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Joseph Boyle                                         October, 2014
(Author:   This article is not intended to assert doctrine but to advance the conversation)

Immediately after Vatican II, Intentional Eucharistic Communities began to spread in Europe and the United States. Italian Bishops such as Michele Pellegrino of Turin, Don Clements and others associated their names and participated in their gatherings. Since the early 1990's in the US, conferences have been held on Intentional Eucharistic Communities and another is now taking shape and will take place on June 27-29, 2015 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, "Living the Gospel - Collective Voices". The source of these initiatives is the spontaneity of grass root Catholics (not to mention the Spirit), not the institutional leaders.


The fact that there is no ongoing, public conversation on the local or regional level in our church with any kind of recognition of Catholics' equality and inclusivity is sufficient reason for the people to take charge. The silent condition on the part of institutional leaders is deliberate. It appears they want nothing to do with change and evolutionary thought. They are still enjoying the shift in power that took place in the early second millennium of the church.


The domain of Eucharist was given to privileged liturgists. Priestly life as a state of perfection was recognized by Pope Urban II in 1090. The Fourth Lateran Council stated that only a validly ordained person can celebrate Eucharist. Pope Gregory 9th (127-1241) decreed that lay people cannot preach. The priest had ontological status and power. There was the renaissance of Roman law and the famous remark  by Vincent de Beauvis,  "quodqueprincipiplucuit,  legishabetvigorum" (whatever pleases the prince has the force of law) makes its impact. The hierarchy and not the community is the matrix of ministry. A few years ago a Benedictine monk [Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB], a member of the recent international liturgical commission traveled around the US giving presentations on the political circuity of Vatican officials with regard to the recent changes in the Mass.


We are now living in the third millennium, different from the 1st and 2nd. What we often think as basic or indigenous to our understanding is only indigenous to the form from which it arises. It's the community that creates the historical forms for ministry and sacrament and it's the community that can change them. The decisions for the life of the church in the second millennium may have been historically fitting but today it is fitting to recognize Catholics' freedom and the need to engage our faith in another time period. This is not the time for silence, acquiescence and docility. We have much to overcome.


At different periods in church history, different elements in the church assumed leadership role. Sometimes it was the popes, sometimes the bishops, sometimes the theologians. In 325AD at the Council of Nicaea it was the people who saved the church from the Arian bishops. Today, all the signs are once again pointing to the people. IECs are a visible sign of this experience.


A definition of IECs (obtained from the internet, are those "small faith communities rooted in the Catholic tradition which gather to celebrate Eucharist on a regular basis. Born in the enthusiasm flowing from Vatican II for a church of people, some IECs were instituted in parishes, some were created as alternatives to the parish, some retain close ties with the institution and some function independently. All are characterized by shared responsibility for governance and the life of the community. Through sharing liturgical life and mutual support for one another, members are strengthened to live Gospel-centered lives dedicated to spiritual growth and social  commitment".


The June 2015 conference on IECs is still in the planning stage. There are three broad categories guiding the conference, theology, liturgy and the dynamics of community. The committee's conversations are full of topics. For liturgy, there are topics on homilies and preaching, appropriate use of music, writing prayers and canons, multicultural considerations, planning feasts and funerals, best practices, environment and space, and more.For theology there are topics on priesthood of the community, importance of local church, why, what, where, how of church, significance and meaning of Eucharist, meal ministry of Jesus, authority, empowerment, primacy of conscience, Catholic social thought/social justice, actualizing the Francis revolution in IEC's: how to activate and mobilize.


For dynamics of community there are topics on identifying important elements of community dynamics. Our personal history and culture in our Church has been mainly focused on our individual relationship with God. Acting as a community is a very fussy experience. Why so, whither we go? There will also be sessions on governance, leadership, participation, decision making and moving out of the comfort zone, how to start one, technology and its use, social media, finances, record keeping, insurance, adult and children's education, mission articulation. There is enough to make your head spin and attract anyone's interest. The job of the committee is to organize and condense.


Good sources for theological support for the importance of community and Intentional Eucharistic Communities are the two books by Edward Schillebeeckx. His book on Ministry is less dense than his expanded Human Face. The 38 page booklet published in 2007 by the Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB is another important contribution. Books and articles on the Local Church are also important. There are web sites, such as the American Catholic Council and Intentional Eucharistic Communities.


The IECs are spirit based and underscoring the fact that our understanding changes. So much of our understanding has changed in the last 60 years in word and deed, it compels us to act and change when necessary. Let us embrace the Vatican II decree on the Lay Apostolate, in particular, "between the members of the body there exists such unity and solidarity (Eph 4:16) that members who fail to do their best to promote the growth of the body must be considered unhelpful both to the church and themselves.


Joseph Boyle is a member of the ARCC Board.    

Some things we have been reading  
Pope opens synod criticizing 'bad shepherds,' those who 'thwart' God
Joshua J. McElwee      Oct.5, 2014\

Pope Francis opened a worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops Sunday -- a possible landmark of his papacy -- by warning against "bad shepherds" who unduly burden the faithful and who "thwart" God by not being guided by the Holy Spirit.

. . . .

"Synod assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent," said the pontiff. "They are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord's vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people."

. . . .

Referring to the Gospel reading Sunday -- a parable from Jesus in Matthew's Gospel about tenants who take over the owner's vineyard -- Francis said bishops can also "be tempted to 'take over' the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings."

"God's dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants," said Francis. "We can 'thwart' God's dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit."

. . . . 

There are some 190 prelates who will be present and will be able to vote in the discussions. Some 60 others, mainly non-prelates, have been selected in other roles and will be able to contribute to discussions but not to vote.

Monday afternoon through Thursday evening, the bishops will open each of their meetings with an announcement of the theme for that session, followed by a testimony by a married couple on the theme.

After one week of their meetings, the bishops are to create a draft of a working document for the synod that will then be worked on during the second week of meetings to result in a final document for the synod, to be delivered to the pope.

Read more

Full Text of Pope Francis' Opening Words 

5 things to know about the Vatican's family synod
Nicole Winfield       Oct.4, 2014

. . . .

What's on the table?

Last year Vatican officials sent out a 39-point questionnaire to bishops' conferences across the globe asking for frank input from clergy and lay Catholics on a host of hot-button issues like pre-marital sex, contraception and gay unions. They got it.  . . . .

