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A Fortnight of Freedom

 Catholic Heroes of Religious Liberty


The American Catholic bishops, charging that religious liberty is under attack, have proposed that the two-week period from June 21 to July 4 be dedicated to a Fortnight of Freedom, emphasizing prayer, education and public action. 


Their summons seems hypocritical, however, when it is evident that they ignore the sensus fidei or sense of the faith professed by the People of God (Lumen Gentium 35) and trample on the rights of conscience of those who disagree with them. When they speak of religious liberty one may well ask: Religious liberty for whom? The bishops? Or all the Catholic people?


In observance of the Fortnight of Freedom Catholics may wish to dedicate each day to those Catholic theologians and leaders who have been bullied, threatened, silenced, or wrongfully excommunicated by the pope, the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith (CDF), and the bishops. The following are worthy of being so honored:


1. Yves Congar, O.P., leading theologian at Vatican II. Forbidden to teach or publish in 1956 by the Holy Office (the successor of the Inquisition) for his writings on ecumenism. He explained: "What put me wrong [in their eyes] is not having said false things, but having said things they do not like to have said." 


2. John Courtney Murray, S.J., principal author of Vatican II's "Declaration on Religious Liberty". Silenced by the Holy Office and forbidden to publish because of his writings. 


3. Hans Kung, theological expert at Vatican II. Deprived of official status as a Catholic theologian at the University of Tubingen by Pope John Paul II, because of his book Infallible? an Inquiry.


4. Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., another major voice at Vatican II. His books on ministry drew hostile attention from the Vatican and mistrust and suspicion from the Dutch bishops.

5. Leonardo Boff, O.F.M., proponent of liberation theology. Silenced in 1985 by the CDF because of his criticism of church leadership. Charged Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, with "religious terrorism."

6. Charles Curran, moral theologian. Ousted from Catholic University in 1967 because of his teaching on contraception. Reinstated after a strike by faculty and students. Coordinated a dissent by 600 theologians from Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae. Under pressure from John Paul II, ousted again in 1986.

7. Joan Chittister, O.S.B., spiritual writer. In 2001 the Vatican Congregation on Consecrated Life forbade her to address a conference on the Ordination of Women in Dublin. Backed by her community, she ignored that admonition.

8. Roger Haight, S.J., author of Jesus, Symbol of God.  Prohibited by the CDF in 2009 from writing and teaching.

9. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., The Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2011, without consulting her, charged that her Quest for the Living God differs from authentic Catholic teaching on essential points." She rejected that as a misinterpretation and misrepresentation of her views.

10. Louise Lears, S.C., removed from ministry in 2008 by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, and Louise Akers, S.C., removed from teaching in 2009 by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, for supporting women's ordination. Sister Akers stated that to deny women's right to ordination would violate her conscience. 

11. Margaret McBride, R.S.M., excommunicated in 2009 by Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, because she voted, as a member of the Ethics Committee at St. Joseph's Hospital, to save the life of a mother rather than that of a fetus.

12. Geoffrey Robinson, retired auxiliary bishop of Sydney. The Vatican Congregation for Bishops, prompted by American bishops, asked him to cancel his American tour in 2008 because he called for a review of Church teaching on sexuality.

13. Margaret Farley, R.S.M., author of the book Just Love, which the CDF declared is not a valid expression of Catholic teaching. She explained that it was not intended to do so, but rather to help people think through questions of human sexuality.

14. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, accused by the CDF of expressing "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith" and daring to "challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church's authentic teachers of faith and morals."

Nearly four hundred years ago, the astronomer, Galileo, was condemned by the Inquisition because he asserted that the earth moves around the sun. In 2000 John Paul II issued an apology. Let us hope that four hundred years will not elapse before the Church acknowledges these modern heroes of religious liberty, who dared to say "things [the bishops] do not like to have said."




Joseph F. O'Callaghan is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at Fordham University, former Chair and current Board Member of Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, and author of  Electing Our Bishops: How the Catholic Church Should Choose Its Leaders (2007).     



Some things we have been reading  


Bishops Renew Plea To Congress And Administration To Repair Affordable Care Act

USCCB News Release     Jun.28, 2012


Today the United States Supreme Court issued a decision upholding as a tax the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires individuals to purchase a health plan-the so-called "individual mandate."
 . . . .

The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.


First, ACA allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal policy.  . . . .


Second, the Act fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context.  . . . .


Third, ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly.ACA leaves them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own money.  . . . .

Following enactment of ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today.The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above.We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws. 

Read more



 initial reactions to ACA decision



What exactly is Obamacare and what did it change?

A summary of the ACA with citations from the actual


Read more




The Nuns on the Bus tour promotes social justice - and turns a deaf ear to the Vatican

Michelle Boorstein     Jun.27, 2012


The bus Sister Simone Campbell is using for her cross-country publicity tour is the type typically used by rock bands. To some, this seems appropriate. The D.C. nun was greeted in Jackson, Mich., with "Saint Simone" signs, and in Janesville, Wis., people inside a downtown office-building atrium lined the balconies chanting and snapping photos.


In the past couple of weeks, the dry-humored lobbyist has been on the 'The Colbert Report'.   "The Daily Show," which will feature Campbell in July, made her a satiny, "Grease"-like jacket emblazoned with "Bad Habitz" on the back.

