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Encouragement for Those Disappointed with the Church

 Leonardo Boff 


There is great disappointment with the institutional Catholic Church. A double emigration is happening: one is exterior, persons who simply leave the Church, and the other is interior, those who remain in the Church but who no longer feel that she is their spiritual home. They continue believing, in spite of the Church. 


It's not for nothing. The present pope has taken some radical   initiatives that have divided the ecclesiastic body. He chose a path of   confrontation with two important episcopacies, the German and the French,   when he introduced the Latin Mass. He articulated an obscure reconciliation   with the Church of the followers of Lefebvre; gutted the principal renewal   institutions of Vatican Council II, especially ecumenism, absurdly denying   the title of "Church" to those Churches that are not Catholic or   Orthodox. When he was a Cardinal he was gravely permissive with pedophiles,   and his concern with AIDS borders the inhumane. 
  The present Catholic Church is submerged in a rigorous winter. The social   base that supports the antiquated model of the present pope is comprised of   conservative groups, more interested in the media, in the logic of the   market, than in proposing an adequate response to the present grave problems.   They offer a "lexotan-Christianity" good for pacifying anxious   consciences, but alienated from the suffering humanity. 
  It is urgent that we animate these Christians about to emigrate with what is   essential in Christianity. It certainly is not the Church, that was never the   object of the preaching of Jesus. He announced a dream, the Kingdom of God,   in contraposition to the Kingdom of Caesar; the Kingdom of God that   represents an absolute revolution in relationships, from the individual to   the divine and the cosmic. 
  Christianity appeared in history primarily as a movement and as the way of   Christ. It predates its grounding in the four Gospels and in the doctrines.   The character of a spiritual path means a type of Christianity that has its   own course. It generally lives on the edge and, at times, at a critical   distance from the official institution. But it is born and nourished by the   permanent fascination with the figure, and the liberating and spiritual   message of Jesus of Nazareth. Initially deemed the "heresy of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24,5) or simply, a "heresy" (Acts 28,22) in   the sense of a "very small group," Christianity was acquiring   autonomy until its followers, according to The Acts of The Apostles (11,36),   were called, "Christians." 
  The movement of Jesus is certainly the most vigorous force of Christianity,   stronger than the Churches, because it is neither bounded by institutions,   nor is it a prisoner of doctrines and dogmas, founded in a specific cultural   background. It is composed of all types of people, from the most varied   cultures and traditions, even agnostics and atheists who let themselves be   touched by the courageous figure of Jesus, by the dream he announced, a   Kingdom of love and liberty, by his ethic of unconditional love, especially   for the poor and the oppressed, and by the way he assumed the human drama,   amidst humiliation, torture and his execution on the cross. Jesus offered an   image of God so intimate and life-friendly that it is difficult to disregard,   even by those who do not believe in God. Many people say, "if there is a   God, it has to be like the God of Jesus." 
  This Christianity as a spiritual path is what really counts. However, from   being a movement it soon became a religious institution, with several forms   of organization. In its bosom were developed different interpretations of the   figure of Jesus, that were transformed into doctrines, and gathered into the   official Gospels. The Churches, when they assumed institutional character,   established criteria of belonging and of exclusion, doctrines such as   identity reference and their own rites of celebration. Sociology, and not   theology, explains that phenomenon. The institution always exists in tension   with the spiritual path. The ideal is that they develop together, but that is   rare. The most important, in any case, is the spiritual path. This has a   future and animates the meaning of life. 
  The problem of the Roman Catholic Church is her claim of being the only true   one. The correct approach is for all the Churches to recognize each other,   because they reveal different and complementary dimensions of the message of   the Nazarene. What is important is for Christianity to maintain its character   as a spiritual path. That can sustain so many Christian men and women in the   face of the mediocrity and irrelevancy into which the present Catholic Church   has fallen. 

Ed. Note: This article was first   published on Leonardo Boff's website    


Some things we have been reading  


Sister Simone Campbell, 'Nun from the   Bus,'
rips Republicans at Democratic convention

David Gibson     Sep.6, 2012


Paul Ryan has been taking a lot of heat over the factual accuracy of claims he made in his   prime time address at the Republican convention last week, but Wednesday   night at the Democratic confab the GOP vice-presidential candidate - and   practicing Catholic - was schooled by a popular nun on the moral shortcomings   of his budget proposals.


"Paul   Ryan claims this budget reflects the principles of our shared faith,"   Sister Simone Campbell, who became a celebrity of sorts this summer when she   led the national "Nuns on the Bus" tour for social justice, told   cheering Democratic delegates in Charlotte.


