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Some things we have been reading   
Who am I to judge?
What Pope Francis really meant with 'Who am I to judge?' 
Robert McClory       Aug. 1, 2013 

There's been a lot of discussion in the secular media about what Pope Francis really meant when he said, "Who am I to judge?" Some (including Chicago Cardinal Francis George) insist the statement changes nothing; some believe the words mark an epochal opening up of the church's approach to gay issues; still others see the pope's words as a betrayal of official church teaching.


I tend to disagree with the most extreme positions, wherever they come from. But I firmly believe the pope's words were meant to change church practice regarding homosexuality in the priesthood and the acceptance of candidates for the priesthood who are gay. And that is no small thing.

. . . .
In other words, gays who are willing to take on the basic requirements of priesthood and are otherwise qualified should be welcomed into seminaries, ordained and treated as equal to their heterosexually oriented brothers. In view of the pope's statement, Benedict's ban has become outdated. I think it will be practically impossible in the future for a bishop to reject a candidate solely on the grounds that he has gay tendencies. 
Scalia offers to help Pope judge gays    :- )
Andy Borowitz      Aug.1, 2013

Responding to Pope Francis's suggestion that the Pope is not capable of judging gays, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia contacted the Vatican today to say that he would be "more than happy" to help the Pontiff do so.


"If he's having trouble judging homosexuals, well, then I'm his man," Scalia told reporters after making his offer. "I have over a quarter century of professional experience."


Justice Scalia said that he was sympathetic to Pope Francis's difficulty in judging gays, but added, "Once he spends a few weeks watching the master at work, I'm sure he'll get the hang of it." 

Read more


The pope's 'culture of solidarity'
James Carroll      Aug.5, 2013

It's not that Pope Francis speaks positively about gay people, as he did earlier about atheists. Nor is it his simple lifestyle, his accessibility to the press, or his personal modesty. The accumulation of surprises coming from the new pope points to something deeper: the possibility of historic change with implications reaching far beyond the Catholic Church.


Pope Francis seems to have called off the Vatican's culture war with the modern world, a hyper-defensiveness that dates back to the American and French revolutions. With the brief exception of John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963, popes have for centuries been tribunes of negativity, rejecting what one called "the syllabus of errors" that accompanied the arrival of liberal democracy, the emancipation of women, secularism - the whole panoply of values that followed the Enlightenment. Renouncing the positive spirit of Pope John's Vatican II, the two recent popes were culture warriors of the first order. John Paul II railed against "the culture of death," while Benedict XVI denounced the "dictatorship of relativism." Both men seemed to despise most of what they saw around them.


In contrast, Pope Francis is proposing what he called in Brazil last month a "culture of solidarity," and his affable style gives substance to it. He deplores rampant individualism and selfishness, but he does so in order to affirm the bond of fellowship that makes human life precious. The fellowship seems to matter more than the obstacles to achieving it. He seems to exemplify the possibility of new connections across old divides. He comes across as happy.

. . . .
If the Catholic Church threw itself fully into the struggle for justice - restoring its preferential option for the poor and demanding reforms in the structures of the world economy - that would make a difference. For Pope Francis, it's now clear, everything else comes second. 

Read more


As Francis makes changes, not all are very pleased
Nicole Winfield      Aug.2 2013

Four months into his papacy, Francis has called on young Catholics in the trenches to take up spiritual arms to shake up a dusty, doctrinaire church that is losing faithful and relevance. 

. . . .

"He is restoring credibility to Catholicism," said church historian Alberto Melloni.

Such enthusiasm isn't shared across the board.

. . . .
His recent decision to forbid priests of a religious order from celebrating the old Latin Mass without explicit authorization seemed to be abrogating one of the big initiatives of Benedict's papacy, a 2007 decree allowing broader use of the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy for all who want it. The Vatican denied he was contradicting Benedict, but these traditional Catholics see in Francis' words and deeds a threat. They are in something of a retreat.  

"Be smart. There will be time in the future for people to sort what Vatican II means and what it doesn't mean," the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf warned his traditionalist readers in a recent blog post. "But mark my words: If you gripe about Vatican II right now, in this present environment, you could lose what you have attained."


Even more mainstream conservative Catholics aren't thrilled with Francis.


In a recent interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said right-wing Catholics "generally have not been really happy" with Francis.

Read more


Pope pens personal message to Muslims at Ramadan's end
Alessandro Speciale    Aug 2, 2013 

In message published on Friday (Aug. 2), Pope Francis took the rare step of personally expressing his "esteem and friendship" to the world's Muslims as they prepare to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast. 

. . . .

In his message, Francis explains that in the first year of his papacy he wanted to personally greet Muslims, "especially those who are religious leaders."

. . . .
In one of his first public speeches, on March 22, he announced he wanted to "intensify dialogue among the various religions," adding: "And I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam." 

. . . .

"We have to bring up our young people to think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing or denigrating their convictions and practices," he wrote.

Read more


A revolution underway with Pope Francis
John L. Allen Jr.     Aug.5, 2013

Revolutions are funny things. Some are launched by one group but hijacked by others, as in Egypt, where liberal democrats have become bystanders to the real contest between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Some are born amid great idealism that quickly becomes a smokescreen for hypocrisy, as in the various communist uprisings.


Still others fizzle out, while a handful eventually produce new systems that, despite their flaws, really do change the world -- the French and American revolutions, for instance.


It's too early to know which trajectory will apply to the upheaval launched by Pope Francis, in part because at the level of structures and personnel he still hasn't made many sweeping changes, and in part because the parallels are inexact anyway -- Catholicism, after all, is a family of faith, not a political society.


Perhaps the lone certainty is that a revolution is, indeed, underway. In mid-July, the Italian news magazine L'Espresso ran a cover story on the new pope under the banner headline "Ce la farà?" The phrase translates roughly as "Will he make it?" or "Will he pull it off?"


There was no need to explain what "it" meant -- everyone, it seems, knows that Francis is trying to engineer a Catholic glasnost. 

