Appalachia is one of America’s great paradoxes, a region of breathtaking beauty and grinding poverty, coal its blessing and curse. It is also a region easily hidden away among the culture’s pressing problems.
By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
The Vatican has denied an Italian report that it recently convened meetings to study the situation created by priests who violate their vows of celibacy by having relationships with women and fathering children.
The Italian daily La Stampa reported on Sunday, August 2, that the Congregation for Clergy was considering a new set of rules for such cases, which the newspaper described as "very widespread" in developing nations as well as some European countries, "such as Austria". (The reference to Austria likely had in mind the case of Fr. Joseph Friedl, a popular pastor who recently acknowledged living with a woman for more than 25 years.)
The other night on TV, I watched coverage of popular demonstrations in Tehran, demonstrations that were met with official repression, even though the people were attempting to observe a religious day of mourning for those killed 40 days ago. Coverage was very sympathetic to the Iranian people in the streets, people who demand to know what happened in their recent “election.”
Corazon Aquino, devout Catholic, who was swept into power following a non-violent "people power" revolution, has died.
She is described as, "An observant Roman Catholic who sometimes retreated to convents for contemplation, she attributed much of her success to a divine will.
“What on earth do I know about being president?” Mrs. Aquino said in an interview in December 1985, after a rally opening her election campaign.
President Obama said he hoped the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. would become a “teaching moment.” Unfortunately, by saying he thought the police had acted “stupidly” he guaranteed that the moment would have little to do with teaching anything and much to do with reinvigorating racial stereotypes.
While Louisiana public schools are in line for $370 million this year in federal stimulus aid, the story for private and parochial schools is much different.
Special federal aid totaling about $70,000 is being split up among 16 Catholic schools in East Baton Rouge Parish, or about $4,400 each.
The Princeton Review annually ranks colleges according to 62 different criteria, but none is more popular than its list of Top 20 Party Schools. Penn State took top honors in this year's list, followed by University of Florida, University of Mississippi, University of Georgia and Ohio University.
There was nary a Catholic school on the list.
I don't know if Catholics should be proud--or angry. Hey, we're fun. We party. We even have a reputation for excessive drinking. C'mon--not even one Catholic school was considered Top 20 material by the 122,000 students who voted this year?
Teenagers, those perennial fonts of wisdom, often express themselves in timely, insightful clichés. One of my favorites is the exhortation, “Get a life!” It’s good advice. Since lifestyles are an outward expression of inner values (or lack thereof), in order to live simply and generously we must pay close attention to our inner spiritual reality. How do we find the way to the divine mystery and then how do we connect with it? Just living a life, with all its challenges, rewards, and ups and downs, is an engaging and productive spiritual path.
I recently finished reading Archbishop Rembert Weakland’s A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop, and found it most intriguing for the eyewitness account he can provide of how deep the opposition to Vatican II was in the curia from the very start. He also provides the kind of look behind the curtain at the U.S. bishops and their meetings that only an insider can provide.