National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

NCR Today

Vatican calls traditionalist ordinations 'completely illegitimate'


When Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of four traditionalist Catholic bishops last January, it was intended as a gesture of reconciliation toward the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway movement founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. (The move generated global tumult when it turned out that one of those prelates, Bishop Richard Williamson, is a Holocaust denier.) The prospect of reconciliation may have taken a setback, however, with a recent announcement by the society that it intends to ordain new priests at the end of June, without papal permission, in three locations: its seminary at Zaitzkofen in Bavaria; its headquarters in Econe, Switzerland; and at another seminary in Winona, Minnesota.

Today the Vatican released a statement calling those ordinations “completely illegitimate.” The following is the full text of the Vatican statement, in an NCR translation from Italian.


Catholic publisher 'redefining strategy'


Another Catholic publishing house has announced changes in its business in response to the economic crisis, which has hit many already-struggling religious publishers especially hard. Earlier this month, NCR reported that Our Sunday Visitor had acquired Harcourt Religion Publishers. Now St. Anthony Messenger Press has announced that it is "redefining its strategy" and reducing staffing, including closing its Cincinnati telemarketing center, offering early retirement to some employees and abandoning its independent sales force. At least 40 positions, many of them part-time, will be eliminated.

"Across the country, we have witnessed the decline of secular and religious newspapers and the diversification of traditional publishers,'' Franciscan Father Dan Kroger, CEO and publisher, said in a statement. The traditional Catholic audience and subscriber base is shrinking, and younger readers are moving from print to electronic sources of information, he added.

Kroger said three factors are driving the changes:

  • changes in religious affiliation and commitment among American Catholics,

Moises Sandoval: unparalled Catholic journalist


Speaking last month at the CEHILA USA 2009 gathering at the University of New Mexico, Mario T. Garc'a, professor of Chicano studies and history at the University of California, Santa Barbara called veteran Catholic journalist Moises Sandoval, “one of the most important Latino Catholic writers in the United States during the last third of the twentieth century.”

Hollywood-Catholic truce broken?


Just when we thought that "Angels & Demons" had called a truce in the battle between Catholics and Hollywood, a new front has been established.

Screen Gems, part of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment, has announced it is working on "Priest," about a rogue, "warrior" priest in a future world ravaged by centuries of war between humans and vampires. The film is based on the Korean comic book series of the same name created by Hyung Min-woo.

Starring are Paul Bettany (You may remember him as Silas in "The Da Vinci Code." I remember him as Geoffrey Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale.") as warrior priest Ivan Isaacs, and Cam Gigandet (who played a vampire in that other vampire movie, "Twilight") as a half-human, half-vampire sheriff. The two team-up to save Gena (not yet cast), Bettany's niece and Gigandet's girl friend.

The film is in pre-production. A late summer 2010 release is expected. Stay tuned for culture war fall out.

Keep same sex-marriage issue in the legislatures


The New York Times today lambastes the Obama administration for failing to try and overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which held that the federal government would only recognize the marriages of one man and one woman. DOMA also kept states from having to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states that permit them.

The Times was especially upset that the Obama administration brief cited laws barring states from having to recognize marriages between relatives. The Times failed to note that the oddity here is that consanguinity is not much of a problem when assessing same-sex unions. But, then again, legal analogies, like other analogies, are never exact so the Times editorial board should calm down.

Berry memorial in New York City in Sept.


All are invited to an award ceremony and memorial service to be held Sept. 26 in New York City in honor of Fr. Thomas Berry who died on June 1:

Thomas Berry who passed away on June 1st is being remembered in many places across North America and around the world. So many messagesare coming in with words of deep appreciation for this remarkable teacher, writer, and sage.

Thus we are pleased to invite you to join us for the Thomas Berry Award and Memorial Service on Saturday, September 26th 2009 at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. For many years the Cathedral has held a special place in the religious and cultural life of New York. Thomas Berry was a canon there and he was a major inspiration for the Cathedral's long standing concern for the environment. We are delighted that Dean James Kowalski is welcoming this event with great enthusiasm.

Get out of marriage business altogether


One interesting response to California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 seems to be gaining traction: encouraging the state to get out of the "marriage" business altogether. In an Op-Ed article in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, Catholic writer and Pepperdine University law professor Douglas Kmiec argues that would be a win-win for everyone in the contentious same-sex marriage debate.

Beware the 'business as usual' mindset


I was recently asked to consider the question: What should we as "church" be telling our parishioners about their devastated financial condition? This gut-wrenching and depressing matter requires more than the usual platitudes and spiritual maxims. It needs hard thinking, feet-on-the-ground analysis. But where does one find such insights?

One good source is Mohamed El-Erian, the chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco, a world class fixed income asset management firm. El-Erian's book When Markets Collide won the 2008 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year.

Bill Gross is a well-known strategist and someone worth reading on a regular basis. Here's his June 2009 analysis.

El-Erian wrote in today's Financial Times about a framwork for thinking about the future. It is a summary of a longer talk that he recently gave.


Subscribe to NCR Today


NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

August 15-28, 2014


Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.