"But   the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget   failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty," Campbell said.


"We   agree with our bishops, and that's why we went on the road: to stand with   struggling families and to lift up our Catholic sisters who serve them. Their   work to alleviate suffering would be seriously harmed by the Romney-Ryan   budget, and that is wrong."

  By framing her critique in the context of her Christian faith, Campbell was   directly challenging the Republicans in the kind of religious language that   has been a hallmark of the GOP's campaign to rally believers behind Mitt   Romney and Ryan.

Read   more


Transcript   of Simone Campbell remarks as prepared for delivery, Democratic National   Convention, Democratic Underground


Simone Campbell DNC Speech on YouTube



Courts urged not to dismiss Catholic   lawsuits against HHS mandate

Nancy Frazier   O'Brien     Aug.29, 2012


In a dozen   courts around the country, attorneys representing more than 40 Catholic dioceses   or institutions have filed briefs arguing against the federal government's   call to dismiss lawsuits against its contraceptive mandate.
  The Catholic entities are seeking to overturn a requirement that most   religious employers provide contraceptives and sterilization to their   employees.
  The simultaneous filings Aug. 27 were in response to an Aug. 6 brief in which   the Obama administration asked the courts to summarily dismiss the suits,   saying they were premature and that the plaintiffs had no standing to   challenge the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate.

Read   more


Romney: My views on abortion rights are   clear

Aug.27, 2012


In an   interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, Mitt Romney said his views   on abortion rights are more lenient than those put forward in the Republican   party platform.


"My   position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said.   "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest,   and the health and life of the mother."

Read   more


Questions raised over Kansas City bishop's   'boys will be boys' comment

Joshua J.   McElwee    Aug.31, 2012


When the   computer systems manager of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese told her   bishop, Robert Finn, that she had found lewd images of children on a priest's   laptop, he replied, "Sometimes boys will be boys," according to   sworn testimony that appears in court documents filed Thursday.

  Diocesan employee Julie Creech's statement was taken as part of a deposition   included in a court filing for a lawsuit brought by two alleged victims of   Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a Kansas City priest who pleaded guilty earlier this month   to federal charges of producing and attempting to produce sexually graphic   material of minor girls.
  However, after Creech's quote was reported in local media, her lawyer said   Creech refuted the statement. After the deposition, Creech realized she had   "misspoken" and hoped to correct her mistake when she received a   copy of the deposition to verify her testimony, said John Grombowsky,   Creech's attorney.
  Grombowsky said the deposition was made public before Creech had a chance to   review and correct it.

Ratigan's May   2011 arrest on pornography charges raised questions about when his diocese   and Finn first became aware of concerns against him. County prosecutors say   both Finn and the diocese should have reported Ratigan to police as early as   December 2010, when they acknowledge becoming aware of lewd images of   children on his laptop

Read   more


Bishop Finn verdict: Guilty

Mark Morris   & Judy L. Thomas    Sep.6, 2012


Kansas City Bishop   Robert Finn today became the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official convicted   during the church's decades-long child sexual abuse scandal.


Following a   short non-jury trial, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John Torrence   convicted Finn of one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspicions of   child abuse but acquitted him on another count. 

   Torrence sentenced Finn to two years of probation then suspended the   sentence, meaning that if Finn completes the unsupervised probation without   any new incidents happening, his criminal record will be expunged.

. . . .

Finn is the first bishop in the country,   and is believed to be one of only two bishops in the world, convicted of   failing to report suspected child abuse. The other case happened in France.

. . . .

Finn and the diocese face four civil   lawsuits - two in federal court and two in state court - involving Ratigan   and child pornography allegations. The lawsuits allege that Catholic   officials had been warned about Ratigan's troubling behavior and knew of   disturbing images on his computer but failed to take immediate   action.  

Read   more


Liverpool commissions lay men and women to   lead funerals

Tablet       Aug.24, 2012


Lay people will   start to conduct funeral services in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, The Tablet   can reveal. 
  Twenty-two Lay Funeral Ministers, men and women, have been commissioned to   lead funeral services where there is no Requiem Mass and no priest available.


The move,   which comes into effect in the autumn, is due to the declining number of   priests and the large number of funerals that take place in parts of the   archdiocese.

  A leaflet issued by the archdiocese, "Planning a Catholic Funeral",   explains that a lay funeral minister can lead the prayer vigil service before   a funeral, a funeral service, and the committal, the prayers at the   graveside. Lay ministers will only lead a funeral service if there is no   priest available.

