National Catholic Reporter

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Faith & Parish

New Missal preparation resources abound

WASHINGTON -- As Catholics look toward Nov. 27, when the new edition of the Roman Missal goes into use in the United States, there is no lack of resources to help them prepare for the new sound and feel of the liturgy.

Dozens of books and brochures have been published or are in the works, along with many DVDS and audiotapes aimed at specific audiences -- from priests to teens to elementary school students.

Sacrificing children for Catholic identity



For almost 10 years as the executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities, I was directly involved in efforts to manage the tension between what our church teaches in the area of sexuality, and how we carried out our mission to serve the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

We dealt with many challenges, but the most complex, significant and painful issue was same-sex adoption.

Catholic Charities provides a broad range of services to all in need regardless of their faith. Following the 1906 earthquake, finding adoptive homes for orphans was our first program.

More departures than baptisms, a first for Germany

BERLIN (RNS) -- For the first time since membership records have been kept, more Germans departed the Roman Catholic Church than were baptized into it in 2010, according to new data from Germany’s Catholic Conference of Bishops.

The new statistics, which were released with little analysis or comment, showed 170,339 baptisms for the year, and 181,193 departures from the church. However, 3,576 new members, and more than 7,400 returning Catholics, joined the church last year.

Nevertheless, the long-term prognosis does not look good, with overall church membership shrinking, year-on-year, from 24.9 million in 2009 to 24.6 million. Church attendance figures also dipped slightly.

Catholic church leaders across the country reported officiating at 252,965 funerals and 48,524 weddings.

Monuments not the only sites drawing tourists


WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the nation's capital, Washington has been visited by millions since its official founding July 16, 1790.

With sites such as the Washington Monument, White House, the Capitol, Library of Congress, the National Archives, Smithsonian museums, and countless monuments and cultural happenings, tourists from across the world come to Washington for a taste of U.S. history.

Lesser known perhaps, but no less fascinating, are the Catholic historical sites around the city that attract pilgrims.

Catholicism in the U.S. was born in the Washington region, and the area still plays a vital part in the U.S. Catholic Church. The District of Columbia is home to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, seminaries, religious houses of prayer, and three prominent Catholic universities -- The Catholic University of America, Georgetown University and Trinity Washington University.

Diocese bids $50 million for Crystal Cathedral


ORANGE, Calif. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Orange has made a formal bid of $50 million to buy the Crystal Cathedral complex in Garden Grove, once the home church of the Rev. Robert Schuller, a noted television preacher.

The cathedral property was put up for auction earlier this year as part of the cathedral ministries bankruptcy proceedings.

Crystal Cathedral Ministries founded by Rev. Schuller, who is now retired, filed for bankruptcy last October. It was facing debt amounting to more than $50 million.

Cardinal criticizes contraceptives in health plans

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. cardinal expressed strong opposition July 19 to a recommendation that all health plans be required to cover any contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration without a patient co-payment under the new health reform law.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the recommendation from an Institute of Medicine panel showed that "there is an ideology at work ... that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children."

The institute's Committee on Preventive Services for Women made public July 19 its list of recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services, which is charged with deciding which health services will be mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In addition to recommending screenings for gestational diabetes and HIV, breast-feeding support and supplies and counseling for domestic violence, the 16-member panel said all women of reproductive age should have access to "the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling."

New Savannah bishop introduced to diocese

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The Conventual Franciscan pastor who will become Savannah's bishop Oct. 18 observed at his introduction July 19 that it will take a helicopter to reach the far-flung ends of the diocese.

Bishop-designate Gregory John Hartmayer was introduced that morning by retiring Bishop J. Kevin Boland at a news conference in Layfayette Square, opposite the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

In the shady square, Bishop Boland placed a magenta bishop's zucchetto atop his successor's head, symbolically transferring the diocese to Bishop-designate Hartmayer on the 161st anniversary of its creation.

He joked about "naively" wondering that morning as his retirement became official, whether angels would come down and transfer responsibility.

"I am now like an automobile running out of fuel and I want to get the very last value out of the moment," he said of his last official act as bishop.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation July 19, the same day he named his successor. Bishop Boland is 76; he turned in his resignation at age 75 as required by canon law.

Judge allows Catholic foster care to continue

WASHINGTON -- Two Catholic bishops praised an Illinois judge's ruling late July 12 that the state's termination of its contracts with Catholic agencies providing foster care and adoption services risks causing "irreparable injury" to the nearly 2,000 children involved.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., said he was encouraged by Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Schmidt's "recognition today of the grave harm that would result if Catholic Charities was forced out of its long-standing mission of serving children in foster care and adoption."

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield said he was grateful "for the sake of the children in our Catholic Charities foster care program" that the services will be allowed to continue.

Schmidt issued a temporary injunction allowing Catholic Charities agencies in the dioceses of Peoria, Springfield, Joliet and Belleville to continue providing state-funded foster care and adoption services, despite July 8 letters to each agency from Erwin McEwen, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, effectively canceling those contracts as of June 30.

Bishop to Catholics: Suspend support for cancer fund


WASHINGTON -- Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, has told Catholic institutions and schools in the Diocese of Toledo to suspend fundraising efforts for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that supports breast cancer research, and instead direct such donations to a local group of Catholic-run cancer centers.

In a July 5 letter to Catholics, Bishop Blair cited Komen's contributions to Planned Parenthood and noted the foundation does not exclude the possibility of funding research that uses embryonic stem cells as reasons Catholic entities should not support the nonprofit organization.

"While we want to do everything possible to support the search for a cure (for cancer), sadly the landscape of medical research today is sometimes marred by the erroneous belief that research is not bound by moral norms rooted in faith and reason, as reflected in the teaching of the church," said Bishop Blair.

He acknowledged Komen does not currently fund research using embryonic stem cells, but said its "policy does not exclude that possibility."


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April 10-23, 2015


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