Who's coming to Rome?

In all, 191 synod "fathers" are taking part: Most are presidents of national bishops' conferences, others were named by Francis and still others are taking part thanks to the Vatican positions they hold. Sixty-one are cardinals, the rest are bishops, patriarchs or priests.

Given that the issue at hand is Catholic families, Francis also invited 12 ordinary Catholics, members of families, to participate.   . . . .

What will the public see? 

Technically, the synod is a closed-door affair, with only the opening session broadcast and a final written message published. Press conferences are scheduled throughout.

In past synods, the Vatican published written summaries of bishops' remarks to the meetings and provided daily briefings about the general themes discussed.

This time around, however, the Vatican appears to be clamping down on the dissemination of such detailed information to encourage frank and spontaneous discussion. No written summaries are being provided.

What's happening on the sidelines?  

As occurs during any big Vatican meeting, church reform groups are descending on Rome in hopes of influencing the debate or at least grabbing some airtime while attention on the Vatican is high. 
 . . . .

On the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, a group of conservative legal scholars and policy makers wrote to the synod asking it to endorse the creation of networks of faithful married couples who could serve as support groups and mentors in parishes.   . . . .

How does it end?

The synod technically ends on Sunday, Oct. 19 with the beatification of Pope Paul VI, the third 20th century pope Francis will elevate this year following the dual canonizations of Saints John Paul II and John XXIII in April. Paul is best known for having overseen the completion of the Second Vatican Council, which helped bring the Catholic Church into the modern world.  . . . . 

Read more

The synod's key twist: The sudden return of gradualism
John L. Allen Jr.       Oct.8, 2014

All of a sudden at the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the family, "gradualism" as a concept in both Catholic moral theology and pastoral practice, which not so long ago seemed on the verge of being stricken from the official lexicon, is back with a vengeance.


There have been multiple references so far to the "law of graduality," more commonly referred to by theologians over the years as "gradualism." Its apparent popularity may offer a clue to how things are evolving in the keenly watched debate over divorced and remarried Catholics, but understanding why requires a bit of background.

At one level, gradualism is no more than the common sense observation that virtues such as honesty and courage aren't all-or-nothing propositions, and that people move towards them through stages and at different speeds. It implies that just because someone's current situation falls short of perfection doesn't mean it has no moral value, and it's often better to encourage the positive elements in someone's life rather than to chastise their flaws.
. . . . 

Where gradualism becomes more of a bone of contention is when it's invoked to justify a permissive approach to moral rules.

. . . .

For those concerned with defending tradition, this second sense of gradualism can make it sound like another word for "relativism", meaning watering down objective standards of morality. By the same token, it also makes gradualism a favorite refuge for moderates who accept the content of Church teaching, but who don't want to go to war over it.


Ferment over gradualism, and what its implications may be, tends to arise whenever the Catholic Church ponders sexual morality.

 . . . .

n his opening address on Monday, Cardinal Péter Erdő of Hungary argued that Humanae Vitae should be read in light of graduality. In a session with reporters at Vatican Radio Monday night, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich invoked graduality as a key to helping the church develop a new way of talking about sex.


In a briefing session for reporters on Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman described graduality as among the synod's emerging themes, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols of the UK said the idea of graduality "permits people, all of us, to take one step at a time in our search for holiness in our lives."


Here's why the vocabulary matters: Everyone knows that the hottest issue at this synod is the question of whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics ought to be able to receive Communion. Moderates supporting that change need to find a way to justify it that doesn't seem to call into question the principle that marriage is for life.


"The law of graduality" could be one way of doing the trick, and thus references to it could be understood as an early show of strength for the moderate position.

Read more

A "Family" Feud
Bishop Robert Lynch      Oct 6, 2014

. . . .

The thought occurred to me that if Pope Francis could coax the leaders of Hamas and Israel to meet for prayer in the Vatican Gardens during which each side spoke respectfully of each other, could not the family of the Church try a little harder to settle something of a "border dispute" between the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (hereafter "CDF") and the major branch of religious women in the US?


In popular Catholic opinion in the United States, I think clearly that the sisters in LCWR have conducted themselves quite admirably in avoiding the same heated rhetoric which came a couple of weeks ago from CDF. They are facing a mandate that they find very hard to swallow which is at its base, "Shape up or ship out." In the late eighties the USCCB had a similar mandate come down from another Roman office and we politely ignored it and it went away. While the sisters have largely remained cool, calm and collected, the other side in what was perhaps a momentary (one might hope) peak of anger or frustration responded by saying "we are not misogynists" - a principle I would not wish to defend for the universal Church at large. Then there is the preposterous proposition that the LCWR does not represent American religious women. Had CDF said "all religious women" I would have had no qualms. But LCWR sure has a heck of a lot more religious sisters in its communities than any other body of religious women. As a local bishop, I love my sisters. Most could have retired to the motherhouse long ago but they long to help in many ways. And while I am at it, while my own USCCB was bound up for the last decade in liturgy and culture wars, those same members of our family, the sisters, kept the social justice agenda alive for which their leaders seem to now being blamed.


These women are neither terrorists nor heretics and while some of the older sisters may not follow the drift or direction of some of the major speakers at the LCWR annual leadership assembly, they hang tough for their leadership and the most of the rest of the "Catholic" family supports them. Ask most of our priests about whether or not they support our sisters and the response will be positive. Ask the same group if this wing of the family ought to be taken to the woodshed for introducing topics of interest to them, and most of the rest of the family would likely say no. The Church at this moment in time does not need an internecine war between two respected bodies that love the same God, serve the same mission, as did our Lord. 

Read more

More on Synod on the Family 
Court declines to review rulings overturning same-sex marriage bans
Patricia Zapor     Oct.6, 2014

Rulings that overturned state bans on same-sex marriage in five states will be allowed to take effect, after the Supreme Court Oct. 6 declined to consider appeals of seven lower court rulings that such prohibitions are unconstitutional.


Another half-dozen states in the same appellate court jurisdictions also are likely to begin allowing such marriages. But the high court's refusal to hear the cases does not translate to a nationwide mandate for all states to follow them.


The action effectively allows same-sex marriages to begin in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin as soon as lower courts lift temporary stays that were imposed while appeals went to the Supreme Court.