Read more


Consulates and the Vatican in chaos as HSBC tells them to find another bank
Joanne Hart      Aug.3, 2013

Diplomats in London have been thrown into chaos after Britain's biggest bank, HSBC, sacked them as customers and gave them 60 days to move their accounts.  

Their situation has been made far worse because other banks have been closing ranks and refusing to take their business.   


More than 40 embassies, consulates and High Commissions have been affected. Even the Vatican has been given its marching orders. 

. . . .
One diplomatic source said he believed HSBC feared being exposed to embassies after it was fined $2billion (£1.32billion) by US authorities last year.
. . . .

Bernard Silver, head of the Consular Corps, which represents consuls in the UK, said: 'HSBC's decision has created havoc. Embassies and consulates desperately need a bank, not just to take in money for visas and passports, but to pay staff wages, rent bills, even the congestion charge.'    

Read more


Pope Francis 'religiously' supports Argentinean home soccer team
UPI      Aug. 6, 2013

Pope Francis may call Rome his home now, but his heart is still with his home soccer team in Argentina, a team official says.


Marcelo Tinelli, vice president of the San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires, says the pontiff pays his club membership dues "religiously" by having them automatically deducted from his bank account, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday. 

Read more


Ian Millheiser    Jul.31, 2013

A federal judge in Wisconsin handed down an opinion yesterday granting the Catholic Church - and indeed, potentially all religious institutions - such sweeping immunity from federal bankruptcy law that it is not clear that it would permit any plaintiff to successfully sue any church in any court. While the ostensible issue in this case is whether over $50 million in church funds are shielded from a bankruptcy proceeding triggered largely by a flood of clerical sex abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Judge Rudolph Randa reads the church's constitutional and legal right to religious liberty so broadly as to render religious institutions immune from much of the law.


The case involves approximately $57 million that former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan transferred from the archdiocese's general accounts to into a separate trust set up to maintain the church's cemeteries. Although Dolan, who is now a cardinal, the Archbishop of New York and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has denied that the purpose of this transfer was to shield the funds from lawsuits, Dolan penned a letter to the Vatican in 2007 where he explained that transferring the funds into the trust would lead to "an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability."


The issue facing the court is, essentially, whether the funds that Dolan split off into a separate trust can now be reabsorbed into the archdiocese's assets in order to enable sex abuse victims and other creditors to be paid out of these assets. In holding that these funds cannot be so absorbed, Randa relies on a law that limits the federal government's ability to "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion," Randa cites to the current Archbishop of Milwaukee's statement that "the care and maintenance of Catholic cemeteries, cemetery property, and the remains of those interred is a fundamental exercise of the Catholic faith," and concludes that this statement alone is enough to shield the church's funds. As Randa explains, "if the Trust's funds are converted into the bankruptcy estate, there will be no funds or, at best, insufficient funds for the perpetual care of the Milwaukee Catholic Cemeteries."


And Randa does not stop there. He goes on to argue that senior church officials get to unilaterally decide what constitutes a "substantial burden" on their faith for purposes of federal law - "Archbishop Listecki's declaration stands unopposed, and on the issue of religious doctrine, it is unassailable. Moreover, the issue of substantial burden is essentially coterminous with religious doctrine." In this case, an archbishop declared cemetery funds to be untouchable in a bankruptcy proceeding, but Randa's reasoning could extend much farther. Nothing in his opinion would prevent a church's officials from declaring that every single line in every single ledger kept by the church is mandated by the sacred word of God - and therefore every single dollar owned by the church is untouchable so long as the church engages in the kind of accounting gymnastics Dolan allegedly performed.

Read more


Archdiocese creditors seek order to review whether judge has conflict
Annysa Johnson      Aug.3, 2013

Just days after U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa issued a key ruling in favor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its bankruptcy, the church's creditors are seeking an emergency order to determine whether Randa has a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed.


Randa ruled last week that forcing the archdiocese to tap the $50 million-plus it holds in a trust for the perpetual care of cemeteries would substantially burden its free expression of religion under the First Amendment and a 1993 federal law aimed at protecting religious liberty.


In a highly unusual move late Friday, lawyers representing the archdiocese's creditors -- primarily sex abuse victims -- filed a motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to compel the release of any records showing whether Randa and his wife Melinda have purchased any plots or crypts in one of the archdiocese's cemeteries, or whether they have any interest as heirs or beneficiaries of several relatives known to be buried in them.


Depending on what they find, the motion says, the lawyers say they may seek to vacate Randa's order and ask him to recuse himself from the case.


"Judge Randa's decision was so indefensible in so many ways that we suspected there was reason to investigate any involvement he might have with the cemeteries," said Marci Hamilton, a First Amendment scholar who is representing the creditors committee on the issue. 

Read more


Excommunicated For 'Grave Scandal' of Ordaining Women 
Roy Bourgeois      Aug.6, 2013
 . . . . 

In 2000, I was invited to speak at a large religious conference in Rome about the SOA and U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. Hundreds of priests and nuns attended and were supportive of our efforts to close the SOA. The day before returning to the United States, I was invited by Vatican Radio to do a 15-minute live interview about the SOA and U.S. foreign policy.


With two minutes left and moved by the spirit, I recognized an opportunity to express my solidarity with women in the Church, so I said, "We have been discussing the injustice of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. As a Catholic priest, I want to say that there will never be justice in our Church until women can be ordained."


I had about another minute remaining and wanted to say a little more about women priests, but the manager of Vatican Radio angrily came in, cut me off the air, and started playing church music. The interview was over-but I slept very well that night knowing I hadn't let a sacred moment pass by in silence.

. . . . 

It was after participating in the ordination of a woman in 2008 that I received a letter from the Vatican stating that I must recant my support for the ordination of women or I would be excommunicated, and that the ordination of women was a "grave scandal" in the Catholic Church. When most Catholics hear the word "scandal," they think about the thousands of priests who sexually abused children and the many bishops who covered up their horrific crimes-not the ordination of women.   