Read   more


Cardinal Burke's sex abuse analysis   woefully inadequate

Thomas C. Fox       Sep.3, 2012


Cardinal   Raymond Burke has reportedly expressed his profound sorrow that "the   failure of knowledge and application of the canon law ... contributed   significantly to the scandal of the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy in   some parts of the world."


His remarks,   as far as they go, reveal a serious misunderstanding of the deeper nature of   the clergy sex abuse crisis. Not to face its larger and, in the eyes of many,   more troubling dimension, is to make it all the more unlikely we will ever get   beyond it.

  What makes the cardinal's seemingly inadequate analysis all the more shocking   is that he holds a critical position of authority within our church. As head   of our church's highest court, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic   Signatura, any inability - or unwillingness - to face, examine and respond to   the scandal, now over a quarter century old, only adds to the crisis and   feeds an already widespread pessimism that our church leaders are not up to   the task.


Is it   personality or structure? Is it the makeup of the leadership or the way that   leadership carries out (or fails to carry out) its duties?


What is   especially bothersome about Burke's   inadequate analysis of the abuse scandal is it comes after decades   of news coverage and studies, civil and ecclesial, which suggest far larger   institutional challenges than wayward priests who have failed to live by   canon law.

Read   more


Catholic Church In Scotland Campaigns To   Stop Gay Marriage

Al Webb      Aug.29, 2012


The Roman   Catholic Church has sent a letter to its parishes across Scotland protesting   a political race to legalize same-sex marriage.

. . . .

Scotland is   caught up in a debate over whether it should become the first segment of Britain   to legalize gay marriage, ahead of England and Wales.


After the   letter was read out in churches Sunday, the Scottish government insisted that   it intends to legalize same-sex marriages and religious ceremonies for civil   partnerships because "it is the right thing to do."

The issue is   still in the consultation stage in England and Wales.

Read   more


Band of Sisters - the Documentary


Band of Sisters traces U.S.   nuns' 50-year path from sheltered "daughters of the church" to citizens   of the world. The historical narrative - sisters just before and after   Vatican II, their evolving mission, and their growing conflict with broken   political systems and an autocratic church - weaves in and out with stories   of the women in their current lives.


The   documentary film follows two sisters in Chicago whose participation in a   weekly prayer vigil outside a deportation center leads them further and   further into a world of human suffering and political stalemate.
   Band of Sisters also   introduces viewers to the latest wave in the sisters' journey since Vatican   II: a mission to integrate ecology with spirituality, and to foster a new   understanding of our responsibility as human beings on the planet.
  The documentary was completed in May, 2012, and will premiere September   14 in Chicago 

Read   more


Martini, leading liberal voice, dies

Tablet       Aug.31, 2012


Cardinal   Carlo Maria Martini, long seen as one of the leading progressive voices in   the Church, has died in Gallarate, northern Italy, aged 85.

. . . .

Many   progressive Catholics hoped that he might eventually be elected pope, but by   the time John Paul II died in 2005, the cardinal was 78 and suffering - as   the late pope had done - from Parkinson's disease. His liberal reputation had   also won him praise from some quarters but criticism from others.


Martini   called for greater collegiality in the Church and expressed support for the   ordination of women as deacons. In 2000 he criticised the Vatican declaration   Dominus Iesus, which described the Catholic Church as the one true Church,   saying it was "theologically rather dense ... and not easy to   grasp".

Read   more


In final interview, Cardinal says Church   "200 years out of date"

Naomi   O'Leary     Sep.1, 2012


The former   archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said the   Catholic Church was "200 years out of date" in his final interview   before his death, published on Saturday.

. . . .

"Our   culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy   rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," Martini said in the   interview published in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.


"The   Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the   pope and the bishops. The pedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of   transformation," he said in the interview.

. . . .

Martini's   final message to Pope Benedict was to begin a shake up of the Catholic church   without delay.

"The   church is 200 years out of date. Why don't we rouse ourselves? Are we   afraid?"


Martini was much   loved and thousands paid their respects at his coffin in Milan cathedral on   Saturday.

Read   more

Full   text of interview translated by Rev. Joseph Komonchak


20 more face possible investigation in   Vatileaks case

ANSA      Aug.27, 2012


A further 20   suspects could come under the scrutiny of Vatican magistrates investigating   the so-called Vatileaks case, well-placed Vatican sources told ANSA on   Monday.
  An initial probe has already led to the indictment of Pope Benedict XVI's   butler Paolo Gabriele for aggravated theft of secret Church documents and of   IT expert Claudio Sciarpelletti for aiding and abetting. The second phase of   investigations has still not been formally opened but the sources say at   least 20 more people are suspected of having played a role in leaking the   confidential papers, which included letters to the Pope and Vatican Secretary   of State Tarcisio Bertone from the Holy See's ambassador in Washington, Carlo   Maria Vigano, who was deputy governor of the Vatican City at the time they   were written.
  The letters contained allegations of corruption in the management of the Vatican   City.



