Main Menu  

Share on your favorite social networking site by clicking its icon.
Click here for a link to this newsletter to send to friends.
ARCC Banner
ARCC invites our Newsletter friends who are not already members to consider joining and supporting ARCC.


Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates.
                                          _  Patrick Edgar, ARCC President
False view on Jesus, divorce
 Leonard Swidler, Ph.D., S.T.L., LL.D         Sep,. 2015
Divorce is not permitted for just any reason (kata pasan aitian), but is permitted, as Moses taught, on the grounds of sexual misconduct (epi porneia), said Jesus." That's summarized from Matthew 19:1-9, with emphases added. Jesus, being a learned and committed rabbi, followed the teaching of the Torah in allowing divorce - on those grounds stated in Deuteronomy 24:1.
Much is made today about Pope Francis "not changing Catholic doctrine," but rather "changing practice" to be more compassionate. This is indeed a huge and beneficial move. In regard to the small though important step of not changing Catholic teaching on divorce/remarriage, but allowing divorced/remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, it should, however, be seen as moot.
The claim by Catholic Church leaders is incessantly made that by the command of Jesus, marriage is indissoluble. This claim is based on two Gospel quotations of Jesus that seem to disallow divorce (Mark 10:1-12; Luke 9:51), even though there are two other Jesus quotations that definitely allow it (Matthew 5:32; 19:1-9).
What to do? One clear solution would be to follow the basic principle of Catholic canon law that a permissive law should always be interpreted broadly, and a restrictive law narrowly. Following that legal principle would indicate that the more permissive Jesus saying recorded by Matthew should be followed, and divorce/remarriage allowed, at least for sexual misconduct.
Why, then, did the Western Catholic Church choose to go counter to its own avowed broad permissive legal principle, and the Eastern Orthodox Church choose the permissive understanding? My judgment is that an extreme dualism, which sees "matter as bad and spirit good" (largely brought into Catholicism by its most powerful ancient theologian, St. Augustine) is at the basis of the Catholic negative choice. If one asks what attaches us to (bad) matter, the answer is "pleasure," and the most intense material pleasure is sex - hence misogyny.
What is more important for Christians, however, is to get straight what Jesus' position was on this matter. The answer is that the first Gospel written was what scholars refer to as Matthew's Aramaic Gospel because it was written in Jesus' language, Aramaic. Aramaic Matthew is what Mark apparently had in front of him as a basis for his (Greek) Gospel. The Matthew Gospel we have today is an expanded version written by Matthew in Greek, and hence is the third Gospel written - after Aramaic Matthew and Greek Mark. The Gospels of Luke and John came still later.
Matthew, both Aramaic and Greek, is clearly the most Jewish-knowledgeable of the Gospels and hence gives the fullest information about the divorce debate that is recorded in both Mark and Matthew, Mark being the skimpiest on details and Matthew the fullest.
As intimated in the above opening summary of Matthew's recording of Rabbi Jesus' debate with some (not all!) Pharisees on whether one can divorce or not, there was then a fight among the rabbis. The traditional position handed down for hundreds of years, namely, that divorce because of "sexual misconduct" was permitted, was held by the Rabbi Shammai camp, whereas a new position was promoted by the Rabbi Hillel camp.
A man could divorce his wife "for any reason," according to the Hillel camp. The success of this position was strikingly exemplified a couple of generations later: "The School of Shammai says: 'A man may not divorce his wife unless he has found something indecent. ...' And the School of Hillel says '[he may divorce her] even if she spoiled a dish for him, for it is written, "Because he hath found in her indecency in anything." ' Rabbi Akiba says: 'Even if he found another more beautiful than she . . .' " (Mishnah 1 Git. 9, 10).
Thus it is clear that there has been both massive mistranslation and misunderstanding of what Rabbi Jesus was asked and responded in this debate over divorce. He did not say, "You may not divorce for any reason." He was asked whether he agreed with the newer Hillel-advocated grounds for divorce, namely, "for any reason." He responded, No, you cannot use the Rabbi Hillel "for any reason" grounds for divorce, but need to stick with the traditional, Rabbi Shammai position, namely, "for sexual misconduct."
Why, then, did not Mark record all those details about that rabbinic debate? It has been suggested that because he was writing for Gentiles, he may have thought they would be confused. We will never know for sure. However, his lack of reporting on the rabbinic debate and Jesus' taking the side of the Rabbi Shammai camp is no reason for rejecting what Matthew in fact recorded and Mark missed. On that procedural principle, we would have to throw out the last three Gospels.
Conclusion: There is no Jesus position advocating the indissolubility of marriage.
Len Swidler is Co-Founder and Past President of ARCC and professor of Catholic thought and interreligious dialogue at Temple University. 
Some things we have been reading  
Papal Visit 2015 
Pope at Congress
Obama & Francis
Memory and motion: Pope Francis shows Americans who he really is
Cindy Wooden      Sep.27, 2015
Pope Francis speaks often about memory and motion, the importance of remembering where you came from and setting off without fear to share the Gospel.

That's what he did in the United States. He circled the Statue of Liberty in a helicopter and flew over Ellis Island not preparing to condemn the world's great superpower, but to reflect on its history and promise as a land that welcomes people, makes them part of the family and allows them to thrive.
Over the course of six days in the United States, Pope Francis let the U.S. public see who he really is with touching blessings, strong speeches, prayerful liturgies and an unplugged proclamation of the beauty of family life, even when it includes flying saucers.

With constant television coverage and a saturated social media presence, Pope Francis was no longer just the subject of screaming headlines about the evils of unbridled capitalism and a "who-am-I-to judge" attitude toward behaviors the Catholic Church describes as sinful.
. . . .
The pope's proclamation of the Gospel in Washington, New York and Philadelphia Sept. 22-27 focused on reinvigorating people's faith, hope, trust and commitment to loving God, serving others and living up to the founding ideals of the United States: equality, opportunity for all, religious liberty and the sacred dignity of every creature - human especially, but also the earth.
Pope Francis had never been in the United States before landing in Washington Sept. 22. He was welcomed to the White House and became the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress. He joined leaders of other religions in honoring the dead and comforting their surviving family members at ground zero in New York. He addressed the United Nations. And, in Philadelphia, using a lectern once used by Abraham Lincoln, he called for respect for religious freedom and for ethnic and cultural differences.
. . . .
For the Catholic Church - in the United States as elsewhere - the key challenge is "not about building walls, but about breaking them down," as he told the bishops, clergy and religious of Pennsylvania Sept. 26.

