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One bread, one body,  

one Lord of all,  
one cup of blessing which we bless.  
And we, though many,  
throughout the earth,  
we are one body in this one Lord.
                        John B. Foley, S.J.    
Opinion: Does ARCC Proclaim
 the Right  to Disobey?
 Do Catholics have the RIGHT and a corresponding RESPONSIBILITY to disobey the moral teaching authority (called magisterium) of our hierarchical leaders?   The answer is definitely YES, but very carefully.  Following the example of Jesus who often, up-front and in-your-face, blatantly defied and disobeyed the laws and instructions of the teachings of his Jewish religious authorities.  And paid the price for doing so.  
Disobeying, by following one's frequently-re-informed conscience and supported by one's community, is risky business, but sometimes essential for personal and communal integrity.  The risk is that leaders chosen by the community, generally, are acceptable. There is the rub in the Roman Catholic system.  Catholics do not have a voice in choosing their leaders who are thereby on shaky ground to begin with.   
Catholics are to give responsible obedience to their bishops and pastors when they, like the first follows of Jesus,   know about, have a voice in, and accept, who it is that they will follow.  This is the difference between giving unto God what is God's, (our ability to freely choose), and giving unto Caesar what Caesar demands (do what you are told).    
Most of the time it is safe to render unto the hierarchical Caesars by doing what they want us to do, but that is not what Jesus always did.  By his own example, he gave us the right, even the duty at times, to respectfully disobey.
As followers of Jesus we RIGHT-FULLY claim the competence he gave us.  We, like him, are not to be complacent, unthinking, followers. He gave to God his complete obedience in conscience, and he gave to Caesars of this world only the obedience that his human God-given conscience would allow.   
Bob Schutzius is an ARCC Presidential Advisor and ARCC Office Manager.

Some things we have been reading  
Church must help the poorest, not dissect theology, pope says
Philip Pullella,      May 18, 2013

Pope Francis shared personal moments with 200,000 people on Saturday, telling them he sometimes nods off while praying at the end of a long day and that it "breaks my heart" that the death of a homeless person is not news.

. . . .

But he outdid himself in passionately discussing everything from the memory of his grandmother to his decision to become a priest, from political corruption to his worries about a Church that too often closes in on itself instead of looking outward.

"If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty," he said, repeating his call for Catholics to do more to seek out those on the fringes of society who need help the most," he said from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica.

. . . .

"We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those (who need help most)," he said.
Read more

'We live in a world ... where money worship reigns'
John Thavis    May 24, 2013

According to an Italian bishop, Pope Francis intends to issue an encyclical on poverty and social justice, titled "Beati Pauperes" ("Blessed Are the Poor.") 


The theme is certainly on the new pope's mind. From today's papal talk to the Pontifical Council for Migrants:

"In a world where there is so much talk about rights, it seems that the only thing that has rights is money. Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a world where money commands. We live in a world, in a culture, where money worship reigns."


Bishop Luigi Martella of Molfetta wrote on his website about his recent meeting with Pope Francis, in which the pope spoke about concluding an encyclical begun by his predecessor and issuing one of his own:

"At the end, he wanted to share a secret, almost a revelation: Benedict XVI is finishing writing the encyclical on faith that will be signed by Pope Francis. Afterward, the pope himself intends to prepare his first encyclical, on the theme of the poor: Beati pauperes! Poverty, the pope explained, not understood in an ideological or political sense, but in an evangelical sense."

Read more


Pope Francis: God redeemed everyone, 'not just Catholics'
David Gibson     May 22, 2013

Pope Francis is warning Catholics not to demonize those who are not members of the church, and he specifically defended atheists, saying that building walls against non-Catholics leads to "killing in the name of God."

. . . . 

To both atheists and believers, he said that "if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good."


In a passage that may prompt a theological debate about the nature of salvation, the pontiff also declared that God "has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!"


"Even the atheists," he said to those who might question his assertion. "Everyone!"

Read more

Listen to NPR story with Sylvia Poggioli. 

Ed.:  Might this indicate how Pope Francis thinks "pro multis" should be translated in the Eucharistic Prayer?


Stephen Colbert Wants Refund From Pope Francis For Atheist Remarks 
Michael Allen      May. 24, 2013
On "The Colbert Report" Tuesday night, the wacky host was shocked by Pope Francis' message this week that atheists can do good works and are redeemed by God.
"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ. All of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists." said Pope Francis during a Wednesday mass.
"As America's most famous Catholic, I am the Pope of basic cable," proclaimed Stephen Colbert. "When [Pope Francis] washed the feet of the poor, I sent some homeless guys through a car wash. I even sprang for the wax."
. . . .
"What the flock?" said Colbert "Even atheists? I am a Catholic and I am a Catholic so I can have the fast track-paradise easy pass... in the words of John 3:16, 'Membership has its privileges.'"
"If the Lord redeems atheists, what's next? The Lord redeems Lutherans? It's madness."
"Was all that time on his knees as an altar boy for nothing?" complained Colbert. "All the standing and sitting and kneeling every Sunday?"
"But after busting my apse in the vineyard of the Lord. some godless good guy can just swoop in at the eleventh hour and and get redeemed? I want a refund!"
"You know what I could have done with all those hours of church? I could have learned slide guitar," claimed Colbert.

Redemption for All The Colbert Report May 23, 2013Read more
Vatican: Atheists Can't Be Saved After All 
Hunter Stuart        May 29, 2013 

Shortly after Pope Francis gave a groundbreaking homily in which he said even atheists who do good are redeemed, a statement from a Vatican spokesman seemed to walk back the pope's words.

Just one day after the pope's now famous remarks in Rome on May 22, a Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica released comments stating that people who reject the teachings of Jesus Christ can't be saved after all.

"All salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body," Rosica wrote. "Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her."
. . . . 
The Vatican's statement seemed to attempt to do damage control for Francis' remarks, emphasizing that his job is more to speak well than to provide an indisputable interpretation of the Bible.

