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Some things we have been reading 
LA archbishop relieves retired cardinal of duties
Gillian Flaccus       Feb.1, 2013

Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony, the former head of the nation's largest Roman Catholic diocese, was stripped of his duties Thursday by his successor as the Los Angeles archdiocese released thousands of pages of personnel files of priests accused of child molestation.

. . . .

[Archbishop Jose] Gomez announced that he has "informed Cardinal Mahony that he will no longer have any administrative or public duties."


The archbishop also said Monsignor Thomas Curry, former vicar of the clergy who was Mahony's point person for dealing with priests accused of molestation, has stepped down from his post as head of the diocese's Santa Barbara region.

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Gomez's Statement on the Release of Clergy Files  



Open letter to Archbishop Jose H. Gomez

Cardinal Roger M.  Mahony      Feb.1, 2013

Dear Archbishop Gomez: 

. . . . 

When you were formally received as our Archbishop on May 26, 2010, you began to become aware of all that had been done here over the years for the protection of children and youth.  You became our official Archbishop on March 1, 2011 and you were personally involved with the Compliance Audit of 2012-again, in which we were deemed to be in full compliance.

Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors.

I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s.  I apologized for those mistakes, and committed myself to make certain that the Archdiocese was safe for everyone.

Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then.  But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an Archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.

With every best wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

His Eminence
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archbishop Emeritus of Los Angeles 

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Files show how LA church leaders controlled damage
Gillian Flaccus    Jan..21, 2013

Retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark, according to church personnel files.

The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how the church handled abuse allegations for decades and also reveal dissent from a top Mahony aide who criticized his superiors for covering up allegations of abuse rather than protecting children.

Notes inked by Mahony demonstrate he was disturbed about abuse and sent problem priests for treatment, but there also were lengthy delays or oversights in some cases. Mahony received psychological reports on some priests that mentioned the possibility of many other victims, for example, but there is no indication that he or other church leaders investigated further. 

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Why Did the Pope Shame LA's Mahony, But Not Brady of Ireland?

Jerry Slevin        Feb.3, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI for the first time publicly shamed a voting Cardinal, Mahony of Los Angeles. The Pope's pawn, Archbishop Gomez, publicly referred to Mahony's child abuse cover-up conduct as "evil". This unprecedented and selective public papal condemnation, in my view as an experienced retired lawyer, significantly increases the risk for Mahony that he will yet still be criminally prosecuted, possibly for obstruction of justice or perjury. Prosecutors now have a papal blessing to go after Mahony. Yet the Pope has also just permitted Ireland's voting Cardinal Brady to exit gracefully, without papal condemnation. Brady was reportedly involved in priest abuse cover-ups at least as "evil" as Mahony. Why the different treatment for two Cardinals?


The likeliest explanation is current papal election politics. Conservative Cardinals in the Vatican clique, including American ones like Burke, Law, Stafford and Rigali, and their right-wing U.S. Republican contributors, have for years targeted Mahony, often an ally of U.S. Democratic political leaders, as an obstacle to the Vatican clique's efforts to maintain Vatican domination of the Catholic Church worldwide, through groups like Opus Dei that Gomez and convicted criminal Bishop Finn are members of. Brady, on the other hand, supports domination by the Vatican clique, as evidenced by his acquiescence in the current unchallenged attack on one of Brady's most popular priests, Fr. Tony Flannery, by the Pope's new German Inquisitor. Flannery's brother is a top ally to Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who has strongly opposed papal domination in Ireland.

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No comment from Vatican on Mahony
John L. Allen Jr.      Feb.1, 2013

A spokesperson told NCR today that the Vatican is not planning on releasing a public comment on a decision by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles to relieve his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of all administrative and public duties over his "failure to fully protect young people entrusted to his care."
. . . .
Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesperson, told NCR that although he has received several requests for comment from news agencies, there are no plans at this time to issue a statement. Among other things, he said, the Vatican needs time "to better understand the situation."

As a technical matter, Gomez's action affects only Mahony's responsibilities in the Los Angeles archdiocese. He remains a cardinal and a voting member of three Vatican departments: the Congregation for Eastern Churches, the Council for Social Communications, and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See. Mahony will turn 77 on Feb. 27, which means that should a conclave occur in the next three years, he would also be eligible to cast a vote for the next pope. 
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Bruni on Wills on Mahony on priesthood: What's the way forward?
Bryan Cones       Jan.27, 2013

The New York Times' Frank Bruni turns the sharp edge of his pen against the Roman Catholic priesthood in today's column, invoking Garry Wills, whose next book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition, will no doubt expose, as Wills' often does, the problematic underbelly of this quintessentially Catholic institution (shared also with the Orthodox and Anglicanism). Bruni doesn't tackle the theological dimension of priesthood -- one assumes that Wills most likely does --  but its insularity. Exhibit A: Cardinal Roger Mahony.

. . . .

Whether "Catholicism's Curse"--as Bruni titles his column--is indeed priesthood itself is a question worthy of debate, but the insular system by which priests are made--residential seminaries more or less totally remote from Catholic parishes, families, and their children--is certainly a part of the problem that must be eliminated.  . . . .  For some reason I don't think it would have taken 20 years for Mahony to grasp the impact of sexual abuse on children if he had a child of his own.


What no one can deny, however, is that what Bruni calls the "cossetted caste above the flock" is utterly destroyed, and Catholics must see to it that priests are never again elevated above the people among whom they serve. Indeed, we must energetically oppose any attempt to restore that form of the institution. We can do this without denigrating the priests who serve us day in and day out--indeed, we will be doing them a kindness by remembering that they are human beings like the rest of us, called to a particular service among us.

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  Editorial: The Vatican is unable to find the church's real scandal
NCR Editorial Staff      Feb.1, 2013

 It would be difficult to develop a script more revelatory of the confounding priorities of the Vatican than that contained in the news of recent days. Real scandal -- covering up the rape of children, compromising the church's reputation with bizarre behavior and sexual shenanigans by its priests -- is met with either silence from on high or unpersuasive explanations.

Meanwhile, advocates of open discussion about church teaching on women, celibacy, contraceptives and homosexuality -- advocates who have advanced questions, not scandal -- are met swiftly by the long arm of the law in the form of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What the church finds deserving of its wrath in light of what it will tolerate to preserve the clerical culture and protect bishops is increasingly inexplicable to anyone outside that culture.
. . . .

Irreparably damage the church by hiding criminal activity against our children, and no one will disturb you. You might even get promoted.

Ask questions that are on the minds of Catholics around the world?  That'll get you marginalized, even banished.

