Archive for January, 2015
By Sally Vance-Trembath, Santa Clara University ecclesiologist and former Voice of the Faithful® vice president
The pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, the Rev. Joseph Illo, recently decided to stop training girls as altar servers, reserving the role for boys. He explained that, among other things, serving at Mass is a preparation for priesthood — a male-only vocation.
“The decision to phase out girls is not only out of step with current Catholic teaching, it also risks triggering painful memories for many Catholic women, just as they were beginning to feel hopeful about their status in the church.”
Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
During a recent Vatican summit, the top official at the Synod of Bishops stirred controversy by reportedly telling participants they should not be ‘shocked’ by theologians questioning Church teaching on matters such as marriage and family life.
“Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri also reportedly said that if the aim of the synod is simply to repeat established Church teaching and discipline, then it would be ‘senseless’ to hold it.”
By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A Catholic priest who recently took charge of a San Francisco parish has said only boys can be altar servers, a move that is sparking both criticism and praise and comes amid a wider debate over conservative concerns that the Catholic Church has become too ‘feminized.’
“As media coverage of the controversy at Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church began to build in recent days, the Rev. Joseph Illo defended his decision in a statement issued Monday (Jan. 26), saying he decided to make the change in November, a few months after he became pastor. Illo cited two main reasons for the switch.”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Catholic organizations post open letter to let bishops know 2015 Synod on the Family needs broad input
Voice of the Faithful®, along with 15 other Catholic organizations, is issuing an open letter calling on the world’s bishops to widen the circle of auditors and experts invited to the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family.
In part, the letter states: “We urge the Vatican Synod office to make every effort to include a wide diversity of Catholics, especially those from the constituencies being discussed: divorced and remarried people; cohabitating couples; interfaith families; impoverished families; single parents; families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members; same-sex couples; and families torn by the violence of war and abuse.”
Click here to read and sign the letter and offer additional comment. You have until March 3. The letter then will be sent to all English-speaking bishops and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. The Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family takes place this October.
COR (Catholic Organizations for Renewal), to which VOTF belongs, also has put up a website to help facilitate input into the synod — OurCatholicFamily.org — And Click here to download sample letters and resources from fellow COR member FutureChurch. These will help you communicate your views to your bishop.
Click here to review the Lineamenta the Vatican has sent to bishops around the world to outline the parameters of the synod and the process of collecting input.
Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church.
… Speaking to a crowd of students at the University of Santo Tomas during his recent visit to the Philippines, Francis noted with gentle disapproval that there weren’t many women in attendance. Then he said a series of things so simple and true that they were at once obvious and sublime.”
By Kathleen Parker on Newsmax.com — Click here to read the rest of this article.
Pope names former top prosecutor to head board for clergy abuse appeals / National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis named the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases to head his new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.
“Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, 55, of Malta was appointed president of the new board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“The Vatican announced his appointment as well as the names of the board’s eight other members Wednesday (Jan. 21).
“Before being named an auxiliary bishop in Malta in 2012, Scicluna spent 10 years as promoter of justice at the doctrinal congregation, handling accusations of clerical sex abuse. He said the church must respond to allegations clearly and not react with “inertia, a culture of silence or repression.”
By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, becoming the 12th in the nation to say its treasury cannot withstand the unprecedented wave of lawsuits from clergy abuse victims.
“The move freezes lawsuits against the church, protecting the archdiocese from creditors while allowing it to develop a reorganization plan. It also halts three abuse trials scheduled to begin Jan. 26.”
By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.
When Sister Donna Markham, OP, assumes leadership of Catholic Charities USA later this year, three of the Catholic Church’s largest social service groups in the United States — Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, and the Catholic Health Association — will be led by women, a paradox, some say, in a Church that restricts women from the priesthood, and thus from ascending to the highest levels of institutional power.
“’When it comes to the Catholic Church and women, it is really interesting because you have the very visible and hard line: women cannot be priests. Therefore women, by virtue of being women, cannot occupy the positions of power,’ said Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.”
By Michael O’Loughlin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A Catholic bishop normally governs pretty much unchecked in his diocese — only the pope can dislodge a bishop. And each time Catholics celebrate Mass in Kansas City, Mo., they pray for Bishop Robert Finn, right after they pray for Pope Francis.
“But some Catholics here, like Deacon David Biersmith, refuse to go along.
“‘When the priest says that, you know, you’re supposed say it with him, but I just leave that out,’ Biersmith says. ‘I just don’t say it. Because he’s not my bishop, as far as I’m concerned.’
“Much of the discontent in Kansas City has to do with an incident four years ago. A computer technician found hundreds of lewd photos of young girls on a priest’s laptop. The priest was Shawn Ratigan, and it wasn’t the first sign that he was a pedophile.”
By Frank Morris, National Public Radio — Click here to read or listen to the rest of this report.
Now that the quaintly named apostolic visitation of U.S. women religious is over and the current leadership of the Vatican agency that oversees religious orders has decided that the women are worthy of praise, admiration and gratitude, it is quite appropriate to ask: “What was that all about?”
“The investigation can now be seen for the sham it was, and we as a church should be ashamed of the abuse these faithful women suffered because of it. They deserve an apology.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.