From the beginning of his trip - Sept. 19 in Havana - the pope made it clear that with all the important meetings he would have, his primary purpose was to join the celebration of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 26-27.
. . . .
The big challenge, he told more than 100 bishops who came to the meeting from around the world, is to recognize just how many beautiful families God has blessed the church with.

"For the church, the family is not first and foremost a cause for concern, but rather the joyous confirmation of God's blessing upon the masterpiece of creation," he told the bishops Sept. 27. "Every day, all over the world, the church can rejoice in the Lord's gift of so many families who, even amid difficult trials, remain faithful to their promises and keep the faith!"

Tossing aside the text he had prepared for the nighttime festival of families Sept. 26, Pope Francis had tens of thousands of people watching him with awe or with laughter or with tears as he described the blessing of real-life families.
Pope views Statue of Liberty

Pope Francis views the Statue of Liberty  


Speeches & Homilies
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - Washington, DC
Thursday, September 24, 2015 - Washington, DC and New York City
Friday, September 25, 2015 - New York City

Saturday, September 26, 2015 - Philadelphia 

Sunday, September 27, 2015 - Philadelphia
Pope justifies your church naps by appearing to fall asleep during Mass
Brian  Ries     Sep..23, 2015
Napping Pope
It's okay to fall asleep at church as long as you immediately ask for forgiveness when you wake up.

That's the well-worn rule Pope Francis surely exploited when he appeared to nod off during his first Mass on American soil on Wednesday afternoon, instantly justifying church naps for millions of God-fearing Americans. His eyes closed, his head drooped, and there, on live TV, the humble pope proved once and for all he's truly just like us.
Iconic 'POPE' cover moves magazines in Philadelphia
Audrey Rose McManus     Sep.29, 2015
You are not really famous until your face has been flattened into four colors, printed on paper and sold to strangers.
Though his popularity ratings long ago surpassed President Obama's, Pope Francis now has the stamp of approval to prove it: a red, cream and blue papal likeness based on the iconic Obama 2008 campaign poster by artist .
The image, stamped with "POPE" where the Obama image said "HOPE," stares out across this city from the current cover of  magazine, special papal features wrapped inside.
Read more
Pope Francis to bishops: Stop wishing for the good old days
Michael O'Loughlin      Sep.27, 2015
Likening the world today to a giant supermarket with a plethora of choices but an impersonal feel, Pope Francis urged his bishops to embrace change and work within it to connect with young people.

He also urged the bishops to not merely harp on doctrine, but also to preach positively about the benefits of marriage and family life.

Francis did not mention same-sex marriage, but US bishops have cited that, as well as high divorce rates, contraception, and abortion as serious threats to the family.

But the majority of his speech was focused on encouraging his bishops to accept the realities of life today.
Read more
Francis did not mention same-sex marriage, but US bishops have cited that, as well as high divorce rates, contraception, and abortion as serious threats to the family.

But the majority of his speech was focused on encouraging his bishops to accept the realities of life today.
Read more
Pope delights Philly crowd with spontaneous talk on families
Laura Ieraci       Sep.26, 2015
Pope Francis threw away a prepared text and, to the delight of tens of thousands of people on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, spoke from the heart about the challenges and love that come with being part of a family.

After listening to testimony from six families from various continents Sept. 26, he thanked them for sharing their stories.

"A witness given in order to serve is thoroughly good, it makes us good persons, because God is goodness," he began, continuing to increase in speed and emphasis to the delight of the crowd. He smiled, gestured with his hands and the crowd cheered as he said it was "worth being a family."
. . . .
The pope spoke in Spanish, the language in which he is most comfortable; his talk was translated by Msgr. Marc Miles.
. . . .
The three-hour celebration of Catholic family life began as the sun started to set over Philadelphia. The festival included prayer, music, dance, comedy and testimonies of faith and followed on the heels of the eighth World Meeting of Families Sept. 22-25.
. . . .
Actor Mark Wahlberg emceed the portion of the evening featuring the pope. Among the renowned entertainers to perform for the pope and offer testimonies of faith were American soul singer Aretha Franklin and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Dr. Gianna Emanuela Molla read a letter her mother, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, had penned to her father, bearing witness to their faithful marriage. Six couples from different continents also shared their life stories.
Pope Francis to bishops: Stop wishing for the good old days
Michael O'Loughlin      Sep..27, 2015
Likening the world today to a giant supermarket with a plethora of choices but an impersonal feel, Pope Francis urged his bishops to embrace change and work within it to connect with young people.

He also urged the bishops to not merely harp on doctrine, but also to preach positively about the benefits of marriage and family life.
. . . .
But the majority of his speech was focused on encouraging his bishops to accept the realities of life today.
"Christians are not immune to the changes of their times," Francis said. "This concrete world, with all its many problems and possibilities, is where we must live, believe, and proclaim."

The pope's remarks came to 300 bishops from around the world gathered in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families and was delivered shortly after he met with a group of sexual abuse victims. Speaking off the cuff, Francis called the victims "true heralds of mercy," and he promised that "all those responsible are held accountable."

Returning to his theme of flexibility, the pope encouraged his bishops to recognize that despite the tendency of young people to be obsessed with "running after the latest fad, accumulating friends on one of the social networks," that lack of personal contact can lead to "a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness."

It is, he said, a "loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized."" target="_blank" style="color: rgb(10, 116, 219); text-decoration: underline;">Read more
The Pope and Kim Davis Saga
Vatican confirms pope met Kentucky clerk, won't comment further
Cindy Wooden       Sep.30, 2015
The Vatican does not deny reports that while in Washington, Pope Francis briefly met with Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses.
Davis, the elected clerk of Rowan County, initially refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples and then stopped issuing them to gay or straight couples, claiming that doing so would violate her Christian religious values after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a right to marry.

Davis told ABC News she met the pope Sept. 24 at the Vatican embassy in Washington. "I put my hand out and he reached and he grabbed it, and I hugged him and he hugged me," Davis told ABC News. "And he said, 'Thank you for your courage.'"

The clerk said a "church official" phoned and invited her to meet the pope.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement late Sept. 30 saying, "I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no comments to add."
Fallout from the Francis-Davis Meeting?
Robert Mickens      Sep.30, 2015
The huge wave of affection and delirium that Pope Francis generated with his triumphant visit to the United States last week could suddenly vanish in a cloud of smoke.