Six other states within the same three federal circuit court jurisdictions would fall under those appellate rulings and likely also will begin allowing such marriages, bringing to 30 the number of states that allow same-sex couples to wed.


Within hours of the Supreme Court orders being released, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the temporary stay on its rulings, which overturned same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. The other cases that now revert to lower court rulings are from the 4th Circuit and the 7th Circuit. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said county clerks could begin issuing licenses that same day.

. . . .

While supporters of laws allowing same-sex marriage hailed the result of the court's decision to bypass the cases, some opponents called on Congress to act.


A statement from the chairmen of two committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said they were disappointed that the court didn't take up the cases. 

Read more

Cardinal Wuerl: Reception of Communion is not a doctrinal position.
Grant Gallicho       Oct.6, 2014

"When we talk about doctrinal givens, things that are fixed, we're talking about something such as In what does marriage consist? The reception of Communion is not a doctrinal position. It's a pastoral application of the doctrine.... Just to repeat the practice of the past without any effort to see whether there is some awareness, openness, influence of the Spirit that might be helping us in total continuity with our past practice to find a new direction today."


-- Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington

 Cardinal Wuerl: Who may receive Communion?


The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, Cardinal Pell
Fr. Peter Day      Sep.19, 2014

. . . .

Your foreword to the soon to be published The Gospel of the Family (Professor Stephan Kampowski and Fr Juan Perez-Soba), appears to leave us with little doubt: outsiders are not welcome.


As you say, "The sooner the wounded, the lukewarm, and the outsiders realise that substantial doctrinal and pastoral changes are impossible, the more the hostile disappointment (which must follow the reassertion of doctrine) will be anticipated and dissipated."


Respectfully, I have a number of questions I'd like to thrash out with you, conscious, of course, that neither of us in our grappling can claim to really know the mind of Christ.


What did our Lord have in mind when he instituted the Eucharist with these self-emptying words, "This is my body ... this is my blood"? Whose hunger was he responding to?


 Scripture records the Pharisees complaining that Jesus "welcomes sinners and eats with them". He said "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: 'Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice." I could go on.


If we believe Jesus - called a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of sinners by his enemies - is real and present in our Breaking of Bread, are we not also compelled to look beyond the in-crowd and welcome outsiders? Are we not compelled to take risks such as being pilloried for sharing our table with those we are not supposed to? I am concerned for those who are hungry for love and long to share even the crumbs from the table.


Cardinal, can any of us look our Lord and Master in the eye and say: "Yes, I am a follower; but you must understand there are rules ..."? 

Read more

A pope of blurred boundaries
Andrew Hamilton        Oct.8, 2014

Pope Francis is a leader out of his time. Generally the style and vision of governance in the Catholic Church correspond to those current in the broader society. He is out of sync. That has inevitably led many to ask whether his vision and style of governance will endure in the Catholic Church. Some indications may be found during the current Synod on the family.

. . . . 

The oddity of Pope Francis is that at a time when national governments have become increasingly authoritarian and have emphasised narrowly defined national identity and interests and strong boundaries, he has advocated local initiative and constantly blurred boundaries in his action and his speech. He sees the identity of the Catholic Church to lie in its going out to the margins.


The question arises then is whether the Pope's vision of mission and governance will shape the Catholic future, or whether his image of church leaders coming back from the badlands smelling like lost sheep will give way to sheep waiting in line in the designated paddock where their shepherds can feed them on sheeply food and protect them from danger. Sociologically, you would have to bet on the latter. But it is never a done deal.

. . . . 

Discussion of the Synod has focused on allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. That is mostly a problem for the devout, often resolved by pastoral commonsense. But it points to the larger reality: that at Mass, the place where Catholics mostly meet, a strict application of church rules would exclude most baptised Catholics from full participation.


That underlines the importance of the question Pope Francis has posed: how can people, on the borders of the Catholic Church or beyond, find from Catholics encouragement and support in their messy lives? In asking that question so insistently he is a man for all times. 

Read more

Despite predictions, Pope Francis does not win the Nobel
John L. Allen Jr.       Oct.10, 2014

In the 2013 conclave, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was considered a long shot and yet emerged as Pope Francis. Today he had the opposite experience, going into the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize considered a front-runner and yet finishing as an also-ran.


The award instead went to Indian Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistani Malala Yousafzay, with the Nobel committee citing their struggles on behalf of children's rights, especially the right to education.

. . . .

Although the committee never officially reveals the reasons why it did not choose someone, many observers believe Francis's candidacy may have suffered from lingering embarrassment some Nobel personnel feel over bestowing the honor on US President Barack Obama in 2009, before Obama had accomplished anything substantive.


In that light, experts say the Nobel committee may be cautious about perceptions of honoring world leaders too early in their terms of office.

It's also possible that Francis may have complicated efforts to honor him as a peacemaker by recent comments apparently approving military strikes against the self-declared ISIS caliphate in Iraq.

. . . . 

Today's decision to give the honor to someone other than the pope is not the first time a pontiff has been overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize.


The late Pope John Paul II was often nominated as a candidate but never won, despite his role in liberating Eastern Europe from Communism and reaching out to the followers of other religions.


A former member of the Nobel Prize committee, Lutheran Bishop Gunnar Staalseth of Oslo, Norway, publicly vowed in 2001 that no pope would win the award until the Catholic Church changed its teaching on contraception, which he insisted "favors life rather than death." 

Read more

A Ban on Coed Contact Sports
Gereard O'Connell    Oct.10, 2014

One of the Vatican's top canon lawyers at the Synod of Bishops on the Family says the current process for the annulment of marriages in the Catholic Church could be streamlined and expanded to the benefit of very many people whose marriages have broken down. This could be one of the positive fruits of the synod, he said, but it would not be approved until the second synod in 2015.


Cardinal Francis Coccopalmerio (Italy) said this at a Vatican press briefing for the media on Thursday, and outlined three ways in which the annulments process can be streamlined and improved.  

. . . .

The first way is by removing the appeal process and requiring only one judicial decision in the church's tribunal. The current code of canon law requires the double confirming sentence by church tribunals before the marriage can be declared null. Today, after the first judicial sentence has been issued declaring the marriage is null, there is an automatic judicial appeal. The church cannot declare the annulment of a marriage until the appeal process has confirmed the first decision.


