“We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it.”
– Cardinal Timothy Dolan
If you can pry yourself away from NFL games for a little bit, you might notice there’s a great variety of entertainment in television and movie theaters this fall. There’s something rather shocking though – how many times a piece of entertainment seemingly unrelated to the “real world” in fact shows precisely what’s going on in our society. Take the newest selection of DVDs in stores. A sleeper hit from this summer, “For Greater Glory”, is now available on DVD. The film depicts the true story of Mexican peasants who revolted and took up arms in the 1920s, and was reviewed in one of my earlier Examiner columns.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like the type of story that Americans could related to. Yet the movie turned out to be extremely timely and relevant with its message, because what the Mexican government did in the 1920s began to appear eerily similar to the Obama administration’s Health Care mandate in 2012. Both were draconian laws that forced Catholic institutions to violate their own conscience. Writing in the Washington Post, film critic Lauren Markoe noted: “For Catholics enraged by the Obama administration’s proposed contraception mandate, the film about the Mexican church’s fight in 1920s is a heartening and timely cinematic boost in the American church’s battle to preserve ‘religious freedom in 2012”. Around the same time the movie came out this summer, the newly elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, noted, “We have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.”
For those who haven’t seen the film yet and wonder what all the fuss is about, “For Greater Glory” is now coming to Chicagoland, and this time it’s available free of charge. The local chapters of the Knights of Columbus, along with the Respect Life Committee of St. Bernard’s parish in Homer Glen, are inviting the public to a free screening during a movie night they have arranged for later this week. It is especially being empathized for youth groups and Hispanics, but all are welcome to come.
The Diocese of Joliet, Ill. Is promoting the event on their website, stating: “This major motion picture tells the epic, untold story of the Cristero War in 1920′s Mexico and the nation’s quest for religious liberty. Come enjoy the all-star cast and hear the story that will resonate with you in light of current events. Bring your friends”. Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs, CO gives us a quote that nicely sums up why the film has gotten the buzz it has: “This deeply moving account of the Cristeros’ fight for the freedom of religion in Mexico is very much a story for our own times. The faith and courage of the Mexican martyrs—clergy and laity—makes us proud to be Catholics.” Advertisements for the movie screening are accompanied with an article for earlier this year entitled “What Mexico Teaches Us”, written Carl A. Anderson, and Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. I highly recommend it.
If you didn’t have a chance to see the film and theaters and you’re curious about it, then you, my faithful readers, should consider coming to St. Bernard’s as well – especially if you live in the far south part of Chicagoland where the movie screening will occur. Date and time is as follows:
See the movie “FOR GREATER GLORY”
Friday, October 5th—7 PM
St. Bernard’s Pastoral Center
13030 W. 143rd. St.
Homer Glen, IL 60491
There is no charge to attend.
For Greater Glory: St. Bernard’s Respect Life Committee along with the Knights of Columbus, are sponsoring the film For Greater Glory at St. Bernard’s Pastoral Center, 13030 W. 143rd St., Homer Glen. The movie night is free to all.
But perhaps historical dramas just aren’t your thing. Some of us like our film and television grounded in the true stories, like my mother does. Other people – like me – prefer escapist fantasy to take our minds off the dull and mundane real world. Such people enjoy viewing science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
One such well received television series – which unfortunately has now been canceled – was the recent remake of the classic sci-fi miniseries “V”. It was released on DVD just last year, and departs quite a bit from the 1983 original that it is loosely based on. But the premise is the same: a fleet of motherships from a distant planet arrive in Earth’s orbit, and hover above every major city on the planet. The aliens, who call themselves “the visitors”, seem to look just like us, but on the inside, it turns out they are actually reptilian creatures with a taste for live rats.