And we're not talking about sweet-smelling incense.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, SJ, confirmed on Wednesday that the pope held a secret meeting with Kim Davis during his trip. She's the Kentucky court clerk who was recently jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay couples. The fifty-year-old Apostolic Christian said signing such licenses violates God's law and her own conscience.

Davis's lawyer said Vatican officials initiated the private meeting between his client and the pope (naturally, we'd all like to know who!), during which Francis expressed support for the clerk.
. . . .
This new revelation will leave many people scratching their heads in disbelief and wondering what in God's name . Because throughout his six days in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia he was careful to downplay-and even avoid mentioning-the many hot-button issues that are the bull's eye of America's so-called "culture warriors," for whom Kim Davis has become a celebrity and icon.

Americans who disagree with Davis, including many Catholics, were enraptured with Pope Francis precisely because he did not publicly wade into these issues or lend support to the cause she and her supporters are trying to take forward.

Some of them will now think that the "people's pope," as the fawning American media continuously called him during the visit, is either two-faced or being duped by his advisors.
. . . .
But others were willing to cut the pope some slack, including progressive-minded Catholics, like John Gehring of Faith in Public Life in Washington.

"Pope Francis is not a pawn in the culture wars," Gehring said in a Tweet. "We diminish his visit and papacy when we see him as a cheerleader for our favored agendas."

That's not how Kim Davis sees it. In an interview on Wednesday with a U.S. television station, she said: "Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing, it kind of validates everything."
Was Pope Francis Actually Swindled into Meeting Kim Davis?
Charles P. Pierce    Oct.1, 2015
I spent a little time Wednesday night examining my conscience,as we used to say around the ol' confessional, as regards the meeting between Papa Francesco and noted civic layabout Kim Davis. This contemplation was prompted by two things: first, an e-conversation I had with someone who had been part of the papal travelling party and second, the appearance of E. J. Dionne on Lawrence O'Donnell's show on MSNBC. According to the first person, there were a great number of people during the pope's tour who were simply hustled in and out for informal private audiences. According to Dionne, the meeting between Davis and the pope was brokered by Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the papal nuncio to the United States at whose residence the pope stayed during his time in Washington, which is when the meeting took place. Together, these facts set off my Spidey Sense about Vatican chicanery.
. . . .
But to pull this off, I'd need someone with serious clout within the Church bureaucracy. And this is where Vigano comes in.
The man is a real player within the institutional church. He  during one of the several investigations of the Vatican Bank, which  to this godless Republic in the first place. Despite that fact, Vigano is well-known to be a Ratzinger loyalist and he always has been a cultural conservative, particularly on the issue of marriage equality. In April, in a move that was unprecedented, Vigano  in Washington sponsored by the National Association For Marriage. (And, mirabile dictu, as we say around Castel Gandolfo at happy hour, one of the speakers at this rally was Mat Staver, who happens now to be Kim Davis's lawyer.) In short, Vigano, a Ratzinger loyalist, who has been conspicuous and publicly involved in the same cause as Kim Davis and her legal team, arranges a meeting with Davis that the legal team uses to its great public advantage. Once again paraphrasing New Orleans lawyer Lamar Parmentel from The Big Easy, the Vatican is a marvelous environment for coincidence.
. . . .
Ratzinger's fingerprints are all over this story. Vigano is a Benedict loyalist. Robert Moynihan, whose newsletter, Inside The Vatican, got the story first, is an actual lifelong Ratzinger protégé. And the Vatican press office acted just the way I'd want it to act, if I were the guy setting this up. First, it issues a silly non-denial denial, and then it merely confirms that the meeting occurred. At which point, the office clams up, leaving the story festering out there in the news cycle, and leaving the pope out there in the American culture war to twist in the wind. And, if this scenario is in any way accurate, it had its desired effect. 
Kim Davis And The Trap For Pope Francis
Massimo Faggioli      Oct.1, 2015
. . . .
 It is clear that the non-public meeting between the pope and Kim Davis has forced the hand of the pope in order to make him say something he avoided saying during the trip to America. Lawyers for Kim Davis did the rest, choosing the perfect timing for the revelation: that is, when the pope had already left America and during a time of day in Rome (where I am these days) when it was impossible for the Vatican to react. But Queen Victoria's "never complain, never explain" no longer works, even for the pope, especially because of the 24-hour news cycle.
. . . . The fact that the case has been artfully assembled is confirmed not only by the embarrassed reluctance of the Vatican to comment (after confirming the meeting), but by the climate before the pope's visit to America. In his address to American bishops, the pope warned against the temptation to use the cross as a symbol for political struggles. The pope's visit has disappointed ideologues of the political-religious "culture wars" in America, especially those who tried to make Kim Davis a martyr of Church against gay marriage. Perhaps those who organized the meeting for the Vatican have escaped seeing the televised catwalks of Kim Davis with several Republican candidates for president of the United States and were, therefore, without sufficient information. In his public speeches, Francis carefully avoided presenting himself as a "cultural warrior." Still, someone decided to put in the same room and in front of the pope the witness of a Christian style exactly opposite to his own.
. . . .
Francis' challenge is to redirect the church, in the light of the current social and cultural issues, without using the method of purges and without appointing the "Bergoglio enthusiasts" to the key posts in the government of the Church. It is important to note that the mercy of Pope Francis extends also to his opponents. The incident of Kim Davis is part of a wider scenario of struggle between the pontificate of reform with mercy and a dying clerical Leninism.
Pope did not give unconditional support to clerk in gay marriage row: Vatican
Phikip  Pullella      Oct.2, 2015
Pope Francis did not ask to meet a Kentucky county clerk who had been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and did not offer her unconditional support, the Vatican said on Friday.

Looking to limit controversy after last week's meeting in Washington between the pope and Kim Davis, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said she was one of "several dozen" people who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to see Francis.

"The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects," Lombardi said in a statement.
. . . .
A senior Vatican official, who declined to be named, said there was a "sense of regret" within the Holy See over the encounter, which sparked widespread debate in the United States, overshadowing almost all other aspects of the pope's visit.