The script's conclusion is inescapable: The leadership of this institution is in terrible disarray. 
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New Obamacare birth control rules seek middle ground
Stephanie Condon       Feb.1, 2013

Responding to complaints from religiously-affiliated groups, the Obama administration today proposed new health insurance rules for covering the cost of birth control, laying out a plan to ensure coverage without compelling faith-based organizations to pay for it.  


White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration sought to balance two principles in its rule-making: "We had to ensure that women have access to preventive services like contraception and that the policy respects religious beliefs," he said.

. . . . 

Under the new proposed rules, such non-profit religious organizations would have to ensure that enrollees of their health care plans get full contraception coverage, but they would not have to pay for it -- a health insurer would pay for it.
. . . .  

The faith-based organizations in question would have to notify their insurer or third-party administrator if they objected to paying for contraception costs on faith-based grounds. The insurer would then have to provide enrollees with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.


The HHS says that insurers should find providing contraceptive coverage cost neutral, since preventive services like birth control lower overall health costs.


Meanwhile, self-insured religious organizations would find an insurer to cover the cost through its third party administrator. To pay for those costs, the insurer would get a deduction in the fees it must pay to join the federally-facilitated health exchange that will be up and running next year. 

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For more details

Combat Soldiers & Clergywomen: Problematic Equality

Mary E. Hunt       Jan.24, 2013

I was saving my enthusiasm for welcoming women into combat roles for the day when Roman Catholic women are ordained validly and licitly as priests. I am equally ambivalent about both.

Celebration of another barrier overcome is tempered by the fact that I oppose combat as much as I oppose sexism. Likewise, I reject a hierarchical, clerical priestly model of the Church as much as I reject exclusion of women from its leadership caste.

. . . .

I am not persuaded by incrementalist arguments. I do not think that women entering combat will change the bellicose ways of the US military. If anything, I think it will reinforce the importance of the warrior, reinscribe the role of the hero who risks death and kills the enemy. That seems to me an awfully high price for equality. For priests, the entrance of women into the Roman Catholic clerical caste will reinforce the status and role of clergy and reinscribe the power of difference (they are not lay people anymore). What a steep tab for proving the simple point of gender equality.


When the celebrations wind down I will be looking for people who want to ask hard questions about how we humans deal with our differences without war. Before the Catholic hierarchy makes its announcement, I want to talk about how we Catholics organize ourselves for worship and service. Meanwhile, I content myself with the age-old advice, be careful what you pray for.

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See also Phyllis Zagano's Women, combat, church inNCR


Why not women priests? The papal theologian explains

Francis X. Rocca       Jan.31, 2013

. . . .

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that only men can receive holy orders because Jesus chose men as his apostles and the "apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry." Blessed John Paul II wrote in 1994 that this teaching is definitive and not open to debate among Catholics.

Yet some Catholics persist in asking why, as traditional distinctions between the sexes break down in many areas of society, the Catholic clergy must remain an exclusively male vocation, and what this suggests about the church's understanding of women's worth and dignity.

Few are as well qualified to answer such questions as Dominican Father Wojciech Giertych.

As the theologian of the papal household, Father Giertych has the task of reviewing all speeches and texts submitted to Pope Benedict XVI to ensure they are free of doctrinal error. 

 . . . .
"The son of God became flesh, but became flesh not as sexless humanity but as a male," Father Giertych said; and since a priest is supposed to serve as an image of Christ, his maleness is essential to that role.

Reflecting on differences between the sexes, Father Giertych suggested other reasons that men are especially suited to the priesthood.

Men are more likely to think of God in terms of philosophical definitions and logical syllogisms, he said, a quality valuable for fulfilling a priest's duty to transmit church teaching. 

 Although the social and administrative aspects of church life are hardly off-limits to women, Father Giertych said priests love the church in a characteristically "male way" when they show concern "about structures, about the buildings of the church, about the roof of the church which is leaking, about the bishops' conference, about the concordat between the church and the state."

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The Bishop's Role In Fostering The Mission Of The Catholic Media
Bishop Robert W.Finn      Jan.25 2013

 . . . .   

In a different way, I am sorry to say, my attention has been drawn once again to the National Catholic Reporter, a newspaper with headquarters in this Diocese. I have received letters and other complaints about NCR from the beginning of my time here. In the last months I have been deluged with emails and other correspondence from Catholics concerned about the editorial stances of the Reporter:  officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.

. . . .

When early in my tenure I requested that the paper submit their bona fides as a Catholic media outlet in accord with the expectations of Church law, they declined to participate indicating that they considered themselves an "independent newspaper which commented on 'things Catholic.'" At other times, correspondence has seemed to reach a dead end.
In light of the number of recent expressions of concern, I have a responsibility as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name "Catholic." While I remain open to substantive and respectful discussion with the legitimate representatives of NCR, I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level. For this we pray: St. Francis DeSales, intercede for us.

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Canon lawyer: Bishop has warned National Catholic Reporter

Cal Bunderson       Jan.31, 2013



A canon lawyer at the Catholic University of America says that a recent column by Bishop Robert Finn serves as a strong urging to the National Catholic Reporter to re-establish its fidelity to the Church.

"What he's doing here," Dr. Kurt Martens said, "is he's giving them a warning, saying 'Be careful, because...I've looked into the NCR's positions against authentic Church teaching on a number of issues.'"

"He has, as a diocesan bishop, not only the right, but the duty or obligation to oversee what is happening in his diocese," Martens told CNA in a Jan. 30 interview, and "to make sure that the name 'Catholic' is not used in vain."  

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Tom Roberts responds

Bishops of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese have come and gone during the fifty years of National Catholic Reporter's existence in that diocese. Some have really liked the paper, some have disliked it, one so much that he condemned it, others have merely tolerated it. Why Bishop Robert Finn has decided at this point to single out NCR for criticism is somewhat puzzling, given the mountain of problems, many of them bishop inflicted, that the diocese currently faces. His predecessor, Raymond Boland, once visited and blessed the staff. While noting that he sometimes disagreed with us, he allowed that we did valuable work and loved the church.


National Catholic Reporter was founded to be an independent voice, to allow space for questions and critique and for those who challenge.  The intent of the founding editors was a paper (and now a web site) that was essentially involved in journalism, in reporting on as much of the life of the church as resources allowed. It was not to be a public relations outlet for any bishop or any segment of the church. 

NCR's bona fides rests on its nearly 50 years of work. Over that time, Bishop Helmsing did, indeed, condemn us as anti-Catholic, and a cardinal, the late Joseph Bernardin,  praised us as a light in a troubled church. That both hierarchy and laity would find us, variously, a boon to faith and an annoyance, is to us a certain confirmation that we are fulfilling our intent to report the activity of the church as widely and deeply as possible, to expose the flaws of the institution as well as to celebrate its inestimable gifts to the world. We'll leave it to history to judge the nature of our Catholicity.
Tom Roberts, Editor at large
National Catholic Reporter
Vatican doctrine chief blasts 'pogrom' sentiment
 Associated Press      Feb.2, 2013

The Vatican's head of doctrine says critics in North America and Europe are conducting a "concerted campaign" to discredit the Catholic Church that is resulting in open attacks against priests.