Of course, this is such an out-of-this-world premise (pun intended), you might be wondering what the heck it’s doing in a column about Catholic issues in Chicago. Certainly that has nothing to do with Catholicism, right? Think again. In both the original the 1980s V and the 2009-2010 remake, one of the heroes of the story is a Roman Catholic priest (Father Andrew Doyle in the original, Father Jack Landry in the remake) In both shows, the priest acts as a moral compass during the crisis of the invasion, and the television series address Catholic topics such as whether there is ever a just cause for war, and dealing with crisis’s like unplanned pregnancies. But even this plays second fiddle to a major plot point in the 2009 “V”, where the aliens motives and people’s reaction to them begins to eerily parallel the conflict between church and state in America and the battle over religious liberty today. One person reviewing the show found it uncomfortable, noting in his critique of the episode “Red Sky” . He wrote: “There is no wrath, after all, like an atheist socked in the face with preachy religious messages in the middle of a science fiction program that’s supposed to be about, well, science fiction, and I didn’t want to have a completely incoherent rant splashed all over search engines for the rest of time. “ What happened in the episode to distress him so much?
Over the course of the show, the characters begin to learn that the V’s intentions are often misleading and they are hiding their true goals. Much like our current government, the V’s argue that people are being paranoid and bigoted against them, and that they are scared of change when the V’s only want to help humanity by giving everyone access to free health care and bringing about a new era of peace. Catholic figures who question whether their policies are actually helping are swiftly attacked by major media outlets, who argue they are preaching “hate speech” against the V’s. One news reporter, Chad Decker, is convinced that the V’s “Healing Centers” cured him of a fatal aliment. But those who have researched the issue realize the facts. Father Jack Landry explains that the V’s actually induced the problem in the first place and then “cured” him of it to gain sympathy. He tells Chad, “Anna didn’t cure your aneurysm. She gave you one.” He then directs Chad to the area where the Visitors take the human guests “Live Aboards”. Chad finally realizes the evil of the V “health care”, as he witnesses firsthand the horrific testing being done on humans. Seeing the V’s drilling needles into people and torturing them makes him squeamish.
Father Jack Landry is constantly conflicted about whether to publicly speak out against the V’s, seeing how many people strongly support them and think they’re doing their best to help mankind when the Catholic Church stands in the way, but Fr. Landry realizes in the episode “Red Sky” he must abide by his conscience and do what is right, even if it means disobeying the orders of the church pastor who is sympathetic to the V’s. Fr. Landry’s concern is that people are turning away from God and increasingly seeing the V’s as God because of their mighty power and charisma. He speaks from his heart to his congregation with a homily entitled “The V’s as false prophets”. This is difficult in a Catholic Church, as many of the parishioner’s support the V’s in spite of their questionable actions. He tells them:
“I was lost, and now I am found. I lost the courage to tell you the truth, that you need to choose who you are going to follow—the V’s, or God? Because you can’t serve two masters… There is a war upon us, a war for our souls. With love, hope, and faith, we can overcome anything.”
When he begins to directly denounce the actions of the V’s, many parishioners walk out of St. Josephine’s Church, but some stay. Jack asks others to stand with him in this war for their souls, saying “Who among you will join me?” He notes:
“Let V no longer stand for Visitor, let V stand for Victory!”
By the time he has finished his homily, only about a dozen parishioners remain, scattered around the pews, but those who remain are standing in support of him. Although he is not a soldier, he proves he can be warrior through his faith. As a priest, he had a both a pulpit (literally) and an aura of moral authority. While the media is the mouthpiece of the V’s, he can be the public spokesman of the opposition.
Though they tell almost entirely different stories, both movies like “For Greater Glory” and television shows like “V” show us that Catholics are in a real war against the government for our very survival. In may not be a literal shooting war like we see on the screen, but the conflict is every bit as deadly and the stakes are just as high. What seems to be purely pieces of action and entertainment can teach us a lot about the problems of a government structure that does not see the sanctity of human life and understand the dignity of every human person, and a government that tries to impose its will and silence religion through bullying, scare tactics, name-calling, and raw force to coerce the public into supporting them and turning against Catholicism.
You may not have gotten a chance to see either of them first hand, but now with home video release, you can. “For Greater Glory” is expected to have a strong turnout for its screening at St. Bernard’s Church, and “V” is now available via live streaming on Netflix and other such sites. Both are certainly worth at least checking out once. When fiction becomes fact, what side will you take in the war?