He added that Davis had been in a line of people the pope had met at the Vatican embassy in Washington before he left for New York.
Pope's Words and Meetings Support Conscientious Objection
Liberty Counsel       Oct.2 2015
Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope's own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis indicate support for the universal right of conscientious objection, even for government officials. The meeting with Kim Davis was initiated by the Vatican, and the private meeting occurred at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, September 24. This meeting was a private meeting without any other members of the public present.
Read more
Pope held private meeting with same-sex couple in U.S.
Daniel Burke      Oct.2, 2015
Pope and gay couple
The day before  in Washington last week, he held a private meeting with a longtime friend from Argentina who has been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years.
Yayo Grassi, an openly gay man, brought his partner, Iwan Bagus, as well several other friends to the Vatican Embassy on September 23 for a brief visit with the Pope. A video of the meeting shows Grassi and Francis greeting each other with a warm hug.
. . . .
The meeting between the Pope and gay couple adds another intriguing twist to the strange aftermath of Francis'. Since news broke on Tuesday of Francis' meeting with Davis, conservatives have cheered the seemingly implicit endorsement, while liberals have questioned how much the Pope knew about her case.

The two encounters -- one with a gay couple and one with a government official who ardently opposes homosexuality -- have left the Vatican scrambling to issue statements that seek to de-politicize the Pope's meetings and agenda.
Women's Ordination Worldwide Conference
Meeting in Philly, group continues push for ordaining women as Catholic priests
Katie Colaneri   Sep.21
Janice Sevre-Duszynska was ordained a priest in 2008. A few months ago, she received a letter from her bishop in Lexington, Kentucky, formally excommunicating her from the Roman Catholic Church.
. . . .
Sevre-Duszynska is one of about 500 who attended a conference in Philadelphia over the weekend hosted by Women's Ordination Worldwide or WOW, an organization that supports the ordination of women as Catholic priests.
. . . .
Miriam Duignan, one of the organizers of the Women's Ordination Worldwide conference, said the group chose Philadelphia for this year's event to send a message to Catholic leaders ahead of Pope Francis' visit.
. . . .
The group reached out to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and while they received a warm welcome, Duignan said, they were unsuccessful in arranging a meeting with Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Priests to Pope: Stop the Sexism
Women's ordination: WOW delivers its message to the world
Maureen Fiedler      Sep.22 2015
It's been 40 years since the creation of the  in the United States, and more than 20 years since WOW, , was formed in Europe. But the dreams of Catholic women who either wish to be priests, or who support the ordination of women, remain unfulfilled - at least at the official level.

Calling attention to that reality and advocating fundamental equality in the church in the roles of women was the mission of the WOW conference held this past weekend in Philadelphia. The timing was no accident. The conference is delivering its message to Pope Francis, who will soon visit the United States, as well as to the world.
. . . .
This issue: the ordination of women, and indeed the whole question of gender equality in the church, has not really been addressed by Pope Francis, except to say that the "door is closed." But - as one of my guests on  put it this week - "You know what they say about doors: They are meant to be opened."
Catholic Women Speak: stories of everyday family life
Vatican Radio      Oct.2 2015
Catholic Women Speak book
'Catholic Women Speak: Bringing our gifts to the Table' is the title of a book that was presented at the Pontifical Antonianum University on Thursday, just ahead of the opening of the Synod of Bishops on the Family. The book is an anthology of Catholic women's' perspectives from different age-groups, nationalities and backgrounds on a wide variety of issues regarding family life and relationships.

At a symposium accompanying the book presentation, contributors expressed their concerns that many of the Synod Fathers were unable to hear the real life stories of so many women struggling to raise families in contexts that are not always in line with the ideals of Church doctrine.

Professor Tina Beattie from Roehampton university in London is a past president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain and one of the editors of 'Catholic Women Speak'. She talked to Philippa Hitchen about the origins and the goals of this new publication.

Professor Beattie says the book includes contributions from 44 women from across the globe, including a number of the best known names in Catholic women's theology, plus other contributors telling their stories of trying and failing to live up to Catholic teaching on contraception, divorce and remarriage or same-sex relationships.   Listen
Why wasn't a woman invited to preside at a papal prayer service?
Christine Schenk       Oct.1, 2015
Pope Francis' visit left me with a welter of conflicting feelings.

I am proud of U.S. Catholicism and awed by the monumental organizing of dedicated church women and men in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City. They skillfully orchestrated Francis' much-desired engagement with the poor as well as the politically powerful.

I was inspired by our humble, Spirit-filled pope, who prodded both Congress and clerics to serve the common good rather than petty partisan interests.

I prayed along with the people of God for a new spirit of respect for the environment and of welcome for struggling immigrant peoples.

And I bemoaned the glaringly persistent visuals of a Catholic liturgy woefully lacking gender balance.
Our common prayer needs to mirror the whole church, not just those gifted with a Y chromosome.
Papal Masses in all three cities countered Francis' "I am one of you" narrative by evoking male hierarchical triumphalism.
In our U.S. church, female ministers and lay leaders probably outnumber priests by at least 10 to one. Who teaches in parish schools of religion? Who ministers to the sick and aging? Who organizes Bible and theological reflection for adults? Who organizes and teaches parish RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) programs? Who trains the parish choir, selects appropriate hymns and provides musical accompaniment to each and every parish Mass?

Most times it is women, who constitute 80 percent of all lay ecclesial ministers in the U.S. church.
. . . .
Lay ecclesial ministers are the all-but-invisible glue holding our parishes together.

Yet at every papal liturgy, the sanctuaries were filled to bursting with men wearing black cassocks, red or purple sashes, heads topped with matching beanies. In the Philadelphia cathedral, priests were seated in front while laity and women religious were  of the church.

 Thankfully, this was not repeated in other venues.
Would it have been too much to include a few female altar servers and communion ministers?

To their credit, liturgy planners appointed female cantors in all venues except St. Patrick's in New York. Liturgists made an admirable effort to select both male and female readers, and both men and women recited the prayers of the faithful in diverse languages.
. . . .
But since four of the eight papal prayer venues were not Masses, would it have killed us to have a female presider at one or two prayer services? This is permitted under current liturgical guidelines. Female lay ecclesial ministers preside at prayer services in parishes all the time.

Why couldn't a woman (gasp!) have preached at a papal prayer service? This is also permitted under current guidelines.

Most embarrassing was the multi-faith service at Ground Zero. Here, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists included both men and women prayer leaders. Only the Judeo-Christian traditions did not. This is surprising since there are many female rabbis and Protestant ministers. For Catholics, again, this was not a Mass. A Catholic woman minister could and should have been invited to  help lead prayer.