"[Pope Francis] is first and foremost a seasoned pastor and preacher who has much experience in reaching people," the statement said. "His words are not spoken in the context of a theological faculty or academy nor in interreligious dialogue or debate."   

Read more

Pope Francis officially de-emphasizes papal titles
Joshua J. McElwee        May 23 2013

Pope Francis has possibly de-emphasized a number of the formal titles normally taken by the leader of the Roman Catholic church, choosing instead to list himself first by the basic title "Bishop of Rome" in the Vatican's annual directory.

. . . . 

In a departure from previous editions however, the information about the pope is split into two distinct sections, according to Italian media reports, including one at veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister's site at the Italian newsmagazine l'Espresso.


In the first section, the new pope is described simply as "Francis / Bishop of Rome." In the 2012 edition, Pope Benedict had also been described that way, but had listed under his title as bishop several other titles normally taken by the pope, including: 

"Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of Vatican City-State, Servant of the Servants of God."


In the 2013 edition, Francis is also described by those titles, but on the back of the page that describes him as "Bishop of Rome," perhaps giving a signal of which of the titles he finds more relevant.

Read more


Set aside arrogance, let us bow before those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care
VIS      May 24, 2013

Yesterday afternoon in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis presided at the profession of faith with all the Italian episcopacy gathered for their 65th general assembly. It was the first time that the Holy Father met with all the representatives of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), whom he greeted personally, one by one.

bishops"The consequence of loving the Lord," the Pope said to the bishops, "is giving everything-absolutely everything, even up to our very lives-for him. This is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry: it is the litmus test that says how deeply we have embraced the gift received in responding to Jesus' call and how connected we are to the persons and the communities that have been entrusted to us. 
We are not the expression of an organizational structure or need. Even with the service of our authority we are called to be marked by the presence of the Risen Lord, to build the community, therefore, in fraternal charity. This shouldn't be overlooked, however: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not continuously nourished, grows weak and dies."
"Lack of vigilance-we know-makes the shepherd lukewarm, makes him distracted, forgetful, and even impatient. It seduces him with the prospect of career, the lure of money, and compromises with the spirit of the world. It makes him lazy, transforming him into a functionary, a cleric more worried about self, about organization and structures than the true good of the People of God. It runs the risk then, as did the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even though formally presenting itself as and speaking in his name. It obscures the holiness of the hierarchical Mother Church, making it less fruitful."
"Who are we, brothers, before God? What are our trials?... As it did for Peter, Jesus' insistent and heartfelt question can leave us sorrowful and more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by thousands of internal and external constraints, which often arouse confusion, frustration, even disbelief. These are certainly not the feelings or the attitudes that the Lord means to awaken. Instead, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaint, and in discouragement. ... Jesus, the Good Shepherd, neither humiliates nor abandons us to remorse. In him, the Father's tenderness speaks to us, comforting and restoring us. He leads us from the disintegration of shame-because it is truly shame that breaks us down-to the fabric of trust, restoring courage, entrusting us again with responsibility, and delivering us to the mission."
"This is why," the Bishop of Rome concluded, "being Shepherds also means being ready to walk amidst the flock: capable of hearing the silent story of those who suffer and of sustaining the steps of those who are afraid of not making it; careful to lift up, to reassure, and to inspire hope. Through sharing with the poor our faith comes out strengthened. Let us, therefore, set aside every type of arrogance in order to bow before those whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, a special place, a very special place, let us keep for our priests. Especially for them our hearts, our hands, and our doors must stay open at all times. They are the first faithful that we bishops have: our priests."



How does your bishop measure up to the pope's description?  How would you describe a good bishop?   See ARCC Initiatives. 
Pope warns Church against closing in on itself 
Catherine Hornby     May 19, 2013 

Pope Francis warned the Catholic Church to not close in on itself at a Mass to mark Pentecost Sunday attended by more than 200,000 people, urging the faithful to be open and present in a new and changing world.

The Church should ask itself daily whether it is resisting new challenges and remaining "barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new," he said.

"Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control," Francis said in his homily in front of a packed St. Peter's Square, adding that change can bring fulfillment.  

Read more


Cardinals Say New Pope Remains Down-To-Earth, 2 Months In
Jay Levine      May 23, 2013

He has been in office for just over 2 months, but already pope Francis has put his own personal stamp on the papacy.


He has ignored many trappings and traditions while concentrating on preaching and prayer.

. . . .

The new pope delayed a move into the papal apartments, instead remaining at the Vatican guest house, where he celebrates Mass for workers and others each morning.

"It's likely to influence the papacy probably forever," says Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who is in Chicago this week.

. . . .
Turkson says the new pope does not expect Cardinals to kiss his ring. Rather, he hugs them. 

. . . .  

But while the differences were clear from the start, Cardinal [Francis] George believes it's too early to draw any firm conclusions about what kind of pope he'll be. 

Read more


Down to earth 


Pope gets soaked as he greets crowds, praises faithful for 'courage' 

Associated Press           May 29, 2013 


The rain hasn't stopped Pope Francis.

The 76-year-old pontiff, who lost part of a lung during his youth to an infection, got soaked Wednesday as he braved a brief spring shower to kiss babies and greet crowds at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. Zooming around the piazza in his open-air jeep, Francis had no umbrella or cover over him as he made his way through a sea of brightly colored umbrellas, happily stopping to caress and kiss babies handed up to him.

Once Francis reached the covered platform at the top of the piazza steps, an aide brought him a roll of paper towels and he wiped his brow. His white cassock was visibly damp.

Francis praised the crowd for their "courage" in braving the rain.
Read more


"Nuns on the Bus" making a stop near you...
David Gibson      May 20, 2013

We reported earlier this month that the "Nuns on the Bus," who made national news for their social justice tour during the 2012 election, are going back on the road on behalf of immigration reform - and they just released their tour schedule:

A total of 6500 miles and 53 events in 40 cities across 15 states, over the course of three weeks, starting May 29 at Ellis Island in New York and ending on June 18 on Angel Island in San Francisco. Woody Guthrie ought to be the soundtrack.