The students in a Saint Vincent College class on Catholic political thought weren’t poring over campaign fact sheets last week, but discussing how ancient Greek philosophers might help them analyze current issues.
One student said pagan philosophy could help them frame arguments against abortion that would engage secular voters. “Appeals to reason are where politics and faith have to intersect,” he said. “The Greek philosophers’ methods are helpful for showing that our stand on this isn’t based on [religious] revelation.”
Michael Krom, a philosophy professor who teaches the class with his political science counterpart Jerome Foss, pointed out that the philosophers had no qualms about infanticide, which was common in ancient Greece. “Do I have to be a Christian to see that infanticide is wrong?” he asked. “Could it be that some of you are arguing that Christianity helps us to see more clearly the dignity of the human person?”
In Catholic theology, human dignity is at the center of public policy questions, and this is the first presidential election in which both parties have had a Catholic on the ticket. But both men, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan, have taken scorching criticism from Catholic circles over whether their policies are moral. Issues from gay marriage to health care have been part of that debate, but abortion and poverty have generated the most heat.
Professors Krom and Foss point their students to “Faithful Citizenship,” a document on political decision-making from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But that document itself has been blasted by some liberal Catholics for giving highest priority to opposing abortion and by some conservative Catholics for also insisting that concerns of the poor, immigrants and the environment can’t be dismissed.
“There isn’t any one Catholic party,” Mr. Krom said. “Each party holds some positions that are incompatible with the Catholic approach to politics.”
“Faithful Citizenship” calls for developing “a well-formed conscience.” That, it says, is done through a sincere, prayerful search for the truth that includes study of the Bible, Catholic theology and the issue at hand.
“A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position,” it said. However “there may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.”
Angela Marvin of Bethel Park, who teaches at Brookline Regional Catholic School, has volunteered for both Republican and Democratic candidates. She’s been an activist against abortion, against the death penalty, against genocide in Darfur and for school nutrition programs.
She will vote for Mr. Romney based on her study of “Faithful Citizenship.” She concluded that abortion is the worst moral evil because it deliberately destroys an innocent human life, while other evils are either less intentional or less severe in their impact. She believes that other Catholics who study the issues would also choose Mr. Romney.
“Many sincere, practicing Catholics are uninformed,” she said. “Sadly, the mass media often covers just the controversy of the election cycles and doesn’t really dig into the meat of the real issues.”
Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus of the Duquesne University School of Law, studied the same documents and emerged as the national co-chairman of Catholics for Obama. He opposes the Democratic Party’s stand for abortion rights, but believes proposed Republican budget cuts would so weaken the social safety net that thousands more women would seek abortions.
“If I thought that voting for President Obama would increase the number of abortions in America, I wouldn’t vote for him,” said Mr. Cafardi, editor of the Paulist Press book “Voting and Holiness.”
According to surveys of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Catholic voters lean toward Mr. Obama 54-39 percent. The margin is smaller among those who attend Mass weekly, with Obama over Romney 50-44. If black and Hispanic Catholics are removed, white Catholics who attend Mass weekly prefer Mr. Romney 53-42.
Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh said the church, like the civil law, has a hierarchy of ethics in which killing is worse than stealing. No Catholic can condone either, but the way they address them can vary.
“We have to be very, very, very careful about judging other people’s motives,” he said. “The role of the church isn’t to tell people who to vote for. The role of the church is to speak from the perspective of moral truth. Then it’s a question of how you make a decision with your conscience.”
Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan are both Mass-going Catholics who say the church influenced their approach to public duties. Yet they differ on issues that the church considers critically important.
Mr. Biden’s record of support for legal abortion has brought strong criticism from the bishops. He was banned from speaking at Catholic venues in his home diocese.
He drew fire for a 2008 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when he described abortion as a matter of private faith. He said he accepted church teaching but “for me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”
The bishops responded that his moral reasoning was wrong if a life was at stake. Archbishop Charles Chaput, now of Philadelphia, replied that the humanity of a fetus is established by science. “Resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion,” he wrote.