. . . .

The two-week trip, which began June 18, is an attempt to motivate opposition to a House budget that would sharply reduce spending on social services. But it is also a response of sorts to a Vatican report in April raising alarm about "radical feminism" among top American nuns and singling out Network, the D.C.-based social-justice lobbying group Campbell heads. 

. . . .

The tour's unspoken, but nonetheless loud, message: The nuns' moral compass is working just fine, thank you. "Their big mistake was naming us," Campbell said. "With all this attention, we had to use it for our mission." 

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Nuns on the bus react to SCOTUS ruling

Jo Piazza     Jun.28, 2012


Sister Simone Campbell was so excited she could hardly speak at noon on Thursday.  . . . .  "I can breathe more deeply now," Sister Campbell said. "I was holding my breath last night. When we got together to pray last night it was that this would be such a joyous thing for the American people if we as a nation could begin to care for each other again."

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H.Res. 689: Honoring Catholic sisters for their contributions to the United States.

112th Congress, 2011-2012. Text as of Jun 18, 2012 (Introduced).


Ms. DeLauro (for herself, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Higgins, Mr. Cardoza, Mrs. Capps, Ms. McCollum, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Ryan of Ohio, Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California, Ms. Roybal-Allard, and Ms. Eshoo) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


Honoring Catholic sisters for their contributions to the United States.


Whereas approximately 220,000 Catholic sisters have served in the United States since its founding;

Whereas there are approximately 57,000 Catholic sisters in the United States today;

Whereas Catholic sisters are women who dedicate their lives to God by serving God's people, especially the poor, the sick, and the marginalized;

. . . .

Whereas the Leadership Council of Women Religious, NETWORK, and all the individual congregations of women religious, make our nation stronger and deserve our deepest appreciation: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes and commends our nation's Catholic sisters, whose inspiring legacy of service continues to enrich our nation;

(2) honors the contributions of Catholic sisters to this country; and

(3) stands in solidarity with Catholic sisters' mission to work toward a more just society for all of God's people.

Read full resolution



What did 75 Members of Congress Say to the Nuns?

Nick Sementelli     Jul.2, 2012


Coinciding with the release of a Congressional resolution thanking the American women religious community, 75 members of Congress are sending their personal messages of gratitude to the sisters:


The message comes as the Nuns on the Bus cross-country tour makes its final homecoming stop on Capitol Hill today.         URL


Nuns on the Bus return from their tour on The Last Word on MSNBC.  Lawrence O'Donnell interviews Simone Campbell SSS and E.J. Dionne ~ 8:30 minute video.


House Arrest Denied for Convicted Pa. Monsignor

Joann Loviglio    Jul.5 2012


A Roman Catholic official convicted of child endangerment will remain behind bars until his sentencing later this month, a judge ruled Thursday, denying a defense request for house arrest.

Monsignor William Lynn has been in custody since a jury convicted him June 22 of the charge, which stemmed from his handling of sex abuse claims at the Philadelphia archdiocese.

Lynn, 61, is the first U.S. Catholic church official convicted in the cover-up of child sex-abuse complaints. He faces 3 1/2 to seven years in prison.

"After due consideration, the motion is denied," Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who presided over Lynn's three-month jury trial, said at the brief hearing that was packed with the monsignor's friends and family. She did approve a defense request to move up Lynn's sentencing date from Aug. 13 to July 24. 

. . . . 

A national support group for sexual abuse victims praised the judge's decision to keep Lynn in prison.

"Some may view this decision as harsh. We consider it just and smart," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "And we hope it will help end current cover-ups and deter future cover-ups by Catholic officials across the country."

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Philly archdiocese restores 4 accused priests, removes 2 others

David O'Reilly    Jul.6 2012


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced it is restoring to ministry four priests who were accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct with a minor, and removing two.


The two priests who will not be returned to ministry are the Rev. John Bowe, 64 and the Rev. David Givey, 68.

Restored to ministry will be the Rev. Paul Castellani, 53, Msgr. John Close, 68, Rev. Steven Harris, 57, and Rev. Leonard Peterson, 70.


In an announcement issued Friday, the archdiocese said the allegations against the four had not been substantiated despite lengthy investigations.

Bowe and Givey were found to have violated the archdiocese's Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, which is considered a lesser allegation than sexual assault.

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Questions about religious liberty campaign's finances not personal

NCR Editorial     Jul.5, 2012


When a reporter recently asked Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore what groups and individuals were funding the U.S. bishops' religious liberty campaign -- including their vaunted Fortnight for Freedom campaign, which many see as a thinly veiled campaign against President Barack Obama -- he acted as if the question were a personal affront.

Lori, who heads up the bishops' religious liberty effort, has gone to great lengths to argue that the campaign is not partisan, that it is not intended to bring down a president and that it is in service of far more high-minded ideals than election-year politicking.

All of that may be correct, but the question, not an affront, stands: Who's paying for this extravaganza? ...

The fact of the matter is that Supreme Knight Carl Anderson took up residence in one of the most extreme corners of the Republican Party, as a legislative aide to North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, during the 1970s and 1980s. He spent 1983-87 in various capacities in the Reagan White House. It is logical, then, to presume that conservative Republican views still inform his political outlook. It is a presumption with contemporary evidence. In a recent issue of the organization's magazine, Columbia, Anderson showed a taste for rather imprudent hyperbole when he compared the situation in the United States today to the virulent and bloody anti-Catholic period of the Cristero War in Mexico. That the comparison is absurd is not the important point. That the U.S. bishops would align themselves so closely with such absurdity is the deeper concern.


