority of human life and dignity to demonstrate the new evangelization in action, explained Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. 

Read more


How well do we identify with the poor?

Questions from a Ewe blog     Jun.16, 2012


. . . .  During the meeting the bishops discussed drafting a document called, "On Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy."  The video for this particular discussion begins roughly 2.5 hours into the first session.

My bishop, Earl Boyea, was the first to comment on the topic.  He said he was "reluctant to support" the bishops drafting such a document and expressed concern that the bishops lacked sufficient "humility not to stray into areas where we lack competence and where we need to let the laity take the lead."  He said, "We need to learn far more than we need to teach in this area; we need to listen more than we need to speak." 

. . . .
I applaud his acknowledgement of the bishops' collective ignorance and his desired restraint from advising on a topic from which they are so distantly removed.  However, I wonder why they feel experts enough to offer voluminous advice on women, women's roles, women's health, human sexuality, marriage, family living, psychology, and biology.  I find their brotherhood supremely unqualified to speak about these topics too.  Why does ignorance in economics give pause to learn more than teach but ignorance on so many other topics does not? 

Read more


Medium is message? Catholic bishops debate hiring a spokesperson

David Gibson     Jun.14, 2012


The nation's Catholic bishops, gathered in Atlanta this week for their annual spring meeting, have discussed various issues of great import for the church, from their policies against sexual abuse to their campaign on behalf of religious freedom.


But the suggestion on Thursday (June 14) that the hierarchy consider hiring a chief spokesperson for the first time ever prompted the most intense soul-searching so far. The debate reflected a tension between the historic reluctance of individual bishops to cede their own pulpits and the recognition that the bishops have been losing the media war in recent high-profile controversies.

Read more


Catholic hierarchy's social justice advocate leaving USCCB

David Gibson     Jun.7, 2012


John Carr, who has been the point man for the American bishops on social justice issues for the past 25 years, is leaving staff of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, reports Michael Sean Winters at NCR.

Carr's departure would be a serious loss for the U.S. bishops at any point, but it is particularly critical now given the current and coming budget battles in Washington over the fate of social programs, and the wider national debate over balancing individual rights and the common good.

. . . .
In his farewell letter, Carr, head of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said he will be a visiting Fellow this fall at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Read more


Good-bye John Carr. Good-bye social justice at USCCB?

Brian Cones    Jun.8, 2012


I was wondering when this was going to happen: John Carr, for decades the U.S. bishops' lay point-man on social justice, has announced his resignation. Carr's hat has progressively grown larger over the years; he oversaw most recently the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, an enormous portfolio squished together when the bishops downsized their social justice operation a few years ago.


Carr's departure marks more than the end of his own tenure; it cements an ideological change in the support staff of the conference that began some years ago. 

. . . .

The church's social teaching, already under attack in many quarters of the church, does not have the cachet it once had at the conference. 

. . . .

Time will tell if the bishops are still serious about the church's social teaching. The proof will be in the pudding of the person they hire to fill Carr's big shoes.

Read more


Catholic Health Association Rejects Obama's Birth Control Compromise

David Gibson    Jun.17, 2012


In an unexpected blow to the Obama administration and a major boon for America's Catholic bishops, the influential Catholic Health Association on Friday (June 15) rejected White House proposals aimed at easing faith-based objections to the contraception mandate.


"The more we learn, the more it appears that the ... approaches for both insured and self-insured plans would be unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other Church ministries," Sister Carol Keehan and leaders of the CHA said in a five-page response to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more


AUSCP logo

New priests' group hopes to preserve vision of Vatican II

 Michelle Bearden    Jun.14, 2012


This week, about 240 priests from around the country are meeting at Saint Leo University in St. Leo for the inaugural assembly of the newly formed Association of U.S. Catholic Priests. Among its goals: To be a "voice of hope" and to "celebrate and implement the visionary concepts of Vatican Council II."


The Rev. David Cooper, a Milwaukee pastor and board chairman, says keeping the spirit of what was intended by the council - which opened in October 1962 and concluded in December 1965 - is urgent, given the direction the church seems to be taking.