While Mr. Ryan credited the atheist writer Ayn Rand with firing his teenage interest in public policy, he has claimed Catholic orthodoxy as an adult. After the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops questioned the morality of cuts to social safety net programs in the proposed 2013 budget that he designed, he sent a lengthy defense to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
He cited the Catholic principle of subsidiarity — meaning that policy should be decided as close as possible to the grass roots. The budget plan, he said, empowered local decisions by converting some social programs to block grants for states.
“The budget better targets assistance to those in need, repairs the social safety net and fulfills the mission of health and retirement security for all Americans,” he wrote. “The budget reforms welfare for those who need it — the poor, sick and vulnerable; it ends welfare for those who don’t — entrenched corporations, the wealthiest Americans.”
Mr. Cafardi, who stresses that he’s not speaking for Duquesne, doesn’t believe that budget — which died in the Senate — would have done what Mr. Ryan claimed. Of those who believe they must vote for Mr. Romney because of his stand on abortion, he said, “We aren’t arguing about what the church teaches here but about the political means to achieve an end.”
He said he works to create respect for abortion opponents within the Democratic Party. He was unhappy with convention speeches by abortion-rights leaders, but “failure doesn’t mean that we stop trying,” he said.
His study of global policies led him to conclude that social support for pregnant women and new parents prevents more abortions than does a legal ban on them.
He cited WIC, the Women Infants and Children nutrition program that provides healthy food and nutrition education to pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children. It’s mandated in the Obama health reform act, but would suffer huge cuts under the Ryan budget, he said.
“If the Republicans are determined to cut those programs, we will see more abortions,” he said.
Earlier this year the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops raised moral questions about the Ryan budget. Bread for the World, a group with which they were allied, estimated that if the cuts to food programs passed, every church — including tiny congregations that can’t afford a full-time pastor — would need to raise an extra $50,000 a year to make up the difference.
In an April 17 statement, Bishop Stephen Blaire, who heads the bishops’ committee on domestic justice, said the Ryan budget “fails to meet [Catholic] moral criteria” of protecting human life and dignity and promoting the common good.
Other Catholic groups endorsed an alternative “Faithful Budget.” When Mr. Ryan spoke at Georgetown University, 80 faculty members, including Catholic theologians, accused him of twisting the idea of subsidiarity.
“Subsidiarity is not a free pass to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own devices,” they wrote.
Mr. Ryan insisted he wasn’t abandoning the poor but trying to avert the economic crisis that unsustainable spending led to in Greece. “Those unwilling to lift the debt are complicit in our acceleration toward a debt crisis, in which the poor would be hurt the first and the worst,” he said.
His plan would convert some federal poverty programs into block grants for states to tailor. It would eventually give senior citizens money to purchase a health insurance policy of their choice.
“I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government,” he said.
The “option for the poor” is a Catholic principle that policy must be based, first and foremost, on how it affects the poor.
“Ryan’s critics assume that the Catholic preferential option for the poor has to be exercised through government programs. That charge flatly contradicts Catholic social doctrine, which always prefers private sector solutions or a private-public sector mix,” said papal biographer George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Some liberals accused Mr. Ryan of promoting an “inhuman” form of capitalism that popes have denounced for putting profit ahead of people. It’s a complaint that Mr. Weigel finds baseless.
“Market economies throughout the western world are more regulated than they’ve ever been in history, short of wartime. It’s ludicrous to think that capitalism is unbridled,” he said.
The church endorses “the kind of regulation that keeps the market within the boundaries of law and that directs the activities of free economies to the common good. There’s a lot of room for healthy debate about what that kind of regulation amounts to.”
What isn’t healthy is a caricature of Mr. Ryan as someone who believes government has no duty to assist the poor, he said.
“Libertarianism is not a Catholic option, and Paul Ryan is no libertarian. Most conservative Catholics I know are quite serious about the church’s teaching on poverty and follow that teaching,” he said.
At St. Vincent, the Catholic Political Thought instructors are encouraged by a plan for the campus Republicans and Democrats to watch presidential debates together. They want the students to discuss the issues, not reinforce their own stereotypes.