I was consoled by the beautiful rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by a  at the interreligious service. The girls wore multicolored stoles but not the boys. Was this a silent witness? Rather than the usual "With God as our Father, brothers all are we," the choir sang an inclusive: "With God our Creator, family all are we." A small comfort, but I take it where I can find it.

I also wondered why Catholics women leaders didn't join all the men-in-black welcoming Pope Francis as he deplaned in three cities. Did anyone think to invite women like Dominican Sr. Donna Markham, head of Catholic Charities, USA, who just a week earlier had launched the #End45 campaign to eradicate poverty for about 45 million U.S. poor people?

What about Rebecca Woodhull, Ph.D. and Sheila Hopkins, president and president-elect, respectively, of the National Conference of Catholic Women? And Carolyn Woo, head of Catholic Relief Services; Carol A. Walters, president of the National Association of Lay Ministry Board; or Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Sr. Carol Keehan, CEO of the Catholic Health Association.
. . . .
Newsflash to U.S. bishops: It's time to get creative and publicly include women ministers in all liturgical leadership to the extent current guidelines allow.

And while you're at it, petition Pope Francis to open the permanent diaconate to women.
Pope Francis greatest weakness: Women!
Tony Flannery      Sep.28, 2015
I have been full of admiration for Pope Francis during his U.S. trip.  I thought his addresses to Congress, the United Nations and the U.S. bishops were excellent.  But on the way home in the plane, during the press briefing, he addressed the issue of womens ordination.  This is how it was reported by Joshua McElwee of the NCR:

""Pope Francis has again forcefully rejected the possibility of female priests in the Catholic church, saying simply that his predecessor Pope John Paul II decided "that cannot be done."
In response to a question during a press conference on his flight back to Rome late Sunday/early Monday after an historic ten-day trip to Cuba and the U.S., Francis said that while women may "have the capacity" to be priests John Paul clearly made a negative decision in that regard.
"Women priests - that cannot be done," the pontiff said bluntly. "Pope St. John Paul II - after long, long discussions, long reflections - said it clearly."
"Not because women do not have the capacity," said Francis.
"But, look, in the church, women are more important than men because the church is woman; it is 'la' church, not 'il' church," he said, speaking in Italian and referring to the gendered article used before the Italian word for church.
. . . .
Francis' answer on the papal plane is the latest in a series of somewhat controversial and frequently unclear remarks he has made about the role of women in the church.
The pope has previously said that the door to ordination for women was "closed" and has spoken of needing to develop a special theology of women.
He has also said he has stayed away from appointing women to high-level positions in the Vatican bureaucracy for fear of promoting some sort of "functionalism" of women's roles.
One recent book of 43 essays by Catholic women said the pope's call for a theology of women "reduce[s] women to objects of study, a separate category of reflection."
"We resist ... any suggestion that the Church needs a theology of 'Woman' or 'womanhood,'" wrote the authors of Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table.
. . . .
What is striking about the way he addresses this topic is the lack of clarity, the blatant contradictions, the general confusion of what he has to say.  So much in contrast to the simplicity and clarity he normally shows. He clearly feels bound by the decision of his predecessor. If that is the case, and if he does not feel he can make any move in this area, it would be much better if he did not address the topic at all. Waffling on about how important women are, and how the Madonna  is greater than any man, is meaningless and unhelpful.
The lack of equality for women in the Church is an issue that will not, and can not, go away. It will continue to fester, and drive more and more women out of the Church.
Theresa Kane's message to Pope Francis: eradicate scandal of gender inequality
Thomas C. Foxr       Sep.19, 2015
Theresa Kane
It was arguably the most notable request of a pope in modern times. In 1979, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane, serving as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, after consulting with a few friends, decided to ask Pope John Paul II, during his first visit to the United States, to open all church ministries to women.

The story of that request is etched in the psyches of reform-minded Catholics around the globe. It was not only the request itself, but also Kane's direct, simple, respectful, confident demeanor that captured widespread attention. No person to that moment had ever seemed an equal to a pope. Catholic perceptions changed in the Washington D.C. basilica that day.

In Kane's brief address, gender balance seemed to shift perceptibly within Roman Catholicism. If, or as women ordination advocates more frequently say, when, the first licit ordination of a woman priest takes place within the church, that sacramental act will inexorably be connected to a Sister of Mercy.

 "We have heard the powerful message of our church addressing the dignity and reverence of all persons," Kane told Pope John Paul II that day as he peered ahead stone faced. "As women, we have pondered these words." The church, "must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries."

Three-and-a-half decades later, Kane's words echo around the world as women (and men) gather to reflect on what they view to be the inevitable, an inclusive church that can fully model justice to a justice-hungry world: the ordination of women.
Sponsored by the U.S.-based Women's Ordination Conference  (WOC), this weekend's gathering is the third time in 15 years that ordination advocates have gathered to lament what they see as a major failure by the bishops to end gender discrimination within the church.
. . . .
And so as a frail, but no less spirited Kane stepped onto the dais before a packed Philadelphia hotel ballroom gathering, they jumped to their feet and began clapping their hands in an extended applause of respect and gratitude.

"We did it," Kane said. "We gather this evening from various states and a diversity of countries. We can truly say: 'We did it' and be so proud of our WOC community."

WOC organizers had just announced their new "," to be given to feminists working for justice and an inclusive church leadership. "It is with deep humility and great pride indeed to receive and accept this honor," she told the gathering. "I do so, not for me; I do it as an expression and reflection of you! So I think you, one and all!"

"Our journey as a WOC community has, at times, been difficult; we have been criticized for envisioning, for desiring of and working for something not possible according to the present mentality in the Catholic church institution.
But we have endured. And we have created a significant structure and system within the heart and spirit of the Catholic community that now yearns for and is committed to the God-given gifts of women as innately equal with men to be within every sphere and walk of life, in religion, government and society."

Added Kane: "Endurance is a quality of prophets and prophecy."
Empowering women empowers us all
Tablet editor       Oct.3, 2015
The language that Pope Francis used to describe women Religious during his visit to the United States last week was very welcome. They are "women of strength, fighters, with that spirit of courage that puts you in the front line", he told them during Vespers at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York. The Pope's comments sent out a clear message, given that American women Religious have undergone inspections by the Vatican and US bishops in recent years into their alleged lack of orthodoxy. Instead, Francis voiced his deep appreciation of their work with the most deprived in society, reflecting a solidarity that he shares so strongly.