The official title: "NETWORK Nuns on the Bus: A Drive for Faith, Family, and Citizenship."

. . . .

What to watch for: whether, or how many, bishops join on. This time the nuns and the bishops are on the same page on a shared issue, immigration reform. But the nuns are still under Vatican scrutiny. Will they make common cause for "commonsense immigration reform"?

"They don't have to ride on the bus," Campbell told me earlier this month. "They can come stand with us at the events." 

Nuns bus route
 Read more
Questions linger after dynamic sisters' meeting
NCR Editorial Staff      May. 20, 2013

It is understandable that much of the attention paid to the recent meeting of the International Union of Superiors General in Rome was focused at detecting the state of things between the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Vatican.

That is, of course, an important relationship and one that became particularly strained during Pope Benedict XVI's reign, which saw a Vatican-imposed investigation and an attempt at a virtual takeover of the organization, an umbrella group for some 80 percent of U.S. sisters.

Exactly where all of this now goes under the new papacy of Francis is yet unknown. However, what became clear during the meeting in Rome is that while LCWR's troubles may be an important part of the story, they remain only a portion of the larger global picture coming to light among leaders of women religious around the world.

. . . .

It seems prudent to allow Francis time to put his leadership stamp on the church. At the same time, questions beg to be answered: Can the most educated and dedicated women religious in church history determine their own course, in dialogue with the hierarchy? Can they shape their own destinies based on understandings of vocation, founded in the Second Vatican Council, that have evolved from half a century of research, prayer and discernment?

How these questions get answered will reverberate through women religious communities, North and South, for decades to come. 

Read more


Catholic Whistleblowers: Myers of Newark Must Go!
John A. Dick    May 23, 2013

On Wednesday, 22 May, eight members of the newly formed action group "Catholic Whistleblowers" met for a news conference in New York. They urged Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to use his considerable influence to get John Myers, Archbishop of Newark, N.J. removed from office.

Myers has been much in the news, over the past month, for allowing a pedophile priest, Michael Fugee, continued access to minors, in violation of an agreement with prosecutors. Archbishop John Myers continues to show contempt for the safety of children in his diocese and still follows a pattern of leniency toward pedophiles, indifference to potential victims, and an arrogant disdain for anyone who dares to question his judgment.

. . . .

The steering committee of Catholic Whistleblowers is a group of distinguished American Catholic leaders: Rev. John P. Bambrick (Jackson NJ); Sr. Sally Butler, OP (Brooklyn NY); Sr. Jeanne Christensen, RSM (Kansas City MO); Rev. Patrick Collins, Ph.D. (Douglas MI); Rev. James Connell (Sheboygan WI); Rev. Thomas Doyle, OP (Vienna VA); Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D. (West Orange NJ); Rev. Msgr. Kenneth E. Lasch, J.C.D. (Morristown NJ); Rev. Ronald D. Lemmert (Peekskill NY); Rev. Bruce N. Teague (Springfield MA); and Sr. Maureen Paul Turlish, SNDdeN (New Castle DE).


They are to be commended for calling for the immediate removal of Archbishop John Myers from his position as Archbishop of Newark.


In addition to calling for the removal of John Myers, the Catholic Whistleblowers are calling on American Catholic bishops: (1) to support proposed legislation in New York, Wisconsin and elsewhere, that would lift statutes of limitations on sex crimes against children; and (2) to adopt policies, similar to one in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, that protect priests, nuns and other church employees who report child sex abuse or cover-ups to civil authorities.

Read more 


Author John Dick is ARCC vice-president, Whistleblower Rev.Patrick Collins is an ARCC board member, Whistleblower Rev. Tom Doyle is an ARCC presidential advisor and emeritus board member.


Prosecutor's investigation shouldn't stop at Fugee: Editorial
Star-Ledger Editorial Board       May 21, 2013

It's a relief to see the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office step in and do what the Catholic Church could not: protect children from a priest who confessed to sexually groping a 13-year-old boy.

The Rev. Michael Fugee, whom Newark Archbishop John J. Myers allowed to take kids on retreats and hear their private confessions, was arrested this week for violating a binding agreement that bars him from working with minors. Fugee is now charged with contempt of a judicial order, a fourth-degree crime that carries a maximum prison term of 18 months.


But remember, he wasn't the only one who signed off on this agreement and then broke it. The archdiocese did, too. The prosecutor should press forward with this investigation and consider charging Myers with contempt, as well. This, however, would require a finding that Myers knowingly violated the agreement. Has he been questioned? He should be.


So should others in his inner circle. There can be no free pass for the hierarchy here. At the very least, Myers should step down. His behavior has prompted widespread outrage even within the church, because he repeatedly protected Fugee.

Archbishop John J. Myers addresses Fugee scandal, demotes his second-in-command
Mark Mueller     May 24, 2013

A top official in the Archdiocese of Newark - second only to Archbishop John J. Myers - has been sacked from his leadership position for mishandling the supervision of a priest who violated a lifetime ban on ministry to children.


Myers, speaking out for the first time on the scandal that has imperiled his future in Newark, described the removal of Monsignor John E. Doran as one step in a series of reforms meant to "strengthen internal protocols" and "ensure we are doing everything we can to safeguard the children of our community."


Myers made the announcement in an opinion piecescheduled to run in Saturday's Star-Ledger. An abbreviated version of the letter is to be read aloud at parishes in the archdiocese Saturday and Sunday.


Doran, who served as vicar general and moderator of the curia, is among the highest-ranking Roman Catholic officials in the country to be demoted over the handling of a priest accused of sexual abuse, observers say.


"This is a very significant decision," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst with the National Catholic Reporter and a former editor of America, a Catholic magazine. "Short of being a bishop, vicar general and moderator of the curia is as high as you can get." 

Read more


New civil suits filed against priest, bishop and diocese 
Mark Norris     May 21, 2013

Civil suits accusing a Catholic priest and his superiors of child sexual abuse, child pornography allegations and fraud were filed Tuesday in Jackson County.