I wrote the Vatican saying that my conscience would not allow me to recant. I stated that our conscience is sacred because it always urges us to do what is right, what is just.   ...

. . . .

It was only when I began expressing my solidarity with women in the Church, that I recognized how deeply sexism and power permeate the priesthood. Somehow we have lost our way, forgotten the teachings of Jesus, and evolved into a very powerful and privileged clerical culture. It saddens me that so many of my fellow priests see women as a threat to their power. As men, we claim that we, and we alone, can interpret the Holy Scriptures and know the will of God. We profess that men and women are created in the image and likeness of God, but as men we have created God in our own image. And this God is very small, very male, and sees women as the lesser of men.  

. . . . 

As a Catholic priest for 40 years, my only regret is that it took me so long to confront the issue of male power and domination in our Church. 

Read more


My Journey from Silence to Solidarity 
This book by Fr. Roy Bourgeois is freely available  here for reading or downloading in the .pdf format.  The file is approximately 20 megabytes in size; depending upon your connection, you may need patience. In most browsers, a right click will present the option to download the file to your computer. A left click will open the file within your browser. Both of these will require a .pdf reader to be installed on your computer.
Former LCWR leader: Pope should open door to women priests
Joshua J. McElwee  |    Jul. 31, 2013

Theresa Kane

A key former leader of U.S. Catholic sisters said Pope Francis should reconsider the Catholic church's ban on women priests, likening the male-only priesthood to "a form of inequality which is a form of idolatry."


Commenting to NCR on Francis' remarks on the papal plane Monday that the late Pope John Paul II had "definitively ... closed the door" to Catholic women priests, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane said Francis has a chance to "begin a whole new movement and a whole new philosophy."

. . . . 

Women's ordination, said Kane, "is a matter of justice."

"If there's any inequality there's always injustice, whether it's racial or cultural or religious or gender," she said.

Read more

Vatican religious prefect: Gender inequality exists in church
Joshua J. McElwee , Biagio Mazza       Aug.12, 2013

Gender inequality exists in the Catholic church because men and women forget they cannot be "fully human" without one another, a key Vatican cardinal said in May.


"Man without woman is not fully human," Cardinal João Braz de Aviz said. "And woman without man is not fully human either. Each without the other is a piece of humanity, incomplete."


"Throughout history, we have had many difficulties in this area," Braz de Aviz said. "History became a primarily masculine enterprise. For many reasons -- political, anthropological -- this mode also dominated religion."

Read more


Pope Francis and the theology of women: some concerns
Ivone Gebara      Aug.7, 2013

In view of the general acclaim and positive evaluation of the first visit of Pope Francis to Brazil on the occasion of World Youth Day (WYD), any critical essay may not be welcome. But, after so many years of struggle, "woe to me if I keep silent!". So, here are a few lines and brief reflections to share some insights from the place of women.
. . . .

How can Pope Francis simply ignore the strength of the feminist movement and its expression in Catholic feminist theology for more than thirty or forty decades, depending on the place? It also amazes me that he stated that we can even have more spaces in ministry when, in fact, in all the Catholic parishes, it's women for the most part who are carrying out the many missionary projects. 

. . . .

Feminist theology has a long history in many countries in the world and a long history of marginalization in Catholic institutions, especially Latin American ones. Publications in Biblical Studies, Theology, Liturgy, Ethics, History of the Church, have populated the libraries of many schools of theology in different countries. They have also circulated in many secular environments interested in the novelty so full of new meanings. But these texts are not studied in the major schools of theology, especially by the future clergy in training, or in the institutes of consecrated life. Church officialdom doesn't give them citizenship rights because women's intellectual production is still considered inappropriate for male theological rationality. And besides, it's a threat to male power existing in the churches. Most people don't know what alternative publications and organized training exist, just as they don't know the new paradigms proposed by these diverse contextual theologies. They don't know their inclusive strength or the call to historical responsibility for our actions. Most of the men of the Church and the faithful still live as if theology were an eternal science based on eternal truths and taught mainly by men and, secondarily, by women according to established male science. They deny the historicity of the texts, the contextuality of positions and reasons. They're unaware of the new philosophies that inform feminist theological thought, biblical hermeneutics and new ethical approaches.

. . . .

As far as saying, perhaps as a sort of consolation, that the Virgin Mary is greater than the apostles, it is, once again, a male theological expression of abstract consolation. One loves the distant Virgin focused on personal intimacy, but doesn't hear the cries of flesh and blood women. It is easier to write poems to the Virgin and kneel before Her image than to pay attention to what is happening to women in many corners of our world. Meanwhile, if men want to affirm the excellence of the Virgin Mary, they ought to fight for the rights of women to be respected through the eradication of the many forms of violence against women. They even ought to be aware of the religious institutions and the theological and moral content they convey that might not only strengthen, but generate other forms of violence against women.


I fear that many faithful and pastoralists needing the figure of the good Pope, the spiritual father, the Pope who loves everyone, are yielding to the friendly and loving figure of Francis and reinforcing a new male clericalism and a new form of adulation of the papacy. Pope Ratzinger led us to a critique of clericalism and the institution of the papacy through his rigid stances. But, now with Francis, it seems that our ghosts of the past are returning, mellowed now by the simple and strong figure of a pope able to give up the luxury of the palaces and privileges of his state 

Read more

(English translation by Rebel Girl)  


Key US sister: Vatican's LCWR order 'unacceptable'
Joshua J. McElwee    Aug.2, 2013

A year and a half after the Vatican ordered the main representative group of U.S. Catholic sisters to place itself under the control of three U.S. bishops, many sister-leaders still consider complete compliance with the order "unacceptable," the head of the largest order of sisters in the Western Hemisphere said Thursday. Many members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) do not think they can give complete control of their group over to the bishops, Mercy Sr. Pat McDermott told NCR Aug. 1. "The points of direction for the future, I think are unacceptable -- that the bishops would be looking at our materials, our publications, giving direction to the assembly," said McDermott, who as president of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas leads about 4,000 sisters serving in the U.S. and 11 other countries. "That's not a conference that most leaders want to belong to." 