The Knights, of course, can hire whomever the organization wishes. They can print in their magazine whatever they'd like. They can do with their money whatever they wish. They spend a great deal of it on charitable work, and they spread quite a bit of it around to aid bishops (Lori, who is the Knights' supreme chaplain, one year received more than $250,000 while he was bishop of Bridgeport, Conn.) and millions have been sent to the Vatican.

The organization is not bashful at all about announcing such donations. The Knights should be as forthcoming about what kind of support they're giving the bishops' campaign. For in this case, they are well beyond the bounds of their membership and those whose insurance premiums fill the organization's coffers. They are helping to make a public case.

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Sheen: From the Emmy Award to the Altars

Giorgio Bernardelli     Jul.2, 2012


He could be the first blessed figure to win an Emmy Award, the most prestigious television award. Among the Congregation's decrees for the causes of saints approved by the Pope a few days ago, is the decree of the heroic values of Bishop Fulton Sheen, Catholic pioneer of today's huge host of television preachers. Back in the 50's this prelate was so successful on the small screen that he appeared in a programme on prime-time television in the U.S. openly competing against stars such as Frank Sinatra and Milton Berle.

Sheen was born in El Paso in 1895; a priest since 1919, he was sent to study Philosophy at Leuven University. A great apologist, he was given his own radio show in 1930 which he carried on for twenty years, with audience numbers going up week by week. When he became Auxiliary Bishop of New York in 1951, television network DuMont offered him a show that was to go on air every Tuesday at eight in the evening. Life is Worth Living proved so successful that he received an Emmy Award for the show in 1952. When he collected it, Bishop Sheen expressed his gratitude to the authors: "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John." The programme was broadcast until 1957, reaching audiences of thirty million people.

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Former Detroit seminary rector named bishop of Steubenville

Catholic News Service     Jul.3, 2012


Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Jeffrey M. Monforton, rector-president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for the past six years, as bishop of Steubenville, Ohio.

. . . .

Monforton, 49, succeeds Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, 63, who was named in May 2011 as bishop of Joliet, Ill.

The new bishop also served from 1998 to 2005 as priest-secretary to now-retired Cardinal Adam J. Maida, who was then archbishop of Detroit, and had most recently been pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Rochester, the Detroit Archdiocese's largest parish.
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Milwaukee Archdiocese, bankruptcy creditors to enter mediation

Annysa Johnson     Jul.3, 2012


The Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its bankruptcy creditors, most of them known or alleged victims of child sexual abuse, agreed Tuesday to enter mediation, a signal that one of the nation's largest Catholic Church bankruptcies to date may be nearing a resolution.


U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley issued an order Tuesday naming retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Randall J. Newsome of San Francisco as the mediator, at the request of both sides. She gave them 60 days beginning July 20 to try to reach a settlement, and she imposed a stay on all court proceedings during that time.


"The focus should be on the mediation," said Kelley, who has raised concerns about the mounting legal fees in the 15-month-old case, which she has likened to an "all-out war."

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Gerhard Ludwig Mueller Tapped By Pope To Head Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith

Nicole Winfield     Jul.2, 2012


The pope named Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller to head the Vatican's all-important orthodoxy office Monday, tapping a German theologian like himself to head the congregation he presided over for nearly a quarter-century enforcing Catholic doctrine.


The 64-year-old Regensburg bishop replaces American Cardinal William Levada, who turned 76 last month and is retiring after seven years at the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the former Holy Office.


While Mueller is considered a conservative theologian - he has penned some 400 academic articles and founded an institute to publish all the pope's writings - some of his less-than-orthodox positions have raised eyebrows in Rome and abroad among staunch conservatives.


Chief among them is his friendship with the Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, the Peruvian priest considered the founder of liberation theology, the Marxist-influenced theology advocating for the poor.

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Pope fires Slovak bishop in rare show of papal power; usually bishops are asked to resign

Nicole Winfield     Jul.2, 2012


The pope fired a 52-year-old Slovak bishop on Monday for apparently mismanaging his diocese in a rare show of papal power over his bishops.


Usually when bishops run into trouble - either for alleged moral lapses or management problems - they are persuaded by the Vatican to resign. But Pope Benedict XVI has become increasingly willing to forcibly remove bishops who refuse to step down, sacking three others in the last year alone.


His willingness to do so raises questions about whether he would take the same measures against bishops who covered up for sexually abusive priests. So far he has not.
. . . . 

The ability of the pope to actively fire bishops, and not just passively accept their resignations, would seem to undercut the Vatican's argument of a hands-off pope.

Jeffrey Anderson, who is seeking to hold the Holy See liable for a case of an abusive priest in Oregon, said the Vatican was trying to have it both ways.


"They will remove, using their canon laws and their own protocols, bishops, priests and clerics for any reasons - for theological or any other reasons - but when it comes to sexual misconduct, they never use those same standards," he said.  

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Pope backs deputy at center of butler furor

Barry Moody     Jul.4, 2012


Pope Benedict on Wednesday expressed full support for his deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the chief target of of leaked documents which the pontiff's butler has been charged with stealing.