The two new actions alleged that Bishop Robert Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph aided and abetted the Rev. Shawn Ratigan as he sexually abused and engaged in "child pornographic offenses" with two young girls while Ratigan was employed as a priest.

Ratigan, who has pleaded guilty in federal court to producing child porn and awaits sentencing, also is named as a defendant in the suits. He has not, however, responded to other civil actions filed against him.


In a prepared statement, the diocese condemned Ratigan's "immoral and destructive" behavior. With regards to the suit, the statement said the suits contained some factual inaccuracies and statements that were irrelevant to their claims.


Last week the diocese settled a similar case, filed in federal court on behalf of a young northern Missouri girl, for $600,000, the diocese's largest settlement in a single priest sex abuse case.

Read more


Peoria Diocese members must answer questions in sex abuse lawsuit 
Edith Brady-Lunny        May 27, 2013 

The bishop and the vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria must answer questions in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed five years ago against the diocese and a deceased Twin City priest, under an order entered in Peoria County Circuit Court.

Lawyers for Andrew Ward, 25, a former student at Epiphany School in Normal, challenged the diocese's refusal to require that Bishop Daniel Jenky and Chancellor Patricia Gibson appear for a deposition in Ward's 2008 lawsuit. Ward, who now lives in Michigan, has accused Monsignor Thomas Maloney, who died in 2009, of sexually abusing him at Epiphany Catholic Church between 1995 and 1996 when he was in second grade.

The diocese resisted the deposition, saying both leaders took office in 2002, long after the alleged abuse took place, and the same year Maloney retired from active ministry for health reasons.
. . . .
Several other areas are off limits, including opinions related to decisions or actions taken by previous officials, including former Peoria Bishop John Myers, now the archbishop of Newark, and former Vicar General John Campbell, under terms of the order.
. . . .
Myers, who previously was deposed for four hours, is currently under fire in New Jersey in a case where a pedophile priest was allowed to work with children after the diocese signed an agreement with authorities that he would be banned from such contact.  

Read more

Hart admits 'awful blight'
Barney Zwartz      May 21, 2013

Paedophile priests in Melbourne were moved from parish to parish in a culture of secrecy and cover-up in which the Catholic Church was slow to act, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said on Thursday.


A predecessor, Sir Frank Little, dealt with all complaints secretly, keeping no records. He moved paedophiles such as serial abusers Wilfred Baker and Kevin O'Donnell to "innocent parishes" where they blighted more lives, Archbishop Hart conceded at the Victorian inquiry into how the churches handled child sexual abuse.


"It was an awful blight on the church. I want to put my anger and pain and anguish about this to the committee."


He said before 1996, when he became Vicar-General in Melbourne and Cardinal George Pell became Archbishop, the church was "too keen to look after herself and her good name and not keen enough to look after the terrible anguish of the victims. Since the 1990s, that has changed - slowly and with agony, but it has changed."


In a public statement, Archbishop Hart said he took responsibility, but he told the inquiry the only person responsible was the archbishop at the time.

Read more


Pell testifies
Cardinal Pell Answers to Child Abuse Inquiry, Admits There Was Cover Up 
Precious Silva    May 28, 2013 

Top ranking Catholic official Cardinal George Pell faced the Victorian Parliament yesterday afternoon to answer sexual child abuse queries. The cardinal admitted to the committee that the Church indeed tried covering up the scandal and that members of the clergy were involved.

True to what was advised to him, Cardinal Pell was honest and apologetic to the committee as he addressed their inquiries about the sexual controversies flung at the Church. He said that he was completely sorry and apologetic because the Church tried hiding the truth for decades.

There are members of the public gallery who cried as the church official answered the committee's question. Likewise, there were even more sympathetic responses when the cardinal was finally forced to explain how the church systematically covered up the scandals. Rape victims were as young as five years old.

"I'm certainly totally committed to improving the situation. I know the Holy Father is too," ABC quoted Pell while he faced the Victorian parliament. The cardinal defended why the church had to do the cover up despite the pressure on him that afternoon 

Read more



Australian cardinal faces hostile abuse inquiry
Ames Grubel,   May 28 2013 

The head of the Catholic Church in Australia on Monday came under scathing attack at a Victorian state inquiry into child abuse cover-ups, as he blamed a culture of silence for what one panelist described as a "psychopathic disregard" for the welfare of children.

Cardinal George Pell, an adviser to Pope Francis on Vatican reforms, told a parliamentary hearing the church had been slow to address the suffering of victims and again issued an apology.

"I am fully apologetic, and absolutely sorry," said Cardinal Pell at an often hostile hearing marked by at times angry questioning over the church's compensation and investigations. Cardinal Pell was questioned for more than four hours. He said the number of reports of abuse by clergy members peaked in the 1970s and 1980s - at 620 cases - but had fallen as the church changed its approach.

"The evidence of misbehaving, crimes, has been significantly reduced. I hope the worst is behind us," Cardinal Pell said, adding 300 people in Victoria state had received compensation for abuse. 

Read more


Pell's evidence was 'damage control': QC  
AAP       May 28, 2013 

Cardinal  George Pell's appearance at Victoria's child sex abuse inquiry was "a cynical exercise in damage control", a barrister and victims' advocate says.

Bryan Keon-Cohen QC says Cardinal Pell's statements at Monday's inquiry hearing lacked conviction and he tried to evade responsibility.

"My response to Cardinal Pell's evidence, being as fair as I can, is that it was to me a rather cynical exercise in damage control," Dr Keon-Cohen, president of community lobby group COIN (Commission of Inquiry Now), told ABC Radio in Melbourne.

"He offered a lot of words, he offered apologies, remorse, but to me it lacked conviction."

He said Cardinal Pell, who is a former Archbishop of Melbourne, followed the line used by Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart last week at the inquiry. 

