The Leadership Conference of Women Religious meets next month in Dallas for their annual gathering. Some 800 women will gather with their leadership, their congregations, and their missions under dark clouds, set there by the Vatican.
It will be a time -- all too short -- for serious discernment. And courage.
With this in mind, allow me to direct the attention of women religious everywhere to the talk, posted today, by Cape Town Bishop Kevin Dowling on the NCR web site.
Dowling sees our church in a clear and discerning manner and this bishop's wisdom shows that the deep concerns of women religious are not theirs alone, but extend to church prelates. And who knows how many other Dowlings are there out there who are not yet finding the means to speak out?
Women, take notice -- and take heart.
Consider the words with which Dowling ends his address. Consider his spirit when you gathering in Dallas next month:
Unlike the Connecticut Attorney General Blumenthal (See this and href="http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/conn-priest-charged-13-million-theft">this.), it looks like the New York Attorney General's office is not afraid of prosecuting church leaders for larceny and fraud.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed into law a controversial bill allowing guns to be carried into Louisiana’s houses of worship, and I am overjoyed to finally have an excuse to wear my new Gunderson leather chaps to church! To think I ever thought they were out of fashion.
Publishing a newspaper and keeping a web site is often a lesson in managed chaos. You try to plan ahead, but you never know when a story might break. You're never really sure that the story you just sent to the printer will be relevant by the time anyone sees it on paper. Web publishing alleviates that pressure -- a bit -- but even on the web, you're never really sure that you're up to date as you could be.
But sometimes things happen just right.
This morning is a case in point. We had already scheduled to post to the web site an editorial from our July 9 print issue (A hierarchy deeply damaged from within), which went to the printer last week and should be arriving in mail boxes even now.
This morning when I opened my e-mail box, I found a message from Jerry Filteau, forwarding a message he had received from a reader. That message contained the text of a talk by South African Bishop Kevin Dowling. (See Catholic social teaching finds church leadership lacking.)
You see some odd things on California beaches in the summer, but this one stood out: a grizzled man in a dark hat, dragging a wooden cross along the sand.
And the cross had wheels.
We were up along the beaches of the Central California coast this holiday weekend, staying in a small town known for its deliberately off-the-wall Fourth of July parade: a float of tap-dancing seniors from the local center; a life-sized, home-made yellow submarine; and two guys on uni-cycles tossing a giant American flag back and forth down Main Street.
As the parade ended and the crowd thinned out, I walked past the town pier and toward the beach. That’s when I saw him: in weathered jeans and weathered face, hauling his wooden cross over his shoulder.
On page three of a long "special report" from Reuters titled "In Irish schools, Catholic Church remains master" is this factoid:
The Gulf oil spill probably doesn't make you feel like singing, but a hymn written for the occasion calls for contrition and stewardship.
Written by Presbyterian minister Carolyn Winfrey Gillette in response to the ongoing oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, "O God, the Great, Wide Seas Are Yours" laments:
Forgive us when we disobey
And fail to care for what you’ve made.
Consuming more than what we should,
We harm the waters you call good.
Its final verse implores:
God, may we hear your call anew
To care for all these gifts from you.
May we protect the sea and shore
By using less, conserving more...
A great discussion over on America's blog: Do Catholic Elementary Schools Need More Male Teachers?
Approximately 11 percent of teachers at Catholic elementary schools are male (including priests and brothers). Some say that is far too low.
The elementary school my kids attend has two male teachers on a staff of about 24 serving around 400 students. I'd say that is too low.
My oldest son had a bit of a shock when he moved to high school last year and had just two women among the eight teachers he saw every day.