In an interview published Saturday by Germany newspaper Die Welt, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller likened the sentiment directed toward the Church to that of the pogroms against Jews in Europe.


Mueller, who leads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was quoted as saying that those attacking the Church borrow arguments used by totalitarian ideologies such as Communism and Nazism against Christianity. 

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New Jersey priest: Climate change message must be preached at parish levels
 Sharon Abercrombie        Jan.29, 2013

When was the last time you heard a homily addressing the seriousness of climate change? Perhaps this question needs rephrasing: How often have you heard a homily addressing the seriousness of climate change?


Fr. Paul Mayer of East Orange, N.J., a longtime social and environmental activist, wouldn't be surprised if the majority of responses come down to "rarely" or "never." And this worries him. In a telephone interview Jan. 22, Mayer made a strong plea for faith communities to begin building a major movement that elevates climate change above its current "footnote" status and places it squarely in the center of both spiritual and public concerns. The pulpit could be an effective beginning point, he said.


Within the Catholic church, climate change deserves "the same emphasis as abortion and birth control," he said. "But when I talk to young people, they tell me those topics are all they hear about in sermons, and they're bored."


"Climate change," Mayer said, "is the moral issue of our time."

. . . .

A longtime friend and student of the late environmentalist Fr. Thomas Berry, Mayer said he experienced an epiphany in 2003.


"I woke up in the middle of the night and realized, 'My God, global warming is the biggest issue facing humanity today,' " he said.

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Guilty! Jury Believed "Billy"
Susan Matthews      Jan.30, 2013

Click here to read: Guilty verdicts in priest sex abuse trial by Joseph A. Slobodzian, January 30, 2013


Click here to watch: Catholic Priest, Teacher Guilty of Abusing Altar Boy by Maryclaire Dale,, January 30, 2013


Excerpt: "The victim is this case has shown exceptional courage," said District Attorney Seth Williams. "Not only did he have the strength to report his abuse, he had the tenacity to look his abusers in the eye and testify in front of complete strangers about the horrific details of his attacks. I hope this verdict will help him to continue with the long journey of healing that comes after such trauma." 

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Watchdog group releases data on claims against Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests

John P. Martin       Jan.23, 2013



A watchdog group that runs an online clearinghouse of clergy-sex abuse allegations began publishing Tuesday the first of 5,700 pages of documents about past claims against Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.


The group,, culled the documents from evidence introduced at last year's landmark child-endangerment trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn.

 . . . .

Terence McKiernan, the president of BishopAccountability, said the records add a layer of public understanding to the grand jury investigations and prosecution of Philadelphia-area priests, which he said were unlike any others in the country. 

. . . .

He said he expected to post documents about each Philadelphia priest every few weeks until the online library is complete. The website is

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In Fight Over Life, a New Call by Catholics 
Laurie Goodstein       Jan.25, 2013


The March for Life in Washington on Friday renewed the annual impassioned call to end legalized abortion, 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision. But this year, some Roman Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why so many of those who call themselves "pro-life" have been silent, or even opposed, when it comes to controlling the guns that have been used to kill and injure millions of Americans.


More than 60 Catholic priests, nuns, scholars and two former ambassadors to the Vatican sent a letter this week saying that if marchers and politicians truly want to defend life they should support "common-sense reforms to address the epidemic of gun violence in our nation."  


They called in particular on Catholic lawmakers, naming the House speaker, John A. Boehner, and Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, both Republicans, as well as Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, both Democrats, who they said have "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association, to stand up to the gun lobby. 

. . . .

John Gehring, the Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group in Washington, said that bishops who had demanded that Catholic legislators vote against abortion rights should do the same on gun control.


He said, "Catholic lawmakers who call themselves pro-life and are pretty cozy with the N.R.A. shouldn't be getting a free pass."

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US bishops to replace staffer behind theological investigations
Joshua J. McElwee     Jan.30, 2013


The U.S. bishops' staffer behind several controversial criticisms of Catholic theologians in recent years is stepping down.


Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, head of the bishops' office tasked with upholding church teaching, is to leave his post as executive director for the bishops' Secretariat of Doctrine in August. Mercy Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. bishops' conference, confirmed the departure Wednesday.


Weinandy has led the secretariat, which carries out the work of the nine prelates who are members of the U.S. bishops' doctrine committee, since 2005.


During his tenure, the bishops' committee has issued public rebukes of five prominent U.S. theologians. Those rebukes have been the subject of wide criticisms -- including from both of the primary membership societies of U.S. theologians -- because they came without pursuing consultation or dialogue with the theologians.

. . . .

Theologians rebuked by the bishops' committee since 2005 include:

  • St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, a theologian on the faculty at Fordham University;
  • Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler, both theologians at Creighton University;
  • Daniel Maguire, a medical and ecological ethicist at Marquette University; and
  • Peter Phan, a Georgetown University theologian and Vietnam native known for his work bridging theological currents in Asia and the West.

Susan Ross, the president of the 1,400-member Catholic Theological Society of America, said she characterizes Weinandy's time at the bishops' conference as antagonistic.

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Churches to sign historic baptism agreement in Austin
Juan Castillo      Jan.27, 2013

Leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches will sign a historic agreement Tuesday in Austin by which the two traditions will formally recognize each other's liturgical rites of baptism.


The product of seven years of talks among five denominations, the agreement will be signed at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at a prayer service and celebration at St. Mary Cathedral. The service will be open to the public and will be part of the opening day activities of the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., which will continue through Friday in Austin.

Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ will sign the document.
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So long, Catholic Boy Scouts 
David Gibson       Jan.28, 2013


Surprising news: 

Boy Scouts of America Says Discussing End to Ban on Gay Members  


DALLAS (Reuters) - Boy Scouts of America is discussing ending a longstanding ban on gay members and whether to allow local organizations to decide their own policy, a spokesman said on Monday.  

 . . . .

That would effectively put an end to Catholic-sponsored scout troops, which account for 10 percent of all troops. Mormon-sponsored groups account for more than a third of all troops, and religious organizations sponsor two-thirds of all troops, according to this article.


The Girl Scouts are already in the Catholic dock over charges (or an "urban legend," some say) that their cookies support contraception and abortion programs. (Catholics make up a quarter of the nation's 3 million Girl Scouts.)