. . . . 

On Wednesday, the Vatican released a letter from Benedict to Bertone, his secretary of state or prime minister, in which he said: "I wish to express my profound appreciation for your discreet support and your enlightened counsel which I have found of particular help in recent months."


The pope, who sent the letter before heading to his summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo in the Alban hills outside Rome, added: "Having noted with regret the unjust criticism raised against you, I want to renew the expression of my personal faith in you ... which remains constant."

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Vatican reports worst deficit in years: $18.4 million

Tiffany Hsu     Jul.5, 2012


The effects of the euro zone debt crisis has reached into some of the holiest of halls, pushing the Vatican into one of its worst budget deficits in years.


The Holy See on Thursday reported a shortfall of 14.9 million euros, or $18.4 million.


"The result was affected by the negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget," according to a statement from the Catholic Church's governing body.


Administrators also blamed the gulf on the cost of paying the Vatican's 2,832 employees and spreading the Catholic faith via its various communications outlets, which include a newspaper and radio and television channels.


In 2010, the Holy See enjoyed a surplus of nearly 9.9 million euros (about $12 million) after a string of deficits. 

. . . .

The Vatican's financial institutions are key to the power struggle over control of the next papacy following Pope Benedict XVI's term, according to a recent report from the Economist. Read more


Vatican credit card 




Belleville bishop removes pastor for improvising prayers

Michele Munz   Jun.25, 2012


Parishioners in Mount Carmel, Ill., learned Sunday that the Belleville Diocese has removed their pastor of 18 years for improvising prayers at Mass and has appointed a new priest.


Bishop Edward Braxton sent a letter on Friday to the Rev. William Rowe informing him of his removal as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church.

. . . .

For decades, Rowe has deviated from some of the language of the liturgy's prayers to, in his view, better convey the point of his sermons.   Bishops have traditionally looked past an individual priest's extemporizing; but in December, the Vatican mandated that Catholics in every English-speaking country adopt a new translation of the Roman Missal - the book of prayers, chants and responses used during Mass.

While this made sticking to the prayers more important, it made it even harder to do, Rowe said. "I just found, especially with the new translation, that it doesn't match what I'm talking about," he said. "The new wording is so awkward, and people don't understand it."

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Ongoing Archdiocese Fire Sale Exposes 19-Year-Old Cover-Up of Cardinal Bevilacqua's Lavish Spending

Ralph Cipriano     Jun.27, 2012


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is holding a fire sale after running up $11.6 million in legal bills in the fiscal year prior to the priest abuse trial. Facing a $17 million operating deficit, the archdiocese is now selling off the cardinal's mansion on City Line Avenue, and closing down the 117-year-old archdiocese newspaper, The Catholic Standard & Times.


The latest victim of the church's austerity campaign is Villa St. Joseph-by-the-Sea. The grand summer vacation home where Cardinals Krol and Bevilacqua once entertained wealthy donors will soon be up for sale. It's a three-story brick and stucco oceanfront mansion that covers an entire city block along the boardwalk in Ventnor, N.J., and is assessed at $6.2 million.


The impending sale of the cardinal's seaside villa is not only a sign of the archdiocese's changing fortunes, but it also exposes a fraudulent story told by the cardinal's PR guys 19 years ago to get His Eminence out of a public relations jam over the villa. It's an amusing saga.


It should surprise nobody that a cardinal who in 1994 would order the shredding of a list of 35 abuser priests then in ministry a year earlier would launch an elaborate and untruthful cover-up of his own lavish spending habits. 

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Appealing Cleveland parishes receive new pastors

Brian Roewe     Jun.27, 2012


Bishop Richard G. Lennon announced Wednesday afternoon the names of pastors and opening dates for five of the 11 parishes that successfully appealed their closure to the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy in early March. A 12th parish required restoration in name only.
. . . .
Assignments for the remaining six parishes are forthcoming, according to a diocesan statement. Each priest will determine the date for the opening Mass at their new parish homes, though a source told NCR the first Mass at St. Barbara is expected to be celebrated July 22 at 11 a.m. 

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Judge Orders File Release By Kansas City Catholic Hierarchy

Dan Verbeck    Jun.28, 2012


Documents considered so sensitive they may not be photocopied must be turned over to a prosecutor by the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese.


The files deal with former cases alleging abuse by priests.

The Catholic Diocese had been reluctant to turn over data from its own investigations until ordered this week by Jackson County Circuit Judge John Torrence.

The Jackson County Prosecutor will take the information that is so touchy only a limited number of people may see it.

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PA - SNAP's letter to Archbishop Chaput

David Clohessy    Jun.27, 2012


Dear Archbishop Chaput;

We are leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.


We are writing you today with a simple and straightforward request about Monsignor William Lynn. He has been tried. He has been convicted. He should be defrocked.


This is not about being vindictive. It's about being prudent. It's about trying to reverse decades or centuries of self-serving secrecy in child sex abuse cases by thousands of Catholic officials. It's about sending the most clear and severe message possible to current and future church employees who ignore, conceal and enable heinous crimes against kids. That message should be a "no brainer" - if you protect predators and hurt kids by hiding known and suspected crimes, you will be out of a job.


