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Faith & Parish

George questions role of independent Catholic media

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BALTIMORE

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.

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Teachers, students see religious inquiry fading

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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.

Ohio Catholic clergy meet to bolster marriage

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.

Liturgy needs not 'sacred language' but pastoral language

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WASHINGTON -- There is much good in the new English translation of the Roman Missal, but "there is much more that still needs improvement to make the text grammatical and accessible to the people," Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., said Oct. 22.

"The present text still contains improper syntax, incomplete sentences, archaic and obscure words and idioms, lengthy and incomprehensible sentences and fails to respect the natural rhythm and cadences of the English language," he said.

He also criticized Rome's decision to try to create a "sacred language" for worship, so that in the new version of the Nicene Creed, "born of the Virgin Mary" becomes "incarnate of the Virgin Mary" and "one in being with the Father" becomes "consubstantial with the Father."

The new translation introduces words "like 'ineffable,' 'consubstantial,' 'incarnate,' 'inviolate,' 'oblation,' 'ignominy,' precursor,' 'suffused' and 'unvanquished,' " he said. "This vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic."

'Slavishly literal' translation of missal criticized

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WASHINGTON -- Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., former chairman of the U.S. bishops' liturgy committee, sharply criticized what he called the "slavishly literal" translation into English of the new Roman Missal from the original Latin.

tHe said the "sacred language" used by translators "tends to be elitist and remote from everyday speech and frequently not understandable" and could lead to a "pastoral disaster."

Autism, the Mass and religious education

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Mission Management

How does the Catholic church respond to children with an autism disorder and to their families, especially when many parents fear that their child may act out during Mass, causing the family to experience rejection by other parishioners?

Autism is a complex developmental disability linked to neurological disorders in the brain. It typically appears during the first two years of life and affects boys more than girls. Symptoms include repetitive behaviors and difficulty with communication and social interaction.

When you're mentally ill, no one brings you a casserole

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Dorothy Coughlin tells the story of a man whose son had left college after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. “The dad was with friends who were all talking about their children, the degrees they were getting and what they planned to do after college.” He said nothing about his son.

The man came to Coughlin distraught. “He said to me that he just hated the thought that he felt so ashamed.”

Bishops' draft pastoral warns of dangers to marriage

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The draft of a new pastoral letter that warns against four fundamental challenges to marriage, describing two of them -- cohabitation and contraception -- as intrinsically evil, will be considered by the U.S. bishops at their November national gathering in Baltimore.

The draft of the letter, "Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan," a copy of which was obtained by NCR, covers familiar territory. It asserts that the church throughout history has taught that marriage "is an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman"; that its dual purpose, the union of individuals and the conception of children, are inseparable; and that each sexual act must be open to the possibility of children. The paper condemns artificial birth control, same-sex marriage, cohabitation and divorce as challenges "directed to the very meaning and purposes of marriage."

The bishops say they are developing the letter, intended as "a theological and doctrinal foundation," as one expression of a 2004 pledge "to be a marriage-building church."

Lutheran leaders declare worship wars 'sinful'

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has warned congregations that disagreements over worship styles that developed into full-fledged worship wars are "sinful."

The eight-page "Theses on Worship" was adopted unanimously in September by the denomination's Council of Presidents, which includes its top officials and leaders of its 35 regional districts.

"The polarization that is affecting the church concerning the issue of forms, rites and ceremonies is sinful and hinders the proclamation of the gospel," it says.

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July 18-31, 2014

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