Vatican's overseer tells LCWR he's a 'brother and friend'
Joshua J. McElwee    Aug.13, 2013 

The archbishop given expansive oversight by the Vatican of U.S. Catholic sisters told their annual assembly Tuesday he seeks to be their "brother and friend."


The brief remarks by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain came in the opening session of the four-day meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

. . . .

The past year and a half, Sartain told the 825 assembled sisters, had given him "numerous opportunities" to meet with their leaders over the matter. While they have had some "very significant conversations" during that time, he said they had also had humorous ones too.

"We have developed a wonderful respect for one another," said Sartain. "And yes I would say a friendship with one another."


"I am here this week with you yes as the apostolic delegate ...and as the representative of Pope Francis," Sartain continued. "But I am also here as your brother and friend."

Fr. Helmut Schüller's U.S. speaking tour 

Helmut Schüller's blog


Schüller wraps up US tour: 'We all must speak out' 

Ben Feuerherd      Aug.8, 2013 


Fr. Helmut Schüller's "Catholic Tipping Point" tour of the United States ended where it began: in New York. He gave an address Wednesday evening in Manhasset and on Thursday, he visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, where he delivered thousands of red ribbons and signatures he collected in 15 cities across the nation.  

. . . .  

"I discovered many faithful Catholics working hard to change the church they love very much," Schüller said at St. Patrick's, according to a statement from FutureChurch, one of the tour's organizing groups. "I also spoke with many priests who see the need for change but are afraid to raise their voices. There is no place for fear or intimidation in the Catholic church. We all must speak out for our rights as Catholics."

. . . . 

In his final speaking event Wednesday in Manhasset, Schüller used his experience in the United States to make his case for reform. In the United States, he said, "priests are totally reliant on the bishops for their livelihood. These are the methods of a dictatorship." Making his point, he said in Detroit, priests were forbidden to meet with him in their own homes.


Schüller said the church functions in a "top-to-bottom obedience" and said communities at the "base of the church" are ignored. Calling this structure "difficult for the priests and unhealthy for the church," Schüller pushed for "disobedience" to challenge it.

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Other News of Schüller tour

Our Church further down the Track
Christopher Geraghty.      Aug.4, 2013
. . . .

I am in favour of: finding a new, contemporary way of selecting and installing a successor of Peter the Apostle, the bishop of Rome, as the head of the episcopal college.   . . . .   A more inclusive and democratic way could, and should be devised to ensure that the man in charge truly emerges from the ranks of the People of God.  . . . .  The present process is too clerical, too opaque, too rarified, and the team of candidates to homogenised and Vaticanised.


I am in favour of: finding a new way of selecting a bishop for a local diocese.  . . . .   Even when autocratic and monarchical governance were the secular norm, the Church's method of episcopal selection remained in the hands of local or regional leaders and citizens. Sometimes laypeople or deacons were chosen by popular acclaim to be the bishop. All the faithful members should have some real part in the selection of their bishop.  . . . .  In the modern world, involvement, participation and transparency have a certain attraction.


I am in favour of: parishioners having a significant vote in the appointment of their parish priest.  . . . . Baptism and grace give the members of the People of God the right to be involved in the life of the Church, and the duty to participate. The members should have a say. They should not continue to be treated with such disrespect.


I am in favour of: establishing an up-to-date, rigorous, highly professional program of training and educating those who decide to present themselves for priestly ministry. There can be no real, radical reform of the institution until its religious leaders and ministers are properly educated for a life in the modern world.


I am in favour of: establishing a system for the training and ordination of worldly-wise married men to work in parishes.  . . . .  Experience has shown that it's crazy to require a young man to seclude himself from the world for seven or more years, to ordain him at the age of 23 or 24 and expect him to function for the rest of his life without serious personal problems.


I am in favour of: serious consideration being given to establishing a temporary priestly ministry for, say 7 years, with the possibility of a re-committment for further periods.

I am in favour of: priesthood (and by necessary implication, episcopacy and papacy) being open to any member of the Christian community over a certain age, given the requisite level of faith and maturity - black or white, rich or poor, Jew or gentile, male or female, straight or gay.


I am in favour of: the ordination of women so that they too can exercise a public ministry of teaching, of celebrating the mysteries of the Eucharist and of mediating God's mercy in the sacrament of forgiveness.      

. . . .

I am in favour of: new ministries being developed and ceremonies devised for proper induction - ministries of the sick, for prisoners, for funerals, for the poor, catechists, liturgists etc.


I am in favour of: doing away with titular bishopricswhich attract merely honorific ranks and, if necessary, of expanding the ranks of monsignors.

Read more


U.S. priests are introverts, new British study finds
Abrizio Mastrofini      Aug.9, 2013

The psychological profile Catholic priests in the U.S. comes under the category of "introverted". They are more interested in the ministry in the strict sense and less involved in the social dimension of the apostolate. They are also less focused on the mission. This is according to the latest study published by a British team, led by Leslie Francis, an Anglican professor  at the University of Warwick. The study appears in the current issue of "Pastoral Psychology," an authoritative magazine on international studies published in the United States. Prof. Francis is a prominent figure in the field of psychology of religion and he has developed a special version of the test that is based on the theory of "Psychological Types" of Carl Gustav Jung and the statistical questionnaire developed by Myers and Briggs in the Sixties.

. . . . 

The first trait that characterises them, is "introversion." The second is "sensing", that is, the way in which information is gathered to make judgments. "Sensing" happens via the five senses, as opposed to 'intuition' for those who make exclusive use of intuition. "Sensing," Francis notes, "meant to have priests that relate exclusively to the inherited tradition and do not care to adapt it to the needs of new generations". Priests are accustomed to preserving rather than promoting changes in their pastoral activities. "They place an emphasis on preserving the existing rather than on the missionary dimension". And this happens despite Pope Francis' insistence on the missionary dimension of pastoral activity, on going outside the confines of the parish and welcoming anyone who knocks at the Church's doors.  