Is this the end of Catholic scouting? Or are there alternatives?

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The ACP supports Tony Flannery
Association of Catholic Priests       Jan.21, 2013


The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) affirms in the strongest possible terms our confidence in and solidarity with Fr Tony Flannery as he strives to clear his name and we wish to protest against unjust treatment he has received from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  The ACP supports Fr. Flannery in his efforts to resist the undermining of his integrity as an individual, a priest and a member of the Redemptorist Order.

The effort to depict him as 'disloyal' and 'dissident' is unwarranted and unfair, but also extremely ill-advised in the present pastoral context in Ireland.

The ACP is disturbed by the procedures evident in this case: the unwillingness to deal directly with the accused person; the injunction to secrecy; the presumption of guilt; the lack of due process. They suggest a callousness and even brutality that is in sharp contrast to the compassion of Jesus Christ.

. . . .

It is surely a source of scandal that a body representing the Church, which is called to be a sign of the presence of God in the world, should act in a way that directly contradicts the call of Jesus Christ to treat others with respect.

There is a double standard at work when we preach the value and right of religious freedom to others and fail to honour them within our own Church.

The Church attempts to preach justice to the wider society while our own internal processes are lacking in justice. 

. . . .

We believe that the targeting of Fr Flannery is not about church teaching, his commitment to priesthood or 'ecclesial communion'. We believe it is part of a worldwide effort to negate the influence of independent priests' associations in Austria, USA, Germany, France, Switzerland and other places. The directive of the CDF, through the Redemptorist authorities, placing Fr Flannery under a formal precept of obedience not to attend the AGM of the ACP last November seems to confirm this view. 

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How Tony Flannery answered the CDF 


Vatican's demand for silence is too high a price
Fr Tony Flannery       Jan.21, 2013

Three days after my 66th birthday I find myself forbidden to minister as a priest, with a threat of excommunication and dismissal from my congregation hanging over me. How did I find myself in this situation?


I  joined the Redemptorist congregation in 1964 and was ordained 10 years later. That was the era of great openness in the Catholic Church. We believed in freedom of thought and of conscience, and that church teaching was not something to be imposed rigidly on the people we served - they were intelligent and educated, and could take responsibility for their lives.


As preachers we must try to present the message of Christ in a way and a language that spoke to the reality of people's lives. This necessitated a willingness to listen to the people, to understand their hopes and joys, their struggles and fears.


Helping people to deal with the teaching on contraception during the 1970s was a great training ground. Just repeating the official line of Humanae Vitae was no help. During those years priests and people alike learned a lot about how to form their consciences and make mature decisions about all areas of their lives. As priests we learned more from people than they learned from us.

. . . .

So now, at this hour of my life, I either put my name to a document that would be a lie, and would impugn my integrity and my conscience, or I face the reality of never again ministering as a priest. I have always believed in the church as the community of believers and as an essential element in promoting and nourishing the faith. I have enjoyed my years of preaching, the main work of Redemptorists, and never had any doubt that Christ's message was one worth proclaiming.


But to give up on freedom of thought, freedom of speech and most especially freedom of conscience is too high a price for me to pay to be allowed minister in today's church.

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Redemptorists change their tune: Flannery must obey CDF

Gianni Valente       Jan.23, 2013


The case of rebel Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery has reached a significant turning point. In recent days Fr. Flannery announced his intention - to newspapers and in a public conference - to ignore the disciplinary measures presented against him by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Today, Michael Brehl, the Canadian Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, issued a declaration in which he expressed his deep regret for the actions recently undertaken by Flannery, also a member of the Congregation. 

. . . .

In his statement, Fr. Brehl "earnestly" urged his confrere "to renew the efforts to find an agreed solution to the concerns raised by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith." Finally, he invited his "Redemptorist confreres of the Irish Province to join with [him] in praying and working together in the spirit of St Alphonsus to maintain and strengthen our communion with the Universal Church."

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Milwaukee Archdiocese says it's going broke
 Annysa Johnson       Jan.24, 2013

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is hemorrhaging money on legal and professional fees as a result of its bankruptcy and will be unable to pay its monthly operating expenses beginning in April unless the judge suspends those payments, it says in court documents filed Thursday.


The archdiocese filed a motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to allow it to suspend all payments to attorneys and consultants, except $125,000 for work on its plan of reorganization. And it would continue to pay its own attorneys to challenge sex-abuse claims with proceeds from its insurance carriers.


"Without it, we will be unable to continue operating. We've used all the money we had from savings, reserves, investment earnings and money budgeted for litigation," archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said.


"This is a reorganization, not a liquidation," he said, "and under bankruptcy law, the goal for Chapter 11 is to keep the organization operational." 

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LCWR receives Paulist award for social justice work

Joshua J. McElwee       Jan.28, 2013


Boston's Paulist Center Community has given its signature annual award to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents the majority of U.S. Catholic sisters, in recognition of the social justice work of sisters across the country.


LCWR's president, Franciscan Sr. Florence Deacon, accepted the 2013 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice at a ceremony at the Center Jan. 26.


Given annually since 1974, when its first recipient was Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day, the Isaac Hecker award is named for the Paulist Fathers' founder and is given to a North American Catholic or Catholic group "committed to building a more just and peaceful world."

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New book on civil disobedience reads like a peace movement retreat

John Dear, SJ       Jan.29, 2013


 . . . .  We seldom hear about our own historic legacy of civil disobedience in the mainstream media. We're rarely told about its connections with spirituality and faith -- how, for example, Jesus practiced civil disobedience repeatedly and was eventually arrested, imprisoned and executed for it. Instead, we're dismissed for attempting it, as if we dare think that we ordinary people could make a difference.


Along comes oral historian Rosalie G. Riegle with two massive new books that put the questions of civil disobedience and its consequences front and center. They are the fruit of many years of hard work and hundreds of extensive interviews, and should be required reading for anyone interested in civil disobedience and its consequences. Let me recommend first Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family and Community. Next month, I'll write about the second volume, Crossing the Line.


What a fascinating read. Gleaned from 200 interviews, Riegle offers 70 conversations with people who have gone to jail or prison over the last few decades to oppose war and nuclear weapons. Doing Time for Peace tells their stories, their rationale, their motivations, their preparations; the actions, trials and imprisonments; the problems they encountered; the lessons they learned; and the sense of meaning they discovered. It's an astonishing achievement, a collection activists will return to for the rest of our lives.   

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Laity should stand up to corruption of Roman Catholic Church

 Father Phillip Lichtenwalter     Jan.25, 2013


Since the break of the sex abuse scandal, the Roman Catholic Church has lost all grounds to speak on matters of faith and morals. The question now becomes, "Why does anyone continue to attend a Roman Catholic Church?"


