The research team, commissioned by The National Catholic Reporter (NCR), which included William D'Antonio of The Catholic University of America (CUA), Mary Gautier of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University and Michele Dillon of the University of New Hampshire, recently completed the fifth survey of U.S. Catholics.
Essays in Theology
The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State that toppled the president of the university and iconic football coach Joe Paterno has stimulated many references in the media to a similar problem in the Catholic church.
Although the church's crisis is more widespread and goes back more years than we can count, it is drawn from the same sources: human perversity and its principal enabler, human weakness.
I don't know how the new, literal translation of the Mass, which went into effect on the First Sunday of Advent, was received by Catholics this weekend.
However, even if everything went smoothly in most parishes, Catholics, and especially pastors, had a right to complain about the high cost of purchasing new missals and other liturgical books.
As Catholic institutions, especially schools, multiplied rapidly in the 1950s, Pope Pius XII urged religious superiors to begin the modernization of their congregations. He mentioned specifically the abolition of outmoded customs, the modification of habits and increased attention to the professional education of sisters.
There was no Thanksgiving column last year because, for the first time since I began writing this weekly column in early July 1966, I had to suspend it for about three months for medical reasons.
In 2009, however, I had done a column in thanksgiving for the greatest single asset to the Catholic church in the United States (and I almost certainly can include Canada here): the thousands of nuns who have served the church in so many extraordinary ways: in parishes, in schools, in hospitals, in shelters for women, in prisons, as college and university faculty members, chaplains, residence hall rectors and in so many other ministries, too many to count.
With the election of Martin V as pope on Nov. 11, 1417, the feast of St. Martin, the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) finally came to an end.
The Schism began with the election of Urban VI, one of the most unstable popes in all of papal history and the last non-cardinal to be elected to the papacy. So intransigent and unreasonable was Urban VI that the French cardinals, who had seen the last French pope elected with Gregory XI (1371-78), elected an antipope, Clement VII.
This Friday is the feast of Charles Borromeo, one of the most important bishops in the entire history of the church, one of the outstanding figures in the Catholic Reformation of the 16th century and patron saint of bishops, catechists and seminarians.
Given all the negative and disheartening news we have been hearing about the Catholic Church in recent years, it's good to be reminded of some of the positive things about Catholicism, in addition to its sacramental life and (sometimes) vibrant parish life.
In my Labor Day column for this year, I chided the U.S. Catholic bishops for two reasons: for failing to apply Catholic social teaching to the issue of justice in the Church itself and for failing to defend the right of workers to form labor unions and to engage in collective bargaining, especially in such states as Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere.
The newspapers and television reports have been filled these past few months with references to the so-called Arab Spring, focusing on dramatic developments in Egypt, Libya, Syria and so many other countries in the Arab world.