Sadly, even now, that message is virtually never sent. With only a handful of exceptions, Catholic staffers who act recklessly, callously and deceitfully with the safety of kids are virtually never disciplined by officials like you. So sadly, the same hurtful patterns of complicity - that have been so thoroughly exposed, so extensively documented and so widely criticized - continue.

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Is 'All Are Welcome' really the message we're sending in our parishes?

Scott Alessi   Jul.2, 2012


One of my favorite hymns to sing at Mass is Marty Haugen's "All Are Welcome." The song's message of openness and inclusivity is, to me, at the heart of what it means to be Catholic.


Of late, though, I've seen a number of disheartening examples of Catholics telling others they are "not Catholic enough" to be part of the church for a variety of reasons. But this morning I came across a much more encouraging message in the monthly newsletter from the Milwaukee-based Parish Evaluation Project about building a "culture of hospitality" within our parishes.


The PEP cited a homily given recently by the pastor of an Ohio parish, which was itself inspired by a message found on the website of a Lutheran church in Colorado. Here's an excerpt from the homily, which according to the PEP drew a big round of applause from those in attendance:

"We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, y no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds.


We welcome you if you sing like Andrea Bocelli or are like your pastor, who can't carry a note in a bucket. You're welcome here if you're just browsing, just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don't care if you're more Catholic than the Pope, or haven't been in church since little Joey's baptism...


We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts... and you! All are welcome!"

Sometimes it is easy to believe this is the message we're sharing in our parish community, but the real question is whether that's what newcomers are hearing when they walk through the door. 

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After Lori, Fairfield prof faults process of selecting bishop

John Burgeson     Jun.30, 2012


A professor at Fairfield University has criticized the process of choosing a new bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, saying it's geared less to finding a leader committed to the faithful of Fairfield County than to choosing a man who will rise high in the ranks of the Church.


"This is not just an ordinary diocese," said Paul Lakeland, the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J.professor of religious studies at the Jesuit university. "You have a diocese that's quite dramatically divided between the wealthy and those in poverty."


William E. Lori, who had been bishop since 2000, was elevated to archbishop of Baltimore on May 16. 

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Vatican Gets Fox Media Adviser

Nicole Winfield and Victor L. Simpson     Jun.23, 2012


The Vatican has brought in the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with years of communications blunders and one of its most serious scandals in decades, officials said Saturday.


Greg Burke, 52, will leave Fox to become the senior communications adviser in the Vatican's secretariat of state, the Vatican and Burke told The Associated Press.

. . . .

He defined his job, which he said he had been offered twice before, as being along the lines of the White House senior communications adviser: "You're shaping the message, you're molding the message, and you're trying to make sure everyone remains on-message. And that's tough."


Burke, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement. 

Read more









John Hume gets papal knighthood

Irish Times     Jul.6, 2012


Pope Benedict has knighted Northern Ireland peace process founder John Hume.


The Nobel Laureate and former SDLP leader (75), whose dialogue with Sinn Féin paved the way for the end of violence and the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, was made a Knight of St Gregory for his peace work.

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Traditionalist SSPX calls Vatican offer 'clearly unacceptable'

Alessandro Speciale     Jun.26, 2012


A breakaway traditionalist Catholic group on Monday (June 25) slammed as "clearly unacceptable" a Vatican doctrinal document that was supposed to lay the foundation for the group's reconciliation with Rome.


The move comes after three years of complex negotiations between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), and was revealed just as Pope Benedict XVI appointed a high-profile American archbishop to a key post to oversee relations with traditionalists.


A letter by the Rev. Christian Thouvenot, secretary general of the SSPX, to SSPX bishops and regional leaders was leaked on the Internet on Tuesday (June 26). Thouvenot later confirmed its authenticity.


The letter says that the SSPX superior general, Bishop Bernard Fellay, told the head of the Vatican doctrinal office, American Cardinal William J. Levada, that "he couldn't sign" the Vatican's doctrinal offer during a meeting on June 13.

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Pope names US archbishop to new post to aid talks with traditionalists

Carol Glatz     Jun.27, 2012


In an effort to aid reconciliation attempts with traditionalist Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia to fill a newly created post of vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."


"The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father's pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter," the Vatican said in a written statement Tuesday.


The statement, released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees "Ecclesia Dei," said the New York-born Dominican is a respected theologian who has devoted much time and attention to the doctrinal issues under review in current talks with the breakaway traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, led by Bishop Bernard Fellay. The society rejects some of the teachings of Vatican II as well as the modernizing reforms, especially to the liturgy, that followed in its wake.


Di Noia told Catholic News Service the Vatican needed to help people who have strong objections to the council see "that these disagreements don't have to be dividing or keep us from the same Communion table."


"It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter," he said.

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Fellay: "Things are at a standstill, we cannot sign"

Andrea Tornielli     Jun.29, 2012


He had not made any public statement during the meeting with Cardinal William Levada on 13 June, in the Vatican.But today, the Superior of the Society of St. Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, confirmed that no agreement could be signed with the Holy See at the present time.

During this morning's homily for the priestly ordinations celebrated in Ecône, Fellay also made some comments about the negotiations with Vatican leaders.

. . . .

"You rightly ask me how things are going with Rome." The Lefebvrian superior said, before going on to add: "Things are currently at a standstill."