Within the past week alone, we have heard stories of how cardinals and bishops have actively and knowingly protected pedophiles while speaking out against priests and nuns who speak out against the errors of the Roman Catholic Church. While Cardinal Mahony of California is accused of hiding sexual abuse by priests, Father Flannery, an Irish Catholic priest, is threatened with excommunication for speaking out against the Vatican. While the Religious Women's Leadership Conference is under scrutiny for helping the poor, oppressed and marginalized, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are actively protesting the implementation of Obamacare under the guise of "religious freedom." While Cardinal George and the bishops of Illinois are actively using their pulpits and finances to protest the newest legislation in Illinois to pass same-sex marriage, Father Donovan, a priest of the Springfield diocese, is forced to call 911 after he found himself bound and gagged, handcuffed in the church's rectory. The list goes on and on. There isn't a day that goes by without a news report of some form of corruption taking place within the Roman Catholic Church.


As a Catholic priest, this makes me wonder, why do so many educated men and women choose to be subjected to this corruption? With all the wonderful independent Catholic churches within the United States, such as the American National Catholic Church, which offers a modern and inclusive expression of our Catholic faith, why would the laity choose to be subjected to hypocrisy over spiritual happiness? Is the laity so brainwashed that they would refuse to go anywhere else than to give up on Roman Catholicism? Does the laity truly believe that remaining in the church and fighting for change is really going to work? At what point will the Roman Catholic Church finally stand up, raise the white flag and call it quits? I pray that it's sooner than later.


I challenge the laity to stand up and speak out against this corruption and hypocrisy. I challenge the laity to finally say, "Enough is enough!" We will not let the church molest our children. We will not let the church hide behind tax exemption yet actively engage in politics. We will not let the church mismanage our money for their political advancement. We will not let the church cry holy when they are promoting hatred and evil. We will not let the church verbally assault our women while choosing to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. We will not let the church promote hatred and discrimination of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as "intrinsically evil" while promoting and protecting pedophiles, perverts and molesters. We will not endure within this Roman hierarchy of hypocrisy any longer. We are Catholics, not Roman Catholic! We have had enough.


Fr. Lichtenwalter is pastor of

St. Louis, MO
Dispute raises constitutional questions for Polish National Catholic Church
Laura Legere      Jan.26, 2013


The Polish National Catholic Church's decision to remove its Canadian bishop from the clergy has stirred a backlash in the leadership of the Canadian diocese, which has resolved to stand behind him.


Prime Bishop Anthony Mikovsky and the bishops of the church decided on Jan. 7 to depose Bishop Sylvester Bigaj, saying he fostered a splinter church in Poland and ignored instructions to stop.


The Polish National Catholic Church, which was founded and maintains its headquarters in Scranton, lists about 130 parishes in the United States, Canada and Italy and is in communion with a church it established in Poland called the Polish Catholic Church.


The new congregation shepherded by Bishop Bigaj was essentially a rival to the PNCC's official partner in Poland, Prime Bishop Mikovsky said.


Supporters of Bishop Bigaj dispute that he formally established the parish or overstepped his role.


In a 9-1 vote with two abstentions, the council of the Canadian diocese resolved last week to reject the prime bishop's action as "utterly unconstitutional" and retain Bishop Bigaj as the head of the Polish National Catholic Church of Canada.

. . . .

The Polish National Catholic Church has a democratic structure, with both lay and ordained members filling key roles in its governance and legislative meetings at which priests' and parishioners' votes are counted equally. In a church founded by immigrants intent on creating a Catholic and democratic denomination, the current dispute has spurred a constitutional debate.
Read more



Pope: Easy annulments undercut value of marriage

USA Today Staff and wire reports       Jan.29, 2013


Pope Benedict XVI says granting annulments too easily is undercutting the value of lifelong marriage.


In a speech Saturday, he asked the Vatican's highest appeals court to consider reviewing church rules on marriage annulments.

Read more



Pope tweets his followers in Latin for the first time

Irish Independent      Jan.21, 2013


Pope Benedict's debut tweet in the dead language told followers that God asks them to "Orare semper, iustitiam factitare, amare probitatem, humiles Secum ambulare", which translates as "pray constantly, do justice, love goodness and walk humbly with Him". 

Read more



PPT16 : Proposed Papal Tweet for Pope Benedict XVI

John W. Greenleaf      Jan.21, 2013

My good friend in Missouri, Robert S., reacted immediately to my posting last Sunday...the Downton Abbey/Vatican-hierarchy reflection.....He has written what he would like to see as a Papal Tweet. I added just a few modifications. It is a bit longer than the usual tweet of 140 characters. But then...It is a PAPAL TWEET. Holding the Keys of the Fisherman the pope does deserve some special perks.

 Dearly Beloved in Christ,

BXVIInspired by the fact that the Holy Spirit came down upon all in the upper room at Pentecost, and continues to dwell within all the faithful to bring Christ's message about God's love for us to the whole world, I too am compelled to give voice to this same Spirit in the pathways of the world using whatever means available, as our beloved predecessors have always done. 


I invite you to join me in using the modern technology of the Internet to share with each other the gifts of the Spirit, for the benefit of all humankind. As an example to you all, I urge every Christian community to deploy the new gifts of communication to share, instruct, listen, and work out what is needed to live with the dignity we humans have, being made in the image and likeness of God, and to preserve our mother-earth.


Our communication networks today - smartphones, iPads, Facebook, etc. - break-down the old authoritarian structures; level hierarchies; and put all of us on an equal horizontal level of brother-sister shared responsibilities. These changes are particularly difficult for me and for the papal office. Change is in the wind. Change must come. God's Spirit is with us.

  • To this end, I ask that the Church throughout the world to initiate a communication structure whereby members who are able, and so choose, can communicate mutually with their pastors, parishes with parishes, priests with priests, and all with their bishops, using whatever means modern technology can and will provide for this purpose, while always in keeping with the spirit of the two commandments that Christ gave to love God and one another.  
  • I am aware of the difficulty that this entails; but I see no real alternatives for respectfully sharing concerns, ideas, needs, and resources.
  • All around us, we witness today the devastation of war, poverty, weapons of death, and destruction. The old authoritarian structures must go. Otherwise, we walk down a path to utter oblivion.  Jesus Christ, with His Holy Spirit guiding and helping us, offers a clear and certain way to a better future.  We must take it.

My blessings and prayers to all sisters and brothers who share equally our image and likeness of a beloved and loving God, who gave us the ability to know and love the vast created universe and our very special place in it. God who is our Mother and our Father deemed it wise to share our humanity and show us how important each human person is.