Read more

Other stories 
Chicago Jesuits hid sex crimes
Manya Brachear      May 22, 2013

Internal church records released Tuesday show that Chicago Jesuits consciously concealed the crimes of convicted sex offender Donald McGuire for more than 40 years as the prominent Roman Catholic priest continued to sexually abuse dozens of children around the globe.

. . . . 

The documents contributed to a $19.6 million settlement between the Jesuits and six men from four states announced Tuesday. With an average payout of $3 million per person, the amount per individual is the largest in the history of the U.S. Catholic sexual abuse crisis, the victims' lawyers said. The settlement and the documents add one more chapter to the still unfolding story of sexual abuse in the church.


While the settlement of the lawsuit against the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus doesn't name any priests accused of abusing minors who have not been previously disclosed to the public, it does name a number of Jesuit superiors who for four decades kept McGuire's crimes a secret and, the victims' attorneys said, enabled him to abuse more young men.

. . . .

The Rev. Timothy Kesicki, who as Chicago provincial leads the area's Jesuits, said in a statement that the order is "painfully aware" that it made mistakes and failed to protect children. Many steps have been implemented since 2007 to go above and beyond the policies to protect children passed by the U.S. Catholic bishops, said Jeremy Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Jesuit province.


"More important, we failed to listen to those who came forward and to meet their courage in dealing with Donald McGuire as we should have," said Kesicki, who has been promoted to lead the Jesuits' national office next year. Lawyers for the victims commended Kesicki for understanding the failure of the order's leadership in protecting children.


As former spiritual director for Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity, McGuire offered Roman Catholic retreats around the globe.

Read more

Sex-abuse investigations rip open Catholic Church's secret files 
Victoria Kim       May 27, 2013
For centuries, the church has maintained a second set of books containing sensitive documents such as notes on priests' alcohol abuse, disputes over parish funds and, later, molestation allegations.  

Preparing for his return to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles after six months' treatment at a center for pedophile priests, Father Michael Wempe sat down to type out a list of concerns. Arrangements for his dog. Counseling and support groups for himself.
Above everything, he wrote at the top of the list in the 1987 memo: "Confidentiality - Reports from here destroyed, even this paper."

Wempe had good reason for the request. The reports from the center laid out how he had confessedto molesting young boys. Wempe's therapists also urged church officials to immediately destroy everything. If the papers fell in the hands of law enforcement, the priest, the archdiocese and the treatment center could be in serious trouble.

But Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders ignored the warnings. Rather than shred or burn the reports, they preserved them in carefully organized file cabinets where they remained until this year.

The release of those records - and thousands of pages of other damaging abuse documents in January - begged a question: Why did the church hold on to decades-old evidence of its priests' sins?

The explanation lies in centuries of Catholic Church history and is a tale involving secret betrothals, scandal, even a murder or two. Since the time of the Enlightenment, the Catholic Church has maintained two sets of records: one for the mundane and a second "secret archive" for matters of a sensitive nature. The cache - known as sub secreto files, Canon 489 files, confidential files or C-files - was to be kept under lock and key, only for the eyes of the bishop and his trusted few.

After the files became known to prosecutors and plaintiff's lawyers, the American justice system has pried open the doors to an archive long kept sealed. Thousands of additional pages are set to become public in coming months, as more than a dozen Catholic orders - Salesians, Claretians, Vincentians and others - prepare to bare their own secrets pursuant to agreements with victims. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias could set the date for their release at a hearing Tuesday.

For some, the revelations were damning. For others, they offered validation for dark, private memories.  

Read more


Catholic order to pay $16.5 million to more than 400 claiming sex abuse
Daniel Trotta;      May 23, 2013

An order of the Roman Catholic Church has agreed to pay $16.5 million to more than 400 adults who said they were sexually abused as children by religious leaders, the parties announced on Thursday in separate statements.


The victims claimed abuse at schools and child-care facilities belonging to the Christian Brothers and the Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc, in 17 U.S. states and Canada from the late 1940s or early 1950s until the 1980s, said James Stang, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.


The settlement agreement reached in U.S. bankruptcy court also enables the victims to pursue more assets from the Christian Brothers such as real estate or insurance claims, Stang said.

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VOTF Focuses  
On Clericalism 
In New Study Papers
VOTF     May 25, 2013


Pope Francis, judging by some of what he has said and done in the early days of his papacy, may target the Church's clerical culture. We hope so. And over the next six weeks, Voice of  the Faithful® will publish several documents  challenging clericalism.
VOTF has named clericalism as among the principal causes of clergy sexual abuse, and its cover-up, and has defined it as an overriding set of beliefs and behaviors in which the clergy view themselves as different, separate, and exempt from the norms, rules, and consequences that apply to everyone else in society.
In our first study paper, click here, we draw from two recent books on clericalism by priests from the United States --
Clericalism: The Death of the Priesthood 
Clerical Culture: Contradiction and Transformation.

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St. John's University President Donald Harrington Resigns Amid Scandal 
Tyler Kingkade      May 3, 2013

Father Donald Harrington, president of St. John's University in New York City, announced Friday in a campus wide email he will resign on July 31, while barely alluding to the embezzlement scandal plaguing his administration.

. . . .  

He avoided mentioning Cecilia Chang, a former dean and vice president of international relations at the university, who was accused of embezzling more than $1 million from St. John's prior to her November suicide.


New York magazine reported in February that Chang and Rob Wile, Harrington's chief of staff, lavishly spent university money on overseas shopping trips and expensive hotel stays. Wile also took out secret loans from a former St. John's Board of Trustees chair to help fund a real estate venture with Harrington, according to New York. The duo did not disclose the loan or the real estate project to the board. 

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Archdiocese Pays for Health Plan That Covers Birth Control 
Sharon Otterman      May 26, 2013 

As the nation's leading Roman Catholic bishop, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York has been spearheading the fight against a provision of the new health care law that requires employers, including some that are religiously affiliated, to cover birth control in employee health plans.

