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Middle East synod is unique, and here's why



tIn broad strokes, one Synod of Bishops in Rome is pretty much like another one – the same procedures, the same structures, often the same faces and same issues. Yet there are several features which make the Oct. 10-24 Synod for the Middle East unique, which were highlighted this morning by Archbishop Nikola Eterovi?, a Croat who heads the Vatican department for synods of bishops, in a briefing for reporters.

Read NCR's full coverage of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East: Index of stories from the Synod.

Ad orientem

tFor one thing, this is clearly a synod ad orientem, meaning directed to the East. Of the 185 bishops taking part (out of a total of some 270 participants), 140 come from the 22 Eastern Catholic churches in union with Rome, meaning that just 45 represent the Latin Rite. In most synods, the bishops and other participants from the East are almost a footnote – this time around, they’re the main act.

Press Release: Endangered Catholics


Just received this press release from the Cleveland group, Endangered Catholics


The parishes closed by Bishop Richard G. Lennon of the Cleveland Diocese will unite in prayer in order to honor Our Lady of the Rosary on Thursday, October 7th at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral at 5:10 PM Mass, followed by a Luminary Service at various appealing parishes at approximately 6:30 PM signifying their hopefulness, their faith and continued petition.

Many of the parishes have been asking the Blessed Mother for her intervention in having the mandates of Bishop Lennon of closures reversed. Vatican appeals are currently at the Congregation for the Clergy which has extended their decision until November 30th.

A religious test for political candidates?


With the midterm elections fast approaching, this week’s "Interfaith Voices" features Damon Linker, who has written a fascinating new book called The Religious Test: Why We Must Question the Beliefs of Our Leaders.

His thesis is simple. With more and more candidates and office holders filtering their policy preferences through the lens of their religious beliefs, it is no longer off base to question candidates’ views of the divine.

Voters scream for help reveals deeper problems


This is yet another election year that belongs to "the angry voter." But angry about what? Research highlighted in the New York Times says it's not unemployment or the deficit -- the real frustration comes from the kind of society we've grown into and are leaving to our kids.

In his Times online column, political reporter Matt Bai cited this startling fact: if the Republicans take-over Congress in the November elections, it will mark the third consecutive presidency in which control of Congress has flipped -- a first in this country's already volatile political history.

Listen in on A Nun's Life


I just received an e-mail from Sr. Maxine Kollasch. Maxine and Sr. Julie Vieira, both Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters from Monroe, Mich., are the driving forces behind the web site,

They do a lot of things on a blog, podcasts, a vocations discussion board, a 24/7 chat room and more.

A recent initiative is a live audio broadcast called "In Good Faith," which features guests who are nationally known for their ministries and discuss spirituality, religious life and discernment.

The show airs on the first Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. EST.

Vatican offices for clergy, charity get new leaders


Pope appoints new heads to Vatican offices for clergy, charity

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appointed new heads for two Vatican offices, naming Italian canon lawyer, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, and Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah as president of the Vatican's charity-promotion agency, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

Pittsburgh priest honors seal of confession, removed from ministry


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday on the strange, profiles-in-courage worthy story of Benedictine Fr. Mark Gruber, who honored the seal of confession to the point of losing of his job.

From the piece:

A former student of the Rev. Mark Gruber has told both state police and canonical investigators that he downloaded pornography on the priest's computer. He says that Father Gruber knew that, but couldn't say so because he had sacramentally confessed that sin to the priest before the pornography was discovered. Priests are forbidden to reveal the contents of a confession under any circumstance.

But the former student has spoken with Father Gruber's canon lawyers, state police and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Gruber's suit says that on Dec. 15, the young man gave a sworn statement to the priest's canon lawyers, for the case that his Benedictine superior filed against him in Rome. He said he had downloaded pornography, and then confessed doing so.


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November 20-December 3, 2015


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