A second way is by not requiring a collegial judicial decision in cases of annulment. Today it is necessary to have three judges to declare the nullity of a marriage, whereas it would be sufficient to have only one judge for this purpose.


The third way is what many synod fathers described as "an administrative procedure" by which the local bishop can declare the annulment of a marriage "for grave and urgent reasons."This could happen even in the absence of external evidence or witnesses, when the bishop considers the couple as "credible witnesses" to what was the actual situation in their marriage.


"I am very favorable to this third solution; it is often the only way forward," Cardinal Coccopalmerio stated. 

Bankruptcy settlement talks fail between Milwaukee archdiocese, creditors
Annysa Johnson       Sep.23, 2014

The mediation involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its creditors - aimed at bringing an end to its nearly 4-year-old bankruptcy - has concluded with no agreement on compensating the church's victims of childhood sexual abuse, the archdiocese said Tuesday.


Lawyers for the archdiocese, its $60 million cemetery trust, its insurance companies, the bankruptcy creditors committee and the largest group of victims met with a mediator in Minnesota on Monday for the second time this month. The latest mediation, requested by the archdiocese, was the third failed attempt at a negotiated settlement since 2010.


The failure means the parties will return to federal court for a new round of costly battles in a bankruptcy case in which legal fees have already topped $13 million. 

Read more

Pope's sex abuse panel makes progress
Nicole Winfield      Oct.6, 2014

Pope Francis' sex abuse commission has made new progress after languishing for much of the past year. It approved its legal statutes, proposed new members and divided up work to focus on reaching out to survivors, holding bishops accountable and keeping pedophiles out of the priesthood, The Associated Press has learned.


The commission met over the past weekend for the third time since it was announced last December.


While Francis' other expert commissions looking into Vatican finance and administration worked at a frenzied pace through 2014 and finished their projects in recent months, the sex abuse commission never seemed to get off the ground. It lacked organization, a clear mission statement, office space, funding and a full membership roster.


But commission member Marie Collins, herself a sex abuse survivor, told AP on Monday that much progress was made this weekend. It was the first meeting since Francis put the Vatican's sex crimes prosecutor, Monsignor Robert Oliver, on the job full-time as the commission's secretary, or No. 2.

Read more

Vatican Abuse Panel Expands to Nine Members
Carol Glatz      Oct.7, 2014

A papal commission on child protection will be expanding its nine-member panel to include more experts and another survivor of clerical abuse.


The Commission for the Protection of Minors, which Pope Francis established last December, is now awaiting the pope's approval of members' latest efforts as they aim to lay out a pastoral approach to helping victims and prevent future abuse.


Marie Collins, a commission member and survivor of clerical abuse, told the Associated Press Oct. 6 that the specially appointed group has agreed on its provisional statutes and finalized a list of potential new members, adding experts from other countries and disciplines as well as including another survivor.


Currently the commission includes: U.S. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, head of the commission; U.S. Father Robert W. Oliver, commission secretary; Collins and six, mostly European, experts in mental health, civil and church law, and moral theology. 

Read more

Sex, marriage and the Catholic church
Tina Beattie       Oct.8, 2014

A battle is raging for the soul of the Catholic church, with influential cardinals increasingly open in their opposition to Pope Francis over issues including divorce, remarriage, contraception and same-sex relations.


Disagreement over these issues is likely to come to a head over the next few days, with the bishops gathering in Rome for an extraordinary synod on the family, called by the pope. Unusually, the Vatican sent out a questionnaire ahead of the synod seeking the views of Catholics around the world on family, marriage and sexuality. The hierarchy has been reluctant to publish the responses, but it is clear from their commentaries that many Catholics do not follow the church's teachings.

. . . . 

For those who take for granted the values of progressive liberalism, the Catholic church seems like a creakingly anachronistic institution. As a feminist I am treated with incredulity by those who cannot understand why I remain within the church, particularly when I am repeatedly censored because I speak out on issues such as same-sex marriage and women's ordination.
. . . .  

Whatever happens in Rome over the next week or so might be decisive for any future direction: the church of Francis or the church of Benedict? The power struggles being played out suggest these two factions might be heading for a messy divorce.


So, why would a feminist stay in such a male-dominated institution where progressive liberalism is repeatedly thwarted? Progress is a dubious concept, and our rights and freedoms are daily corroded by the politics of greed, power and wealth. The Catholic church has a rich tradition of social teaching and solidarity with the poor which challenges these neo-liberal corporate values and offers a different way of living. It is a rich and diverse tradition, weaving together a vast multicultural family that defies the growing xenophobia and exclusivity of modern western societies. It offers a perspective from which to evaluate our muddled values and short-term goals against a more enduring and hopeful outlook on what it means to be human.


The church's intellectual heritage is a complex mixture of theology, philosophy, art and science that enriches the mind, even if its own leaders have tended to be the worst enemies of this tradition - the sex abuse scandal has revealed a malignant darkness at the heart of the hierarchy. Yet all this is just as true of life outside the church. One should expect better of those who claim to be Christian, but in reality we humans are a species with a peculiar proclivity towards violence, shame and corruption.


Christians call it original sin, and I find in the Catholic church a powerful narrative of hope and redemption in the midst of that.

It is surely worth struggling for.

Read more

Archbishop Cushley bans female Catholic theologian from speaking
Christopher Lamb         Sep.25, 2014

A female Catholic theologian has been banned by the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh from speaking on Church property in his diocese.

Acting on instructions from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Archbishop Leo Cushley has ordered the Edinburgh Circle of the Newman Association to cancel an event at St Catherine's Convent, Edinburgh, where Professor Tina Beattie was due to speak this month.


In his letter, seen by The Tablet, the archbishop wrote: "Professor Beattie is known to have frequently called into question the Church's teaching. I would therefore ask you to cancel this event, as it may not proceed or be publicised on any Church property in this archdiocese."

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Notre Dame, Saint Mary's College Extend Benefits To Same-Sex Spouses Of Employees
Antonia Blumber    Oct.10, 2014

The University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College will extend benefits to legally married same-sex spouses of employees, the schools announced this week. The decisions came in the wake of the Supreme Court's rejection of appeals to strike down same-sex marriage in several states, including Indiana.


On Wednesday Notre Dame notified employees of the change by email, saying:

"Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately."