Lawyer for pope's ex-butler, charged in   Vatican leaks scandal, quits over strategy differences

Nicole Winfield       Aug.30, 2012


A lawyer for   the pope's ex-butler, who is facing trial for his role in the Vatican leaks   scandal, has resigned.


Attorney   Carlo Fusco said Thursday he had quit as Paolo Gabriele's attorney over   differences in defense strategy. It wasn't immediately clear if Gabriele's   other lawyer, Cristiana Arru, was remaining on as counsel.

. . .   . 

Fusco has   essentially acknowledged Gabriele's guilt after Vatican police found papal   documents in Gabriele's Vatican City apartment

Read   more


Paolo Gabriele: "It was the Holy   Spirit that guided me"

Giacomo   Galeazzi     Sep.4, 2012


He describes   himself as a benefactor of the Catholic Church and refers to the   "centrality" of the Holy Spirit to explain his actions. Last   night, L'Infedele, a political talk show on Italian television   channel LA7, broadcast a comprehensive interview with Paolo Gabriele,   the Pope's former butler who was arrested in May, on charges of stealing   confidential documents from Benedict XVI's apartment. Part of the interview   had already been broadcast on LA7 without, however, revealing Gabriele's   identity. The former butler has provided a description of the individual that   made the publication of the documents possible: there are at least twenty or   so people involved, none of whom have any ties with powerful figures but who   "share their leader's [that is, the Pope's] desire for purity."


"It is   an act of anger, because there is a sort of code of silence that is   preventing facts from being brought to light, not because of power struggle   but because of fear. In our country, one can carry out a massacre and leave   undisturbed and 24 hours later, no one can talk about what happened,"   Gabriele said, referring to the Estermann case. "Or a little a girl   disappears for 30 years and there is no one who can give any information   about what happened," the former butler added, alluding to the Emanuela   Orlandi case. The popular Pope   Ratzinger Blog comments: "To think that it has been   years that in our own small way we have been saying that the Pope wants to   clean house but is finding it difficult, or rather, there is someone who is constantly   trying to put obstacles in his way in the Curia and in the various   dioceses."

Read   more


Vatican drops lawsuit against German   magazine

Associated   Press     Aug.30, 2012


The German   Bishops' Conference says the Vatican has dropped its lawsuit against a   satirical German magazine over a cover that depicted Pope Benedict XVI with a   yellow stain on his robe.


A Hamburg   court had granted an injunction barring the magazine, Titanic, from distributing   the image that fronted its July edition, headlined "Hallelujah at the   Vatican - the leak has been found!" That was a reference to a scandal   over leaked Vatican documents.


A hearing on   Titanic's appeal was due Friday. But on Thursday, a statement issued through   the bishops said "after detailed deliberations" the Vatican had   decided to withdraw its application for an injunction.


The   statement said "further legal measures are being examined to effectively   counter attacks on the dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church."



Vatican refuses to comment on cyber attack   rumors

David Kerr       Aug.31 2012


The Vatican   is refusing to confirm or deny reports that it has once again been subject to   a cyber attack by hostile hackers.


"No   comment," said a two-word Aug. 31 statement from the Vatican Press   Office in response to an inquiry from CNA.


According to   an Aug 29 report from FOX Business, the Vatican discovered this week that it   had been victim to "a sophisticated and targeted cyber   attack." 


The internet   security firm Radware issued a threat alert on Aug. 28, stating that a new   Trojan malware - short for "malicious software" - was being used   for the first time against one of its customers.


A   confidential source told Fox Business that the victim of the attack was the   Vatican and claimed that "the tool was quite sophisticated, apparently   focused and, until now, stealthy."

Read   more


As John Carr, Catholic policy adviser,   retires, Catholics worry who will replace him

Michelle   Boorstein     Sep.1, 2012


For the   typical American Catholic, seeing Cardinal Tim Dolan, the country's top   bishop, give the closing prayer at the GOP convention was the big   political event of the summer. But for Catholics who know how the   church really operates in Washington, something far more   significant went down last week: John Carr retired.