But even as Cardinal Dolan insists that requiring some religiously affiliated employers to pay for contraception services would be an unprecedented, and intolerable, government intrusion on religious liberty, the archdiocese he heads has quietly been paying for such coverage, albeit reluctantly and indirectly, for thousands of its unionized employees for over a decade.

The Archdiocese of New York has previously acknowledged that some local Catholic institutions offer health insurance plans that include contraceptive drugs to comply with state law; now, it is also acknowledging that the archdiocese's own money is used to pay for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion for workers at its affiliated nursing homes and clinics.

"We provide the services under protest," said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.  

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The church has lost control of marriage
Fr. Peter Daly        May 20, 2013
Our county courthouse is across the street from our parish church. Weddings are performed on both sides of the street. We both use the "vocabulary" of marriage, but the words don't have precisely the same meaning.
Let's face it -- the church has lost control of the cultural conversation on marriage. Just about any parish priest can tell you that. Even devout Catholics often ignore the church's teaching and views on marriage.
They live together before they are married. They have babies outside of wedlock. They get married outside the church, often in entirely secular settings. They don't stay married very long. They divorce with the same frequency as the general population. They remarry without benefit of annulments from the church. They often don't consult with us on whether they can go to Communion. And lately, in a dozen states and 14 countries, some very Catholic, they are marrying people of the same sex and bringing their babies to church for baptism.
. . . . 
Marriage is a good thing for children and for their parents. It contributes to human happiness. The National Marriage Project's report says men and women who are married are much more likely to be "highly satisfied" with their lives than unmarried men and women.
And now there is gay marriage. One thing the gay marriage debate has made clear -- the church no longer controls the conversation on marriage. Look at Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the U.S., where the bill passed its House 56 to 15.  
Catholic legal scholar Jesuit Fr. John Courtney Murray said back in the 1940s, "The church has a right and duty to speak, but we do not have the right to expect that our viewpoint will always be reflected in the civil law."

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Vatican moves to clean up finances
Alanna Petroff      May 22, 2013

On Wednesday, a financial watchdog agency established in 2010 issued its first ever report on money laundering in a move to improve financial transparency in the city-state.


The document from the Financial Intelligence Authority shows six reports of "suspicious activity" in the past year, up from just one in 2011. It says the Vatican's prosecutors are investigating two of those reports for possible criminal activity, though it wouldn't elaborate further.


The 64-page report details how the Vatican is looking to crack down on money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, alongside other international governments and agencies.


The Swiss-born Rene Brulhart, who heads up the regulator, explained in a press conference that the organization has also started screening financial transactions in cooperation with the Vatican police and other authorities.

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Vatican punishes French priest for being a Freemason 
BBC News   May 24, 2013  

A Roman Catholic parish priest at an elite French ski resort has been stripped of his Church functions for refusing to renounce Freemasonry.

Father Pascal Vesin was ordered by his bishop to cease his work in the Alpine resort of Megeve, the parish said.

Bishop Yves Boivineau had warned Fr Vesin about his "active membership" of the Grand Orient de France lodge.
. . . .
In March, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - effectively the Church's watchdog - asked for the priest's departure.

Three members of the diocese of Annecy then met with him but Fr Vesin said he would not leave the lodge. 

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Nigerian bishops lament disunity among local Catholics 
Carl Bunderson    May 23, 2013 

As the Catholics of the Diocese of Ahiara protested the appointment of a bishop from a nearby diocese as their shepherd, local bishops expressed sadness at the disunity in the Church of Nigeria.

Bishop Peter Ebere Okpaleke - formerly a priest of the Awka diocese - was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Ahiara in Nigeria May 21, while many residents of the diocese rallied against the move.

Due to the strong opposition among the local Mbaise community, Bishop Okpaleke was installed outside his new diocese, at Seat of Wisdom Seminary in Ulakwo, in the Archdiocese of Owerri. 
. . . .
Bishop Okpaleke comes from the Awka diocese, 62 miles from Ahiara, and is not an ethnic Mbaise. The Catholics of the diocese wanted one of their own to be appointed bishop over them.  

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U.S. missionary doctor suspended after challenging cardinal, nuns
Fredrick Nzwili       May 22, 2013

An American missionary priest who is entangled in a dispute with the country's top Catholic cleric and a group of nuns in Kenya over the ownership of two mission hospitals has been suspended from the priesthood by his order.


The New York-based Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers suspended the Rev. Dr. William Charles Fryda after he refused to drop a case he filed three years ago against Cardinal John Njue and Sister Marie Therese Gachambi, the mother superior of Assumption Sisters of Nairobi.

Fryda alleges that the cardinal and the nuns were attempting to seize control of St. Mary's Mission Hospital, which has branches in Nairobi and Kenya's third-largest city, Nakuru.

El Salvador presses pope on Romero beatification
Nicole Winfield      May 23, 2013

El Salvador's president gave Pope Francis a relic of assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero on Thursday amid mounting indications that the Vatican might soon move to beatify him.


President Mauricio Funes flew from El Salvador to Rome for a 12-minute meeting with Francis to encourage the beatification, the first step to possible sainthood. A Vatican communique said the talks focused on Romero "and the importance of his witness for the entire nation."


During the audience, Funes presented Francis with a bloodstained piece of the priestly vestments Romero was wearing when he was gunned down by right-wing death squads on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass in a hospital chapel.


Romero's long-shelved sainthood case has been given new life by the election of the first Latin American pope and a pro-beatification campaign by Funes' government, which is made up of former guerrilla fighters who battled the same military hierarchy that Romero denounced.


Earlier this week, El Salvador's ambassador to the Holy See, Manuel Lopez, said Funes' "principal objective" in traveling to Rome was to press for the beatification and thank Francis for the support he has already given it.

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Drunken driving charges unlikely to cost Worcester bishop his post 
Lisa Wangsness May 27, 2013 

The drunken driving case against Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester is scheduled to take its next turn this week in a Rhode Island courtroom. The prelate faces civil penalties and criminal charges, which include an allegation that he left the scene of an accident.