A spokesperson for Saint Mary's, a Catholic women's school, told South Bend Tribune that the college would also immediately comply with the law and extend benefits to all married spouses of employees.

Read more

That '70s Church -  
What It Got Right
Cathleen Kaveny     Oct.7 2014

. . . .

I belong to what many Catholics now dismiss as one of the church's lost, post-Vatican II generations. Catholic prelates and internet pundits regularly scorn the fifteen years following the Second Vatican Council as the "silly season," the era in which catechesis was evacuated of all substantive content in favor of supposedly trivial activities such as sharing, caring, and constructing felt banners. The catechesis of the 1970s became a cautionary tale, the model of what not to do in passing on the faith.


For many years, I was sympathetic to that analysis. But I am increasingly uneasy with the wholesale dismissal of the catechetical programs of my youth. First, the stock caricature of the period is unfair. The programs had far more content then they are given credit for. Second, the criticism only reinforces polarization within the church. Scapegoating 1970s religious-education programs fosters the illusion that the church's problems can be fixed by going backward, by inoculating children with something like the simple question-and-answer method and content of the Baltimore Catechism.


But the root problem facing the church, then and now, is not catechesis. The root problem is that Catholics didn't have-and still don't have-a way of dealing constructively with the substantial and irreversible changes in both the church and the culture. Those changes began before the council and only accelerated in its immediate aftermath. They show no sign of abating today, much less of being reversed. Among those developments were the suburbanization of the Catholic population, the astonishing affluence and high levels of education among post-World War II Catholics, the powerful shift away from Catholic defensiveness and toward ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, and the unprecedented rates of Catholics marrying outside the fold.   

. . . .

My generation was not lost because of religious miseducation. It was lost because of the changes in the culture. No CCD program, no matter how rich and nuanced, could overcome the challenges created by the simultaneous breakdown and reconfiguration of the institutional Catholic world and the American social world.


Many influential prelates and lay Catholics now say that it is better to create a bulwark against the chaos, by presenting Catholic teaching and moral rules in a classical, timeless manner. The new Catechism seems to encourage just that. It abstracts doctrinal propositions not only from the context in which they were formulated, but also from the documents in which they were promulgated. This obscures the various levels of authority attributed to the various doctrines. It presents Catholic belief in the manner of a tax code.


I don't think this will work. More important, if the vast numbers of young Catholics who continue to leave the church is any indication, it is not working. In fact, the glaring disjunction between an ahistorical presentation of Catholic teaching and the rapid pace of ecclesial and social change is likely to prompt even more skepticism and cynicism. I think that in the long run, the only solution is to teach young people how to think and pray within the context of a tradition that is not exempt from historical development and change.

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Church suffers from bishops choosing ill-suited priests, pope says
Carol Glatz    Oct.3, 2014

Many of the problems in the church today come from accepting men who are unsuitable for the priesthood, Pope Francis told the Congregation for Clergy.


The vocations crisis and lack of priests have meant that "we bishops are tempted to take in, without discernment, the young men who present themselves. This is bad for the church," he told those taking part in the congregation's plenary assembly meeting at the Vatican. 

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Vicar Of Baghdad Claims 'Every Christian Wants To Leave' Iraq As ISIS Approaches Capital City
Antonia Blumberg     Sep.30, 2014

Canon Andrew White has witnessed a dramatic decline in the Christian population of Iraq since the Islamic State began its nation-wide sweep.


Dubbed the "Vicar of Baghdad," White has warned

through his Facebook page and in interviews that the militant group, which launched its reign of terror in northern Iraq, may be headed for the capital city next.


"ISIS appears to have been halted 5 miles from Baghdad," White wrote on Tuesday.


White has good reason to fear the worst of the group's approach. The Islamic State has systematically attacked Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups, in addition to making life miserable for Iraqi Muslims.

White told The Telegraph on Sunday that for the first time in 2,000 years all the churches in the ancient, northern Mesopotamian city of Ninevah have closed, and Christians are unable to celebrate communion.

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Pax Christi leaders alarmed that airstrikes will aid ISIS recruiting
Dennis Sadowski    Sep.24, 2014

Expanded airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria serve as little more than a recruiting tool for the extremist group and place more innocent people in danger, the leadership of Pax Christi International said.


The three top leaders of the Catholic peace organization also called upon the world, particularly the United Nations, to work together to seek nonviolent alternatives to stop the Islamic State's expansion and influence in Iraq and Syria.


Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, and Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International co-presidents, and Jose Henriquez, the organization's secretary-general, suggested several steps that they believe will bring lasting peace to the violence-prone region during an interview Sept. 23 with Catholic News Service hours after a U.S.-led international coalition attacked Islamic State forces in Syria.

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A Ban on Coed Contact Sports
Mary Pilon      Sep.30, 2014

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania has adopted a policy requiring boys on its school wrestling teams to forfeit matches against female opponents, school officials said Tuesday. The policy also barred girls from joining Catholic school football and rugby teams.

The policy said that boys and girls competing together in sports that involve "substantial and potentially immodest physical contact" would conflict with the diocese's religious mission. 

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It's official: We'll have a referendum to remove blasphemy from the Constitution
Dan MacGuill      Oct.2, 2014

Irish voters will have be asked to vote on whether to remove the crime of blasphemy from the Constitution, it was announced this morning.

Junior Minister Aodhán Ó'Ríordáin told the Dáil:

The Government accepts the main recommendation of the [Constitutional Convention], which is that a referendum should be held on removing the offence of blasphemy from the Constitution.

In his speech today, however, Ó'Ríordáin pointed out that nobody has actually been prosecuted under the Defamation Act, and that the last known conviction for blasphemy in Ireland was in 1855.


The Labour TD said it hadn't been decided yet whether the constitutional amendment would simply remove the crime of blasphemy, or replace it with a ban on incitement to religious hatred. 

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When the Nuns on the Bus rolled into Chicago
BobboSphere      Oct.2, 2014

Nuns on the Bus? It sounds like a joke. But while the Catholic sisters of Nuns on the Bus do joke and laugh often, their mission is a serious one of social justice and compassion for the oppressed.

 . . . .

Started in 2012 as a reaction to the Paul Ryan budget which punished people simply for the "sin" of being poor, Nuns on the Bus is a traveling group of  nuns who ride across the country to promote their social justice agenda.   In 2013, the theme of Nuns of the Bus was immigration. In 2014 it was voter registration.