For the past   quarter-century, Carr has been the most important policy adviser to the   country's Catholic bishops, their Karl Rove on everything from health care to   clergy sex abuse. He describes himself as "a 62-year-old, white, round,   church bureaucrat," but Carr's career is a road map for how Catholicism   and politics have mixed in Washington for a generation.

. . . .

Catholics   are becoming more divided over whether they focus on church teachings against   war and poverty or the ones against abortion and gay marriage. Catholic   progressives are particularly worried about Carr leaving as Church   officialdom in recent years has put greater and greater emphasis on defending   the unborn.   

Read   more


Catholics & Party Politics

Commonweal    Editors    Aug.28, 2012


Obama and Romney   have chosen running mates who reflect their political philosophies.   Curiously, both vice presidential candidates are also Roman Catholics, the   first time this has happened in American history.  . . .  Yet   despite the obvious sincerity of their Catholic faith, both men's moral and   political views reflect the positions of their political parties more than   those of their church. In a venerable Catholic tradition, Biden has been an   advocate for the poor, the elderly, and the marginalized, and a strong defender   of the role of government in cushioning the harshness of modern economic life   generally. Yet he has also been a staunch defender of abortion rights, and   recently a champion of same-sex marriage. Ryan is a prolife   firebrand who would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and a   firm opponent of same-sex marriage. Yet his views on the morality of   capitalism, influenced by the eccentric philosopher Ayn Rand and   the Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, are very hard to reconcile   with Catholic social teaching. Pursuing one's self-interest is the first   principle of any just moral order, according to Rand and Hayek. Catholicism   places our obligations to others foremost in any moral or social calculus.

. . . .

The presence   of these two Catholics on the presidential tickets reminds us of how   complicated political choices always are, how often politics involves   unpalatable tradeoffs, and how difficult it is to translate religious   conviction into law and public policy. It also reveals once again that   Catholic social teaching has no natural political home in the United States.   Neither party can make room for both Catholicism's communitarian social   teachings and its traditional sexual morality. Ideally, then, Catholic   Democrats and Catholic Republicans should serve as moral leaven in each   party, and it is a great shame that neither Biden nor Ryan seem capable of   contributing to that effort. The nation faces enormous challenges at home as   well as the real danger of yet another war in the Middle East. Something more   than posturing and paralysis is needed from Washington. Faith must help   deepen our sense of shared purpose, not divide us further. 

Read   more


Increased Access to Health Care May   Decrease Abortions

Brian   Fung     Aug.24, 2012


The number   of abortions in Massachusetts has decreased despite predictions that   health-care reform would have the opposite effect. Can the health insurance   expansions part of Obamacare do the same nationally?
  . . . . 

From   Massachusetts comes growing evidence that the quest for lower abortion rates   may not be at a standstill -- and the key may be better insurance coverage.   As the number of insured has gone up in Massachusetts, new state data show a   corresponding decline in the number of abortions performed there since 2006.


Massachusetts,   of course, is known nationally as the state that launched an ambitious   project to insure almost all of its residents -- a proposal that helped give   rise to President Obama's own health-care law. Census statistics reveal that   in the three years before Governor Mitt Romney enacted the program in 2006,   10.7 percent of state residents lacked health insurance, on average. 


That   three-year average was nearly halved after Romneycare took effect. From 2008 to   2010, Massachusetts boasted the best uninsured rate in the nation: just 5   percent, on average.


Meanwhile,   as more people were benefiting from expanded coverage, the abortion rate was   quietly coming down. Many states keep detailed records on all the legal   abortions they perform, and Massachusetts is no different. According to data   from the Department of Public Health and the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2006 to   2008 the annual abortion rate in Massachusetts fell from 3.8 per 1,000 state   residents to 3.6 per 1,000. The findings, first reported in 2010 by   Harvard rheumatologist Dr. Patrick Whelan, contradicted some forecasts that   better coverage would simply drive up the abortion rate rather than bringing   it down. 

Read   more


In Praise of Radical Feminists

Kevin McCardle       Aug.27, 2012


In an   interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter,   Cardinal William Levada, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine   of the Faith, expresses the opinion that the Doctrinal Assessment of the   Leadership Conference of Women Religious is "effusive in its   praise" of American women religious. All Catholics should join Cardinal   Levada in this effusion.
  . . . . 

One point of   contention in the Doctrinal Assessment, and one for which the L.C.W.R.   receives a reprimand, is the prevalence of "radical feminist"   themes in some programs sponsored by the L.C.W.R. An alternative view,   however, is that it is exactly their radical feminist nature for which   American Catholic women religious should be praised.