But past practice suggests it is unlikely that his employer, the Roman Catholic Church, will take strong action against him.

"There is no clear mathematical formula for deciding exactly how they will react," the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter, said of the Vatican's process for disciplining bishops. "They look at the whole context of the situation. But the desire is to save the bishop and keep him in his ministry, as long as it's not harmful to the diocese."

Reese noted that a number of US bishops have survived drunken driving cases in the past. Salvatore J. Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in 2012, when he was still archbishop-elect; he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and went on to be installed. The late Archbishop John Roach of St. Paul and Minneapolis was arrested for drunken driving in 1985; he lost his license temporarily but served another decade before retiring.

The bishop of Phoenix, on the other hand, resigned in 2003 after his arrest in a fatal hit-and-run. It was an egregious case that came shortly after he acknowledged covering up sexual abuse cases.  

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Bipartisan tribute on Hill celebrates Father Hesburgh's life, ministry 
Mark Pattison      May 23, 2013

Testimonials rained down upon Holy Cross Father Theodore Hesburgh, the retired president of the University of Notre Dame, during a bipartisan congressional tribute in the U.S. Capitol as the priest neared his 96th birthday and the 70th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

The May 22 reception, three days before the priest's birthday, included Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., both of Indiana's senators, and former U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer, a Notre Dame alumnus. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who issued invitations to the reception, could not attend because of various appointments, according to Pelosi. 

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Jesuit chosen as US bishops' new doctrinal watchdog
Joshua J. McElwee     May 29, 2013

The U.S. bishops' conference has named a Jesuit known for conventional views on marriage and sexuality as its new doctrinal watchdog, replacing a key staffer behind several controversial criticisms of theologians in recent years.


Fr. Peter Ryan will become executive director of the bishops' secretariat of doctrine and canonical affairs in August, the conference announced Wednesday.


The appointment, which comes as the bishops' conference prepares a change in its top leadership in the fall, may be a sign of what stance the bishops will take toward those who hold more progressive viewpoints under the new pontificate of Pope Francis.


Ryan, a member of his order's Maryland province, had been director of spiritual formation at the St. Louis archdiocese's Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He will replace Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy at the doctrinal office.

. . . .

Upon news of Weinandy's pending retirement in January, Susan Ross, the president of the 1,400-member Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), said then she characterized Weinandy's time at the bishops' conference as antagonistic.


"The committee on doctrine has taken a much more adversarial position towards theologians during the time of [Weinandy's] tenure," said Ross, who also serves as chair of the department of theology at Loyola University of Chicago.


Richard Gaillardetz, CTSA's president-elect, said Wednesday that "the welfare of the church depends on a healthy relationship of collaboration and mutual respect between the bishops' conference and theologians." 

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The Weigel Consulting Firm has a plan for the church
Raymond A. Schroth    May 29, 2013

By George Weigel
Published by Basic Books, $27.99

  All who care about the Roman Catholic church -- including the conservative columnist and biographer of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel -- know the church is in trouble. It is a fragile bark, blown about the waves by the hostile winds of postmodern culture. A third of the crew has plunged into the sea and swum ashore, the remaining crew threaten mutiny, and the captain? Where is John Paul II, Weigel asks, when we need him most?

Weigel sees the ship as about to smash on the rocks of history, but he knows what has to be done. He has framed his prescription to gel with what is called the "new evangelization," yet a new book on Pope Francis excerpted in The Wall Street Journal April 13 suggests that movement, which has produced a lot of talk, is now out of breath.
. . . .
Nevertheless, Weigel has produced a wordy tome, spelling out a "deep reform" movement that began with Pope Leo XIII, was furthered by Pius XII, and has come into "sharper focus" by "two men of genius," John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is a challenge to "move beyond old left/right surface arguments ... about ecclesiastical power, and into a deeper reflection on the missionary heart of the Church." That said, he denigrates progressive Catholicism for "watering down" Catholic truths, and traditionalism because it retreats into the catacombs rather than answer the call for mission. 

. . . .

To Weigel, evangelical Protestants are more Catholic than Catholic theologians like Fr. Hans Küng, Jesuit Fr. Roger Haight and St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson.

So far, Weigel's prose has been devotional boilerplate, the lingo without the substance of theology. Now he has moved into attack mode. His role is not that of a theologian -- only a few are even named in his book -- but a self-appointed consultant with a plan to better market what used to be the Catholic church.

. . . .

As for that boat bouncing on the wild waves of modernity, I don't think the Weigel Consulting Firm is the one to appoint the captain. We'd end up with another Captain Queeg. 

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The following parody of Clement C. Moore's "The Night Before Christmas" arrived too late for our Pentecost issue, but we think  
you will still enjoy it.  - Ed.
T'was the Night Before Pentecost
Louise Hemond-Wilson     May 18 2013
T'was the night before Pentecost when all through the church
Not a bishop stirred from his cathedral perch
The reformers were hung out to dry in the air
In hopes they'd just leave in disgust or despair
The obedient were nestled all snug in their pews
While visions of salvation grew and grew
And the nuns in their civvies and the pope in his hat
Had just settled nothing so continued their spat
When out in the world there arose such a clatter
I put down my rosary to see what was the matter
Away to the newsfeeds I flew like a flash
Tore open my browser after clearing the cache
The loon on the cast of the talking head show
Gave the luster of sin to the pelvis and below
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature concern whipped into fear
With little resemblance to facts or truth
I knew in a moment that it was uncouth
More rapid than emails God's Spirit, it came
But the hierarchy said, "This is something to tame."
"Now bash her, that cancer! Now answer, you vixen!
On dogma, you're stupid!  We're fonder of Nixon!"
"You can stop at the kitchen, or clean the church hall
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
"As dry heaves that before the wild vomiting hurl,
We'd rather close churches than follow a girl!"
So up to the altar the clerics they flew
With glittering vestments and an empty pew
And then in a twinkling we heard in the news
The dancing and stalling of episcopal crews
As we knew in our heads clergy abuses abound
Down came their credibility crashing to the ground.
They were dressed all in silk from their heads to their toes
But their words could have won them Pinocchio's nose
A bundle of social doctrine they'd thrown out in the back
And acted like Vatican II was written by a quack.
Their chasubles, how they twinkled! Their preaching, how scary!
Their chalices, how golden!  But of women, they're wary
Their droll little quips about women are failin'
Except with Republicans or perhaps Sarah Palin
A stump of dated biology they hold tight in their mind
Creating smokescreens of canons that restrict and confine     
They have a broad set of rules that seem rather silly
But adhere to them all somewhat willy nilly
Some are chubby and plump; Some are jolly; some have wealth
But their culture is imbued with oodles of stealth
A wink of their eyes and a twist of some facts
Without recourse they can give some people the ax
But the Spirit speaks not a word just goes straight to its work
Filling the people - even if outside the pews they lurk
And laying a foundation aligned with Christ's actions
It gave a disapproving nod, then decried all the factions
It works night and day, to its "peeps" giving a whistle
And they are all called as stated in Paul's epistle
But I heard the Spirit exclaim though it's always out of sight,
"Happy Pentecost to all and may you all be guided right."


