Fr. Michael Ryan is no firebrand liberal out to upend church authority. Pastor of St. James Cathedral parish in Seattle, a position he has held for two decades, he is a measured and thoughtful priest and highly regarded member of the wider community.
Faith & Parish
22nd in the "In Search of the Emerging Church" Series.
CAMDEN, N.J. -- Chris Haw, in describing his religious upbringing, speaks of himself as “a mutt.” He was raised Catholic for a time as a youngster and then went with his family to Willow Creek Community Church, the famous and highly influential nondenominational mega-congregation just outside of Chicago.
While at Eastern University, a school near Philadelphia with Baptist roots, he went with friends to services at Episcopal and Mennonite churches. He also traveled to Belize to take part in a theology and ecology study program and returned intent on refashioning his life and finding work that would “connect faith with creation care.”
The new translation of the Roman Missal affect virtually every aspect of our prayer language, from the people’s responses to the collects to the Eucharistic Prayers. Some examples:
Saying he woefully aware of how difficult it is going to be to ‘sell’ faithful Catholics on the new translations of the Catholic missal, a Seattle pastor has begun a nationwide campaign to slowdown the program.
"For some time I’ve followed the bishops’ debates, read many of the new texts, discussed them with brother priests, and visited about them with Catholics in the pews, and I’ve become aware of how difficult it’s going to be to ‘sell’ ordinary, faithful, good Catholics on the new, Latinized translations of the Missal," said Father Michael G. Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral for more than two decades.
“And with good reason, because some of them, in my opinion, are very poor and the principles underlying the translations are highly questionable.”
Ryan said he is “troubled” when he realizes that it’s “almost exclusively the overburdened pastors of this country who will be saddled with the task of getting people to understand why they are getting new translations and why the translations will be better than what they’re used to.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Amid the cacophony of noise and boisterous activity in the massive exhibit hall of the National Catholic Youth Conference here Nov. 21, two teenagers had settled at a table with two Sisters of Charity. All four heads were bent over a craft project: knitting strips of discarded plastic shopping bags into sturdy reusable bags.
The Sisters of Charity Federation had chosen the activity for their booth as a way to engage young conference participants, giving them a chance to sit and talk while learning a skill. In the case of Rebecca Hardy, 16, and Samantha Savich, 17, both youth group members at St. John Vianney Parish in the Detroit archdiocese, both bags and conversation had drawn them in.
KANSAS CITY, MO. -- For St. Therese Little Flower Parish here, news of a new process for welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic church is not some distant idea. It’s something parishioners experience every time they come to church.
The Vatican last month announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests.
NEW ORLEANS -- Newly installed Archbishop Gregory Aymond has been in quiet talks with a city pastor and representatives of two closed parishes in hopes of healing a bitter rift that erupted last year over a downsizing plan.
Parishioners, meanwhile, hope the dialogue may also produce a compromise on the occasional reopening of their churches. After two sessions, no decision is near.
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Nov. 16 that Catholic publications, universities or other organizations that insist on complete independence from their bishops are “sectarian, less than fully Catholic.”
In his presidential address at the opening session of the fall USCCB general assembly in Baltimore, George announced that the bishops “have recently begun discussions on how we might strengthen our relationship to Catholic universities, to media claiming to be a voice in the church, and to organizations that direct various works under Catholic auspices.”
According to NCR sources, those issues were to be the main topic of discussion in a three-hour executive session the afternoon of Nov. 18, when the bishops were slated to meet alone behind closed doors, with all reporters and observers and virtually all USCCB staff excluded.
George placed his comments in the context of the bishops’ role in governance as promoters and guarantors of church unity.
Catholic News Service
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- Many college students are wandering around campus -- spiritually, that is.
Historically, many students have found college a place to explore life’s spiritual issues. But more and more young adults are arriving on campus without any experience or language of faith, and they appear to express little interest in finding the ultimate truth.
A study on religious affiliation by researchers at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., found that the number of American adults who do not identify with any particular religious group has almost doubled -- to 34 million -- since 1990.
The study found about 22 percent of young adults -- those 30 and younger -- identify themselves as “nones,” a group that includes the irreligious, unreligious, antireligious and anticlerical. Increasingly, people in that category report having had no formal religion as a child.
This modern phenomenon is evident in the student bodies of Alaska Pacific University, a private liberal arts institution in Anchorage, and the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Nearly 700 Ohio Catholic priests and bishops are gathering in Columbus Nov. 5-6 in an unprecedented attempt to bolster marriage, which they see as an imperiled institution.
The two-day conference is in response to soaring divorce rates, people living together without marital commitments and the growing trend of same-sex unions, said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.