"There has been a lot of back and forth, exchanges, letters and protests - Mgr. Fellay added - but we are back to square one." The bishop recalled: "We said we could not accept, we could not sign; that is all."

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Vatican bank starts headhunting for new chief

Philip Pullella     Jun.27, 2012


The board of the Vatican bank met on Wednesday to start the hunt for a new president to replace Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who was unceremoniously ousted last month.


The Vatican said the board, which is made up of outside lay experts, had met to "identify the universally recognised criteria of professionalism and experience" needed for the job.

. . . .

Gotti Tedeschi, who left after a no confidence vote by the board on May 24, has said he was ousted because he wanted to make the bank more transparent.


The Vatican denied this and said he was an ineffective and divisive manager.


On June 5 Italy's financial police searched his home in northern Italy in connection with a separate, unrelated investigation into a kickback scandal involving defence technology group Finmeccanica.

. . . .

The Vatican statement said that after their meeting on the requisites for the new president, the board briefed Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, the secretary of state, who heads a commission of cardinals who oversee the bank.

The choice of a new president for the bank comes at a time when the Vatican is seeking to make the so-called white list of states that comply with international standards on financial transparency.


The next hurdle the bank faces is the judgment of MONEYVAL, a Council of Europe monitoring mechanism that rates states on their effectiveness to fight money laundering and terrorism financing and comply with international standards. The report is due next month.

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Under scrutiny, Vatican bank opens its doors

Nicole Winfield     Jun.28, 2012


The Vatican bank, one of the most secretive institutions in the secrecy-obsessed Vatican, opened itself up to a little external scrutiny Thursday in a bid to show it's serious about fighting money-laundering and being more financially transparent.


During a nearly three-hour power-point presentation to a few dozen journalists, the bank's director, Paolo Cipriani, highlighted the peculiar nature of the Institute for Religious Works, the institute's official name, and stressed its internal and external financial controls.

. . . .

The visit comes on the eve of a crucial decision by a Council of Europe committee on whether the Vatican has complied with a host of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing norms.


A good compliance grade will enhance the Vatican's chances of eventually getting on the so-called "white list" of countries that share financial information - a keen aim of both the pope and Cipriani, since the bank has to deal with financial institutions that insist that its books are clean.

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Catholic Church Fears Growing Vatican Bank Scandal

Andreas Wassermann and Peter Wensierski     Jul.2, 2012


The Vatican scandal over shady bank accounts and millions in suspect transfers began shortly before sunrise on June 5 on Via Giuseppe Verdi, a picturesque street in the old part of Piacenza, a town in northeastern Italy. An elderly gentleman in a tailor-made suit had just left his house with a leather briefcase dangling from his right hand. He was on his way to his car.


It was to be an important day for Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, who had recently been fired as the head of the Vatican bank -- even if it turned out differently than he'd expected. Tedeschi was planning to go to the Vatican on that morning, but he never got there. The 67-year-old banker missed the high-speed train to Rome, meaning he couldn't, as he had planned, get into a taxi at the Italian capital's central station for the short journey across the Tiber River to the Vatican. There, he had hoped to take the documents out of his briefcase and hand them over to a confidant of the pope.


Instead, Gotti Tedeschi found four men waiting for him in the street -- not a hit squad as he feared at first, but investigators with the Carabinieri, Italy's national military police force. Even before he reached his car, they presented him with a search warrant and escorted him back to his house. For several hours, they searched through his sparsely furnished, cloister-like home office. At the same time, other officers were searching through Gotti Tedeschi's office in Milan. Among the objects they confiscated were two computers, two cabinets' full of binders, a planner and his briefcase.


The investigators were pleased. While they made but little headway in their corruption investigation involving a client of a company Gotti Tedeschi had once headed, an Italian subsidiary of the Spanish banking giant Santander, they stumbled upon something else in there search which proved to be spectacular.

The documents confiscated from Gotti Tadeschi, a former confidant of the pope, provided Italian law-enforcement officials insight into the innermost workings of the Vatican bank. The secret dossier includes references to anonymous numbered accounts and questionable transactions as well as written and electronic communications reportedly showing how Church banking officials circumvented European regulations aimed at combating money-laundering.


The drama unfolding in the Vatican is now heading toward a climax. First, it was "il corvo," the raven, whose revelations about life in the court of the embattled and exhausted Pope Benedict XVI caused months of unease. Then came the arrest of Paolo Gabriele, the pope's butler, whom the Vatican has fingered as the source of the private papal correspondence that was leaked to the public. And now the scandal surrounding Gotti Tedeschi is providing a possible motive for the Catholic soap opera: money. 

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Vatican gets report card on financial transparency

Nicole Winfield     Jul.4, 2012


The Vatican got a report card Wednesday on its efforts to be more financially transparent - but it's a secret for now.


A Council of Europe committee in Strasbourg adopted a report by independent inspectors examining the Holy See's efforts to comply with international standards to fight money laundering and terror financing.


The evaluators' preliminary report found areas where the Vatican was compliant and where it needed work.  During the meeting Wednesday of the panel, known as the Moneyval committee, that report was amended by governments who are committee members, as often occurs.


But neither the Vatican nor the Council of Europe would disclose the outcome, saying Moneyval's procedures forbid it.