New Website - The Catholic Tipping Point

SchullerFr. Helmut Schüller, founder of the Austrian Priests' Initiative, a movement organized in 2006 to address an increasing shortage of priests, will be on a national speaking tour this summer.

His "Call to Disobedience," signed by a majority of Austrian priests, has brought worldwide attention and momentum to addressing the crises in the Catholic Church. Today, he leads a practical movement that recognizes the Holy Spirit among the laity and the necessity of reforming church governance. Join Helmut Schüller and Catholics across the country in a new season of dialogue.

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New Translation of the Roman Missal 

What US Priests Really Think About the New Translation

Posted by Rita Ferrone    May 21,2013


The results of a new, broad-based study, released today, have provided a clear and detailed view of the opinions of priests concerning the new English translation of the Roman Missal. The survey reveals that the opinion of priests in the United States is sharply divided, with a clear majority disliking the new translation and calling for its revision. The survey will be an important milestone in establishing what priests really think of the Missal translation.

The findings are striking. 59% of priests do not like the new translation, compared with 39% who do. An overwhelming 80% agree that some of the language is awkward and distracting. 61% think the translation needs urgently to be revised. In what is perhaps the most timely element, 61% of priests do not want the rest of the liturgical books to be translated in the same manner. The process of re-translating the Liturgy of the Hours and the rites of the Sacraments is currently underway.

The survey was conducted under the auspices of the Godfrey Diekmann, OSB, Center for Patristics and Liturgical Studies at St. John's University School of Theology-Seminary, in Collegeville MN. The project manager was Chase Becker, assisted by Audrey Seah and Christine Condyles, and advised by Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, with the aid of Dr. Pamela Bacon, a professional consultant. Every Latin Rite diocese in the US was invited to participate in the survey (there are 178), and of these, 32 from all regions of the country chose to take part. A total of 1,536 priests (diocesan and religious) responded, a response rate of 42.5%. The full results are available here.


Survey Reactions

 May 21,2013


Bishop Robert H. Brom

Bishop of San Diego

I am not at all surprised at the results of the survey conducted by the Godfrey Diekmann Center at Saint John's university.  . . . .

Fr. Anthony E. Cutcher
With the promulgation of the Third Roman Missal, we priests have been placed in an untenable position - forced to choose between fidelity to the magisterium and feeding our people. Precisely because this edition is seen as a "top-down" project, many priests feel that the magisterium has not kept faith with them, so they feel no compunction to be faithful to magisterium.  . . . .
Fr. Edward Foley, Capuchin
Professor of spirituality, liturgy, and music at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago; former president of the board of "We Believe"; founder and originating member of the executive committee of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy.
The texts do strike me as consistently awkward, too formal for "American" ears, and exceedingly difficult to render intelligibly. The most disappointing result of this survey for me is that most priests doubt that their views about the translation will be seriously addressed; on the other hand, this too is not surprising since they were never consulted in the first place.
Dr. Peter Jeffery 
Professor of medieval studies and theology and co-director of the Master of Sacred Music program at Notre Dame University; author of Translating Tradition: A Chant Historian Reads Liturgiam Authenticam(Liturgical Press, 2005), a study of the 2001 Vatican document calling for retranslation of all the liturgical books.
So my first question is: why did 82.1% of dioceses decide not to forward this survey to their priests? Do they think it is better not know what priests think?  The other statistic that really stands out could be the reverse side of the same coin: 855 priests disagree or disagree strongly with the statement "I am confident that the views of priests will be taken seriously in future decisions about liturgical translation."  . . . . 
Fr. Michael G. Ryan 
Pastor of Saint James Cathedral, Seattle; founder and initiator of "What if we just said wait? 

How telling that after the huge amount of time, money, and energy expended to get us to embrace the new texts, not only did the Missal fail to win over a significant majority of priests, but 15% of those who looked forward to the new Missal have ended up disliking it!  The high level of dissatisfaction among priests should be a grave concern for the bishops, assuming they care about what their priests are thinking and feeling.  . . . .

Most Reverend Donald W. Trautman, STD, SSL 

Bishop Emeritus of Erie

It is an undisputed fact that the overwhelming majority of priests responding to recent surveys are not in favor of the new missal translation.  . . . .  What worries me the most are the comments that show the priests do not find the new translation prayerful. Our priests and our people are not being fed spiritually by these flawed texts. Survey after survey has documented the same results. We have a clear collegial expression of the pastoral and spiritual concern that needs to be heard.  This is no longer just a liturgical problem, it is an ecclesiological problem. The priests have spoken; the bishops need to listen and act. 

 . . . .

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Upcoming Events  
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June 1, 2013 

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June 7, 2013  

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2013 June 24-27, 2013  Seattle,WA   
 "Lumen Gentium, God's Pilgrim People." 
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