. . . .

Just having a collective voice is a new step for Catholic clergy. This is the first-ever national group of priests, which Cooper calls "long overdue." Catholic bishops, lawyers and even musicians have their own free associations, yet clergy only had representation through priests' senates and councils. This organization is for individuals, and includes both diocesan priests and members of religious orders.


Response has been swift and encouraging, Cooper says.

. . . .

With Vatican II at the half-century mark, the association will concentrate on examining each of the documents released by the council and how the changes have fared. The first will be the liturgy, which recently went through some revisions in November when the Vatican instituted a new translation of the Roman Missal. It was the first major change in the Mass ritual since the early 1970s.


Reaction to the changes - which included different English-language responses meant to conform more closely to the official Latin text in a dozen sections of the Mass - has been more tepid than enthusiastic.  . . . .

Cooper would like to hear what Catholics in the pews and priests in the trenches have to say about it. So the association will adopt a resolution asking that the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University do a nationwide survey on the reception of the new missal.


Besides providing a forum for priests and serving as a "spiritual and psychological advocate," the association also intends to support female church colleagues, some of whom are now under scrutiny by Rome.

Read more                                                  Video highlights


Spiegel Series:  Exhausted in the Vatican

Fiona Ehlers, Alexander Smoltczyk and Peter Wensierski   Jun.15, 2012


The mood at the Vatican is apocalyptic. Pope Benedict XVI seems tired, and both unable and unwilling to seize the reins amid fierce infighting and scandal. While Vatican insiders jockey for power and speculate on his successor, Joseph Ratzinger has withdrawn to focus on his still-ambiguous legacy. 


Abuse in Church 'a mystery' - Pope

Steven Carroll     Jun.17, 2012


Pope Benedict XVI has said it "remains a mystery" that people who regularly "received the Lord's body and confessed their sins" had committed the offence of child abuse.


In a pre-recorded address to the closing ceremony of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, which came to an end at Croke Park in Dublin today, the pope said the Church had "been shaken in an appalling way by the revelation of sins committed by priests and consecrated persons against people entrusted to their care".


"Instead of showing them the path towards Christ, towards God, instead of bearing witness to his goodness, they abused people and undermined the credibility of the Church's message," he said.


The pope said "much still remains to be done on the path of real liturgical renewal".

Read more


Vatican report critical of culture and ethos of Irish College in Rome

Patsy McGarry    Jun.15, 2012


A report carried out by the Archbishop of New York for Pope Benedict XVI, which expressed concern about "the atmosphere, structure, staffing and guiding philosophy" of the Irish College in Rome, contained "significant errors of fact", Ireland's four Catholic archbishops have said.

. . . .

The four archbishops, Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin; the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary, and the Archbishop of Cashel, Dr Dermot Clifford, were sent a copy of the visitation report by the Vatican.


A response prepared for them, and to which The Irish Times has had access, said "a deep prejudice appears to have coloured the visitation and from the outset and it led to the hostile tone and content of the report".


The visitation report "would appear to prioritise its own view of orthodoxy, priestly identity, separation and devotion" and its "harsh judgments on staff members" were "unsupported by evidence", the draft response said.

. . . . 

Asked by The Irish Times to comment on questions arising from his visitation report, Cardinal Dolan responded: "While obviously others do not consider themselves bound by the promised confidentiality - so necessary and understandable to assure a fair and honest gathering of information [and] requested by the Apostolic See - I certainly do."


He was therefore "unable to comment upon the report, other than to stand by the diligence of the six visitors and the accuracy of the data we found - both of positive and challenging nature - and presented to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome."

Read more


Irish Association of Catholic Priests protest Cardinal Timothy Dolan's report

Dara Kelly     Jun.17, 2012


The Association of Catholic Priest has strongly protested against Cardinal Timothy Dolan's visitation report on the Irish College in Rome.

. . . .