A radical is   someone who maintains strong principles and acts on them. What makes Catholic   women religious so radical? Nothing more than the fact that they gave up   their former lives and followed Christ.

. . . .

A feminist   advocates rights for women equal to those for men. Feminism also provides a   proactive approach to women's place in society and church. Historically, women   have been shut out from meaningful participation in the magisterium of the   Catholic Church, much as until recently they were shut out of political and   economic leadership in civil society. In the Catholic Church, women cannot be   ordained to the priesthood nor to the diaconate. Feminist Catholic women   religious therefore face a choice: leave the church or adapt. By and large,   the religious communities in the United States have adapted. Some of these   congregations were feminist before the term was even coined. 

Read   more



Achbishop-elect of San Francisco, Rev.   Salvatore Cordileone, charged with DUI misdemeanors

Angela   Woodall    Aug.31, 2012


The Roman   Catholic archbishop-elect of San Francisco, Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, has been   charged with two misdemeanors stemming from his arrest for allegedly driving   under the influence, the San Diego city attorney's office announced Friday.


The city   attorney's office said Cordileone is accused of one count of driving under   the influence and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level greater   than the legal limit of .08 percent.


Cordileone   was arrested Aug. 27 after being stopped at a checkpoint in San Diego.


He was   released on a $2,500 bond and ordered to appear in court Oct. 9.

Read   more


Pope 'deeply hurt' by German criticism

Tablet       Aug.24, 2012


Pope   Benedict XVI "is deeply hurt" by the negative way the German Church   appears to regard him, according to the Vatican's nuncio to Germany. 

  Archbishop Jean-Claude Périsset, added that German Catholics'   "rejection" of Pope Benedict XVI was doing them more harm than the   Pope.

. . . .

The German   Church has become increasingly critical of Pope Benedict. Bishops have   complained about conservative "informers", Vatican II's rejection   of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) and the new translation of the   Missal. 

Read   more


Author says Vatican rules through indoctrination,   control, and fear 

Suzette   Martinez Standring     Sep.1, 2012


The Vatican   rules the Roman Catholic Church through indoctrination, control, and fear,   rather than through nurturing love, service, and freedom, according to Father   Emmett Coyne, a Roman Catholic priest. His new book, "The Theology of   Fear," exposes how far the highest church authorities have strayed from   the gospel of Jesus Christ (CreateSpace, $12.25, 325 pages, July 2012). The   book is available on Amazon and on


"I'm on   the last lap of life and eternity is facing me. It's my last chance to speak   up and speak out," said Father Coyne, who was ordained in 1966 and is   retired at age 73.

. . . .

What does   this long-time priest hope to accomplish with his book? The 50th anniversary   of the Vatican Council will occur in October, and the Rev. Father Coyne   believes change, reform, and transparency of the church's highest echelons   are crucial. He wants everyday Catholics to rediscover Jesus' teachings that   it is the person who is absolute in God's eyes, not an institution. Jesus   emphasized the spirit of the law grounded in love, never the letter of the   law based on punishment. Father Coyne expects church authorities will not be   happy with his book. "One has to follow the truth wherever it takes   him," he said.

Read   more


Plan for Catholic church makes waves in   Bahrain

Reem Khalifa       Sep.3, 2012


The building   of the largest Roman Catholic church in the Gulf was supposed to be   a chance for the tiny island kingdom of Bahrain to showcase its traditions of   religious tolerance in a conservative Muslim region where churches largely   operate under heavy limitations.


Instead, the   planned church - intended to be the main center for Catholics in the region -   has turned into another point of tension in a country already being pulled   apart by sectarian battles between its Sunni and Shiite   Muslim communities.


Hardline   Sunni clerics have strongly opposed the construction of the church complex,   in a rare open challenge of the country's Sunni king. More than 70 clerics   signed a petition last week saying it was forbidden to build churches in the   Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam.

. . . .

So far the   outcry has brought no change in plans to build the church complex, which has   been backed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's monarchy. The complex will be   the size of a large shopping center - about 9,000 square meters (97,000   square foot) - in Awali, an area near Riffa, south of the capital, Manama. It   is to be a base for the Vatican to the small Catholic communities in the   northern Gulf, as well as a spiritual center for other   Christian denominations.


Work on the   compound is still in its preliminary stages and no firm date has been given for   its completion, leaving open the possibility of more complaints in the   coming months.

Read   more


Residences of Melkite, Maronite   archbishops in Syrian city ransacked

Catholic News   Service    Aug.27, 2012


Fighting in   Aleppo, Syria, has not spared the residences of the local Melkite and Maronite   Catholic archbishops, according to the Vatican's Fides news agency.