Very Sincerely,    

Benedict XVI 

Brother and Pope - Tweeting Friend in Christ

(Tweeted from Rome, on a cold winter day,  in this Eighth year of my Pontificate: Benedictus Pontifex Maximus.) 




Former Polish Church Head, Cardinal Glemp, Dies

Associated Press       Jan.24, 2013


Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the head of Poland's influential Roman Catholic church from 1981 to 2004 - a time when it played a historic role in the fight against communism - has died at the age of 83.

 . . . . 

A key moment for Glemp as church leader came in 1981, when communist authorities imposed the harsh crackdown know as martial law on the nation, aiming to crush Solidarity.

Read more

 Bishop Reinhold Stecher (1921-2013)
Alfred Kracher, Ph.D.      Feb.1, 2013

Bishop Reinhold Stecher, 91, died January 29 inInnsbruck.   Born in Innsbruck, he was popular with his mountain-loving fellow Tyrolians as an avid mountaineer and lover of the Alpine landscape, which he celebrated in his own poetry and paintings. 

He embodied his episcopal motto, "servire et confidere" (to serve and trust) by involving not only priests, but also lay members of his diocese in decision making through what he called "integrative leadership style." Always open to dialog, he nonetheless acted decisively to put an end to the antisemitic cult of a spurious blood libel martyr, Anderl von Rinn. He supported  public protests against a xenophobic referendum initiated by the right-wing Freedom Party, and he offered homes in his diocese to refugees threatened with deportation.

Perhaps most characteristic, however, was Stecher's love of nature as seamless extension of his love of people. He was an avid mountaineer, and the wide perspective from the Tyrolean mountain tops that he loved was emblematic of his generous heart and broad ecumenical outlook. He reflected on this in books and homilies, always looking for the connection between everyday experience and spiritual life. Among the many honors he received is the ecumenical Predigtpreis (preaching award) for a lifetime of outstanding homilies.

He celebrated his beloved Alpine landscape not only in the reflections and poems of his books, but also in paintings, which became a serious hobby. With characteristic humor and modesty he commented that they would "not gain him a place in the annals of art history, but auctioning them off considerably improved the budget of Caritas." In fact, all income from his books and artwork was donated to various international aid projects. One of the last artworks he completed was the design of the 2012 Christmas stamp of the Austrian Postal Service.

He was aware that the Catholic church is at present not developing in the collegial and pastoral direction that he practiced, but it was not in his nature to become disheartened. His hope for a future of more openness in the church and more justice in the world is his legacy and inspiration to us all. 

See ARCC's 1998 tribute to Bishop Stecher



How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions

David Leigh, Jean François Tanda and Jessica Benhamou      Jan.21, 2013


Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James's Square and Pall Mall.


But these office blocks in one of London's most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.


Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.

. . . .

The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James's Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company's true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican. 

Read more


Go West, Young Man - For Portland, @Pontifex Engineers @ArchbishopSample
Rocco Palmo       Jan.29, 2013

It'd be the kind of appointment bound to cause a bit of whiplash for some: a Joseph Bernardin protege passing his chair to an energetic champion of the "reform of the reform." 


 And now, we get to see how the dynamic plays out.

At Roman Noon this Tuesday, the Pope named Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette as the 11th archbishop of Portland in Oregon - the oldest metropolitan seat on the Pacific coast - succeeding Archbishop John Vlazny, who reached the retirement age of 75 in February 2012.

With his move to the "Rose City," the media-savvy  @BishopSample, who turned 52 in November, leaves the home-church for which he was ordained a priest in 1990 to become the nation's youngest archbishop, besting San Antonio's Gustavo García-Siller MSpS by a full four years

. . . .

With his affinity for traditional worship and zest for the public square, Sample's move to Portland can be viewed as a continuance across state lines of the mould-breaking appointments over recent years in Northern California, a trend which was thought to climax with last July's  "bombshell" appointment of Salvatore Cordileone, the US bishops' point-man on the defense of traditional marriage, as archbishop of San Francisco. 

Read more



John Greenleaf      Jan.26, 2013



A January 25th post on the LGBT website Bondings 2.0 has created a cloud of misinformation about the position of the bishops of France vis a vis gay marriage.


The post gives the impression that the French hierarchy has moved away from the hardline anti-gay marriage position of the Vatican and has issued a "recent" statement encouraging dialogue and openness to gay marriage. I wish they had. Unfortunately they haven't. Not everything posted on the Internet is true and accurate and this little matter of "Bishops in France Release Hopeful Statement on Same-Sex Relationships" is a good case in point.


A January 25th post on the LGBT website Bondings 2.0 has created a cloud of misinformation about the position of the bishops of France vis a vis gay marriage.

. . . .  

In September 2012 a study committee set up by the French conference of bishops did indeed issue a statement encouraging an open dialogue about the issue of same-sex unions. On the committee were six French bishops. At the time the committee's report made little news because it was quickly pushed to the side. That same September the French bishops (there are more than a couple hundred active French bishops in active ministry) began their ad limina visits and Pope Benedict was very firm with them that marriage and the family "must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact injurious to human coexistence as such." He stressed that the truth about marriage must be promoted in bold and creative ways. The French bishops have consistently followed his admonitions. On Sunday January 13th 2013 several hundred thousand (at least four hundred thousand and some say eight hundred thousand) demonstrators marched in Paris to protest French President François Hollande's move to legalize same-sex marriage. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris was there to greet and encourage the marchers as was Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, who condemned the "violence" of the proposed law that would "change the meaning of a word."

. . . . 

In fact most of the protesters were far-to the right Catholic traditionalists drawn from across France to give the impression that France is anti-gay marriage. The key group behind the protest was Civitas a radically Catholic traditionalist organization led by Alain Escada, a French-speaking Belgian with strong sympathies to the Fraternity of Pius X, founded by the excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.


Support for same-sex marriage in France is now at about 65%. The Paris protest this January misrepresented French attitudes. Unfortunately, the post in Bondings 2.2 has misrepresented the attitudes of the French bishops, who are more in sync with the Vatican than the people of France.

Read more


German Catholics vent their dissatisfaction with the Church
Alessandro  Alviani     Jan.25, 2013

The Pope's ecclesiastical policies are "backward-looking" and suspected of trying to take the Church back to the pre-Second Vatican Council period. As for the Church's leaders, they are "cut off from reality, reactionary and obstructionist."

. . . .

Internal dogma and rules that had been tacitly accepted until about a year ago are now openly criticised by faithful. Criticisms range from complaints about "discrimination against women" and celibacy, to the condemnation of homosexuality,  contraception and sex outside wedlock, to the marginalisation of lay people involved in Church life.


Another factor that is creating animosity, is the organisational restructuring that is taking place in Germany, with a number of parishes being merged because of the shortage in parish priests, for example. 