Chicago was one of the bus stops for a day of action last week on Thursday September 25, 2014.


Working with Arise Chicago, a local workers center, there were plans for a morning of voter registration among students at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), a meeting with Governor Pat Quinn where 3 low wage workers could tell their stories and a picnic in Union Park followed by a press conference and rally.

. . . .

However this year's theme was not just a simple Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign. The sisters had some radical social objectives, as can be seen on the card they asked people to fill out.

Nuns on bus pledge

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Psychiatrist testifies in Catholic Diocese suit
Associated Press      Oct.8, 2014

A California psychiatrist explained to jurors how repressed memory works in the seventh day of a trial in a lawsuit against the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic Diocese.


A former altar boy sued the diocese in 2011, saying he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a student in the 1980s at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School. He claims the diocese was repeatedly told the priest, who died last year, was a danger to children, but failed to prevent the abuse.

The diocese said there's no credible evidence to prove the man's allegations and argues that claims of his repressed memories are invalid.


The Associated Press doesn't typically name people who say they're victims of sexual abuse.

The plaintiff said he decided to sue the group after a longtime friend called and said her daughter was possibly the victim of another priest. He had suppressed recollections that came flooding back when his friend called, San Francisco psychiatrist Walter Sipe said.

Sipe spoke for two hours Tuesday about repressed memory, which is when someone forgetting a past traumatic event for an extended period of time, The Kansas City Star reportedHe diagnosed the plaintiff with delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.


Sipe said it's "absolutely essential" for a person to seek care after a sexual violence occurs to decrease their stress and help them talk about what happened. Treatment helps put the event into context for a victim, which helps with their memory of what happened. If no help is given to a victim after the incident occurs, there's no way to make sense of it for them, he said. 

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The Outspoken Spanish Nun Who's Made Herself A Political Force
Lauren Frayer      Sep.24, 2014

It's easy to find Teresa Forcades in the crowd at Barcelona's airport. She's wearing a nun's habit.


Sister Forcades is Spain's most famous living nun. She's a medical doctor with a master's degree from Harvard.  She's a feminist who's been reprimanded by the Vatican for supporting abortion rights. She's a Benedictine nun in a country where the Catholic Church has historically sided with fascists.

. . . .
Forcades has emerged as one of the leaders of Europe's new left wing. At the height of Spain's economic crisis, she started a new political movement, Proces Constituent, which calls on the Spanish government to leave the eurozone, nationalize all banks and grant freedom to Catalonia - the wealthy, northeast region of Spain from which Forcades hails.
. . . .

Born in 1966 to an atheist family in Catalonia, Forcades went to medical school in Barcelona and then did her residency at a hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. She eventually went on to get a master's degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in public health. But in the summer of 1995, she was just looking for a quiet place to study for her U.S. medical board exams.
. . . .

But she never left.  . . . . Two years after arriving at the Sant Benet Monastery in Monserrat, she took her vows to become a Benedictine nun.

. . . .
Forcades is a frequent commentator on Spanish TV. That's where a few years ago, she voiced her support for abortion rights - on live TV. A letter of reprimand swiftly arrived from the Vatican. And Forcades wrote back, posing a philosophical question to the Vatican in response. 

"So let's imagine you have a father and the father has a compatible kidney, and you have a child, an innocent child, who needs the kidney. Is the church ready to force the father to give the kidney, to save the child's life?" she says, recounting her reply to the Vatican. "That the right to life of the child takes precedence over the right to self-determination to his own body, of the father? And that was my question I sent to Rome in 2009." 

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Detroit priest guilty of stealing from fund for poor
Oralandar Brand-Williams      Oct.7, 2014

The Rev. Timothy Kane, accused of defrauding a Catholic church charity out of thousands of dollars through an elaborate scheme using the poor, was found guilty of the charges by a Wayne County jury Tuesday.


Kane, 57, was convicted on embezzlement, conspiracy and other related charges for embezzling about $131,000 from the Angel Fund through a "scam" using straw applicants to apply for $1,500 grants for the needy and then receiving kickbacks on some of the money paid out. He will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Dec. 12.


The Angel Fund is supported by an anonymous donor family and operated by the Archdiocese of Detroit. Since 2005, it has provided more than $17 million in grants to needy individuals and families in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park, according to the archdiocese.

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Legion of Christ's US women's college in R.I. to close
Associated Press      Oct.9, 2014

The Legion of Christ religious order has suffered another blow with the announcement Thursday that its training center for consecrated women in the U.S. is closing because of poor enrollment.


The Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, Rhode Island, had catered to women who were deciding whether they wanted to live like nuns within the Legion's Regnum Christi lay movement.

. . . .

In a letter Thursday, the head of consecrated women in North America, Nancy Nohrden, said that the "difficulties and institutional changes" of the past few years had resulted in fewer vocations and lower college enrollment. She said the school would close at the end of the academic year.


The Legion spokesman, Jim Fair, said there were currently 12 full-time students at the school, down from about 90 at its peak a decade ago. Another 30 women are in part-time programs.


It's the latest school that the Legion has closed or sold off amid a steep drop in donations and vocations following the revelations about its founder's misdeeds and problems within the order itself. 

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Fury of Simon Hodgkinson betrayed by senior church leader Kieran Conry
Adam Luck       Oct.5, 2014

Simon Hodgkinson still has a sinking feeling in his stomach when he recalls the moment he realised that his suspicions his wife Olivia was having a passionate relationship with a Roman Catholic bishop were true.


The couple had been having marital difficulties and 43-year-old Olivia had moved out of the family home. But last April, when Olivia failed to turn up for choir practice at their local church, Simon decided to visit the substantial home of Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton.


'By then it was about 10pm and I thought it was really weird. I decided it was time to test my suspicion that she was having an affair.


'I went up to the bishop's residence and her car was there. I checked and it was there all night. I was devastated.'

. . . .
Bishop Conry, 63, last week resigned from his post after admitting he had been 'unfaithful to my promises as a Catholic priest' following an affair with a woman six years ago. 

. . . .  

Bishop Conry last week said he felt 'liberated' knowing he no longer has to bear the burden of his guilt.


But Simon is not letting the matter rest and is determined to pursue a complaint against Conry in an ecclesiastical court.