In terms of "how" we orient ourselves in the outside world and how we prefer to relate to the outside world, the results of the questionnaire confirm that priests tend to be "judgmental" and are therefore anxious to keep the established structures they find in place when they take up their ministry. "We have a class of priests who put duty above love for others". By focusing on "judging the relationship with the outside world, priests become less flexible and are not able to inject new life and new hope into the Church's structures", Francis writes. 


According to the classification of Psychological Types, priests with these characteristics, comes under the general ISTJ model which includes introverts who use the five senses and intuition and rely on rationality and judgment. This type is very common, particularly among males (two thirds of ISTJ are men). Instead of contemplating the future as an "intuitive" type or celebrating the present as a "sensory extrovert" type, ISTJs always look at the past. They are engaged in protecting the way things were done in the past, as well as past traditions and conventions. "This profile - Francis concludes - is indicative of a presbytery that does not really require or encourage cooperation with the laity."  

Read more


Religion Challenges Left & Right
E. J. Dionne Jr.      Aug.6, 2013

. . . .  

Americans who are left-of-center are far more religiously diverse than their opponents on the conservative side. When it comes to matters of faith, liberals and Democrats have a far more complicated task of coalition management -- although religion also raises some serious difficulties for the right.


Consider the findings of a survey (in which I was involved) released last month by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. Using the answers to a wide variety of questions, we created a scale that broke our respondents into four groups: Religious conservatives, moderates, progressives and the non-religious.


Overall, we found that 28 percent of Americans could be classified as religious conservatives, 38 percent as religious moderates, and 19 percent as religious progressives. An additional 15 percent were non-religious.


But among supporters of the two parties, Republicans were far more cohesive. The analysis found that 56 percent of Republicans were religious conservatives and 33 percent were religious moderates. Only 5 percent were religious progressives and just 6 percent were non-religious.


Democrats, by contrast, were all over our analytical map: 28 percent were religious progressives, 13 percent were religious conservatives, 42 percent were religious moderates, and 17 percent were non-religious.

. . . .
The generation gap on religious commitment is stark. In the Silent Generation (Americans sixty-eight and older), 47 percent are religious conservatives, while only 12 percent are religious progressives and 10 percent are non-believers. These figures are reversed for Millennials (Americans thirty-three and under), only 17 percent of whom are religious conservatives, while 23 percent are religious progressives, and nearly as many, 22 percent, are non-religious. (The remainder in both groups were moderates.)

These trends should disturb conservatives looking to the future, but they should also give pause to religious leaders. The association of religion, and particularly Christianity, with conservatism appears to be turning off substantial numbers of young Americans to faith.


On the other hand, a concern for social justice not only unites large numbers of believers across conservative/progressive lines but also appeals deeply to the more skeptical young. This is one reason why Pope Francis' eloquent emphasis on lifting up the poor, so visible during his recent trip to Brazil, could make him a transformational leader. 

Read more


Former charity head confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Vatican
David Gibson    Aug.2, 2013


The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Catholic Relief Services head Ken Hackett to be the next ambassador to the Vatican.


Hackett replaces Miguel Diaz, a theologian, and he gives President Obama an experienced voice on social justice in Rome where a new pope, Francis, has made caring for the poor a priority.

. . . .

As a longtime president of CRS, the American church's primary international relief arm, Hackett is a familiar figure in Rome, and he has contacts across the U.S. church - even if CRS is not always a favorite of some conservative activists.
Read more


Catholics differ at "war on poverty" hearing
Corrie Mitchell      Jul 31, 2013 

Sister Simone Campbell, the face of the famous "Nuns on the Bus" tours, and Rep. Paul Ryan, the brains behind the House Republicans' budget-cutting plans, have for more than a year represented diametrically opposed camps on how to apply Catholic social teaching to American fiscal policy.


At a House Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday (July 31), the two Catholics had a chance to square off as the sister testified before Ryan's committee about hardship in America as the nation nears the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's 1964 declaration of the "War on Poverty."


Yet there were few fireworks nor much in the way of theological debate, as Ryan, R-Wis., did not go out of his way to champion the GOP budget plan that bears his name. That plan focuses on cutting social programs that Campbell says are key to supporting struggling Americans and also boosting the economy.


Instead, Ryan, the committee chair, stressed that the hearing was about improving people's lives more than it was a debate on cutting spending. "We are losing this war on poverty and we need to know why," Ryan said. 

Read more


CRS Refutes Inaccurate and Misleading Report from Population Research Institute
John Rivera      Jul.30, 2013

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a pro-life organization dedicated to preserving the sacredness and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Every aspect of our work is to help life flourish. We are resolute in our commitment to the Church and its teaching.


Population Research Institute (PRI) has alleged that CRS has used funding from American Catholics to distribute contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices in Madagascar.  This allegation is simply false.  As a pro-life organization, CRS programming does not include the promotion or distribution of artificial family planning or distribution of abortifacients in any country in which we work.


We are confused by the strong allegations coming from PRI regarding CRS programs, as we simply do not engage in such work.  All current CRS grants in Madagascar clearly delineate what activities CRS will implement within its programming portfolio, and artificial family planning and abortifacients are most definitely not included in any of our programming grants.  At the end of every grant, a full report of our activities is submitted to the grant agency.  Our reports clearly indicate that CRS did not engage in the distribution of contraceptive or abortifacients drugs or devices.  


Yet in order to remain vigilant, we are reviewing the allegations to ensure that all CRS programming is consistent with the teaching of the Church.  

Egypt's Coptic Pope concerned over risks of attacks
John McManus     Aug.9, 2013

Several human rights groups have criticised Egypt's authorities for failing to protect Christians.


Some Islamists say the Church backed the removal of President Morsi.

Two weeks ago Bishop Angaelos told the BBC that he didn't mind what kind of government led Egypt - even an Islamist one - as long as individual rights were respected and the country was able to flourish.


Now the bishop has revealed that the Church's leader, Pope Tawadros II, has cancelled some public events at St Mark's Cathedral in Cairo because of the worsening security situation.