But language depicting women as feisty, gutsy individuals is also welcome for other reasons. This Pope has previously been inclined to a sentimental view, at best, of women, and on occasions used words that many found peculiar. Women theologians were the "strawberries on the cake", he said, when they were appointed to a top theological commission, while Europe was described as a grandmother, "no longer fertile and vibrant". In doing so, Pope Francis has sounded exactly what he is: a 78 year old of a generation where women's roles were essentially domestic.

. . . .
As the latest Synod on the Family gets under way, attention will turn to the complex and contested issues surrounding families that inevitably impinge upon the well-being of women, from the treatment of the divorced, to the rearing of children and the Church's approach to contraception. But otherwise, issues affecting women are not high on the agenda of this pontificate. Rather than empowering women to carve out more influential roles in the Church, Pope Francis has focused more on reforming the administration and renewing it, including at the local level. He also scotched rumours that he would appoint a female cardinal, saying that to do so would clericalise women.

But if clericalism is something that concerns the Pope, then developing women's roles in the Church without changing doctrine can be part of the solution. Diplomats of the Holy See, canon lawyers working at the highest level, officials running the press office or financial affairs: all of these are positions that need not be held by those in holy orders yet nearly always are. This pope has shown on many occasions that he is willing to unsettle those around him. Rethinking women's position in the Church would be another opportunity to challenge entrenched prejudices that have caused the Church at its worst to be misogynistic and even at its best to border on the paternalistic.

Pope Francis wants to be the first pontiff to visit mainland China - but it won't be easy
Adam Taylor       Sep.28, 2015
Fresh from an attention-grabbing tour of the United States and Cuba, Pope Francis has his sights on another destination. "I'd really love to go to China," the Catholic leader told reporters on a flight back to Rome on Monday, the Italian news agency ANSA reports. "I love the Chinese people."

It's an ambitious target. If Francis were to visit mainland China, he would be the first pope to do so. The Vatican and Beijing haven't had diplomatic relations since 1951, and they remain divided over a variety of issues. "I hope there is a possibility to have good relations with China," the pope told reporters. "We have contacts, we talk. It's necessary to keep going."
. . . .
Reaching an agreement for a visit will not be easy. Since the Communist Party took power in 1949, both the Vatican and Beijing have been locked in a battle for control of China's Catholic population. Catholic missionaries had been operating in China since the 13th century, at points causing conflict: In 1715, a papal decree that  condemned  traditional Chinese rites and Confucian rituals  sparked a backlash in the country. After the  Chinese Communist Party came to power, the Catholic Church was officially viewed as a form of Western imperialism. Catholics, along with other Christians, were treated with suspicion.
. . . .
n 1957, Beijing set up the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) to exercise control over China's Catholics. This association rejects the authority of the Vatican and appoints its own bishops. According to the Pew Research Center's 2011 estimates, about 5.7 million of China's 9 million Catholics are associated with the CPCA and its churches. The rest worship with unregistered congregations that remain loyal to the mainstream Catholic faith. These Christians face persecution from the state, with their places of worship at risk of demolition.
. . . .
Another point of contention is the Vatican's continuing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. China has said that the Catholic Church must sever its ties with the Taipei government, which Beijing considers a renegade province, before the two powers can reestablish formal diplomatic relations. So far, the Vatican has not agreed to this demand.

It is possible, however, that Francis has compromised already. He did not meet with the Dalai Lama during the Tibetan leader's visit to Rome last year, a break with tradition that many interpreted as an attempt at appeasing Beijing. Some, such as Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, a former Hong Kong bishop, have warned that a visit by Francis to China would play further into Beijing's hands. "I would tell him now: 'Don't come, you would be manipulated,'" Zen told Corriere della Sera .
Still, Francis's unprecedented celebrity may present a problem for China. On Weibo, a significant number of Chinese micro-bloggers have followed the pope's trip to the United States with interest. "The Catholic church is getting stronger," one user commented on a post featuring photographs of the huge crowds that greeted Francis in New York. And Xi can't be unaware of the popular momentum behind the pope - he delayed his visit to Washington last week so as not to compete for attention with the Catholic leader.
San Diego bishop: Pope's model of church one of transformation
Tom Roberts      Sep.24, 2015
One of Pope Francis's most recent appointments to the episcopal ranks in the United States thinks the model of church the pope was proposing in his talk to bishops on Wednesday is one that seeks engagement with and transformation of culture rather than rigidly standing against it or apart from it.

Bishop Robert McElroy, who was installed in April to head the San Diego diocese, said the pope's discussion of power and authority spoke to his own experience, which included years as both a pastor of a parish and in numerous diocesan administrative positions.

At one point in his talk, Francis said, "It is helpful for a bishop to have the farsightedness of a leader and the shrewdness of an administrator, but we fall into hopeless decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with the strength of that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us."The "price of lasting victory," he added, "is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed."

They were lines that "struck home to me," said McElroy, who viewed the speech on television because he was meeting for several days with his priests, an event that was planned well in advance of the papal trip and could not be rescheduled.
. . . .
The lines of Francis about power and powerlessness "touches upon the same thing" for a bishop who has vast authority within his diocese, said McElroy. "The temptation is to resort to the authority of that office as strength first, rather than understanding that the real authority of that office lies in its capacity to offer conversion within the church as well as the wider society. It is a strength that comes from evangelical effort to convert minds and hearts and souls."

Some bishops in the United States in recent years have issued excommunications and threatened to ban politicians from Communion. In a widely reported concerted effort, many objected to the University of Notre Dame's invitation to President Barack Obama to address commencement exercises. At another point, one bishop compared the president to Hitler and Stalin.

Francis expressly called for an end to "harsh and divisive language." He said such language "does not befit the tongue of a pastor; it has no place in his heart. Although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing."

The path instead, he said, should be dialogue, not as a matter of strategy but in imitation of Christ.
The laity has spoken and the Church must learn
Tablet editor      Sep.24, 2015
The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have published an extraordinarily candid piece of criticism, accusing the Church of being bigoted, misogynistic, controlling, judgemental, outdated and Pharisaical. These are all words taken from a summary of responses to a consultation conducted by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in preparation for the forthcoming international synod of bishops in Rome next month, on the subject of marriage and family life.