According to the Irish Times, the association called on Ireland's four Irish archbishops, trustees of the college, and bishops of the priests concerned, "to publicly repudiate this report in the strongest possible terms and to support the priests involved in seeking to restore their reputations."


They protested "in the strongest possible terms against the methodology and conclusions" of the Cardinal's report, saying it had "effectively destroyed the reputations of priests, who have given lifelong service to the Irish Catholic Church, without giving them a right of reply to the allegations made against them."

Read more


Vatican official blames media -- and the devil

Nicole Winfiels     Jun.18, 2012


The Vatican's No. 2 official on Monday blamed the media - and the devil - for fueling the scandal over leaked Vatican documents.

Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone told an Italian Catholic weekly that journalists reporting on the leaks scandal are "pretending to be Dan Brown ... inventing stories and replaying legends." 

. . . .

Bertone's interview with Famiglia Cristiana took the complaints to a new level, blasting the "vehemence" of some Italian newspapers in seeking to create divisions between the pope and his collaborators where there weren't any.


"The truth is that there's a will to create division that comes from the devil," he said. The interview is due on newsstands Thursday but was made available to journalists Monday.

Read more


Ordinariate established for Australia

Vatican Radio   Jun.16, 2012


It was announced on Friday Pope Benedict XVI has erected the third personal ordinariate according to the norms established by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorun coetibus. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross will conform to the area of the Australian Bishop's Conference. The former Western Regional Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Reverend Harry Entwistle, was appointed the Ordinariate's first Ordinary.
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Pope's envoy apologizes to Irish victims of clerical sex abuse

Lorraine Turner     Jun.13, 2012


An envoy for Pope Benedict has apologized in person to child victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, a gesture that highlights the Vatican's concerns over its deteriorating status in Ireland.

 Senior Vatican Cardinal Marc Ouellet travelled to the island of Lough Derg, in a remote corner of Ireland, on Tuesday to speak with victims in a meeting which lasted two hours.

. . . . 

Ireland announced last year it would close its embassy to the Vatican, one of the Catholic country's oldest missions, after relations hit an all-time low over the Church's handling of the sex abuse cases.


The cardinal's visit to the island, a site of pilgrimages, coincides with the 50th International Eucharistic Congress, a gathering that takes place every four years and attracts tens of thousands of Catholics from around the world.


"In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg," Ouellet said.

Read more


America's Street Priest

Chris Hedges     Jun.11, 2012


The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, undaunted at 92 and full of the fire that makes him one of this nation's most courageous voices for justice, stands in New York City's Zuccotti Park. He is there, along with other clergy, to ask Trinity Church, which is the third-largest landowner in Manhattan, to drop charges against Occupy activists, including retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, for occupying its empty lot on 6th Avenue and Canal Street on Dec. 17. The protesters, slated to go to court Monday, June 11, hoped to establish a new Liberty Square on the lot after being evicted by New York City police from Zuccotti in November. But Trinity had the demonstrators arrested. 

. . . .

"This is the only way to bring faith to the public and the public to the faith," Berrigan said softly as we spoke before the demonstration in the park that was once the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street. "If faith does not touch the lives of others it has no point. Faith always starts with oneself. It means an overriding sense of responsibility for the universe, making sure that universe is left in good hands and the belief that things will finally turn out right if we remain faithful. But I underscore the word 'faithful.' This faith was embodied in the Occupy movement from the first day. The official churches remained slow. It is up to us to take the initiative and hope the churches catch up."


There is one place, Berrigan says, where those who care about justice need to be - in the streets. 

Read more


Crystal Cathedral to move to smaller Catholic church

Adelle M. Banks|     Jun.8, 2012


In a building swap, the Crystal Cathedral has announced it will move its congregation to a smaller Roman Catholic church after the iconic Protestant megachurch was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif.


The cathedral, plagued by huge debt and squabbles among family members of founder Robert H. Schuller, will move to a space with less than half of its current seating capacity. Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's daughter and the recent pastor at the cathedral, started a new church nearby in March. 

. . . .