 The   residence of Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart was ransacked during   clashes Thursday. The archbishop and several priests who live in the building   had fled a few hours earlier to a Franciscan residence in a safer   neighborhood, Fides reported Monday.

. . . .

The Maronite   archbishop's residence and a museum of Byzantine Christian art in the same   neighborhood were both ransacked as well, Fides said.


Khazen said   it still seems like there is no solution to the Syrian conflict in sight   because no one, nationally or internationally, seems able to pressure either   side into beginning a real dialogue.

Read   more


Judge postpones rape trial of Philadelphia   priest, Catholic school teacher

Sarah   Hoye     Sep.4, 2012


A judge has   postponed the trial of a Philadelphia Catholic priest and a parochial school   teacher, both accused of raping the same altar boy in separate incidents.


The trial,   scheduled to start Tuesday, was postponed due to a family emergency for a   defense attorney. A new trial date could be set by the end of the week.


The Rev.   Charles Engelhardt, who was a priest at St. Jerome Parish in northeast   Philadelphia, and Bernard Shero, a teacher at the parish's school, have been   charged with rape, indecent sexual assault and other criminal charges in the   alleged assaults that occurred more than a decade ago.


The accuser,   dubbed "Billy" in a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report, will be   the key witness against the men, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to the   charges.


The former   altar boy, now in his 20s, testified earlier this year during the landmark   trial of two Philadelphia priests charged with child sexual abuse and conspiracy.   It marked the first time a Catholic church leader -- in this case, Monsignor   William Lynn -- has been convicted for covering up the crimes of offending   priests.

Read   more


422 sex abuse claims filed against   Christian Brothers

CBC News       Aug.23, 2012


The final   number for claims against the Christian Brothers in North America is in,   surprising even some of the lawyers handling them.

  Christian Brothers entities in North America declared bankruptcy last year.   The deadline for filing suit against the order expired Aug. 1.
  The total number of claims approved is 422.
  About 160 are from Newfoundland and Labrador. The rest originate from the   United States.
  Mount Pearl lawyer Geoff Budden and his firm filed 90 of the claims from this   province.


'I think the   lawyers involved certainly were all expecting more to come forward, but we   would not have necessarily expected 422 claims.'-Geoff Budden

Read   more


Sex Abuse Victim To Sue 2 Bishops With Philadelphia   Ties

Pat   Ciarrocchi      Aug.25, 2012


With the   second clergy sex abuse trial in Philadelphia set to begin in early   September, lawyers for the abuse victim in that case are preparing civil   litigation.


This week   the attorneys told the court they intend to amend their lawsuit and also go   after two bishops with Philadelphia ties.


"This   won't be the last of it. This is groundbreaking," said Philadelphia   Attorney Slade McLaughlin.

  McLaughlin, of McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., intends to name Bishop   Joseph Cistone, the current Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan and Bishop Edward   Cullen, the former Bishop of Allentown, as he proceeds in a civil case, on   behalf of a former altar boy who was sexually abused in 1992.


"My   best description of them is that they were the kingpins," said   McLaughlin in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News. 

Read   more


NY priest apologizes for sex abuse   comments

 Deepti   Hajela     Aug.30, 2012


A New York priest apologized   Thursday after coming under criticism for saying that priests accused of   child sex abuse are often seduced by their accusers and that a first-time   offender should not go to jail.


The Rev. Benedict   Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal made the   comments in an interview with the National Catholic   Register published this week. The website for the conservative   independent Register then removed the story and posted an apology for   publishing the comments. Groeschel and the friars did as well.

. . . .

Editor in Chief Jeanette De Melo   posted a note apologizing for "publishing without clarification or   challenge Father Benedict Groeschel's comments that seem to suggest that the   child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the   truth. Our publication of that comment was an editorial mistake, for which we   sincerely apologize."


Groeschel also posted an apology   to the site. "I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone   else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind   and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have   spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret   any harm I have caused to anyone," he said.

Read more


R. Daniel Conlon, Catholic Bishop, Says   Church's Credibility On Sex Abuse Is 'Shredded'

 David   Gibson     Sep.5, 2012


The U.S. Catholic bishops' point   man on sexual abuse has said that the hierarchy's credibility on fixing the   problem is "shredded" and that the situation is comparable to the   Reformation, when "the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy   were discredited."


Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet,   Ill., last month told a conference of staffers who oversee child safety   programs in American dioceses that he had always assumed that consistently   implementing the bishops' policies on child protection, "coupled with   some decent publicity, would turn public opinion around."