His legal team are also considering pursuing the Church through the High Court in an attempt to find out what they knew amid concern that the bishop might have conducted a series of relationships with women - and that the authorities turned a blind eye.

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Art forger once posed as Jesuit priest to give his work away
Mark Pattison      Sep.30, 2014
. . . .

Mark Landis has spent much of his adult life as an art forger. And he was a good one, as he bounced around easily among different periods and styles in his forgeries.


One thing that was different about Landis was that he gave away his forgeries. That would have put the recipients of his generosity in a pickle, thinking they owned the genuine article only to be rudely surprised should they try to cash in on their good, er, fortune.


Such a scam cannot last forever, and Landis, thinking that the police might be on to him, started donning disguises and taking on various false identities to give away his art.


One of his last aliases was that of a Jesuit priest.


Sam Cullman, one of the co-directors of "Art and Craft," a documentary feature that looks into Landis' art and life, said Landis was "inspired" to become a Jesuit priest.


The source of that inspiration? Look no further than your television, for the "Father Brown" mysteries from England shown on PBS stations.

. . . . 

Landis had been suffering from a mental illness. And after his father died, he concentrated on his work with even greater intensity, according to Cullman -- who had just left a meal with Landis to call CNS for the interview.


Unlike others in Landis' line of work, he never got paid for his art. But to Cullman, he is a forger all the same: "Of course. He makes copies of other people's work," he said.


But since he was exposed, he has gone legit. And his mental illness has abated. He even has a website to market his own paintings. "He can reach his public and his public can reach him," Cullman said.

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Benedictine Sr. Christine Vladimiroff dies 
Tom Roberts       Sep.30, 2014

Benedictine Sr. Christine Vladimiroff, who as prioress in 2001 refused to follow a Vatican order that she prohibit another member of her community from speaking at a conference advocating ordination of women, died Sept. 25 at Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pa., following a long illness. She was 74.

. . . . 

Vladimiroff was to deliver the prohibition "by way of a formal precept of obedience," and the letter made clear that "failure to heed this command on the part of the religious will result in appropriate punishment." Exactly what that punishment might entail was not explicitly detailed in the letter, but canonists said it could have entailed removal of [Joan] Chittister from her order, removal of Vladimiroff as prioress, as well as sanctions on the community.


Vladimiroff spent a great deal of time and energy in the intervening months meeting with both canonists and Vatican officials. In the end, she wrote the Vatican a letter explaining that she could not, in good conscience, prohibit Chittister from going.
. . . .

Chittister spoke at the conference, and afterward the Vatican appeared to soften its stance. 

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Hong Kong's protestors have already partly won
Tom Kennedy      Oct.3 2014

Events in Hong Kong over the last week have ensured that the region will never be the same again. Foot soldiers in a political war have filled the city's broad streets, demanding democratic rights.


As The Tablet reported, the Church has supported those taking the fight to Beijing. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun told protestors: "Beijing does not allow civil nomination because they fear us, do not trust in us, thinking that we will intentionally choose a leader who will confront them."


Unlike the Catholic Church in mainland China, Catholicism in Hong Kong is free of political interference from the Communist Party. Churches are deeply imbedded within Hong Kong society. Christians have been bringing food to protesters, and also providing shelter. The Catholic Church has a strong interest in Hong Kong maintaining levels of freedom, and is right to support the protesters.

. . . .
The three core demands of Occupy Central are the resignation of the current chief executive, chosen by the Chinese, stronger communication between Hong Kong and Beijing, and absolute universal suffrage. This last concern is the most significant, and unfortunately, most unlikely. 

. . . .
At the time of writing, I believe another Tiananmen Square-style massacre will not happen - the authorities cannot risk the repercussions, especially with the free press of Hong Kong watching over them. Still, there is no evidence to suggest that Beijing has even the slightest interest in bridging the democratic deficit. They would be loath to surrender control and send a message to the world that China bows to populist movements. Nonetheless, we must hope the protesters keep going. They can't win in the short term, but they have indicated to Beijing that it cannot steamroll through legislation and treat Hong Kong as mainland China.

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Irish founder of Boys Town moves towards sainthood
Cathal Barry          Sep.25, 2014

A Roscommon priest who denounced the incarceration of children in industrial schools as early as 1946 is moving at "lightning speed" towards becoming a saint.


Fr Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town in the United States, was attacked by the Government in 1946 after he labelled State-funded Church-run industrial schools as "a scandal, unChristlike and wrong".


The Roscommon native, who adopted a progressive approach to running institutions in the US, was condemned by then Minister for Justice Gerald Boland.


He dismissed the cleric's concerns saying the Government was "not disposed to take any notice" of what Fr Flanagan said "because his statements were so exaggerated that I did not think people would attach any importance to them".


Now Fr Flanagan looks set to be canonised as officials in the US prepare to present his case to the Vatican.


According to Steve Wolf, president of the Fr Flanagan League Society of Devotion, the process was moving at "lightning speed". He credited background work at Boys Town, and priests and parishioners in the Archdiocese of Omaha where Fr Flanagan was based for most of his life.

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AUSCP banner
 The Association of US Catholic Priests
5546 South Holly Street, Seattle, WA 98118

August 1, 2014

Dear Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz--USCCB President, 

The Board of the Association of United States Catholic Priests [AUSCP], on behalf of our membership and in communion with the bishops of the United States, urges that the USCCB take the following steps:

1. To request that the use of Liturgiam Authenticam in future vernacular translations of liturgical books be modified given the reception experience of the present official English translation of the editio

typica tertia of the Missale Romanum OR that Liturgiam Authenticam itself be replaced in light of the significant scholarly and pastoral criticism it has received. 
2. To guarantee that those modifications judged pastorally useful in the present official English translations of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of  Anointing and Viaticum, and the Order of Christian Funerals for use in the dioceses of the United States be retained in any future versions of these liturgical books.
3. To introduce greater collegiality into the process by which official vernacular liturgical translations are produced by including pastors as well as liturgical scholars in/and by listening to the experience of 
the worshiping faithful. The role of United States scholars is particularly important so that  translation of the editio typica tertia remains faithful to its meaning by the use of American English that will speak clearly to priests and their people. 

The Board of the AUSCP makes this request following the action of our national Assembly that gathered June 24-June 26, 2014 in St. Louis.