Asked if there is a Catholic way to vote, Mr. Krom replied: “With prayer and fasting.”
Weeks before Republican Paul Ryan was selected to run for vice president, Sister Simone Campbell — who heads NETWORK, a Catholic policy and lobbying group — hit the road to protest the so-called “Ryan budget” recently passed by the House of Representatives.
She and some of her sister nuns rolled across the heartland on a bus trip designed to arouse public concern over what the Ryan plan would mean for social services in America, especially its slashing of programs for the poor. Sister Simone says Ryan’s budget is inconsistent with Catholic social teaching. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops agrees.
Below, watch an extended clip from our field report of that bus trip, featuring real people in need and a persistent message: Paul Ryan’s budget would hurt those already struggling to make ends meet.
Other Catholics have a different point of view. Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing and founder of the Faith Reason Institute, believes issues of economic inequality are being oversimplified, and that the focus should be on creating a more dynamic economy for all.
Watch a clip of my conversation with both Royal and Sister Simone, in which the two debate faith and economics.
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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sparked a debate in April over Catholic social teaching and the priorities in the federal budget. That debate may be resuscitated now that Ryan has been chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
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The debate began with an Ryan interview on CBN in April. He was asked how his Catholic faith informed the House Republican budget. As chair of the House Budget Committee, Ryan was the primary force behind that budget. It has been dubbed the “Ryan budget” as a result.
Ryan answered that his faith is central to his thinking regarding the federal budget. In particular, he mentioned two principles from Catholic social thought – subsidiarity and preferential option for the poor.
Ryan compared subsidiarity to federalism and said that the “government closest to the people governs best.”
“Preferential option for the poor” means that preference should be given to how a public policy impacts the poor before considering everyone else. For Ryan, that meant “don’t keep people poor, don’t make people dependent on government so that they stay stuck at their station in life.”
Ryan also wrote a letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in April 2011, saying that Catholic principles would be taken into consideration when crafting the budget. Dolan responded with a letter in May 2011 saying he appreciated Ryan’s assurances.
“The principles of Catholic social teaching contain truths that need to be applied. Thus, one must always exercise prudential judgment in applying these principles while never contradicting the intrinsic values that they protect,” Dolan wrote.
Ryan followed that up with a four-page letter to Dolan in April 29, 2011, which provided more detail about what he wished to accomplish with the federal budget.
“The House Budget’s overarching concern is to control and end the mortal threat of exploding debt,” Ryan wrote.
In response to Ryan’s CBN interview, Faith in Public Life, a politically liberal Christian advocacy organization, released a statement calling the Ryan budget “morally indefensible” because it “turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few.” Fifty-nine religious leaders signed the statement.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), a Catholic, also joined the debate by writing a letter to Dolan asking him to condemn the Ryan budget.
In a mid-April interview with The Christian Post, DeLauro spoke about how her Catholic faith informs her public policy views. The public policy issues that she cares about – “better jobs, education, affordable health care, protecting the most vulnerable, caring for the environment” – are central to her faith, DeLauro said. Since Jesus cared for the poor, DeLauro reasoned, it is incumbent upon government to not cut programs that provide aid for the poor.
For another perspective on the Ryan budget, The Christian Post also interviewed Rev. Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest and president of Acton Institute. His new book is Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy.
Sirico believes that Ryan also cares about the poor but is offering a different way to help the poor. While Church teaching says that public policies must consider the poor, Sirico argued that how you go about doing that is based upon prudence. Faithful Catholics can come to different conclusions about what is best for the poor, he said.
“John Paul XXIII said, and I’m paraphrasing, when it comes to applying these principles to the details of legislation, Catholics will have different points of view, and the important thing is that they should engage these things charitably,” Sirico explained.
While it is true that God is for the poor, Sirico said, the Bible does not dictate that “the government has to be the recourse of first resort.”
The debate on how Catholic and biblical teachings apply to the federal budget could come to the forefront of a public debate now that Ryan will play a more visible role in the November election. The issue has already been raised by Deal Hudson, writing for The Daily Beast, and Jeffrey Weiss, writing for Real Clear Religion.