The cathedral's congregation is exercising an option in the sales agreement that permits it to move to St. Callistus Catholic Church in June 2013.


The Catholic congregation at St. Callistus, and later, the administrative offices of the diocese, will move to the Crystal Cathedral site.

Read more


Catholic Diocese of Orange Announces Cathedral Name

PRNewswire     Jun.9, 2012


As part of an elaborate ordination ritual attended by over 1500, the Most Reverend Tod D. Brown, Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange took the opportunity to acknowledge Vatican approval of the name chosen for the Diocese's future cathedral and the appointment of Fr. Christopher H. Smith to serve as Episcopal Vicar to Christ Cathedral.

 . . . .

In his remarks at the conclusion of the Ordination Mass, Bishop Brown noted, "We hold Rev. Schuller and his ministry in the highest esteem. It was important that any change of name for the cathedral itself be respectful of its spiritual legacy while accommodating our needs to clearly define this important facility as a Catholic center of worship."


The formal process for the naming of a Catholic Church calls for the proposed name to be submitted to the Congregation of Bishops, the curia in Rome responsible for all matters pertaining to bishops and their churches. Bishop Brown submitted Christ Cathedral as the proposed name and received approval, April 26, 2012.

Read more


As churches get political, IRS stays quiet

Nanette Byrnes     Jun.22, 2012


Pastor Jim Garlow will stand before congregants at his 2,000-seat Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, on Sunday, October 7, just weeks before the U.S. presidential and congressional elections, and urge his flock to vote for or against particular candidates. 


. . . .  Garlow not only intends to break the rules, he also plans to spend the next four months recruiting other pastors to do the same as part of Pulpit Freedom Sunday. On that day each year since 2008, ministers intentionally try to provoke the IRS. Some even send DVD recordings of their sermons to the agency.The situation is fraught with peril for the IRS, which needs to be seen as apolitical. When it cracks down on political activities proscribed by the 501(c)(3) regulations, it is inevitably branded as partisan.


When the target is a church, mosque or synagogue, enforcement puts two fundamental American values at odds: freedom of speech and the separation of church and state. Although the agency has enforced the tax-exemption rules against churches in the past, it has so far ignored the provocations of Freedom Sunday.


The IRS has also been silent about the increasingly aggressive political activity of the U.S. Catholic bishops, who have called for their own Fortnight for Freedom this week. Masses, rallies, and parish bulletins are being mobilized against the Obama administration's healthcare regulations on contraceptives.

. . . .

The result of agency inaction, according to tax experts and former IRS staffers, will be a lot more electioneering by leaders of the faithful, in local races as well as national, and to the benefit of Democrats as well as Republicans.


"It will get worse unless the IRS takes action, and they seem reluctant," said Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University and the longtime lawyer for the Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh.

Cafardi called the current state of affairs "toxic" in its mingling of the two worlds. Many religious leaders do not support the trend toward more political involvement by organized religion and worry it will undercut their moral authority.

. . . .  

Do the people in congregations follow such instructions? Only 18 percent of those polled by the Pew Research Center in January said the endorsement of a candidate by their minister, priest or rabbi would sway their vote. Seventy percent said it would make no difference.


A second Pew study this spring found that most parishioners would prefer their religious leaders steer clear of electioneering, with Catholics among the most adamant.

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Pope OKs early retirement of Australian bishop who questioned celibacy, church teaching on sex

Associated Press     Jun.8, 2012


The pope has agreed to give early retirement to an Australian bishop who ruffled the Vatican's feathers by calling for a total reform of the Catholic Church, questioning mandatory celibacy for priests along with church teachings on sexuality.


Pope Benedict XVI accepted Monsignor Patrick Power's resignation on Thursday. Power, an auxiliary bishop in Canberra, asked to retire five years before the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops.


In a 2010 article penned at the height of the renewed clerical sex abuse crisis, Power said the church needs to be totally reformed since it had strayed from the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.


He said issues such as priestly celibacy, church teaching on sexuality and the role of women in the church must be discussed with the Catholic laity.