"I now know this was an   illusion," Conlon, chairman of the bishops' Committee for the Protection   of Children and Young People, said in an address on Aug. 13 to the National   Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Coordinators Leadership Conference in   Omaha, Neb.


His talk was published in the Aug.   30 edition of Origins, an affiliate of Catholic News Service.

Read   more


Pa. church's ex-CFO gets 2-7 years in   $900k theft

Maryclaire Dale       Mon.dd, 2012


The former   top finance officer of the Philadelphia archdiocese is going to prison for two   to seven years for embezzling $900,000.


A lawyer for   42-year-old Anita Guzzardi says she succumbed to gambling and shopping   addictions after feeling betrayed by the church over the priest sex-abuse   scandal.


Guzzardi had   worked at the Roman Catholic archdiocese since she was 20, and was making   $124,000 a year as chief financial officer when she was fired last year.


Prosecutors   say she took relatives on trips to Hawaii, the Caribbean and San Francisco,   and spent lavishly on herself and others.

Read   more


L.A.-area priest stole $284,000 from   elderly widow, suit alleges

Stuart   Pfeifer     Aug.25, 2012


The   Archdiocese of Los Angeles suspended a priest Friday amid allegations that he   stole nearly $300,000 from an elderly widow who was a member of his parish.

Michalena   Jones, 79, filed a lawsuit this week that accused Father Peter Valdez of   befriending her after her husband's death and using his influence to steal   $284,000 over a seven-year period.


The   archdiocese placed Valdez on administrative leave, "pending the   resolution of this matter," said Tod Tamberg, an archdiocese spokesman.


Jones said   she met Valdez at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Palmdale after her husband   died in 2003. The priest persuaded Jones to give him $150,000 to buy a home   in Downey and added his name to her checking account, which he used to make   mortgage payments, the lawsuit said.

Read   more


"What Happened at Vatican II"




For the   annual Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University, the Rev. John W. O'Malley   delivers two talks about "What Happened at Vatican II." 



A Chronological New Testament

Marcus Borg       Aug.31, 2012


A chronological   New Testament is different from and yet the same as the New Testament   familiar to Christians. It contains the same 27 documents, but sequences them   in the chronological order in which they were written.

. . . .
  It begins with seven letters attributed to Paul, all from the 50s. The first   Gospel is Mark (not Matthew), written around 70. Revelation is not last, but   almost in the middle, written in the 90s. Twelve documents follow Revelation,   with II Peter the last, written as late as near the middle of the second   century.

. . . .

Seeing and   reading the New Testament in chronological sequence matters for historical   reasons. It illuminates Christian origins. Much becomes apparent: 

  • Beginning with seven of Paul's letters illustrates that there        were vibrant Christian communities spread throughout the Roman Empire        before there were written Gospels. His letters provide a        "window" into the life of very early Christian communities.
  • Placing the Gospels after Paul makes it clear that as written        documents they are not the source of early Christianity but its product.        The Gospel -- the good news -- of and about Jesus existed before the        Gospels. They are the products of early Christian communities several        decades after Jesus' historical life and tell us how those communities        saw his significance in their historical context.
  • Reading the Gospels in chronological order beginning with Mark        demonstrates that early Christian understandings of Jesus and his        significance developed. As Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, they        not only added to Mark but often modified Mark.
  • Seeing John separated from the other Gospels and relatively late        in the New Testament makes it clear how different his Gospel is. In        consistently metaphorical and symbolic language, it is primarily        "witness" or "testimony" to what Jesus had become in        the life and thought of John's community.
  • Realizing that many of the documents are from the late first and        early second centuries allows us to glimpse developments in early        Christianity in its third and fourth generations. In general, they        reflect a trajectory that moves from the radicalism of Jesus and Paul to        increasing accommodation with the cultural conventions of the time.

Read   more


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


Priest survey: What do Catholic clergy   think of the new Mass translations?

U.S. Catholic


The Catholic Church was abuzz last   year in anticipation of the new English translation of the Roman Missal being   introduced in parishes around the country. The change caused a lot of anxiety   for people in the pews, but it put just as much pressure--if not more--on   Catholic priests.


We want to know how priests really   feel about the new translation as we near the first anniversary of its   implementation. Has the transition in your parish gone smoothly, or do you   still face daily struggles with the use of the new translations?

Please take our survey and let us   know your thoughts on the new Roman Missal, and we'll publish the results in   our December 2012 issue.



Upcoming Event 




You are   aware of injustice in the Church.  

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


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


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


Download a poster and/or   a brochure.    

Registration   information here.



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