Weiss predicted that Ryan will be able to energize the Republican base, much like Sarah Palin in 2008, but will be unlikely to mobilize swing Catholic voters to his side because of his budget priorities.
Hudson noted that since Vice President Joe Biden is also Catholic, a contrast could be made between two different styles of Catholicism. Both Biden and Ryan been have been criticized by Catholic bishops: Ryan for his budget priorities and Biden for his pro-choice position on abortion.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Catholic shepherd for eight years will receive his new flock Friday when he is installed as the bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.
Bishop Richard J. Malone, 66, most likely will be remembered by Maine Catholics for his New Evangelization plan, which consolidated 137 parishes into 57. For non-Catholics, Malone’s legacy may be his leadership role in opposing same-sex marriage in 2009 and again this year.
Malone was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., on May 29. He was welcomed last week to his new home by a small contingent of diocesan officials and schoolchildren at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
That diocese is made up of 633,000 Catholics, three times the number in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.
“It feels like a daunting thing,” the bishop said of his new assignment in an interview July 30. “There are three times as many priests and about 800 nuns [in Buffalo]. We have one Catholic college in Maine, seven there. But it is not as big geographically — 6,300 square miles there compared to 33,215 here. So the gas bill will be a lot less.”
Malone said that by publicly taking stands against same-sex marriage and the provision in President Barack Obama’s health care plan that mandated coverage for birth control he was fulfilling his role to advance Catholic teaching.
“I believe it has been a very good thing for the Bishop to weigh in on issues that directly affect the moral principles and teachings of our church,” Baber said. “He reflected our core beliefs as Catholics and made it clear that we as a church need to become involved when our core beliefs are at risk.”
The bishop’s statements on both subjects have been in line with those made by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and most of his colleagues. Over the past eight years, he created Harvest magazine, published six times a year by the diocese, and launched The Presence radio network as a way to better communicate church teachings to Catholics and non-Catholics.
“The thing that’s sometimes a secret or a mystery to people, but is the truth, is that every single aspect of Catholic teaching, every bit of it, is connected with every other bit of it,” Malone said. “If you think of a constellation of stars in the sky, that’s really how Catholic teaching works. Sometimes people deal with these things as though they are all disparate teachings, all disconnected.
“For example, our concern about the nature of marriage comes down to how we think about the nature of man and woman in Catholic theology,” he continued. “It gets that basic, in that man and woman are made for complementarity and for fruitfulness in terms of new life. Before we even talk about marriage and so-called same-sex marriage, we talk about what we call theological anthropology, which is big words for how do Catholics talk about the human person as God has created us.”
In the 2009, the diocese gave $500,000 and lent its public policy director full time to the campaign that successfully repealed, by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent, Maine’s same-sex marriage law.
Malone announced in March that he and the diocese would sit on the sidelines during this year’s same-sex marriage referendum campaign. The bishop said the diocese instead would focus on teaching parishioners about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and he issued a pastoral letter on the subject.
Some Catholics disagree with how Malone has handled the issue and feel it has caused people to leave the church.
“His very visible role in the same-sex marriage vote the last time cost the church heavily,” Sue Ewing of Portland, a member of Catholics for Marriage Equality, said Thursday in an email. “Not just in money, but in the loss of countless thinking Catholics who had no stomach for injustice. People left in droves because of this and his stand on the Obama health care program.”
The diocese’s own statistics point to a loss of members during Malone’s tenure. When he was installed in 2004, there were 234,000 Roman Catholics in the diocese. As Malone leaves the state, there are 187,306 adherents, according to information posted on the diocesan website. While Maine has the lowest percentage of people in the country who claim a religious affiliation, the Catholic Church has the most members of any denomination in Maine.
The Rev. Jill Saxby, head of the Maine Council of Churches, of which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is a member, said Thursday that Malone raised the political profile of the diocese in Maine. She said that under his leadership, the church has spoken out on many other issues.