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Outgoing bishop takes swipe at Vatican

Lexi Metherell     Jun.11, 2012


One of the Catholic Church's most outspoken and loved leaders has encouraged his fellow clergy to keep the pressure on the Vatican to reform, as he prepares to retire.


Father Pat Power has resigned after more than 25 years as the bishop of Canberra and Goulburn.


He has become known as one of the church's more progressive leaders, questioning the need for priests to be celibate and for women to be excluded from senior roles.

Father Power says the sexual abuse scandals have diminished the authority of the church and warns that unless there is reform, parishes will continue to shrink.

. . . .

"I wrote to the Pope in 2010, talking about the situation in Wilcannia-Forbes and suggesting that in each of those parishes, good married men... after some training, could be ordained and serve the church there and I said what's happening there is progressively going to happen across the rest of Australia."


He says it was a message the Vatican did not want to hear.


"I think that's sad and I think a lot of times bishops are reluctant to speak as strongly as I have about it for fear that they're being disloyal to Rome," he said.

Read more

Video interview of Bishop Power.


Gay Priest Rips Catholic Church's Anti-gay Stance in Speech against MN Marriage Amendment: VIDEO

Author     Mon.dd, 2012


Father Bob Pierson, a gay Catholic priest, blasted the Catholic Church's stance on same-sex marriage in a speech to more than 200 Catholics in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina on Sunday, telling them why it is okay to vote "no" on the anti-gay marriage amendment hitting the ballot there in November.
. . . .
"Our holy father taught in 1967 that we must obey our own conscience, even if it puts us at odds with the Pope. I doubt that he knew that he was going to be Pope when he said that."

Why Catholics Can Vote No - Father Bob Pierson


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Catholic Church is Lucky it's Just Same-Sex Marriage

Marian.Ronan    Jun.11, 2012


It seems that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is already aware of-and opposed to-transgenderism, since one reason for their launching an investigation of the Girl Scouts of America was the admission of a male-to-female transgender child to a troop in Colorado. But what about sex/gender reassignment surgery, which is chosen not only by transgender men and women, but also by adults who believe that they were surgically assigned the wrong gender in infancy?


The very existence of intersex conditions and the surgery to remedy them undercuts the ostensibly unambiguous sex/gender categories invoked by religious conservatives such as the Vatican, the US bishops, and most right-wing evangelical Christian groups. And even among religious conservatives, things are getting increasingly complicated: since 1982, when the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa authorizing them, sex-change operations have been not only allowed, but funded, by the Iranian government, apparently as a remedy for homosexuality. 


When the Catholic Church and its allies claim that marriage exists between "one man" and "one woman," which kind of man or woman do they mean? The Pope and the bishops should thank the LCWR for limiting its statements to women's ordination and gay marriage.

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Vatican set to control new 'catholic' Internet domain

Cindy Wooden     Jun.13, 2012


The Vatican is in line to control the new Internet address extension ".catholic" and decide who is allowed to use it.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit corporation that coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world, announced the Vatican's formal application June 13 in London.

 . . . .

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told Catholic News Service that the Vatican's application to control the top-level domain .catholic "is a recognition of how important the digital space is for the church."

Controlling the top-level domain "will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online," Msgr. Tighe said. The Vatican plans to allow "institutions and communities that have canonical recognition" to use the extension, "so people online -- Catholics and non-Catholics -- will know a site is authentically Catholic." 
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What's in a name? Controversial media company pressured to stop calling itself 'Catholic'

Scott Alessi     Jun.19, 2012


Following a dispute with the Archdiocese of Detroit, controversial personality Michael Voris will be changing the name of his media company from Real Catholic TV to Church Militant.TV, featuring the new tagline "Catholics are born for combat."


Voris has gained a reputation for being far on the right side of the political spectrum, and as he tells reporter Kristen Hannum in our July cover story on attacks against social justice, Catholicism for him is all about saving one's own soul, not working for the common good. 

. . . .