The Association has a membership of over 1,000 US priests. Many of our 
members have served and are serving in significant areas of their dioceses for 30, 40 and 50 years. Some of our membership were ordained before Vatican II and faithfully implemented the goals of the Council in the 
reform of the liturgy. At our recent national Assembly 230 members, after presentation and discussion, broadly supported the above resolutions.  The 230 priests of the Assembly represent 8,500 years of priestly ministry. 


As the action of the Assembly reflects, we are alarmed about what has happened to Vatican II's mandate to express the public prayer of the church in the vernacular in order to foster full, active and conscious participation of the faithful in the prayer of the church. Since we as priest celebrants serve on the front lines of the church's public prayer and, in service of our people, articulate these texts in the liturgical worship of the living God, we have a responsibility to alert our bishops when the official English translation of liturgical texts becomes a barrier to such liturgical participation! 

To be more specific: 

  • There are serious problems of intelligibility for the faithful when bishops and presbyters proclaim aloud the Roman Missal texts. Often this is due to the grammatical and syntactical structure of the texts. There are sentences without subject or predicate. There are sentences with more than one conditional clause that easily confuse the priest celebrant and the listening faithful when proclaimed aloud.
  • Along with problems of a foreign syntactical structure, the choice of words (vocabulary), at times, does not serve the need of consciously engaging the faithful. It seems that in an effort to be theologically 
    precise and comprehensive by saying many things in long sentences, the translations result in unintelligibility for the listener and confusion and frustration for the priest-celebrant. 
  • The Assembly was well aware of and in agreement with the results of this spring's CARA survey of priests (April 2013) regarding the Roman Missal. The 230 priests were not surprised that a majority of US priests find the translation of the Roman Missal a step backwards from the Sacramentary.

The Assembly's proposal is not opposed to a retranslation of liturgical texts in principle. We recognize that in some places the Roman Missal translation is an improvement over the previous Sacramentary. However, we are well aware as pastors that how one says things will determine whether one is communicating what needs to be heard.


Part of the ars celebrandi, so lauded by Pope Benedict XVI, includes the careful articulation of liturgical texts. The present translation of Roman Missal in many places has made the serious responsibility we have as priests unnecessarily difficult and complicates our need to foster full, active and conscious participation of the faithful in the prayer of the church. 


To express and specify our experience we are working to create an archive of problematic translations as well as improved translations in the present English-language Roman Missal as a resource for the next translation.


In the meantime, we ask the USCCB to note the experience we are having with the current translation and prevent further damage to other liturgical texts. We also urge the engagement of pastorally sensitive liturgical scholars to develop a better method of translating and creating liturgical texts. Since  Vatican Council II gave episcopal conferences the responsibility to translate liturgical texts in the language of their people (SC 36/3) and since we with our bishops lead liturgical prayer, we appeal to our bishops to address the problems and assist us in our pastoral need. 


To express and specify our experience we are working to create an archive of problematic translations as well as improved translations in the present English-language Roman Missal as a resource for the next translation.


In the meantime, we ask the USCCB to note the experience we are having with the current translation and prevent further damage to other liturgical texts. We also urge the engagement of pastorally sensitive liturgical scholars to develop a better method of translating and creating liturgical texts. Since 
Vatican Council II gave episcopal conferences the responsibility to translate liturgical texts in the language of their people (SC 36/3) and since we with our bishops lead liturgical prayer, we appeal to our bishops to address 
the problems and assist us in our pastoral need. 


To express and specify our experience we are working to create an archive of problematic translations as well as improved translations in the present English-language Roman Missal as a resource for the next translation. In the meantime, we ask the USCCB to note the experience we are having with the current translation and prevent further damage to other liturgical texts. We also urge the engagement of pastorally sensitive liturgical scholars to develop a better method of translating and creating liturgical texts. Since 
Vatican Council II gave episcopal conferences the responsibility to translate liturgical texts in the language of their people (SC 36/3) and since we with our bishops lead liturgical prayer, we appeal to our bishops to address 
the problems and assist us in our pastoral need. 



AUSCP Board: 
Rev. Bob Bonnot, Chair
Rev. Kevin Clinton
Rev. David Cooper
Rev. Daniel Divis
Rev. Frank Eckart
Rev. James P. Kiesel
Rev. Joseph Ruggieri
Rev. James Schexnayder
Rev. John Stabeno
Rev. Bernie Survil


CC: Members of the Committee on Divine Worship
Most Rev. Arthur J. Serratelli, Chair

Justin F Cardinal Rigali,
Most Rev. Gregory M Aymond
Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair
Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton
Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz
Most Rev. Octavio Cisneros
Most Rev. Daniel E. Thomas
Most Rev. Paul R. Sanchez

Rev. Michael J. Flynn, Staff & Executive Director of Divine Worship Committee
Rev. Daniel J. Merz, Staff & Associate Director
Rev. Monsignor Ronny E. Jenkins, J.C.D, General Secretary of USCCB General Secretariat

Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea
on view December 5, 2014-April 12, 2015

Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea explores the concept of womanhood represented by the Virgin Mary as well as the social and sacred functions her image has served through time. This landmark exhibition organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts brings together more than 60 Renaissance- and Baroque-era masterworks from the Vatican Museums, Uffizi Gallery, and other museums, churches, and private collections in Europe and the United States.


Divided into six thematic sections, the exhibition presents images of Mary as a daughter, cousin, and wife; the mother of an infant; a bereaved parent; the protagonist in a rich life story developed through the centuries; a link between heaven and earth; and an active participant in the lives of those who revere her.

. . . .

During the presentation of Picturing Mary, NMWA's website will feature an online exhibition exploring global traditions in Marian imagery, further contextualizing the artworks on view in the galleries. Picturing Mary is part of NMWA's ongoing program of major historical loan exhibitions that examine humanist themes related to womankind.  

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These Denominations Ordain Women
Carol Kuruvilla       Sep.26, 2014
A Journal of Religion and Culture ...................... October 1, 2014

Fall colors and our third issue of OMG!  Our writers bring messages of Church that was...that might have been... that still can be. Reminders that the tree can change its colors while the roots remain strong.  And shaking the globe can make the image emerge more clearly. Read on, for messages of hope... for the Synod...renewal... and the future of the people of God. 


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Upcoming Events   

Theresa Kane
WATER celebrates Theresa Kane's witness 
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Making History, Making Change: 

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