The full report will be released in about a month's time, after the Vatican makes its own observations about the findings.

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Vatican leaks scandal report due this month: spokesman

Agence France-Presse     Jul.3, 2012


The results of an investigation by a special committee of cardinals into a series of damaging leaks at the Vatican should be handed to Pope Benedict XVI by the end of July, a spokesman said on Tuesday.


The report by the cardinals, who have questioned a total of 28 lay and religious people in the Vatican, is expected to remain confidential.


Holy See investigators meanwhile have been interrogating the pope's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who is the sole suspect and is in detention.


Gabriele, who was arrested on May 23, is accused of stealing documents from the papal chambers, copying them and passing them on to a journalist.


He risks up to six years in prison but could also be pardoned by the pope.

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China, Vatican spar over ordination of bishop as contentious issue again roils relations

Associated Press     Jul.4, 2012


China and the Vatican are again sparring over the ordination of a new bishop, underscoring the glaring lack of progress toward resolving the most contentious issue dividing the sides.

 A statement issued Wednesday by China's State Bureau of Religious Affairs accused the Holy See of obstructing the development of Catholicism in China by wielding the threat of excommunication over the ordination of a new bishop of the northern city of Harbin.

. . . .

Bishops, priests and parishioners are reluctant to attend the ceremony, expected to be held Friday, and security is tight around the Harbin church, according to AsiaNews, a website with close Vatican ties. Those claims could not immediately be verified.  

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Vatican recognises 'coup' president

Tablet Latest News     Jun.28, 2012


The Vatican became the first foreign state to recognise the hastily installed Federico Franco as president of Paraguay, after Fernando Lugo, a former bishop, was forced from office last week.


Mr Lugo was impeached over a clash earlier this month between squatters and the police that led to the deaths of six policemen and 11 peasants, whose cause Lugo has supported. Lugo's impeachment by both houses of Congress took less than two days and has been called a "coup" by some neighbouring states and by a huge resistance movement inside the country.


Sr Margot Bremer, a liberation theologian who has spent 25 years in Paraguay, who said: "It is shameful that the Roman Church is in favour of this coup d'état, while the base of the Catholic Church is in favour of Lugo."





Accused priest, archdiocese under fire

CBC News     Jul.4, 2012


Shock and frustration is running through a Catholic parish in Ottawa after its former priest was charged with defrauding the church of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Joseph LeClair, 55, has been charged with one count each of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, as well as criminal breach of trust and laundering proceeds of crime.

LeClair, who originally hails from Prince Edward Island, is alleged to have misappropriated more than $240,000 in cheques from the parish between January 2006 and May 2011.

Police also allege $160,000 in cash revenues were unaccounted for, while about $20,000 in furniture and household items belonging to the parish were taken from the rectory when LeClair left.

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Ex-CFO of Philadelphia Archdiocese admits stealing $900,000

Dave Warner     Jul.2, 2012


The former chief financial officer of the embattled Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to stealing $906,000 from the church, the district attorney's office said on Monday.


The archdiocese, facing a $17 million budget hole and still reeling from last month's conviction of a monsignor in a child sex abuse scandal, was the target of a forgery and theft scheme run by former financial officer Anita Guzzardi.


The former CFO admitted on Friday that she stole the money from 2004 to 2011. Guzzardi, 43, was fired in July 2011.

. . . .  

So far, $250,000 of the stolen money has been recovered and returned to the church.


Guzzardi faces up to 21 years in prison when she is sentenced on August 24 on charges of theft by deception, forgery and unlawful use of a computer.


Faced with a $17 million shortfall, the archdiocese recently laid off 45 staff members and closed the archdiocese newspaper.

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Austrian cardinal cracks down on rebel priests

Michael Shields     Jun.27, 2012


Austria's Roman Catholic Church has laid down the law to its rebel priests by telling them they could not support a reform manifesto criticized by Pope Benedict and stay in an administrative post.


One priest told Reuters he had already stepped down from the post of deacon rather than renounce the "Call to Disobedience" manifesto that challenges Church teaching on taboo topics such as women's ordination and offering communion to non-Catholics.


Another priest had withdrawn his support for the reform campaign and kept his job, a Church spokesman said on Wednesday.

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'Moral schism' worries Catholics

JoAnne Viviano     Jul.1, 2012


Some Roman Catholic nuns are being compared to Martin Luther and referred to as radical feminists for their views on sexuality and the ordination of women. 

President Barack Obama is being likened to Henry VIII over a contraception provision in the federal health-care law. (The British king was excommunicated from the church because of his struggles with Rome.) 

And bishops are being criticized as out of touch with their flocks for upholding traditional Catholic views despite society's shifting morality.


Theologians say the disputes have led to what could be an irreparable break between Rome and some U.S. Catholics even as the church recovers from the priest sex-abuse scandal.


"There's a moral schism going on in the Catholic church, and the bishops are the schismatics, broken from the laity and theologians," said Daniel Maguire, a theology professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee.Such breaks often lead to membership upticks for other faiths, he said.

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Monsignor Fernando Maria Bargallo Quits, Argentinian Bishop Seen Frolicking With Woman

Nicole Winfield     Jun.26 2012


The pope has accepted the resignation of an Argentine bishop photographed frolicking on a Mexican beach with a woman, one of several personnel changes announced Tuesday by the Vatican before the pontiff heads off for summer vacation.


