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Spencer Tracy, Hollywood priest


NEW YORK -- Screen legend Spencer Tracy (1900-1967), who won one of his two Academy Awards for portraying a priest during Hollywood's golden age, played Catholic clergymen three other times, but was never comfortable with it, reveals a forthcoming book about the star.

In "Spencer Tracy: A Biography," to be published this fall by Alfred A. Knopf, James Curtis writes that MGM director W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke had to talk Tracy into taking the role of Father Tim Mullin, the pugilistic childhood friend of Clark Gable's character Blackie Norton, in the 1936 film "San Francisco." Before then, clerical roles in films had always been assigned to character players, not leading men.

"If he had any fear," Curtis writes, "it was the fear of artificiality, the fear that lifelong Catholics would look at Father Tim and see a movie star pretending to be a priest and not the soul of a real priest." As it turned out, Tracy's portrayal was so convincing, his fan mail began to include requests for spiritual advice, leading him to reflect to his secretary, "You can't live up to an idealistic role."

Founding president of Christendom College dies


FRONT ROYAL, Va. -- Warren H. Carroll, founding president of Christendom College in Front Royal and a leading Catholic historian and author, died July 17 in his sleep at his Manassas home, according to Timothy O'Donnell, Christendom's president.

Carroll, who was 79, had suffered several strokes and was in a weakened condition from a recent bout of pneumonia when he died, said O'Donnell. Cardiopulmonary failure was the official cause of death. O'Donnell said Carroll was given last rites a week before and he had received holy Communion the day before he died.

A funeral Mass was to be celebrated July 26 at All Saints Church in Manassas. Carroll was to be buried on the college campus in a new plot behind Regina Coeli, the main administrative building, overlooking the Shenandoah River.

Growing increasingly concerned that American Catholic colleges were abandoning Christianity during the early 1970s, Carroll envisioned establishing an institution of higher learning dedicated to teaching the truths of the Catholic faith.

"Amid chaos, he brought a beautiful sense of the faith," said O'Donnell.

Exclusive interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput


DENVER-- Love him or hate him, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Pope Benedict XVI's choice as the new chief shepherd of the embattled Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is impossible to ignore.

Few American bishops relish public debate more than the 66-year-old Chaput, whose background is in the Capuchins, and who's widely regarded as an intellectual leader of the "evangelical" movement in Catholicism. He's fiercely loyal to church teaching and tradition, and passionate about taking the Catholic message to the street.

By naming him to Philadelphia, the pontiff -- who is, of course, no stranger to controversy himself -- effectively has handed the fiery Chaput a bigger cultural megaphone.

Murdered priest recalled for strong relationships

BATON ROUGE, La. -- A Louisiana Dominican priest who was found shot to death July 11 at his order's Mississippi retreat house "was a good priest and a good preacher" who "drew the best out of people," said an official of the late priest's province.

Father Edward Everitt was murdered while he was staying at a weekend retreat house owned by the Dominican friars in Waveland, Miss.

He was pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Hammond and Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Tickfaw in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

"It is tragic, but he preached hope for other people and we are going to continue that legacy," said Father Dave Caron, vicar provincial for the Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres. He said Father Everitt often spent his days off at the house in Waveland.

According to a statement on the province's website, the retreat house was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina.

On July 12, police arrested Jeremy Wayne Manieri, 31, of Waveland for Father Everitt's murder. He was apprehended in Polk County, Fla., southwest of Orlando, and had his first court appearance July 13.

US-born archbishop dies at age 86


NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Retired Archbishop Charles A. Schleck, former assistant secretary of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Supreme Council of the Pontifical Missionary Works, died July 12 at age 86.

He died at Holy Cross House, a health care facility for aged members of Congregation of Holy Cross on the edge of the campus of the University of Notre Dame, which is a Holy Cross institution.

A funeral Mass for Archbishop Schleck was to be celebrated July 18 at Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame. Burial was to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery on the Notre Dame campus.

Born July 5, 1925, in Milwaukee, Charles Schleck joined the Holy Cross order in Indiana in 1943. He was ordained a priest in 1951.