The Archdiocese of Detroit, where Voris produces his web-based programming, has for some time been saying that "Real Catholic TV" was not really Catholic. They exercised their right under canon law totell Voris he wasn't authorized to use the word "Catholic" in his name and, after a dispute about the archdiocese's authority due to the fact that the group's owner of record actually lives in Indiana, ChurchMilitant.TV was born.  

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Vatican bank may fail transparency test

AFP     Jun.17, 2012


The Vatican may fail to pass transparency tests next month carried out by the Council of Europe, an Italian newspaper said Sunday.


Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money laundering experts, is due to rule at the beginning of July on the whether the Holy See has cleaned up its act to international monetary standards.


According to Italian daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, which claims to have knowledge of the main elements of a report by the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, the Vatican is at risk of scoring unsatisfactory ratings for eight out of 16 "key recommendations".


It would therefore fail to be included on a "white list" of transparent states.

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Philippines: Bishop Mercado is accused of diverting multimillion donations

Mauro Pianta    Jun.18, 2012


Bishop Jesse Mercado is facing some heavy accusations. The man in charge of the Diocese of Parañaque, one of the richest in the Philippines, allegedly diverted multimillion donations for victims of typhoons and other disasters. 

. . . .

What is certain, is that a number of lay people and priests have asked the Apostolic Nuncio in the Philippines, Mgr. Giuseppe Pinto to intervene and remove the bishop from office. After a couple of meetings, Mgr. Pinto said he intended to bring the Mercado dossier to the attention of the Roman Curia.


The issue of financial transparency is a very delicate one in the Vatican at the moment and the Mercado case could further taint the Holy See's image.

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Catholic bishop faces Vatican's wrath after he's busted cavorting with a scantily-clad beauty on the beach (but he insists she's just an old friend')

Lee Moran     Jun.20, 2012


A Catholic bishop busted cavorting on a beach with a scantily-clad beauty has claimed she is just 'an old friend' and insisted he is still 'devoted to God'.


Argentine Fernando María Bargallo, 59, was left red-faced after footage emerged of him swimming and cuddling with the blonde at a secluded luxury Mexican hideaway.


He initially denied it was him in the video, but later admitted he does play a starring role, and is now under investigation by the Vatican.

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Syria Expels Jesuit Priest Who Spoke for Change

Neil MacFarquhar     Jun.20, 2012


Thick wooden beams barred the doors of St. Cyril's Church in Damascus when friends of Bassel Shahade, a young opposition filmmaker killed in Homs in late May, arrived for a memorial prayer service. Government thugs dragged some mourners off to jail and chased away the rest, according to activists.


The leadership of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church did not intervene, they said. But the Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio, an Italian Jesuit, invited Mr. Shahade's friends to pray at Deir Mar Musa, an ancient desert monastery "Nobody was allowing them to pray for their lost friend," he said in Beirut, noting that both Muslims and Christians attended.


His offer was the last straw for the Syrian government, which had been seeking to expel Father Paolo since last year - and finally did. He departed on Saturday, leaving behind the monastery that he rebuilt and reinvented over the last 30 years into a center for interfaith dialogue.


"The very fact that I am for change, for democracy, for human rights and dignity, this is very provocative," said Father Paolo, 57, a burly, animated man with cropped gray hair and a salt-and-pepper beard, wearing a dark gray suit and indigo T-shirt. "I received a one-way visa out."

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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



Negative letters about the new missal in America

PrayTell blog     Jun.16, 2012


This week in America five people wrote in about the new missal - all negative on it.

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New American Bible to be revised into single translation

Michelle Bauman      Jun.19, 2012


The U.S. bishops have announced a plan to revise the New Testament of the New American Bible so a single version can be used for individual prayer, catechesis and liturgy.


"The goal is to produce a single translation," said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C. on June 14.

. . . .

He explained that the bishops' committees on Divine Worship and Doctrine have both expressed a desire for a single translation, suitable for all pastoral applications, including individual prayer, study and devotional use, along with liturgical proclamation. 

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  Upcoming Event   


You are aware of injustices 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 










or text ARCC to 22828


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