National Catholic Reporter

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Faith & Parish

On sexuality, the hierarchy has usurped the entire teaching office

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COMMENTARY

For more than three decades the Catholic church has seen no progress in formulating a contemporary understanding of human sexuality, one that will provide principles for pastoral accommodation to new insights. If this were a board game, the church’s piece would still be sitting on “Start.”

Denver Catholics fight to restore Guadalupe mural

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A year ago, Fr. Benito Hernandez, pastor of Denver's Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, founded to serve the Hispanic community of Denver and known for its decades of community and social activism, did what many of his parishioners consider an unthinkable, sacrilegious act.

He built a wall in front of a mural depicting La Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe -- the parish's patron -- that had adorned the church sanctuary wall for three decades. Parts of the mural not covered by the wall, he had painted over.

You can't unring the bell

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VIEWPOINT

“Mom, can I talk to you?”

What mother doesn’t immediately halt whatever she’s doing at those words, especially when the child is a son who hasn’t requested all that much mom-talk in recent years?

I shake dishwater from my hands and follow my 21-year-old out of the kitchen, out of earshot (his request) of his teen sister. Something up with his girlfriend, maybe, or second thoughts about the heavy academic load he’s scheduled for his junior year? As I settle cross-legged onto the couch, I’m feeling pretty good about my parenting skills: My independent college son still wants my attention, my obviously stellar advice!

The 'had it' Catholics

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25th in a series

Patty Fitzpatrick spent years wrestling with Catholicism, mustering the will to show up at church with her husband and two children, pushing back against teachings she didn’t agree with and attitudes about women that made Sunday Mass a weekly occasion for anger. Pope John Paul II’s pronouncement that women would never be ordained and that Catholics were forbidden to even think or speak about such an eventuality sent her over the edge.

Guidance offered to resolve conflicts in liturgical calendar this year

WASHINGTON -- The earthly calendar is causing some conflicts in the liturgical calendar as 2010 heads to a close.

The third Sunday of Advent falls this year on Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- important to many U.S. Catholics, and especially Mexican-Americans. But because Sundays take precedence over feast days, only the readings for the third Sunday of Advent may be used on that day.

New York archdiocese calls for school closings

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NEW YORK -- A strategic plan for the elementary schools of the New York archdiocese will close underperforming schools to reduce growing deficits, channel funds from the sale or rental of shuttered properties to an education fund and replace the traditional parish governance model with a regional structure.

The three-year plan, named "Pathways to Excellence," was released Oct. 5.

"We like the analogy of the biblical vine grower," Timothy J. McNiff, archdiocesan superintendent of schools, told Catholic News Service. "When you prune a tree, you're prepared for growth."

McNiff said the short-term target is to reduce by half the subsidies the archdiocese gives to struggling schools. "We can only sustain deficit spending for so long," he said.

In 2009, the archdiocese spent $30 million to support needy parishes and schools.

More than 56,000 students are educated in 188 parish and archdiocesan elementary schools throughout 10 counties. Private Catholic schools enroll another 4,800 students. The archdiocese includes Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx and seven counties north and west of New York.

Vocation directors report fourth year of increased interest

WASHINGTON -- New revelations of clergy sex abuse and the Vatican apostolic visitation of U.S. communities of women religious have not discouraged Catholics from considering a religious vocation, with the majority of vocation directors seeing an increase in inquiries for the fourth straight year, according to a recent survey.

Bringing resources to US dioceses in need

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Poverty in the United States is at a 15-year high, according to the Census Bureau. It is expected to get worse. Forty-four million people -- one in seven residents -- are living on less than $10,830 as a single person or $22,050 as a family of four. Households inside major cities experienced a 1.9 percent increase in income, whereas households outside major cities experienced a 1.9 percent decline. Most poverty can be found in the South and West regions in the United States.

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September 12-25, 2014

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