Monsignor Fernando Maria Bargallo, bishop of Merlo-Moreno outside Buenos Aires, initially denied having had any improper relationship with the woman, whom he described as a childhood friend. But the 57-year-old Bargallo later decided to step down under the church rule that lets bishops retire before age 75 if they're found to be unfit for office.


Photographs of the encounter were broadcast on television last week and have been circulating on the Internet.

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Thomas Euteneuer Exorcism Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse During Religious Rite In Virginia

HuffPost DC     Jun.28, 2012


A priest who resigned his position as head of a Virginia-based anti-abortion rights group amid a sex scandal is now accused of sexually abusing a Virginia woman in the course of conducting an exorcism.


In a lawsuit filed in Arlington County Court, a plaintiff identified as "Jane Doe" claims that that her relationship with Thomas Euteneuer began when she signed an "Agreement for spiritual help" in late February 2008.

. . . .

Euteneuer is also said to have hired Doe at the anti-abortion group he then headed, Front Royal, Va.-based Human Life International. Euteneuer stepped down from this group in 2010.


At the time, he released a statement in which he explained that his exorcisms, not his work at the group, were the cause of his departure. He also he also said that his "violations of chastity were limited to one person only, an adult woman," and that the "violations of chastity happened due to human weakness but did not involve the sexual act." This statement is cited in the lawsuit.


Euteneuer has not been named as a defendant in the suit. The defendants are Human Life International and the HLI Endowment Inc., and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, which Doe says in the suit was "responsible for the governance of the Roman Catholic priests practicing within its assigned geographical borders."


Paul Loverde, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington, is also a defendant. Loverde is alleged to have given Euteneuer permission at least once to conduct an exorcism within the Diocese.

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Priest must have bishop's OK before participating in protest activities

Karen Smith Welch     Jun.28, 2012


A Vatican ruling allows anti-abortion activist the Rev. Frank Pavone to perform religious services outside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, but he must have permission to participate in pro-life activities, his bishop said Wednesday.


Priests for Life, the New York nonprofit led by Pavone, declared Wednesday the Vatican's Congregation of the Clergy upheld Pavone's appeal of restrictions placed on him last September by Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek.

But the organization shed no light on the details of the ruling.


Zurek said the ruling "makes it clear I am free to restore him to full religious ministry, if I wish.  . . . .  But he must have my permission for anything in regard to work in pro-life, and in particular Priests for Life, because that is where the issue arose to begin with."

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New particle may unlock new discoveries, says Vatican astronomer

Carol Glatz     Jul.5, 2012


The discovery of a new sub-atomic particle -- the so-called Higgs boson -- may help scientists discover how the hidden structure of all matter in the universe works, a Vatican astronomer said.

"It indicates that reality is deeper and more rich and strange than our everyday life," U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno told Catholic News Service.

. . . .


Physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research laboratory in Geneva, announced July 4 that they were 99.999 percent certain they found evidence of a new particle that might be key to the structure of the universe and to understanding nature.
 . . . .

The Higgs-boson had been nicknamed "the God particle" as "a joke" in an attempt to depict the particle as "almost like a gift from God to help explain how reality works in the sub-atomic world," he said. Because the particle is believed to be what gives mass to matter, it was assigned the godlike status of being able to create something out of nothing.


But such "God of the gaps" conjectures are not only bad reasons to believe in God, they are also bad science, Brother Consolmagno said.

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The Thwarting of Catholic Reform

Paul Surlis     Jun.28, 2012


As we approach the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (Oct. 11, 1962), we should highlight some of the structural changes in the Catholic Church that were supported by the Council but undermined or ignored, especially by Pope John Paul II and currently by Pope Benedict XVI.


One structural change called for collegiality, which would have had profound implications for accountability and transparency, both of which are needed in the Vatican and in the Church at large. Collegiality means that all the bishops as a collective have a role in Church governance as a matter of divine law and in a way that makes them a counterpart to the centralism that has prevailed in the Church for more than a millennium. 

. . . . 

The Vatican, with its centralized power structure, turns a deaf ear to requests from lay persons, priests and bishops for open and honest debate on optional celibacy for priests despite the fact that it obtained until 1139 when mandatory celibacy for the western (Roman) Catholic Church was introduced.


Likewise, discussion of the ordination of women is disallowed despite the fact that women presided at Eucharistic celebrations in the early Church and no valid scriptural or theological reasons exist which would prevent the ordination of women today.

. . . .  

If the will of the Second Vatican Council, the supreme teaching authority in the Church, had not been subverted on these issues by Pope John Paul II (who worked tirelessly to undermine national conferences of bishops) and today by Benedict XVI, we would have accountability and transparency in the Church.


We also would have truly independent Episcopal councils of priests with lay persons in each diocese, we would have elected councils of lay persons in each parish and issues like ordination of married men and ordination of women would get impartial hearings and become transformative realities in a church where they are sorely needed.


Instead, Catholics are deprived of priests and full Eucharistic liturgies. Precious Catholic liberties are stolen from them not by secular governments but by the Vatican and its accomplices.

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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







Upcoming Event 




You are aware of injustice in the Church.  

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


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


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


Download a poster and/or a brochure.  

Registration information here.



Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church















text ARCC to 22828


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