The Vatican Congregation for the Clergy has extended the deadlines for appeals in the closings of nine of 12 bitterly contested Cleveland parishes ordered shut down by Bishop Richard Lennon as part of a larger diocesan reorganization plan involving 50 parishes. Most parishes are being closed or merged without major incidents.
Faith & Parish
Asked about parishioner reactions to the latest reports of clergy sex abuse -- now with focus on Pope Benedict XVI himself -- some U.S. pastors interviewed by NCR shrugged the reports off as old news, while sharing worries about the scandal’s long-term effects.
The main celebrant of a solemn Traditional Latin high Mass slated for Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has agreed to step aside following objections from sex abuse survivors and others.
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was named in French press reports last week for praising French Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux in a 2001 letter for refusing to denounce one of his priests who went on to be sentenced to 18 years in jail for raping a boy and abusing 10 other young men.
The Bethesda-based Paulus Institute, sponsor of the Mass, said April 21 that it was in the process of seeking another bishop to celebrate the Pontifical Solemn Mass and it was confident that one will agree. “However, in any event, a beautiful, dignified Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception” and “will be the first time in nearly a half century this has occurred.”
Most Catholics are all too aware that vocations to the diocesan priesthood are dwindling to a precious few. There simply aren’t sufficient priests for the ministries at hand, and their replacements are in short supply -- and, in some instances, nonexistent. Young men are not coming forward to inquire about entering the seminary.
When Sherry Charlesworth was looking for a new location for her embroidery business, her primary criteria were size and location. But the spot she found had an unexpected history.
Beginning in May, Charlesworth’s Monogram Shoppe will be housed in the former St. Mary’s Church in Little Valley, N.Y. It won’t look much like a church, with even the stained-glass windows coming out. But it will nevertheless hold the history of a parish established in 1874.
Citing a women religious order’s support for the recently passed health care bill, Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has prohibited it from advertising upcoming vocation recruitment events.
The result is that the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, Pa., will not be allowed to promote recruitment with the support of diocesan media.
With the outcome of the Democratic Party-supported health care bill uncertain last month, Daughter of Charity Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, urged the House to pass the Senate-approved bill, declaring that despite other weaknesses that still needed fixing, the Senate bill did not introduce or expand federal funding for elective abortion.
Following that move, Sister of Social Service Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, issued a statement on behalf of that lobbying organization lauding the Catholic Health Association’s stand. She also drafted a letter to members of Congress that she distributed to many leaders of women’s religious orders, urging passage of the Senate bill.
For the three years preceding the Second Vatican Council, and all during that council, Roman Catholics added to the prayers after Mass (does anyone remember those?) Pope John XXIII’ s “Prayer to the Holy Spirit” for the council’s success. Day after day the church prayed, “O Holy Spirit, renew thy wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost.”
Pope John dreamed that through the council the Holy Spirit’s gifts would flow abundantly upon the whole church for the benefit of the entire world, because the Spirit alone has the capacity to change hearts from within, not by external force but by interior persuasion.
Today, however, the church is divided over just how much of a Pentecost Vatican II actually turned out to be. It is likewise divided over what kind of church we are. This article will explore some of the consequences of this ambiguity.
The church’s focus
The principle of subsidiarity, said to have its origins in Catholic social teaching, is a fancy way of saying, “Don’t let it get more complicated than is necessary.” It advocates that things be carried out by the least centralized level of an organization and has been applied to government and management of all sorts of organizations.
Our parish was “restored,” “remodeled,” “renewed” or “ruined” a few years ago. The verb choice varies according to the liturgical politics of the speaker. If the visitor decries the lack of a tabernacle above the high altar, I know what’s coming as surely as I do if another visitor approves the front three ranks of moveable wooden chairs.
The wooden chairs, like the pews behind them, have attached kneelers, which should please everyone. It doesn’t. Enthusiasm for curved seating is canceled out be dismay for the kneelers. Enthusiasm for kneelers is canceled out by dismay for the curved seating.
The pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Boulder, Colo., earlier this month informed a lesbian couple, active in the parish for three years and with two young girls in preschool that their children would not be able to attend the elementary school beginning in one year. The decision, leaked to the media apparently by a teacher at the school, has caused uproar in the community, and divide the parish.
Fox interviewed a number of parents with children at the school to see how the decision is affecting their families. Following is the fourth of these interviews, edited for length and clarity.