This past Ash Wednesday, while most Catholics were being told to turn away from sin, the faithful in Philadelphia were informed that the hierarchy had, once again, failed to do so themselves. After reading the details of this latest fallout of the church’s sex abuse epidemic, I am starting to wonder if there is anything left to say. Even with so much already said, there is still one question that troubles me. Why are we, the Catholic laity, still letting the hierarchy get away with it?
Grace on the Margins
I’m not sure if it made national news, but two weeks ago a three-storey billboard posted in the Soho section of Manhattan caused a bit of controversy here.
The billboard featured a picture of an African American girl. Above her head read: “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”
The billboard was sponsored by the organization , which apparently is led by an African American. Nevertheless, the sign was quickly condemned for its inherently racist tone and its blatant shaming of African American women.
The billboard was removed within a week, sparking a characteristically hysterical reaction from the Catholic League’s William Donohue, who decried the action as “an exercise in urban fascism.”
The abortion rate in New York City, which by some estimates is as high as 41 percent, has received particular attention lately. But other statistics in the city seem to garner less publicity.
As I continue to reflect on the “Lost? Twenty-Somethings and the Catholic Church” conference hosted at Fordham University last month, I keep returning to the opinions of Robert Putnam on the vital importance of the church for immigrant communities.
Late last week, a new iPhone app designed to help Catholics prepare for the confessional made its debut. The app tailors its questions to a person’s gender and vocation. So if you punch in both “female” and “priest,” you immediately receive the message “sex and vocation are incompatible.”
The women and men featured in the new documentary Pink Smoke would beg to differ.
I first saw a picture of David Kato back in December when I attended a consultation on religiously-based homophobia in East Africa held at the United Nations Church Center in New York. Kato’s face was on the cover of the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone, published in October 2010.
Have young adult Catholics lost their way?
Has the church lost twenty-somethings?
These questions and several others were explored this past weekend at a forum and conference entitled “Lost? Twenty-Somethings and the Church” at Fordham University.
Apparently, these concerns are on the minds of many, since conference organizers had to open up a second auditorium with live web-streaming to accommodate the overwhelming number of registrants.
At a time when the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is alienating more people than welcoming them, they seem to have found a new friend in Bill W.
Courage boasts 110 chapters worldwide dedicated to helping gay Catholics lead celibate lives. As the new program's name indicates, it is modeled after the Twelve Step recovery process practiced by groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
One week before it’s set to leave for Dubuque, Iowa, I was finally able to catch the “Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America” exhibition at New York’s Ellis Island.
In many ways, the island is a perfect setting for the exhibition, which highlights the immigrant experience of the women religious who came to the New World as missionaries.
It is unclear to what extent Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who attempted to assassinate Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was influenced by the epidemic of hostile, fear-mongering rhetoric that dominates public discourse on critical issues such as health care, immigration, and Islam.
Regardless of whether Loughner’s motivation was induced by the media or mental illness, the incident compels us to take a serious look at the violent overtones of political speeches, and the ways in which misinformation and exaggerations about hot button issues strike fear and trigger aggression in the minds of listeners.
Just days before Christians celebrated Christmas, Jesus got evicted.
In a strange twist of fate, he was removed from a hospital named after his adoptive father, St. Joseph. The whole saga took place in a desert. Only this time it was in Phoenix, Ariz., rather than Egypt.
Because a mother of four had her life saved under harrowing circumstances, the sacramental presence of Jesus was forced to evacuate a Catholic hospital in the Valley of the Sun. It’s a sad loss, really, since the body of Christ dwelt peacefully at St. Joseph’s for over 115 years.