National Catholic Reporter

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Sisters' Stories

Anglicans reject compromise over women bishops

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LONDON -- The Church of England's General Synod on Saturday (July 10) rejected a compromise proposal by its top two bishops that would have allowed individual congregations to “opt out” of having women bishops.

The move was an embarrassing setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and his chief deputy, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who had hoped to head off a defection of traditionalists over the issue of women bishops.

Vatican officials, US women religious meet

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A Vatican doctrinal investigation of the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious appears to have been complicated by the group’s support last March of health care legislation opposed by the U.S. bishops.

In meetings with Vatican officials last April, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious repeatedly fielded questions from Vatican officials about its support for the legislation despite the fact that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had argued the bill would allow federal funding for abortions.

The Leadership Conference, along with a number of other Catholic groups, including the Catholic Health Association, disagreed with the bishop’s interpretation of the legislation, saying it did not allow for federal funding of abortions.

Last March, in the final days of a highly politicized health care debate in Congress, the Leadership Conference offered support to a Senate-backed House bill that eventually passed 219-212.

Women's empowerment key to society, nuncio says

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UNITED NATIONS -- Women's economic empowerment is essential for the economic development of families and society, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said July 1.

"Tragically, violence against women, especially in the home and workplace, and discrimination in the professional field, even on the pay and pension scale, are growing concerns," the Vatican's U.N. nuncio told leaders of the world body.

35 religious communities visited; 80 to go

WASHINGTON -- Visits to religious communities of women will restart in mid-September after a three-month summer hiatus, reported the Office of Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States.

Sr. Kieran Foley, assistant for communications for the process, told Catholic News Service that 35 congregations were visited during the first round of visits that started April 11 and ended June 4.

Women's ordination advocates protest at Vatican

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ROME -- A group of women demonstrated in Rome's St Peter's Square on Tuesday (June 8), saying they want "full and equal participation" in the Roman Catholic Church.

The small group held a banner stating, "Ordain Catholic Women," to the apparent curiosity of passers-by in the Via della Conciliazione, the boulevard that leads to the square, before they were asked to move on by police.

Tuesday's protest followed a media conference organized by groups campaigning for women's ordination in the Catholic Church, to protest against a Vatican celebration to mark the end of a "Year for Priests" proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.

"Our church urgently needs large numbers of male and female pastors to serve our parishes. Charisma should be important, not gender," said Angelika Fromm, a German representative from the International Movement We are Church.

Fromm said the past 12 months had been "a disastrous year," referring to the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic Church.

Teaching a chicken to walk backwards

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On the season finale last year of ABC's hit drama "Lost," alert viewers would have noticed that the mysterious character, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), was reading the book Everything That Rises Must Converge. The tome is a collection of short stories by the American Catholic novelist, Flannery O'Connor who was born in Savannah, Ga. March 25, 1925 and died from lupus in Milledgeville, Ga., outside of Atlanta in 1964.

The book's title story is about an arrogant young man, Julian, whose bigoted mother cajoles him into accompanying her downtown to her weight loss class because it is evening and she doesn't want to go alone in the newly integrated South. Things become tense when an African-American mother and son get on the bus, the mother wearing the exact same outlandish purple hat as Julian's mother. Julian tries to teach his mother a lesson that the world is different now and she must change. His meanness results in tragedy and he races for help for his mother who collapses. O'Connor ends the tale with, "The tide of darkness seemed to sweep him back to her, postponing from moment to moment his entry into the world of guilt and sorrow."

Cincinnati bishop among sponsors to pull support from women's conference

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Reacting to complaints by antiabortion activists that a keynote speaker at a “violence against women” conference was pro-choice, Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr and other sponsors this month withdrew support for the gathering, planned in part by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.

Their actions forced organizers to rescind an invitation to Charlotte Bunch, founding director and senior scholar of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in New Jersey and a consultant to the United Nations. She was replaced at the April 24 gathering by Charity Sr. Caroljean Willie, the order’s U.N. representative.

Charity Sr. Patricia A. Cruise, president of Cincinnati’s Seton High School, where the gathering was held, had also notified conference organizers that they would need to change venues were Bunch to be kept on the program.

After the invitation to Bunch was rescinded, the conference went on at the high school as planned. However, despite the speaker change, the archdiocese refused to renew its support.

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