He was an instructor in theology at Notre Dame for the academic year 1953-54, then a professor of dogmatic theology and spirituality at Holy Cross College in Washington from 1954 to 1961.

For the next two years, he was dean of studies at Holy Cross College in Rome and a visiting professor of theology at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, and at the Notre Dame institute for local religious superiors.

Priest celebrates 75 years of ministry


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- On the day of his birth, July 28, 1912, Vincent Topper was expected to die. The newborn, suffering from tuberculosis, was baptized by a parish priest as his parents prepared to lose yet another child to the dreaded disease.

But God had plans for Vincent, namely that he serve the Catholic Church of Harrisburg as a priest, a ministry he has faithfully fulfilled for 75 years.

At age 98, Msgr. Topper is the diocese's oldest and longest-serving priest. He resides at St. Catherine Laboure Parish in Harrisburg, where he continues to celebrate Mass and administer the sacrament of reconciliation.

"People ask me what's my secret. My secret to a long life is to get baptized on the day you're born because you're supposed to die, and you'll live to be 100," said the priest quipped in an interview with The Catholic Witness, Harrisburg's diocesan newspaper.

Msgr. Topper's early childhood was filled with the reality of death. His mother and three siblings died, and his father nearly succumbed to the influenza epidemic of 1918. Those harsh realities led young Vincent to consider the priesthood by the time he was in second grade.

Corapi: I won't leave Montana to live with order

WASHINGTON -- Father John Corapi said he will not follow the order of his religious superior to leave his home in Montana to live in community with his fellow priests.

In a posting on his website July 7, Father Corapi also said he was told to support himself and his ministry financially by Father James Flanagan, the founder of his congregation, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.

Father Corapi, who lives near Kalispell, Mont., also denied committing sexual improprieties with a female former employee whose allegations in letters to church leaders nationwide prompted officials of his religious community to place him on administrative leave in March.

The statement from the widely popular speaker on Catholic catechetical and contemporary issues came in response to a July 5 press release from the society outlining transgressions related to Father Corapi's lifestyle that it said were uncovered during an investigation by a three-member fact-finding panel appointed by the religious order.

Church takes steps into social media


When it comes to social networking, some Catholics are slow to click the “like” button. To read recent headlines, you might think the church is sticking to stone tablets: “Facebook and Christianity a bad mix, parish warns” and “Alabama church bans social networking with minors.”

But for every St. John Cantius Church, a Chicago parish whose leaders warned of the dangers of Facebook in its bulletin in April, there is an Old St. Patrick’s, a Chicago parish that uses Facebook and Twitter to alert more than 2,000 followers to its upcoming summer festival and other events. And though policies against teachers and students “friending” one another are becoming common at both Catholic and public schools, even Pope Benedict XVI has his own YouTube channel to connect with young Catholics.

Order 'saddened' by Father Corapi's decision to leave priesthood


WASHINGTON -- The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity said it was "saddened" that Father John Corapi, one of the most visible members of its order, has decided to leave the order and the priesthood.

Father Corapi, 64, declared June 17 in a YouTube video and a blog posting on one of his websites, that he was leaving because he could not get a "fair hearing" on misconduct allegations that were lodged against him in March and which included what the priest said were sexual abuse charges.

The order, commonly referred to as SOLT, was in the midst of investigating the allegations when Father Corapi made his announcement. "Although the investigation was in progress, the SOLT had not arrived at any conclusion as to the credibility of the allegations under investigation," said the statement, issued June 20 by Father Gerry Sheehan, the order's regional priest-servant and Father Corapi's superior.

Charism of administration among theologians


At this year’s recently concluded Catholic Theological Society of America convention in San Jose, California, the Pentecost liturgy was celebrated June 11 in that city’s grandly renovated cathedral. Theologians from the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe who gathered in great arcs of seats around the high altar will remember much from the inspiring Eucharist, but perhaps nothing more than seeing Dee Christie, the executive director of the society who retires on June 30, and Mary Jane Ponyik, her successor, bringing the gifts to the altar.



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October 10-23, 2014


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