Yet there is no cynicism among these accusations. Rather, the laity who commented are revealed as warm, generous, open-hearted and still committed to their faith. What they were criticising was the "official" Church, however defined - the disapproving judgemental hierarchical Church as portrayed in the media and as described by its enemies and those it has hurt. And as many of them point out, this is not based on the Church as it presently is under Pope Francis, but on how it is perceived to have acted over generations.

The consultation produced a rich seam of spiritual insight and reflection. It pleads for things to change, especially regarding those who are estranged from the Church over issues of sexual ethics. A constant refrain was that the next generation of Catholics will be permanently alienated unless there is change that makes the Church a warmer home for women, for gay people, and for the divorced and remarried.

They want a Church that engages with married life and its messy difficulties realistically and humanely, not one offering idealistic textbook answers. 

As Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, said at a press conference where the summary was unveiled, the depth of faith the respondents disclosed was humbling and moving. It even moved him to say that "this family witness to the Church is very very important, more than what the Church can teach the family".
By "the Church" he meant, indicating the clerical platform party at the press conference, "in the sense of us lot". Indeed, one respondent is quoted as saying: "It would seem that right now the Church may well have more to learn from marriage and family life than to teach." It is the sensus fidelium at work. 

Hence a recurrent theme was the divide between the clerical hierarchy and the laity. Putting an official stamp of recognition on that, as Cardinal Nichols did, could well be a watershed moment in the life of the Church. It establishes that the real experts on family life are those actually living it, not celibate theologians, canon lawyers and bishops.

Family Teachings Lay Bare a Rift
Francis X. Rocca       Sep.20, 2015
. . . .
Barely a week after the pontiff returns to Rome, about 250 bishops from around the world will join him there to debate the church's teaching and practice on questions regarding the family. The meeting, known as a synod, will run from Oct. 4 to Oct. 25.

Next month's synod (pronounced SIN-id) will be the second of a two-part process started last October. The first meeting electrified the church when a report presented halfway through the proceedings called for a more welcoming approach to gays, cohabitating couples and divorced Catholics who have remarried.

While that language didn't survive in the gathering's final document, it opened a debate so fierce that it sparked talk of a schism.
. . . .
The biggest controversy at last fall's gathering was over a proposal to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the sacrament of Communion, a practice currently prohibited unless a church court grants an annulment of one's first, sacramental marriage.

Some of the pope's statements and actions before and after the gathering suggest he supports the idea. He has said the church must show more mercy in its approach to divorcees. And he pointedly invited German Cardinal Walter Kasper to give the address at a February 2014 gathering of the world's cardinals dedicated to the family.
. . . .
The issue has opened a rift within the church leadership, up to its highest level. Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's finance chief, has openly scorned the Kasper proposal, calling it a "stalking horse" for recognition of civil unions and same-sex marriage. "Some may wish Jesus might have been a little softer on divorce," he said on the sidelines of the synod last year, warning against hopes of "doctrinal back flips" emerging from the meeting. "But he wasn't. And I'm sticking with him."
At the end of the two-week debate last fall, the bishops produced a report that noted the disagreements and recommended further study-effectively postponing a resolution.

Since then, the pope has generally treaded carefully in referring to such issues. At times, he has extolled the virtues of large families and the union of man and woman as the basis of the family-comforting words for tradition-minded members of the church.

At other times, he has seemed to strike a more progressive tone. In August, he stressed that divorced Catholics who "have undertaken a new union" are "not excommunicated" and should be welcomed in the church, particularly if children are involved.

"If we look at these new bonds with the eyes of little children-and little children do look-we see even more clearly how urgent it is that we develop in our communities a real welcome for persons who live in such situations," he said.
. . . .
The debate has become so charged that some bishops argue privately that the pope would need to call a council-essentially, a bigger synod-of all the world's roughly 5,300 bishops in order to make such a momentous change. The last such assembly was the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which ushered in a host of innovations that transformed the life of the church.
The Closing of New York Churches and the Saving of One
Christine M. Roussel      Pct.1, 2015
Those who read OMG! regularly may recall a story I wrote here last year entitled "A Vatican II Bishop." I had the good fortune to grow up in St. Thomas More Church on East 89th Street in Manhattan. It is a beautiful little church built in the 1880's as the original Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest until that congregation outgrew the church and sold it to the Dutch Reformed Church who occupied it happily for some years until that congregation became too small to afford it and sold it to the Archdiocese of New York in 1950. Its founding pastor was a marvelous medieval historian, dean and president of a college, musician and thoroughly pastoral auxiliary bishop of New York, Philip J. Furlong.
. . . .
When Cardinal Dolan announced Making All Things New's second round of closings and consolidations, St. Thomas More was on the list. All those who knew the church were astounded. Serving about 1,000 households, its Masses were filled, its groups and programs were well attended and its physical plant and finances were in excellent condition. St. Thomas More didn't seem to have any of the problems usually cited as requiring closing - except perhaps, if one were a cynic, because it's a small church with a large bank balance.

The pastor, Fr. Kevin Madigan, encouraged those of his parishioners who wished to act, to pursue a dual course: one was to push for the naming of St. Thomas More Church as an historic landmark, which had been under consideration for some time and would confer protection of the site against sale or significant modification. The second was to contact Cardinal Dolan in writing or in person to express their wishes. Time was relatively short, only three months before the decision would be made.

Lo and behold, on May 8th Cardinal Dolan sent a letter to the parishioners of St. Thomas More saying

