The intense focus on the authoritarianism and harshness of some American bishops runs the risk of distracting from the reality that among the American hierarchy are a number of outstanding bishops who are authentic shepherds, committed to justice and charity, and whose first response to any issue is compassion. We tend to ignore their presence, not just because of their more outspoken colleagues, but because they tend to remain silent.
Faith & Parish
After the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine had delivered its criticism of Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God by St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, theologians and boards of theological societies in the United States contested the content of the criticism and protested the manner of its formulation (NCR, April 15). In particular, the regret was widespread that the committee had ignored the protocols of “Doctrinal Responsibilities,” a set of guidelines approved by the U.S. bishops in 1989 on how to handle doctrinal disputes with theologians. This regret was answered by the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who contended that it was in its expectations “somewhat inaccurate.”
VATICAN CITY -- The new English translation of the Mass is the result of a long process of international cooperation and is meant to help Catholics pray better, Pope Benedict XVI told Australia's bishops.
Editor’s note: This article is one in an occasional series about the new missal translation that NCR will publish in the run-up to the translation’s official release in November.
In the U.S., English isn’t the only language into which the new Roman Missal will be translated.
Across the country, deaf and hard-of-hearing Catholic communities and their interpreters are preparing for the November changes thanks to free online resources.
WASHINGTON -- After participating in a three-day national symposium on “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization,” several young theologians told NCR by phone or e-mail that it served as a possibly fruitful start, but only a start, for more dialogue between them and U.S. bishops.
“My experience of the symposium reinforces my belief that bishops and theologians need to continually find ways to be in constructive dialogue with each other,” said Amanda Osheim, an assistant professor of practical theology at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
[Editor's Note: The following story appears in the Oct. 14 print issue of NCR, which went to press three days ago. This morning, NCR learned that the Madison, Wis., diocese is also discussing the implementation, starting this Advent, of Communion wine restrictions.]
In keeping with new standards for the distribution of Communion, the Phoenix diocese will be restricting the frequency of when Communion wine will be available, causing some questions from Catholics.
The Phoenix diocese issued a statement Sept. 21 on the new restrictions, saying that in the diocese and other places, reception of wine “became frequent or even commonplace,” and “the new norms call for the practice of less frequent distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds than the faithful may have been accustomed.”
PEORIA, Ill. -- Citing increasing clashes between Illinois law and church teaching, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria announced Oct. 6 that Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria is withdrawing from all state-funded social service contracts.
To prevent disruption to the 1,000 foster care children and families now served by Catholic Charities of Peoria, plans call for those state-funded contracts to be transferred by Feb. 1, 2012, to a newly formed nonprofit entity called the Center for Youth and Family Solutions. The Diocese of Peoria and its Catholic Charities will have no connection to the new entity.
Catholic Charities in the dioceses of Joliet, Peoria, and Springfield, as well as Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois in Belleville, have been involved in legal proceedings with the state since Illinois recognized civil unions on June 1.
WASHINGTON -- Despite all the negative publicity of recent years, research shows U.S. Catholic priests are demonstrably among the happiest, most job-fulfilled and satisfied men in the country, theologian and psychologist Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti said Oct. 5.
Key reasons seem to be their prayer life and the close relations they have established with God, fellow priests and laity in their parishes, he said.
The epic economic crisis in the United States has prompted dioceses and parishes to help its parishioners find work. Networking events, resumé-writing seminars, and career coaching are common activities. Unemployment remains highest among minority groups. But what if parishes actually created manufacturing jobs and produced goods in a sustainable, local manner? Can this actually be done?
One priest thinks so.
NEW ORLEANS -- Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of New Orleans has received the largest single grant in its history -- $15 million from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation -- to oversee a collaborative of nonprofit organizations that will provide direct assistance, counseling and job force training to coastal Louisiana fishing families affected by the 2010 BP oil spill.
The grant, announced Sept. 7, was part of the original $100 million in funding that BP gave to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation in 2010 to establish a fund targeted to help oil rig workers and oil rig supply companies affected by the spill.
But because the demand for that funding was far less than anticipated, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation transferred $75 million to establish a "Future of the Gulf Fund," which will fund the efforts of local nonprofits to help people, wildlife and the environment in the Gulf Coast area, said John Davies, president and CEO of the foundation.