Pope Tawadros is concerned about the risk of potential attacks on the Coptic congregation.

. . . .   

On Wednesday, 16 Egyptian human rights organisations denounced the government's failure to protect Copts, and said Muslim Brotherhood leaders were using hate speech to make political gains.


The groups said that the traditional method of stopping violent attacks by using mediation was not working.


They have called for an independent investigation into why Christians and their property are not being adequately protected by the security forces.

Read more


Jesuit priest likely kidnapped in Syria
Alessandro Speciale     Jul.31, 2013

A prominent Italian Jesuit who is an outspoken supporter of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad went missing in Syria Monday (July 29), fueling speculation that he has been kidnapped by an Islamist group.


The Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio, 58, lived for three decades in Syria, where he established an ecumenical community at Mar Musa on the site of an early Christian monastery, engaging in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and forging close ties with the local population.  He was expelled in 2012 by the Assad government for his support of the rebels.


The Reuters news agency reported late on Monday that Dall'Oglio was abducted in the eastern city of Raqqa by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an Islamist group with ties to al-Qaida. 

Read more


12 Aug  

Italian reports that Syrian on Facebook says Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio SJ was killed. Italian foreign ministry says no confirmation.  #prayforhim


Father Wojciech Lemanski's Dismissal Highlights Catholic Church's Uneasy Relation With Jews In Poland
Dagmara Leszkowicz       Aug.1, 2013

When the outspoken Polish priest Wojciech Lemanski returned with his parishioners to his church near Warsaw after holding a prayer vigil at the Treblinka Nazi death camp in early July, a dismissal notice awaited him.


The Warsaw diocese of the Roman Catholic Church sacked Lemanski as parish priest in the small village of Jasienica for what it said was his insubordination after numerous clashes on issues such as in-vitro fertilisation, abortion and his engagement with the Jewish community.


Lemanski sealed his fate when in a radio interview he accused Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who oversees his parish, of asking whether he was a Jew and circumcised - a charge the diocese has denied.


The episode exposed a rift within the church, as it struggles to retain a central role in Polish life, between conservatives and those who want more openness in dealing with social issues and some of the darker episodes in Poland's past.


"At a time when Pope Francis is calling for open-mindedness, the church in Poland is crawling into its shell," said Iwona Jakubowska-Branicka, a sociologist at Warsaw University.
Read more


German Catholic seminarians expelled for Nazi jokes and Hitler salute
Tom Heneghan     Aug.1, 2013

An investigation into rumors of neo-Nazi activity at a seminary in Bavaria has resulted in two student priests being expelled for imitating the Nazi salute and making jokes about death camps, two bishops announced.


The commission probing rumors of neo-Nazi activity at the seminary in Wuerzburg also found a third student had said participants in recent anti-racism marches in the southern German state deserved "a smack in the face", the bishops said.


Rumors of a "brown (Nazi) network" at the seminary began circulating in early May, including talk of a party in its basement pub to mark the Nazi leader's April 20 birthday. Using the symbols of Nazism or glorifying it is illegal in Germany.


The independent commission found no proof it had taken place but even the hint of neo-Nazi sympathies was deeply embarrassing for a Church still struggling with the fallout from revelations of sexual abuse of minors by priests in recent years. 

Read more


Archbishops in Slovenia resign over finances
Associated Press      Jul.31, 2013

Slovenia's top Catholic Church dignitaries resigned on Wednesday in the wake of financial problems involving one of the dioceses in the country.


Apostolic Nuncio Juliusz Janusz said Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of the Archbishop of Ljubljana, Anton Stres, and the Archbishop of Maribor, Marjan Turnsek. Temporary administrators have been appointed.


The two were involved in financial mismanagement at the church in Maribor, but face no allegations of criminal misconduct.


The scandal dates back to 2011, when media reported the diocese suffered losses of up to 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) on investments in a chain of failing businesses, including a nationwide TV network known for its variety of porn channels.


Maribor's previous bishop, Franc Kramberger, resigned after the reports. Stres and Turnsek were at the time also allegedly involved in the diocese's finances, though they argue they weren't the most responsible for the losses.


The Vatican confirmed the pope had accepted the resignations, but refused further comment. 

Read more


Religious orders Sisters of Loretto and Abbey of Gethsemani deny access to land for gas pipeline
Peter Smith      Aug.2, 2013

Two Roman Catholic communities, which collectively own more than 3,000 acres in Central Kentucky, are refusing to permit access to their historic properties for a proposed underground pipeline that would transport flammable, pressurized natural-gas liquids across the state.


The Sisters of Loretto in Marion County and the Abbey of Gethsemani in Nelson County have denied representatives of the pipeline developers permission to survey their property and said they won't consent to participating in the project.

. . . .

Pipeline representatives have been requesting permission to survey properties along the proposed route of the pipeline, part of a network that would transmit by-products of natural-gas drilling from Pennsylvania and surrounding states.

Read more


Joseph A. Slobodzian   Aug.9, 2013

Pennsylvania's Superior Court has set Sept. 17 for oral arguments on the appeal by Msgr. William J. Lynn, convicted last year of child endangerment for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.

Read more


Joshua J. McElwee     Aug.9, 2013

Inclusion of two Catholic sisters in a July release of clergy sex abuse documents in the Los Angeles archdiocese highlights a need for sisters' orders to investigate abuse allegations, says a former leader of the lay group set up by the U.S. bishops to monitor the church's sex abuse policies.


"I think what we have learned in the last 10 to 12 years is that this is not a kind of misconduct that is peculiar to Roman Catholic priests," Judge Michael Merz told NCRAug. 5.


"All the stones need to be turned over," said Merz, a federal district judge in Ohio who served as the chairman of the U.S. bishops' National Review Board from 2007 to 2009. "We need to get this stuff out in the open and deal with it." 

Read more


Abuse apology by Scottish Catholic bishop gets some plaudits
Peter Kenny      Aug.5, 2013

A senior Scottish Catholic bishop has issued a strong apology to victims of child abuse that received praise from prominent members of the community, but was rejected by former church social worker after a step that was described some as landmark announcement.


