Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Rigali is asked to testify before grand jury

CARDINAL JUSTIN Rigali, eight months on the job, has been contacted by a Philadelphia grand jury probing Catholic priests' sexual abuse of minors, the Daily News has learned.

The nature of Rigali's appearance, and whether it has occurred, could not be determined.

Legal experts say it makes sense to call the cardinal - in effect the new chief executive of an organization under investigation - without any suggestion of liability on his part.

The cardinal's testimony would follow repeated appearances by retired Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, Rigali's predecessor. It comes amid indications the archdiocese is wrestling with a prosecution offer to plead guilty to coverup-related charges.

Any plea is expected to include the archdiocese's accepting responsibility for alleged improper conduct by pleading guilty, probably as a misdemeanor.

Sources said the D.A.'s request suggested strongly there would be no prosecution of Bevilacqua or other priest-administrators in exchange for a plea that would wrap up the investigation.

But influential figures on the archdiocese's side are opposing any deal that would acknowledge guilt. They liken the grand jury to a witch-hunt that's far out of proportion with the church's response to long-ago crimes and that ignores recent reform efforts.
Article here.

Diocese of Tucson weighs bankruptcy

Lawyers for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson say Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas is making plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

If the diocese follows through on what its attorneys say is "the only viable" way to financially resolve pending lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, it will be the first U.S. Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy. Under bankruptcy protection, local Catholic parishioners would be in the unprecedented position of being part of a church whose purse strings are monitored by the courts.
Article here.

US Bishops, Abortion question draws protesters

ENGLEWOOD - Judie Brown said she believes Catholic bishops have a moral obligation to warn abortion rights politicians - including presidential hopeful John Kerry - that they risk an eternity in hell if they continue to take Communion while in a state of grave sin.

Lena Woltering said she thinks that when people like Brown say that, the Eucharist is being used as a political weapon in an election year.

Brown, founder and president of the American Life League, said the abortion issue trumps all others when it comes to bishops speaking out on matters facing congregations. To allow Catholic politicians to take the Eucharist while supporting abortion rights is akin to "desecrating Christ," Brown said.

Woltering, who sits on the board of Call To Action - a national organization seeking Catholic Church reforms - said there is much inconsistency with a hardline stance that denies Communion to abortion-rights politicians.
Apparently, Woltering has not read the Holy Father's Encyclical or any of the other documents relating to this issue.

Article here.

No news yet on Communion Issue

The bishops also spent the afternoon discussing whether Catholic lawmakers who defy church teaching on abortion should be denied Communion, several church officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said. In a sign of how delicate the issue is for the church, the Vatican office responsible for doctrinal issues sent the bishops' meeting a letter of guidance on how to approach the Communion controversy, the church officials said.


Catholic bishops authorize abuse audit

McChesney and crowd still have jobs, it seems.
America's Roman Catholic bishops voted overwhelmingly to authorize more evaluations of sex abuse prevention plans in all U.S. dioceses, despite earlier attempts by some church leaders to delay further audits.

Link here.

This could have been resolved when Bishop Bruskewitz made an appeal at the Dallas Bishops' meeting for a special commission to study the relation of homosexual clergy and theological dissent to the sex abuse scandals. Of course, his intervention was voted down. Many of the bishops refuse to deal with rampant homosexuality just as they refuse to deal with dissent. For those who wish to revisit some of the details, see this Wanderer article. It may help some in reconnecting the dots again.

A Great Moral Battle Brews in America...

A great moral battle is brewing and what is needed is decisive action, ardent prayers and steadfast hearts. This calls for a true spiritual crusade.

Using the same-sex “marriage” issue as a catalyst, Americans must work untiringly to create the moral climate where homosexuality is rejected. They must pressure their leaders to act urgently and decisively.

Ballot initiatives are already underway in many states that would add constitutional protection for marriage on a state level. Many organizations are rallying throughout the country to show politicians just how strong traditional marriage support is.

Above all, Catholics need to get involved now. Catholics are the largest bloc of the American population with a consistent body of doctrine on this issue that, even if only a minority is mobilized, have the best possibility to resist same-sex “marriage.”

Those who uphold traditional marriage must not be intimidated! Pro-family Americans must voice their rejection loudly and firmly, legally and peacefully, in defense of Christian morals.

Above all, they must take the Fatima Message to heart. Decisive action, together with prayer, penance and amendment of life, make up the formula for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Full Article here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Parish Mission Update and More....


Q&A: Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput

The Denver Post has a Q&A segment with Archbishop Chaput on the eve of the Bishops' Meeting.
Q: Some Catholics are worried that if the church's leaders focus on certain issues over others, they appear partisan. Do you share that concern?

