Catholic parishioners in nearly a dozen Pennsylvania and Massachusetts churches that were closed by their local bishop have won partial victories early this year in appeals to the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, said Peter Borre, a Boston Catholic actively engaged in fighting such closings in several dioceses.
Faith & Parish
MADISON, N.J. -- A small bucket filled with bottles of cold beer sat on the floor, down the hall from the chapel, as about a dozen young adults lounged around on comfortable couches.
They weren’t there to pray or preach -- just to enjoy one another’s company at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Catholic Center for Evangelization at a former high school.
NEW ORLEANS -- For the past 60 years, teachers and administrators at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans have wielded an 18-inch-long wooden paddle -- euphemistically called "the board of education" -- to administer corporal punishment to students for tardiness, sloppy uniform dress or other minor rules infractions.
When Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and Josephite Father Edward Chiffriller, his order's superior general and head of the school's board of trustees, ordered the practice stopped following an intensive review process, their decision was met with outspoken opposition from parents, alumni, students, the school's board of directors, and both current and former administrators.
That disagreement played out during a three-hour, 50-minute "disciplinary town-hall meeting" Feb. 24 at the St. Augustine gym. About 600 people attended.
As Archbishop Aymond and members of the Josephites' board of trustees sat at a table and listened, speaker after speaker -- including Josephite Father John Raphael, St. Augustine's president -- passionately explained why they supported the use of corporal punishment and asked that the moratorium be lifted.
INDIANAPOLIS -- A witness to mystery.
That is how Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein described Bishop Christopher J. Coyne in a homily that he delivered just minutes before he ordained the Boston archdiocesan priest as the first auxiliary bishop for the church in central and southern Indiana since 1933.
"In a secularized world that believes only in what it sees, by your consecration and by what you do, Bishop Coyne, you will be a witness to mystery," Archbishop Buechlein said during the March 2 liturgy at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis. "The very life and identity of a bishop -- and of priests -- are rooted in the order of faith, the order of the unseen and not in the secular order of values."
In a sense, the 1,000 people who filled the oldest Catholic church in Indianapolis also witnessed mystery during the two-hour ordination Mass.
VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Augustinian Fr. John M. Driscoll, the former president of Villanova University for whom the school's College of Nursing building is named, died March 2 at the age of 87.
Driscoll, who headed the university from 1975 to 1988, had lived at St. Thomas Monastery in Villanova from 1995 until his death. No cause of death was announced.
An evening funeral Mass was scheduled for March 7 in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church, with burial on campus the next morning.
Augustinian Father Peter Donohue, current Villanova president, said Father Driscoll "led a period of tremendous growth and advancement at the university," with expansion of the campus and the construction of new dormitories and other buildings.
"That same period saw an increase in the university's academic reputation as the student body grew more select and geographically diverse, the academic curriculum more innovative and challenging, and the faculty more distinguished," he added.
Born Sept. 14, 1923, in Philadelphia, John Michael Driscoll joined the Augustinian order in 1943 and professed solemn vows Sept. 10, 1947.
Catholic bishops have kicked the “booty” out of the Bible.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has ordered up a new translation of the Bible, one it says is more accurate, more accessible and more poetic.
Now “booty,” a word that sets off snickers in Sunday school, will be replaced by the “spoils” of war when the newest edition of the New American Bible, the English-language Catholic Bible, comes out on Ash Wednesday (March 9).
“We needed a new translation because English is a living language,” says retired auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee Richard Sklba, part of the review and editing team.
A team of 50 scholars and translators, linguistics experts, theologians and five bishops spent 17 years on the project. They were immersed in original manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls and archaeological findings unearthed since the current text was published in 1970.
While Catholics may read from any of two dozen English translations, the New American Bible is the one owned by U.S. bishops for prayer and study. It can take decades for the Vatican to approve the Scriptures read during Mass.
Some of the changes:
Theologian Richard Gaillardetz will be leaving the University of Toledo, Ohio, to take up the Joseph Chair of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College in the fall. On Jan. 27, he delivered his final Murray/Bacik lecture at the University of Toledo titled “The State of the Church, 2011.”
Gaillardetz outlined some of the major changes that have transpired in the U.S. church following the Second Vatican Council, and discussed the ongoing tensions between the early reception of Vatican II and the legacy of Pope John Paul II.
In asking where the church goes from here, Gaillardetz outlines two major challenges facing the church today — the flight of Catholics from the church and the use of authority by the hierarchy.
An edited version of this talk appeared in the March 4 NCR. Following is the full text.
Our family didn’t do the traditional First Friday Devotion when I was a kid. Instead we had First Wednesdays.
On the first Wednesday of every month, we loaded our car with donated hot dishes (Midwest-speak for casseroles), Jell-O salads and cakes, and headed to St. Ben’s, a parish in inner-city Milwaukee that operated a soup kitchen for the poor and homeless. What had started as a first Communion service project became a monthly ritual for our family, one my parents continue to this day.
As a kid, I didn’t mind the long drive, or serving the meals to the guests, or even eating hamburger-rice hot dish for dinner. But my parents insisted our family go and sit among the guests while we ate. That was pretty uncomfortable for a suburban girl who only saw African-American people at the mall.
But it’s also what I remember most.
NEW ORLEANS -- One by one, alumni of St. Augustine High School took the microphone Feb. 24, recalling one paddling at the hands of a St. Augustine teacher that turned them around and taught them a lesson.
The 60-year-old tradition of corporal punishment at St. Augustine—believed to be one of the few remaining Catholic schools in the country that still paddles—faces a potential end.
Alumni aimed their impassioned defense of corporal punishment at New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, whose concern about the policy prompted the Josephite order that founded the school to suspend paddling for the current school year.
The priests overruled objections from the local board of directors that runs daily operations at St. Augustine, a historically black, all-boys school that has furnished generations of New Orleans political and business leaders.
Aymond told reporters he had listened carefully to the crowd, but reiterated his concern about injuries reported by parents, and his own unease. Yet plenty of people argue that the paddle had an undeniable role in lending St. Augustine its high reputation.
WASHINGTON -- Pope Benedict XVI has named Fr. William J. Waltersheid, secretary for clergy and consecrated life of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh.
The appointment was announced in Washington Feb. 25 by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
A native of Ashland, Pa., Bishop-designate Waltersheid, 54, has held his current post in the Harrisburg Diocese since 2006. He also has been a parochial vicar, a pastor and vice rector of the Pontifical North American College, 2000-2003, and before that the college's director of pastoral formation.
His episcopal ordination is scheduled for Easter Monday, April 25, at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.
Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh issued a statement of welcome for the new auxiliary for his diocese.
"These are days of growth in the church of Pittsburgh," he said.
While Bishop-designate Waltersheid " will be a particular blessing to the entire church of Pittsburgh, I am especially grateful for all that he will do to be of support to the very dedicated and hard working priests of this diocese and the growing number of seminarians," Bishop Zubik said.