The study also shows the Church's detachment from the weakest sections of society: it would make no difference to the lower social classes if  the Church ceased to exist. 

. . . . 

This is the opinion German faithful have of Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church according to a study by Sinus Institute and consulting agency MDG (which the German Church controls). In-depth interviews were conducted with 100 Catholics from different social backgrounds.


According to the study, which picks up on a similar one carried out in 2005, German faithful are convinced that today's Church finds itself in a "desolate situation" and the most obvious manifestation of this is the sex abuse scandal.

. . . .

 So what do German faithful expect from the Church? They want lay people involved in the Church to play a greater role; they want more women in leadership roles; the possibility for women to be ordained priests; the elimination of celibacy; a different attitude towards sexuality and contraception; the sacraments to be administrated to all Christians, regardless of their denomination or sexual identity; less ostentation and less abuse of power and a greater focus on God's love and love for one's neighbour. 

Read more



In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren't people


John Tomasic        Jan.23, 2013


Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year's Day 2006.  . . . .  Stodghill's obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.


In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill's husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple's then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins.
. . . .

Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect "unborn persons," and Catholic Health's lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights. 

Read more



German cardinal apologizes after Catholic hospitals turn away rape victim seeking treatment 
Associated Press,      Jan.22, 2013


A senior German bishop is publicly apologizing after two Catholic hospitals turned away a rape victim seeking treatment that included emergency contraception.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner said the hospitals should have provided the woman with medical help, though they would have drawn the line at treatment that would have prevented a pregnancy.

. . . .

He denied that the Church had issued an order for hospitals to turn rape victims away. He says both hospitals have also apologized 

Read more



 Lutherans bristle at suggestion of joining Catholic Church

Tom Heneghan,      Jan.22 

Two leading Lutheran clerics have rejected suggestions from the Vatican that it could create a subdivision for converted Lutherans similar to its structures for Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church. 
. . . .


Rev Martin Junge, the Chilean-born secretary general of the World Lutheran Federation (WLF), said in a statement that the suggestion caused great concern and would "send wrong signals to LWF member churches around the world."


Bishop Friedrich Weber, the German Lutheran liaison with the Catholic Church, said the idea was unthinkable and amounted to "an unecumenical incitement to switch sides."

. . . .

Relations among Christian churches have improved greatly since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council and most now see each other more as partners than as competitors. A Catholic bishop attended an ecumenical service Weber celebrated last Sunday.


But this Vatican welcome has raised suspicions among some Protestants that the huge Catholic Church, which makes up half the world's 2.2 billion Christians, now wants to woo away believers from smaller churches torn by internal debate.

Read more


About Justice Scalia's headgear

Kevin C. Walsh     Jan.21, 2013


The twitterverse is alive with tweets about Justice Scalia's headgear for today's inauguration. At the risk of putting all the fun speculation to an end . . . The hat is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein's famous portrait of St. Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia. We presented it to him in November 2010 as a memento of his participation in our 27th annual Red Mass and dinner.  

Read more

 More's hat














What's the message on the runway for Baroque fashions?

 Thomas F. O'Meara       Jan.26, 2013

When I was a boy, more than 50 years ago, ecclesiastical clothes were impressive. They were unusual and colorful, antique and sacral; they were distinctively Roman Catholic. The colored watered silk, the jeweled gloves, the red slippers (buskins) pointed to an individual caught up in a church office. This transcendent figure, a representative of the divine, appeared among the ordinary suits and dresses of working-class Catholics at rare moments. Nonetheless, even as a teenager singing in a college choir at the archbishop's liturgies, I had already noticed that sometimes rituals focused more on the clothes than on religious words and sacrament. Removing gloves and putting on glasses, keeping a skullcap in place or adjusting a pallium could appear more important than the elevation of the chalice.

Time passes, and today ecclesiastical clothes are less intelligible and point less clearly to something beyond their colors and gilt. They raise questions of gender and class, of culture and sacramentality.

. . . .

Few dimensions of human life aroused Jesus' anger, but religious leaders seeking attention and power through clothes were called "whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead" (Matthew 23:27).

In the years just before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Dominican Fr. Yves Congar wrote a critique of the church's display of power and privilege. He had researched the origins of church vestments and insignia in the Roman Empire and in feudalism, concluding that those clothes no longer have any clear meaning for people. He concluded that vestments can have value, although their religious presence must resonate with the people they address.

. . . .

Among a few small groups in the church, religious clothes are returning. They may be returning not as religious signs but as distractions from faith and ministry. Sashes and birettas, chains and large crosses, amices and maniples, special gloves and shoes have reappeared. Restorationist and reactionary groups tend to have striking clothes just as dictatorships have uniforms.

These groups show a preference for special kinds of clerical collars, tall miters, elaborate trains, a metal cross hung around the neck. Programs on EWTN are the runway for Baroque fashions, some authentic, some from the 19th century, most imitations. Great attention is given to gold vestments and gold vessels, odd new habits and distortions of past religious objects. 

. . . .

Henry David Thoreau said it well: "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." Perhaps some lesson remains in the words of Psalm 132: "I will vest the priests in holiness, and the faithful will shout for joy."  

Read more


RI judge orders Legion of Christ papers unsealed

David Klepper      Jan.23, 2013

A Rhode Island judge has ordered the unsealing of documents related to a disgraced Roman Catholic organization called the Legion of Christ as it faces questions about its relationship to wealthy elderly patrons.

 . . . .

The documents are from a lawsuit filed by a woman contesting the will of a wealthy aunt who left the Legion $60 million. The Legion argued the documents could taint prospective jurors.

The Associated Press and other media organizations sought to have the documents unsealed, arguing they could shed light on the Legion's operations. 

Read more



Catholics, come home!

Our Lady of  Lourdes Church, Daytona, Florida


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 new-borns, skinny as a rail, or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our 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 are more Catholic than the Pope, or haven't been in church since little Joey's Baptism.   We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or are still addicted.  We welcome you if you're having problems, or you're down in the dumps, or you don't like "organized religion," we've been there too. If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you're welcome here.  We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don't work, can't spell, or came because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church. We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both.  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 the flexible, inflexible, tolerant, and  intolerant,  those who laughed and those who gasped at this welcome.  We welcome tourists, seekers, doubters, bleeding hearts...and you!

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Ten sure-fire ways to mix up the teachings of Vatican II

 John W. O'Malley          Feb.4, 2013

These 10 negative principles are simply a backhanded way of reminding ourselves of what is at stake in the controversies over the council's interpretation. 

