National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Faith & Parish

Bishops discuss religious liberty, marriage at annual meeting


BALTIMORE -- At the start of their annual three-day fall assembly in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops were urged to restore the luster, credibility and beauty of the Catholic Church in the hearts of its members.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York called on his fellow bishops Nov. 14 to communicate to the world that the sinfulness of the church's members is not "a reason to dismiss the church or her eternal truths, but to embrace her all the more."

In his first presidential address since election as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last November, he opened and closed with the words: "Love for Jesus and his church must be the passion of our lives."

He noted that the church still has plenty to say to the modern world.

"She dares the world ... to foster and protect the inviolable dignity of the human person and human life; ... to protect marriage and family; to embrace those suffering and struggling; to prefer service to selfishness; and never, ever to stifle the liberty to quench the deep-down thirst for the divine."

Final Phoenix Communion norms allow wide use of wine


Updated 9:30 a.m. CST, 11/15/11

The Phoenix diocese is not going to restrict the distribution of the Precious Blood at Mass, say the diocese's final instructions on the distribution of Communion, promulgated by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Nov. 7.

An announcement in September that the diocese was reexamining norms for the distribution of Communion under both kinds with the aim of restricting the distribution of Communion wine, became a major news story, with many ordinary Catholics and liturgists saying the diocese misunderstood the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the set of rules that govern the Mass commonly called "the GIRM."

Study finds less depression among weekly churchgoers

WASHINGTON -- Past studies have shown that those who attend religious services at least weekly tend to live longer and healthier lives. Now, new research indicates that frequent churchgoers also face those additional years with more optimism and greater social support than other people.

A study involving more than 92,000 postmenopausal women showed that those who reported weekly attendance at religious services were 56 percent more likely to be above the median in terms of their optimism level. They also were significantly less likely to be depressed or to be characterized by cynical hostility.

Titled "Psychological and Social Characteristics Associated with Religiosity in Women's Health Initiative Participants," the study was published in Journal of Religion and Health Nov. 11. The research was conducted by a team led by Eliezer Schnall, clinical associate professor of psychology at Yeshiva University in New York.

California pastor bans protesters from parish ministries


Parishioners opposed to administrative actions of their pastor in Berkeley, Calif., have escalated their protests after being banned by the pastor from all ministries as well as membership on parish committees.

In a bulletin announcement Oct. 30, Fr. John Direen, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, said the protesters will not be allowed to serve as ushers, lectors or Eucharistic ministers nor serve on any parish committees "until further notice."

The announcement shocked Salvemos/Save St. Joseph the Worker, a group that has held weekly vigils outside the church for the past six months to show their dismay for a range of decisions they say are destroying the parish.

Among the decisions are the eviction of a retired pastor from the rectory and parish ministry, dismissal of the pastoral council and establishment of a replacement council without parish input, suspension of the Consejo Latino, unwillingness to let the parish's long-standing social justice committee meet on parish grounds and failure to respond to parishioners' request for a financial audit.

Call to Action keynote speaker addresses grace on the margins


Ten years ago, Jamie Manson was just a young attendee at her first national conference of Call To Action, a Catholic church reform group. This Nov. 4, she was a keynote speaker, kicking off the weekend to rousing applause.

Manson brought to light for young and old something some didn't know existed: the church among people, the church on the margins.

Oklahoma earthquake fells Catholic university turret

WASHINGTON -- A turret fell from the main building at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Okla., during a rare earthquake the night of Nov. 5.

The 5.6-magnitude quake also damaged the other three turrets that sat atop the 98-year-old building. All of the turrets will have to be taken down, said university president D. Gregory Main.

Classes were canceled Nov. 7, as most of the classrooms at the 500-student school are in that building, Main added. The building also houses the college's library, administrative offices, president's office, and admissions and registrar offices. Classes were to resume Nov. 8.

"We are scrambling to find other places on campus" to conduct classes, Main told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 7 phone interview.

Main was calling from outside the university's cafeteria because the building was closed to protect students and staff from getting injured. "Any of those (turrets) could fall down at any time," Main said.

He added the turrets stand 24 feet in height from the roofline. "And they are masonry construction. There's no reinforcement. That's why it fell," Main said.

Ministering to, ministering as 'the marginalized' theme of conference


Updated with video

MILWAUKEE -- Words from keynote speaker Jamie Manson describing a church on the margins fired up attendees at the annual Call to Action national conference this past weekend in Milwaukee.

"The margins of the church are a place to be embraced," Manson said Friday night to an audience of some 2,000 people. "Why? Because very often this is where we often see most clearly the face of God."

Archbishop: Help turn tragedy of abortion to grace


WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., challenged and encouraged post-abortion caregivers to see those who seek their help "as the Lord sees them -- beyond their weakness -- and to call them to wholeness."

He made his remarks during an Oct. 28 keynote address at the 13th annual Healing Vision Conference in Wauwatosa. Organizers characterized the Oct. 26-29 event as "a think tank conference of academics, medical professionals, mental health experts and caregivers gathered to share resources and research, and (to) network."

The National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation organized the conference, which was sponsored by Our Sunday Visitor, the Knights of Columbus and Marquette University.

Archbishop Naumann, 62, employed personal stories and biblical passages as he urged his audience to help clients, "pained and in anger" after undergoing or being otherwise involved in abortions, to:

  • Experience God's mercy and be able to forgive themselves.

  • "Be empowered to forgive others" who might have been instrumental in their abortions.

Maryknoll's yearlong centennial celebration ends


NEW YORK -- Maryknoll is the gift of mission that the church in America gave to the universal church, and will continue to give, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick told more than 1,800 participants at a festive Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral Oct. 30.

The Mass celebrated the centennial of the group formally known as the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.

"The church in the United States is a generous one, not because we give generously of our funds, but because we give generously of our faith," he said.

Cardinal McCarrick said the men and women of Maryknoll recognize that when you have something as precious as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can't keep it to yourself. The gift of mission is meant to be given to one another.

Cardinal McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, was the main celebrant of the Mass that marked the official end of Maryknoll's yearlong centennial commemoration. He was joined by 56 priests and eight bishops in a two-hour service rich with symbolic reminders of the lands catechized by Maryknoll missioners since 1911.

Judge denies injunction to evict church protesters

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Saying that he "cannot conclude that the condition of the steeple presents an emergency such that immediate court intervention is necessary," a Massachusetts Superior Court judge has denied a motion that would have evicted protesters from a former Catholic church in the Diocese of Springfield.

Ruling on an Oct. 4 motion filed by the diocese, Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder decided that a preliminary injunction that would have allowed law enforcement officials to remove occupiers protesting the closure of Mater Dolorosa Church in Holyoke so that repairs could be made to its damaged steeple was not necessary.

Reacting to the judge's ruling, diocesan spokesman Mark E. Dupont said: "Clearly we were disappointed that the court failed to rule on the central issue in this matter upholding our trespassing claim."

However, he stressed that, "as the judge clearly states, he has offered no ruling or decision on the basic merits of the trespassing case, simply that he will not issue a preliminary injunction at this time.


Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.