A: No. That's almost always code language for telling the Church to be quiet about abortion. There are many, many people of both major parties, Republicans and Democrats, who work for the Church in Colorado. The Church is never partisan. Here in Denver, both of my senior legislative advisers are active Democrats. More than 80 percent of our state lobbying efforts and the vast majority of our Church's financial and personnel resources go to social issues that have nothing to do with abortion. But that doesn't change the fact that abortion is the central social issue of this moment in our national history - not the only issue, but the foundational issue; the pivotal issue. For Catholics to ignore it or downplay it or "contextualize" it would be an act of cowardice.

Activists tout their causes

or so says the Denver Post...

Here is a list of the groups listed in the article:
Women's Ordination Conference
Randall Terry and group Operation Rescue
Colorado Concerned Catholics
Call to Action
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Link here.

Holy See Readies Guidelines on "New Age"

The Holy See is studying the answers given by local Churches in regard to New Age and is preparing a document of guidelines for bishops on the subject.
Zenit Article.

Catholic bishops meet amid demonstrations

Another Post Dispatch article. There are even three womyn representing the Women's Ordination Conference there.
Article here.

Bishops may wrestle with fellows' statements on politics

These are Sunday's St. Louis Post Dispatch words. The story comments on Bishop Sheridan's pastoral letter (on politics?) and on Archbishop Burke's previous notification. It even quotes Fr. Richard McBrien and others in an anticipation of a rebuke of some sort of Abp. Burke, Bishop Sheridan, and others who have taken the position of safeguarding the Holy Eucharist.

Link here.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Bishop Doran Reflects on the Ad Limina Visit

Article here or here.

U.S. bishops strangled by their own bureaucracy

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a "good ol'boys club," says John Blewett, a group choked with bureacrats who have pre-empted the authority of the bishops and use the organization to further their own agenda.
In our country today, it is becoming more and more obvious that our bishops, with few exceptions, suffer from two great handicaps. First, they have an "identity crisis" and have forgotten or never did understand correctly their individual roles as the apostles’ successors; for if they did understand correctly, they would not be involved in the careerism, political ambition, and status seeking that consume so many of them, and they would see the wisdom in giving up their palaces and their perks for a simpler, holier life.

The second big handicap affecting most bishops today is that they suffer from a "communications gap" which they have created themselves, perhaps unwittingly. They have lost touch with the needs of the faithful, and, most tragically, with the faithful themselves. The grass roots Catholic, the Catholic in the pew, cannot penetrate the bureaucracy surrounding his bishop, nor is it easy for the bishop to break through this same stifling bureaucracy so that he can know the true mind and needs of his flock. The bishops have sold their birthright for this bureaucracy and they lack the courage to deal with the militant feminists, homosexuals and others with dissenting agendae who dominate it.
Cruxnews Article.

Some Law Professors Foresee Challenges to City Names

This appeared on CWNews this morning...
No L.A.? It's no joke.

A strong legal argument can be made that the name of the city of Los Angeles -- even worse its formal name, "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Little Portion" -- violates the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state.
Jay Seculow, a radio host and chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a Virginia-based public interest law firm founded by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson -- which had offered to defend the Los Angeles County seal in court -- said the fight over the seal is part of a trend.

"(The goal is to) purge all religious observances and references from American public life. Will (opponents) try to get the name of Los Angeles changed? Sure. Why not, if they can get the cross removed from the seal?"
L.A. Daily News Article.

Communion flap reaches N.D.

Catholics who may be personally opposed to abortion, but whose public words and actions demonstrate otherwise, should refrain from receiving Holy Communion, said Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo.

Catholics who separate their faith lives from their professional and social activities jeopardize the salvation of their souls, he said during a recent homily.

Bishops Meet in Colorado

Internal rifts over the politics of Holy Communion and the handling of the clergy sex abuse crisis have become uncomfortably public for the Roman Catholic church.

In a private retreat set to begin Monday, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops will discuss those and other issues the church now faces.

Bush Asked for Vatican's Help

On his recent trip to Rome, President Bush asked a top Vatican official to push American bishops to speak out more about political issues, including same-sex marriage, according to a report in the National Catholic Reporter, an independent newspaper.

Pope Explains Why He Convoked "Year of the Eucharist"

John Paul II said he convoked the "Year of the Eucharist" because the program he presented to the Church at the start of the millennium is based on "starting afresh from Christ."
Zenit article.

Eucharist Is "Center of the Life of the Church"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 13, 2004 ( Here is the address John Paul II delivered today before praying the midday Angelus at St. Peter's Square.
Zenit Link.