"Dear People of St. Thomas More Parish,
You have been very patient in awaiting my decision on the future of your parish. Thank you!
. . . .  
Many of you participated in the Making All Things New process, taking me seriously when I assured you that I would not, could not, make a decision until I got your input.
The recommendation from your cluster is that St. Thomas More Church remains open.
I accept your recommendation.
However, I have decided that there will be a new structure. On August 1, 2015, St. Thomas More Parish and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish will merge: the two churches will both remain open, with Our Lady of Good Counsel Church as the main parish church. The two will now be considered one parish, to share priests, with one pastor - who will live at Our Lady of Good Counsel - one parish staff, one parish council.
. . . .
For whatever combination of reasons, the Cardinal had decided to compromise and, although Our Lady of Good Counsel Church became the official parish church of this new combined entity, the parishioners of St. Thomas More would keep their church, Masses, ceremonies, groups and liturgical traditions (including some of the best music in a NYC Catholic church). The pastor of St. Thomas, who had served in a combined-parish situation previously, applied for the new pastorate and got the job, although he had to move a few blocks east to live at Our Lady of Good Counsel. The arrangement would be reviewed in two years.
. . . .
New York has always been a city of immigrants and immigrant neighborhoods. Groups of different nationalities clustered together in distinct areas and tried to reproduce enough of their "old" countries to make their new country bearable.  . . . .  Part of this process involved building their own churches where everything except the text of the Mass itself was in their own language. National pride and the need for a meeting and worshipping place to be comfortable with their fellows, language, region and religion was, and still is, powerful.
. . . .
But to ambitious reorganizers worried about a priest shortage and rising costs amid declining or at least changing demographics, two Hungarian churches (although one had actually been built by immigrant Slovakians) within three blocks and a third, larger church just three blocks south of them seemed ripe for their solution - closure of two churches and consolidation of three parishes into one, larger, church. So St. Stephen of Hungary's travelling parishioners would have to get used to Mass in English and St. Elizabeth of Hungary's parishioners would have to travel a few blocks to St. Monica's Church, their new parish. Right?
Wrong! What the ecclesiastical soul-counters didn't realize, or had forgotten, or did not consider as essential as financial considerations, was that in 1980 Cardinal Terence Cooke named St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church as the Roman Catholic parish for the deaf in the Archdiocese of New York. It had become the center for the deaf Catholics of New York which includes not only three boroughs of the city but also northern counties up through Westchester.

St. Elizabeth has a priest, Msgr. Patrick McCahill, who is completely fluent in American Sign Language, the lingua franca of the American deaf.
. . . .
Msgr. McCahill says Mass, preaches, administers all the sacraments and counsels in ASL. He is as fluent as his flock and that is unique, he is unique and over 35 years he has made St. Elizabeth's a true home for the deaf community of NY. When the first rumblings of church closings sounded in NY, Msgr. McCahill did not mount a loud preservation campaign because he assumed St. Elizabeth's official status would protect it, but it didn't. So, when it became known that this unobtrusive little church with its one-of-a-kind ministry was to close, individuals and the media protested and publicized it. The New York Times had a long story on St. Elizabeth's November 28, 2014. Religion and Ethics Newsweekly had a segment on "The Deaf Church" and St. Elizabeth's 35-year ministry on April 10th, 2015 and made sure the story remained on its website.
. . . .
For me, the compromise over the fate of St. Thomas More, and the very public promise to pay heed to the needs of New York's deaf Catholics, are signs that speaking up can make a difference, it can bring about favorable results, especially when it can be demonstrated a given solution would benefit both sides. Of course, this requires openness and reasonableness on both sides, especially on the part of the bishop, who holds the most power, which is a very tempting weapon.
Many of us have been stonewalled by hierarchs for so long that we doubt the possibility of fair, reasonable compromise, but that seems to be changing in some dioceses and hopefully the species episcopus reasonabilis will continue to increase with the future appointments of Pope Francis. Oremus Omnes!
Chris Roussel is a founding member of the editorial board 0f the quarterly OMG Journal  and a past ARCC board member.
The lampooning of Pope Francis: Shame on George Will
Stephen Schneck      Sep.29, 2015
Is anti-Catholicism again becoming mainstream in America? Catholic ridicule is fair game these days for comedians and artists, for Broadway shows and talk radio. Once relegated in the media world to the kooky fringe of Xeroxed screeds about the whore of Babylon, in recent years anti-Catholicism has become a regular visitor in the hateful nastiness of online trolls.  Over the past summer, ahead of Pope Francis' visit to the United States this week, discriminatory, anti-Catholic bigotry has crept from online comment sections to rear its ugliness prominently in cable TV commentary and newspaper op-eds.  

Last week Washington Post columnist, George Will, attacked Pope Francis for the pontiff's moral teaching regarding care for creation. I disagree with Will's boosterism for technology, synthetic fertilizers and fabrics, pesticides, consumerism, and "industrialization powered by fossil fuels." But I will not take issue here with his claims about the purported miracles of our global economic system and its industries. 

It's Will's treatment of things Catholic that is more concerning. What is profoundly appalling is the vitriolic temper of Will's remarks about the pope. His tone and language are shocking, coming as they do not from a scurrilous, fly-by-night website but from the op-ed page of one of America's most respected newspapers. All Catholics should be disturbed. Most shameful is the columnist's ad hominem, sarcastic, and demeaning ridicule of His Holiness, Pope Francis.
. . . .
The historian Arthur Schlesinger once called anti-Catholicism "the deepest bias in the history of the American people." I've never actually agreed with that argument. Racism, anti-Semitism, and a peculiar American misogyny are equally deep and certainly more virulent. But, on the left and on the right, anti-Catholicism has always had a kind of pass in otherwise polite corners of American public life where other overt discriminatory language is disparaged.

You are certainly free to disagree with Pope Francis, Mr. Will. You are certainly free to disagree with Catholic teachings and to contest them in any forum. But surely you would agree that the American public square should long ago have forsworn the ridicule of others' religious teachings and the person of their religious leaders.
Pope Francis Slams Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino As Pretend Catholic
Author       Mon.dd, 2015
Pope Francis Tuesday criticized the left-leaning mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, as someone who "pretends to be Catholic."

The religious head's unflattering assessment of Marino came in response to a question on whether the public official's presence alongside the Pope in Philadelphia was the result of an invitation.

"I didn't invite the mayor. Is that clear? I asked the organisers and they didn't invite him either," the pope responded, according to Agence France-Presse. "He professes to be Catholic, it came on him all of a sudden. It doesn't happen like that."

Meanwhile, the remarks were seized upon by the media in Italy, where Marino is deeply unpopular.
 "If the most popular man in the world takes down one of the least popular in Italy, that says that all the rules of the game have been thrown up in the air, including possibly those of mercy," Italian daily La Stampa said, according to the Guardian.
Help Support ARCC with AmazonSmile
You shop. Amazon gives. 

AmazonSmile Logo
Do you make purchases at Amazon?  Do you buy Kindle books from Amazon? Consider going through AmazonSmile. will donate 0.5% of the price of
your eligible purchases to ARCC whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

ARCC can earn a penny every time you search the Internet. donates half its revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. You use it just as you would any search engine.  Go to  and enter ARCC as the charity you want to support. Just 50 of us searching four times a day will raise about $730 in a year without anyone spending a dime.

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the  Church



 Membership options:

 Life $500     ARCC-Angel $100     Regular $50  
Senior $35     Student $15

to=This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(0, 149, 148); text-decoration: underline;">CONTACT ARCC