  1. Insist Vatican II was only a pastoral council.  . . . .  Wittingly or unwittingly, therefore, "pastoral" consigns the council to second-rate status.
  2. Insist it was an occurrence in the life of the church, not an event. This distinction has currency in certain circles.   . . . .
  3. Banish the expression "spirit of the council."  . . . .  Thus, the "spirit of the council" . . . .  enables us to see the bigger message of the council and the direction in which it pointed the church, which was in many regards different from the direction before the council.
  4. Study the documents individually, without considering them part of an integral corpus.   . . . .   Without too much effort it is easy (and imperative) to see the relationship in themes and mind-set, for instance, between the document on religious liberty and the document on the church in the modern world.
  5. Study the final 16 documents in the order of hierarchical authority, not in the chronological order in which they were approved in the council.   . . . .  this principle, when treated as exclusive, ignores the intertextual nature of the council's documents-that is, their interdependence-one building upon the other in the order in which they made their journey through the council.  . . . .   Thus they form a coherent and integral whole and need to be studied that way. 
  6. Pay no attention to the documents' literary form.  . . . .  Unlike previous councils, Vatican II did not operate as a legislative and judicial body in the traditional sense of those terms. It laid down certain principles but did not, like previous councils, produce a body of ordinances prescribing or proscribing modes of behavior, with penalties attached for nonobservance.  . . . .  It most characteristically employed a vocabulary new for councils, a vocabulary filled with words implying collegiality, reciprocity, tolerance, friendship and the search for common ground.  . . . .
  7. Stick to the final 16 documents and pay no attention to the historical context, the history of the texts or the controversies concerning them during the council. This principle allows the documents to be treated as if they float somewhere outside time and place and can be interpreted accordingly.   . . . .  Moreover, there are official documents beyond the 16 that are crucial for understanding the direction the council took-such as Pope John XXIII's address opening the council, "Mother Church Rejoices," and the "Message to the World"-that the council itself published just as it was getting under way. These two documents opened the council, for instance, to the possibility of producing "The Church in the Modern World."
  8. Outlaw the use of any "unofficial" sources, such as the diaries or correspondence of participants.   . . . .  But the diaries and letters of participants provide information lacking in the official sources and sometimes better explain the often sudden turns the council took.   . . . .
  9. Interpret the documents as expressions of continuity with the Catholic tradition. As an emphasis in interpreting the documents of the council, this is correct and needs to be insisted upon. The problem arises when this principle is applied in a way that excludes all discontinuity, that is, all change. It is an absurdity to believe that nothing changed, nothing happened.   . . . . 
  10. Make your assessment of the council into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This principle is not so much about misinterpreting the council as it is about employing assessments to determine how the council will now be implemented and received. The principle is dangerous in anyone's hands but especially dangerous in the hands of those who have the authority to make their assessment operative.   . . . . 

Read more


New Translation of the Roman Missal  


Vatican Preparing a Manual to Help Priests Celebrate Mass

H. Sergio Mora   Jan.16,2013


The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to help priests celebrate the Mass properly and the faithful to participate better, according to the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.


Cardinal Antonio Cañizares confirmed this Tuesday at an address at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See on "Catholic Liturgy since Vatican II: Continuity and Evolution."

 . . . .

He added that the Council did not speak of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, that it stressed the importance of Christ on the altar, reflected in Benedict XVI's celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the altar. This does not exclude the priest facing the people, in particular during the reading of the word of God. He stressed the need of the notion of mystery, and particulars such as the altar facing East and the fact thatthe sacrificial sense of the Eucharist must not be lost. 

. . . .

He also referred to the fact that in many churches the Most Blessed Sacrament is placed in a side altar or chapel, so that "the tabernacle disappears," and people talk before the Mass and arrive less prepared. 


"For Many" Defeats "For All." But Some Are Not Giving Up 

Sandro Magister     Jan.29, 2013


As the Vatican "recognitio" of the new Italian version of the Roman missal is nearing its conclusion, the dispute over the translation of "pro multis" in the formula of the Eucharistic consecration has seen new developments.

The latest comes from the theologian and bishop Bruno Forte.

In an article in "Avvenire" on January 19, 2013, Forte once again sided decisively with translating "pro multis" as "per molti" (for many), instead of as "per tutti" (for all), as has been done for more than forty years in Italy and is similarly done in many other countries. 

. . . .

But resistance is also being seen.

. . . .

In Italy, the new version has not yet entered into effect. But when here as well the "per molti" becomes law - as it surely will - protests and disobedience have already been announced.

. . . .

In 2010, in fact, the Italian bishops gathered in general assembly voted almost unanimously for the preservation of "per tutti" in the formula of the consecration.

On that occasion, according to the official proceedings of the Italian episcopal conference, Forte as well had pronounced himself in favor of "per tutti."

But now he is explaining that those words of his did not express his true thought




Also see Tactical Missal by Rupert Shortt 


Upcoming Events   

Mea Maxima Culpa: 

Silence in the House of God
The film is airing on HBO today, Feb. 4.  Check local cable TV listings, as well as here for times.


Elephants in the Living Room present 

a Pilgrim of Vatican II - 

Bishop Remi DeRoo  

SS. Simon & Jude, 32500 Palmer Road, Westland, MI     1:00 PM  Friday, February 8, 2013  

A light lunch will be served at noon.  Please RSVP Tom Kyle at to=This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." mailto:to=This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">to=This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." shape="rect" style="color: rgb(10, 116, 219) !important; text-decoration: underline !important;">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 248 477 7223 if you would like to have lunch.  


This Future Church teleconference will include a lively discussion of how Canon Law can empower and guide our actions as Catholics. The main theme will be the rights and obligations of the laity as found in Book 2 of Canon Law.     

Tuesday, Feb. 12  12:30 pm EST or 8:30 pm EST

Register online to get the phone number, passcode, and electronic version of the agenda.   

Contact Liz:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-216-228-0869 X3.




Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty 
Nancy Sylvester, IHM
She will take us through the years 1950 to the present helping us to listen, speak and practice from a contemplative heart. How we engage the world and what direction we take are questions seeking answers. We will look at some model communities within our church that have taken root and see how they act as an inspiration going forward. 

Saturday March 16, 2013   9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Chestnut Hill College - Sugar Loaf Center

9230 Germantown, Phila., Pa 19118

$25.00, or what you can afford, includes lunch

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can register the day you arrive. However, for planning purposes, we appreciate receiving your registration by March 1.

Sponsors: ARCC, VOTF Chestnut HillCTA 

AUSCP  ASSEMBLY 2013 June 24-27, 2013  Seattle,WA                                                           


Association for the Rights of Catholics in the  Church 




 Membership options:

 Life $500     ARCC-Angel $100     Regular $50  
Senior $25     Student $15








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