The Catholic Church announced for the first Sunday that it will publish audits compiled by its National Office of Child Safety of all allegations made against priests, staff or volunteers and how these were resolved.


Later in 2013, the church will release audits dating back to 2006, when co-ordinated procedures were first implemented in Scotland and it will continue this process each year.


The Catholic Church also announced it is also preparing a more detailed report for publication in 2014 that will refer to all historical cases stretching across all Scottish dioceses.

. . . .

Alan Draper, who headed a church body of child protection and drew up a report on "problem priests" in the 1990s, however, dismissed the Catholic Church's plans to publish annual audits of sexual abuse allegations against priests as "window dressing," The Scotsmannewspaper reported.

. . . .

A retired social work director, Draper said an independent commission should be allowed access to the archives of each of the eight dioceses in Scotland. 

Read more


Kevin McKenna    Aug.12, 2013

So the downfall of the Catholic church in Scotland didn't occur at the hands of the Orangemen or the secular humanists of the church's vivid imagination. All of the most grievous wounds it has suffered have turned out to be self-inflicted. The catalogue of sexual abuse by hundreds of priests stretching back decades; the sexual bullying of priests by its own cardinal; the cover-ups and intimidation of witnesses and victims - it didn't need the assistance of any external agency to bring about the moral catastrophe that currently engulfs it.


The single beacon in this, the Scottish church's darkest period, was provided by the most unlikely source. One of the victims of the sex abuse by priests at Fort Augustus Abbey School broke his anonymity last Sunday night and agreed to be interviewed on television. His words gave us a sense of the anger and humiliation he still felt more than 40 years after his torment. Yet he also possessed a dignity, courage and wisdom that has been entirely missing from the Scottish Catholic church and from Rome since the lid began to be lifted on this cesspit earlier this year.


This man was not impressed by the apology offered by the bishop of Aberdeen, Hugh Gilbert, pointing out, correctly, that public opinion and widespread revulsion following BBC Scotland's excellent investigation into abuse at Fort Augustus the previous week had dragged it from the church.


For any confession to be considered sincere and authentic, this brave man also pointed out, it has to be accompanied by "a firm purpose of amendment". Nothing, though, in any of what has passed for a response from the church, has contained anything remotely like "a firm purpose of amendment".

Read more


Benjamin Millar     Aug.9, 2013

The [Australian] Catholic Church's insurance company destroyed records relating to sexual abuse and drove the church's handling of victims of abuse, according to a former adviser to the church.


Psychologist Dr Robert Grant, who advised the Catholic Church committee dealing with sexual abuse, told ABC'sLateline on Thursday that Catholic Church Insurance dictated how victims should be treated under the Towards Healing protocol, a claim CCI denies.


US-based Dr Grant said meetings he attended in the late 1990s with the National Committee for Professional Standards, which was drafting the Towards Healingdocument, were attended by senior representatives of church-owned CCI or their lawyers.


Dr Grant, who has worked with the Catholic Church on sexual abuse in seven countries, said discussions devising the Towards Healing protocols centred on church liability and priests "being unjustly accused" rather than the wellbeing of victims. 

Read more


Brazil President Ratifies Sex Abuse Law Slammed By Church
AFP      Aug.2, 2013

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday ratified a law aimed at protecting victims of sexual abuse which has been condemned by the Catholic church as a first step toward broader legalization of abortion.


Four days after Pope Francis ended a week-long visit to Brazil, the world's most populous Catholic country, Rousseff signed the text into law without any veto, her office said.

The legislation mandates that victims of sexual abuse receive emergency treatment in public hospitals and get access to medication to prevent unwanted pregnancies such as the "morning-after pill."


The Catholic church and pro-life groups had urged the president to veto at least some of the most controversial passages of the legislation. 

Read more


Church pays $1.35 million in suit alleging Newark archbishop protected abuser in Illinois
Mark Mueller      Aug.12, 2013

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria will pay $1.35 million to settle a lawsuit that contends Newark Archbishop John J. Myers, Peoria's former bishop, failed to take action against a sexually abusive priest in the mid-1990s, freeing him to molest again.


The settlement, reached late last week, is to be formally announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon outside Myers' office in Newark.


The alleged victim's attorney, Jeff Anderson, also will release a transcript of Myers' deposition in the case. The deposition had been under court seal since 2010.


Anderson represents Andrew Ward, who has accused the Rev. Thomas Maloney, now deceased, of molesting him in Illinois in 1995, when Ward was 8.


A year earlier, a woman told the diocese Maloney sexually abused her as a child, but the priest was permitted to remain in ministry, the suit contends. Myers also failed to notify police of the allegation, Anderson said.

Read more


Mother of alleged abuse victim calls for Archbisop Myers to be jailed
Mark Mueller      Aug.13, 2013

The mother of a boy allegedly abused by a priest in the Diocese of Peoria called today for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to be jailed, saying he could have prevented the molestation because he knew of a previous allegation when he served as bishop there.


Joanne Ward, speaking at a press conference outside of the Archdiocesan Center in Newark, said Myers knew in 1994 that Msgr. Thomas Maloney allegedly molested a girl but took no action against Maloney because the two were friends.


A year later, Ward said, Maloney allegedly abused Ward's son, Andrew Ward, then 8, at a church in Normal, Ill.


"Bishop Myers knew Monsignor Maloney was molesting children and allowed him to go into my son's school, and because of that, my family went through devastation," said Joanne Ward, 50. "I don't want his resignation. I want Bishop Myers to go to jail."

Read more


Bishop Casey treated worse than pedophile priests for having affair says son
Nick Bramhill      Aug.5, 2013

The son of Bishop Eamon Casey has told of his anger at the way the Catholic Church treated his father following revelations that he had had an affair and fathered a son with American divorcee Annie Murphy.


