Archive for December, 2012
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (RSV Catholic)
We wish you all the peace, joy and love of the Christmas season!
A fiery appeal for church reform by an influential Swiss abbot has attracted widespread attention throughout Europe, and has, moreover, been welcomed by the future president of the Swiss bishops’ conference. Fifty-year-old Abbot Martin Werlen, leader of the Abbey of Einsiedeln and himself a member of the Swiss bishops’ conference, first voiced his appeal in a sermon on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council …
Titled ‘Discovering the Embers Under the Ashes,’ it echoes remarks by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini in his last interview before his death Aug. 31. Referring to the state of the church today, Martini spoke of his sense of powerlessness and how Catholicism’s ’embers’ were ‘hidden under the ashes.’
Werlen said he is alarmed by the present state of the church. ‘The situation of the church is dramatic, not only in the German-speaking countries,’ he said. ‘It is dramatic not only because of the rapidly decreasing number of priests and religious or because of plummeting church attendance. The real problem is not a problem of numbers. What is missing is the fire! We must face the situation and find out what is behind it.’”
By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, National Catholic Reporter
The news is filled recently with stories of longtime, loyal Catholics being told the beliefs they have arrived at through experience and reflection are not good enough … If the church were to ban all its leaders — ordained and non-ordained — who didn’t follow all the teachings espoused by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and by all its local bishops, I wonder how many leaders would be left in a church that is already seeing declining ordained leadership? I wonder how many more followers would throw their hands up and realize this church doesn’t represent their beliefs?” By Mike Sweitzer-Beckman, National Catholic Reporter
Cardinals and bishops involved in the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) investigation have suffered no discipline for their blunders in their handling of clergy pedophiles, according to news reports and legal documents …” By Jason Berry in GlobalPost.com
Multiple aspects of the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Australia continue to be revealed. The following article from CathNews.com includes links to several other recent stories in the Australian press about the scandal and the Catholic Church’s response.
Australia should use its seat on the United Nations Security Council to push for a UN inquiry into how the Catholic Church moves paedophile priests from First to Third World countries to avoid investigation, the state inquiry into clergy sex abuse heard on [Dec. 17].” CathNews.com, Dec. 18, 2012
The fact that women have only been admitted to graduate-level theology programs at Catholic institutions for the past 70 years means the addition of women to the ranks of church scholars is a relatively recent change …
“In the intervening decades, however, Catholic women theologians have helped form both lay and ordained church leaders’ understanding of liturgy, scripture, ethics, pastoral ministry, spirituality, faith formation, theology, and the church itself. This means that regular Catholics, too, have been influenced by women theologians—whether they know it or not …
“Svea Fraser (founding member of Voice of the Faithful®) of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Wellesley, Massachusetts, says that it’s precisely the beauty of Catholic rituals—specifically the Eucharist and the funeral rite—that keep her grounded in her Catholic faith. “A Catholic anthropology is so hopeful—you’re loved unconditionally,” she says. Fraser directs her parish’s RCIA program, and she takes the opportunity to include the work of women theologians in the process of explaining church doctrine and tradition to the participants. The group discusses the feminine aspects of God and the value of inclusive language—a tool they can use in their own prayer life, even if it’s not used in the Mass …”
By Heather Greenan Gray in the online edition of January 2013 U.S. Catholic
Look for Voice of the Faithful’s ad promoting the ordination of women to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church in the January 2013 print edition of U.S. Catholic.
Priest Abuse Files May Be Released without Church Officials’ Names
At a judge’s direction, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles redacted the identities of members of the church hierarchy. But another judge has the final say.
In its landmark $660-million settlement with victims of sexual abuse five years ago, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to make public the confidential personnel records of all priests accused of molesting children … But the documents have been scrubbed of what many regard as the most important information: the identities of the members of the church hierarchy who reshuffled abusers.” By Harriet Ryan and Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 7, 2012
It was curiosity and a sense of irony that moved me to open the Oct. 1 issue of our diocesan newspaper. On the cover was the headline “Moving Forward in Faith” next to a picture of our former bishop vested as would be a prelate from more than 50 years ago. This was a photo from a liturgy in the “extraordinary form” (pre-Vatican II 1962 Latin Mass), welcoming a group of very traditional Carmelite nuns to the diocese … The people attached to the extraordinary form are seriously trying to enact a particular worldview and understanding of church. And it is an understanding that we left behind at the Second Vatican Council. It is a worldview that is incompatible with the council … The extraordinary form is incapable of activating us as the priestly people of God – the vision of Vatican II.” By Ron Schmit, Pastor, St. Anne Church, Byron, California, in National Catholic Reporter
A former key U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference staffer has been told he is not allowed to speak publicly in the Philadelphia archdiocese because he co-authored a book investigating the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. William Ditewig, a theologian and deacon who previously served as the head of the bishops’ secretariat for the diaconate, has been told his public presence in the archdiocese would cause ‘doctrinal confusion.'” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
In order to keep our readers up-to-date, we are offering the following links to National Catholic Reporter: one, an editorial endorsing the ordination of women to the Roman Catholic priesthood; the other, a story about a retired priest ordered not to say Mass or perform his priestly duties after participating in a liturgy with a woman ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
From these examples and others, the voices of Catholic media and retired clerics are, it seems, becoming stronger in support of ordaining women.
The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand.” By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff, Dec. 3, 2012
A Catholic priest who participated in a Eucharistic liturgy with a woman priest last month has been ordered to no longer celebrate the Mass or perform any other priestly duties. Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Milwaukee-area priest, said the superior of his religious community told him of the restrictions Nov. 29, saying they came at the request of Archbishop Jerome Listecki.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 3, 2012