I know that some felt nothing but shock and dismay at Cardinal George’s announcement that “we have recently begun discussions on how we might strengthen our [the bishops’] relationship to Catholic universities, to media claiming to be a voice in the Church, and to organizations that direct various works under Catholic auspices.”
While reporting for NCR at the Fall General Assembly of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, Bishop John Michael Botean mentioned to me that Frs. Ted Hesburgh and Emmanuel Charles McCarthy will concelebrate a Mass of reconciliation at the University of Notre Dame today. The Mass marks the 40th anniversary of the university's suspension of 10 students for their protest of CIA and Dow Chemical recruitment activities on campus.
Botean reminded me that the students' suspension led McCarthy (a Melkite priest, strong pacifist and father of the girl whose cure was later the miracle leading to sainthood for Sister Benedicta of the Cross -- Edith Stein) to resign from the ND faculty.
The students who were suspended had lain down in front of an administration building to prevent others from interviewing with a CIA recruiter.
Climate change and the protection of creation will be the focus of a major campaign coordinated through the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.
The Coalition plans to introduce an ambitious effort to reach all the country's 19,000 parishes through what is being called the Catholic Climate Covenant: The St. Francis Pledge to Protect Creation and the Poor. The covenant is an extension of efforts to more fully implement the U.S. bishops' statement on climate change.
Executive director of the Coalition, Daniel Misleh, disclosed campaign plans Oct. 25 in an address to the 39th Annual Peace and Justice Awards Dinner of the Commission on Catholic Community Action of the Cleveland diocese.
The covenant, according to the coalition's online fall update, will be the campaign's cornerstone. It will "offer a distinctively Catholic perspective on global climate change." It will also invite people to "deeper prayer, more learning and sincere action in this time of environmental uncertainty and challenge."
The cappa magna, according to the Random House dictionary is "ceremonial cloak having a long train and a silk or fur-lined hood, worn by cardinals, bishops, and certain other dignitaries." Ordinarily scarlet for cardinals and purple for bishops, the train has varied in length and, it is reported, was originally used as a covering for the back end of a horse.
Today is the feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, who left France in 1818 with four other Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and came to America.
Before I settle in to watch tonight's "Colbert Report," I wanted to share Stephen's commentary, "Skeletons in the closet," from last night's episode.
Colbert defended the Catholic Church's threat to cut charitable work in Washington D.C. if a same-sex marriage amendment passes. "They have no choice," he said. "After all, Jesus said, 'If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor. Unless a couple of dudes go and register at Pottery Barn, in which case, f*&^ the poor.'"
Just as some are arguing for civil unions instead of marriage, Colbert proposes that churches start refusing funerals for gays and lesbians, leaving them to have "civil end-of-life ceremonies."
"We shouldn't have to watch these people flaunt their alternative death-styles," he said.
Watch the whole, sarcastic clip here.
I actually agree with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on something. Newsweek's choice of a cover photo of her in running shorts for an serious article about her political aspirations is sexist and inappropriate (though the headline, "How do you solve a problem like Sarah?" is pretty clever). She blasted the choice on her Facebook page. I have to agree with her on this. A similar photo of a male politician would be unheard of to accompany such an article.
I blogged earlier today on the bishops passing their pastoral letter on marriage. Now Catholic News Services provides a bit more detail:
Bishops OK marriage pastoral with many changes, some opposition
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service
BALTIMORE -- Despite the concern voiced by some bishops about the document's pastoral tone and content, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a pastoral letter on marriage Nov. 17.
Nearly 100 changes in two rounds of amendments preceded the 180-45 vote in favor of "Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan" during the bishops' fall general assembly in Baltimore.
Two-thirds of the USCCB membership, or 175 votes, was required for passage. There were three abstentions.
An effort by retired Archbishop Francis T. Hurley of Anchorage, Alaska, to remand the document to the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth for rewriting failed 56-169, with three abstentions.
There are many things about a USCCB meeting that are, well, strange. Walking into a room where everyone is dressed identically is strange. Seeing an altar with a large crucifix in a hotel ballroom is strange. Seeing Archbishop Timothy Dolan in running shorts and a sweatshirt at lunchtime returning from some exercise is strange. But, for me the strangest thing is to encounter a former schoolmate among the assembled hierarchs.
For two years in the mid-1980s, I was an inmate at Theological College, the national seminary attached to the Catholic University of America. In 2005, one of my former classmates, Joseph Tyson, was named auxiliary bishop of Seattle. Earlier this year, John Barres was ordained bishop of Allentown. I ran into John in the hallways of the Marriott where the USCCB meetings are being held. He looks none the worse for the intervening years, indeed he has scarcely aged. This would be sufficient grounds for intense dislike, except that Bishop Barres is, and was two decades ago, one of the most likable people you could ever want to meet.