In an interview in the Irish Times Boston-based Peter Murphy said his father received far more punishment than he deserved from Catholic Church leaders, after he was forced into exile and forbidden from saying in Mass in public ever again.


He said the subsequent paedophile scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church over the past 20 years put into perspective his father's so-called 'crime'.


And he also revealed that Casey, 86, who returned home to Ireland in 2006 and is now in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's felt lasting pain at being banned from performing Mass publicly because he never lost his devotion to the Church. 

Read more


Melissa Hanson and Peter Schworm      Aug.5, 2013

An official of the Archdiocese of Boston pleaded not guilty today after he was allegedly found with a prostitute behind a cemetery.


Monsignor Arthur Coyle, 62, of Lowell was arraigned this morning in Lowell District Court. Bail was set at $500 cash, and he was slated to return to court Sept. 16 for a pretrial conference, said Middlesex district attorney's spokeswoman Stephanie Guyotte.  


Coyle was arrested at 5:19 p.m. Sunday after he offered a prostitute money for sex, said Lowell Police Captain Kelly Richardson. In a report filed in court, police quoted Coyle as telling them that he had paid a woman working as a prostitute $40 for oral sex. Coyle told police the sex act had not been completed, the report said. ...


Police had spotted Coyle's black Chevy Equinox and noticed he had a "known prostitute" in the passenger seat, the report said. After the vehicle parked behind the Polish Cemetery in Lowell, officers waited five minutes, then approached the vehicle and separated Coyle from the alleged prostitute, Siriwan Kongkaen, 38, police said in the report. 

Read more


Bishop Thomas Tobin says he's now a registered Republican
Ted Nesi      Aug.13, 2013

Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin revealed Tuesday night that he recently became a registered Republican, while emphasizing that the church and its mission shouldn't be viewed through a narrowly partisan lens.

. . . .

"The a-ha moment for me was the 2012 Democratic National Convention. It was just awful," Tobin told the Rhody Young Republicans. "I just said I can't be associated structurally with that group, in terms of abortion and NARAL and Planned Parenthood and [the] same-sex marriage agenda and cultural destruction I saw going on - I just couldn't do it anymore." 

Read more


Number of permanent deacons grows, but many reaching retirement age
Mark Pattison      Aug.10, 2013

While the number of permanent deacons keeps growing, those ordained to the permanent diaconate are steadily reaching retirement age, with a need to replenish their ranks, according to a study released Aug. 6 on the diaconate.


There are more than 18,000 permanent deacons in the United States, including more than 15,000 who are active in ministry, according to the study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.


However, more than two-thirds of active deacons -- 68 percent -- are at least in their 60s, with 25 percent of all deacons at least 70. Thirteen percent of U.S. dioceses have a mandatory retirement age of 70 for deacons; 80 percent mandate retirement at age 75. 

Read more


Colombian priest jailed as gang leader 
AAP      Aug.6, 2013

A Roman Catholic priest has reportedly been sentenced to 19 years' jail for heading a criminal gang in Colombia.


According to the Medellin daily El Colombiano, a court has revoked an earlier decision to absolve Oscar Ortiz, parish priest in the hamlet of San Antonio de Pradothe.


The High Court in Medellin ruled on Thursday that he was the mastermind in a gang known as the Demobilised Fighters of El Limonar.


Most members of the gang, which engaged for 10 years in kidnappings, drug trafficking and extortion, are former right-wing paramilitaries. 

Read more


A thoroughly modern mystic makes his way to the big screen 
Cathleen Falsani     Aug 8, 2013

Merton's complex love life is the subject of a forthcoming feature film, "The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton."


Not long before his death in 1968 at the age of 53, the thoroughly modern mystic fell in love with a nursing student half his age. She is referred to, simply, as "M" in his memoir and letters collected in the volume "A Midsummer Diary for M," published posthumously in 1997.

. . . .

The screenplay for "The Divine Comedy of Thomas Merton" was written by Ben Eisner and Kevin Miller, the filmmakers behind last year's feature-length documentary "Hellbound?" The duo's Merton film, while factually based, is not a documentary. Rather, it is an epic tale of spiritual, emotional and cultural transformation in the 1960s. 

Read more


Patriarchate of Constantinople wages war against rebel monks on Mount Athos
Giorgio Bernardelli    Jul.31, 2013

The Greek government sent riot police to Mount Athos in Northern Greece this morning, to forcibly remove a group of monks from Esphigmenou monastery, one of the twenty monasteries that form part of this famous Eastern orthodox complex. Esphigmenou monastery is renowned for the war it has waged against the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople which it accuses of betraying the Orthodox Church by opening ecumenical dialogue with the Vatican. A war which has been going on since the 70s. According to an Associated Press report, the traditionalist monks threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police and judicial officials as they attempted to storm the building .Patriarch Bartholomew declared the monks of Esphigmenou an illegal brotherhood in 2002 and ordered their eviction. But the monks ignored this, claiming the Patriarch of Constantinople does not have the power to evict them.


The conflict has been going on for decades: it all began when Paul VI visited Patriarch Athenagoras in 1967. The Esphigmenous community protested against the two religious leaders praying together by famously raising black flags displaying the message "Orthodoxy or death".

Read more


Fashmob with the bishops 
on the stage of Copacabana
Il flashmob con i vescovi sul palco di Copacabana
Il flashmob con i vescovi sul palco di Copacabana


New Translation of the Roman Missal 

 Petition To Cardinal O'Malley  


Please sign the petition below, no later than Labor Day.  Then, on or about September 8th, a copy of this letter, along with all the signatures, will be sent by the Misguided Missal Team to Cardinal O'Malley.  This will allow him time to prepare for his meeting in October with Pope Francis, and his other seven newly appointed advisors.  Please make copies of this letter for anyone who does not use the internet or is otherwise unaware of our web site.  All are invited to sign it, pass it along, and send it to Cardinal O'Malley by September 8th.


Upcoming Event

Synod 2013

"Co-Creating the Living Church"
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Ramada Mall of America Hotel
2300 E. American Blvd. Bloomington, MN 55439
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