Except when it’s a rare sure thing, I stay clear of gambling. In recent years, the one bet I’ve been making with certainty -- besides the wager that Sarah Palin’s goofiness will continue to entertain America -- is that the designers of the new memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington would trivialize his message.
Peace & Justice
WASHINGTON -- Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and a group representing hundreds of other Christian military chaplains have objected to a Pentagon memo allowing military chaplains to participate in or officiate at same-sex marriages on or off military installations.
The memo was issued by Undersecretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley Sept. 30. It followed the Sept. 20 repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that banned gays from serving openly in the armed forces.
Stanley's memo said: "A military chaplain may participate in or officiate (at) any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law."
It also said that "a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate (at) a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion."
Archbishop Broglio has questioned how the military could allow chaplains in the U.S. armed forces to be involved in same-sex marriage ceremonies when the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits such unions.
Like Fr. Roy Bourgeois, many of them supported the ministries of Maryknoll around the world as missionaries, priests, or sisters.
Now, as the priest faces expulsion from the missionary order for his backing of women's ordination, they're publicly supporting him.
Writing that they have experienced "sadness and regret" since the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers announced its move against Bourgeois in March, 127 people with close ties to the order have written to Bourgeois expressing support -- telling the priest that his superiors possess "neither the courage, nor the wisdom, nor the requisite diplomacy to affirm you and your prophetic ministry."
The letter, which was released Oct. 6 as the order was celebrating its 100th anniversary with a symposium at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, is signed by people from across the country who served with Maryknoll in some capacity over the years. Among those listed as signers are a number of former priests, and three people still living abroad, in Peru, Bolivia, and Armenia.
In this time of economic hardship, with unemployment near historic highs and with budgets stretched tight at all levels from the federal government down to the local school boards, it is not right to be spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons.
That was the message some 150 Catholic activists carried Oct. 2 to the gates of Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Neb., home of U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for the planning and targeting of the nation’s nuclear weapons.
Three of the activists, including a Franciscan sister and a member of the Des Moines, Iowa, Catholic Worker community, were arrested after crossing onto the property of the base in a symbolic act of civil resistance.
The event was sponsored by the Dubuque, Iowa, Sisters of St. Francis.
The timing, said Sr. Pat Farrell, vice-president of the Dubuque Franciscan community and president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, “expressed our own commitment to peacemaking as Franciscans.”
Is Catholic opposition to the death penalty losing traction as opposition to abortion, gay marriage, contraception and other causes become the defining “pro-life” issues for the American hierarchy?
That’s what some Catholics are asking after the bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee Sept. 26 released its message for October’s “Respect Life Month” campaign, which kicks off in thousands of U.S. parishes on Oct. 2.
WASHINGTON -- Military chaplains can lead same-sex marriage ceremonies on and off military bases, the Pentagon announced Friday (Sept. 30), in a move that closely followed the repeal of a ban on openly gay service members.
“A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law,” wrote Undersecretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley.
Judging by many Catholic public officials' record on capital punishment, you would think that Catholicism has no problem with injecting lethal chemicals into the veins of human beings. Just last week Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia erroneously claimed current Catholic teaching does not view the death penalty as "immoral."
I wonder how many of the faithful at this Sunday's Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. agree. The Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Donald Wuerl, is often attended by political luminaries such as Scalia.
VATICAN CITY -- The Catholic Church's position on capital punishment has evolved considerably over the centuries.
And as a result, "it is not a message that is immediately understood -- that there is no room for supporting the death penalty in today's world," said a Vatican's expert on capital punishment and arms control.
WASHINGTON -- Even as congressional Republicans prepared to slash funding for federal safety-net programs for the poor in the name of fiscal responsibility, U.S. Catholic leaders said the alarming number of Americans living in poverty demands a response that gives priority to the needs of the poor.
NEW YORK -- One night during Holy Week last year, Kate Henley Averett was too upset to sleep, so she sat at her computer and wrote what she calls her “breakup letter with the Catholic church.” It began: “My heart is so heavy right now I’d swear it was causing serious damage to my other internal organs. I feel like I can’t quite catch my breath. It’s not quite that I can’t breathe, but that I can’t seem to be able to breathe deeply enough -- like if I could just get one giant gulp of air in my body, it would feel better, normal, not so tight, not so heavy. Do Catholics who leave the church always feel like this?”