“What I think of when I think of the Catholic Church’s presence in the political sphere is their unflagging public moral witness — on their own and side by side with the Protestant churches through MCC, which the Diocese has faithfully supported — on issues of poverty, the environment and human rights,” she said in an email. “In all of these areas, Bishop Malone, the Diocese, and many individual Roman Catholics, have been consistent advocates for justice, especially on behalf of the most vulnerable and the voiceless. This is, of course, in line with Catholic social teaching.”
During the last few years of his tenure, Malone came under fire from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP. The organization has urged Malone to create an online registry of priests who have been removed from the ministry because of credible allegations of abuse. Malone has refused to do that but has said local church officials and law enforcement are informed where a priest removed from the ministry is living.
“The purpose of a diocese online registry is twofold,” Robert Gossert, the SNAP representative for Maine, said Wednesday in an email. “One, by giving names and the current locations of the abusers, the public can protect children; two, by giving all previous assignments of abusers, parents, parishioners and others can gain knowledge of possible contact between their child and abusers.
“Bishops are responsible for the behavior of the priests who live in their state, even if they come from somewhere else, even if their crimes were committed in other states, even if they belong to an order whose principal and central office[s] are located in another state,” he said. “To include not only priests removed from ministry but also those who are still priests but are prohibited to practice ministry because of past sex convictions is equally essential.”
When asked last week if the sex abuse scandal is over, Malone said, “Yes and no.”
“As long as we have humans being wounded by sin, how can we ever guarantee there will be no abuse?” he said. “I am confident that we have protocols in place for a safe environment. We can reduce the possibility, be we can’t guarantee it will never happen again.”
Malone pointed out that for the past six years an external audit of the diocese has found it to be in compliance with the standards and effectiveness of its child protection policies and practices.
A Beverly, Mass., native, Malone was ordained a priest in 1972 and spent the bulk of his career in and around Boston, where he was elevated to auxiliary bishop in 2000, before being named bishop of Maine four years later.
At his installation on March 31, 2004, Malone outlined his goals for the diocese:
• Reconfiguring parishes so that evangelization can be effective.
• A special focus on nurturing people interested in the priesthood and religious life.
• Identifying, supporting and collaborating with lay leaders.
• Making education a priority by supporting Catholic schools, lifelong faith formation, adult religious education and youth and young-adult ministry.
• Advancing Catholic teaching on matters of social justice, peace and respect for human life.
As Malone prepared for the transition to his new job in Buffalo, the bishop, Catholics and others reflected on his effectiveness in implementing those goals and his legacy.
“Bishop Malone’s greatest legacy has been his efforts in promoting the New Evangelization of the Catholic faith here in Maine,” Brett Baber, an active Catholic from Veazie, said earlier this week in an email. “Through those efforts, the bishop sought to reach out to nonpracticing Catholics and nonreligious [people] to encourage those individuals to consider joining the Catholic church once again or for the first time in their lives.”
The New Evangelization plan, announced in the year after Malone’s installation, called for a shift in the way ordained and lay Catholics view their roles in the church. One of the driving forces behind the reorganization was the number of priests expected to retire by 2010. When the plan was announced in 2005, there were 90 active diocesan priests. According to information on the diocesan website Thursday, there are now 69 active diocesan priests in Maine and 86 who are retired or ill.
Under Malone’s guidance, parishes now are made up of a group of churches in geographic regions with between two and 10 worship sites in each parish. Parishes are overseen by one board made up of members from each church.
That reconfiguration is “pretty much finished,” except for two or three clusters in the Portland area, Malone said in the interview. Under his leadership, 16 churches, six schools and some seasonal missions were closed.
“Structurally speaking, we have moved in the right direction,” he said. “Now what we need to do is strengthen our efforts at evangelization with more outreach to inactive Catholics in particular. The other piece of evangelization is to try to make the world better, to try to transform what is in many ways a very secular culture and to have more godly values.”
During Malone’s tenure in Maine, 13 men were ordained as priests, and the membership of the permanent diaconate — married men ordained to assist priests in nonsacramental duties — increased. Malone also expanded the role of the laity and consolidated youth and teen faith education programs to focus on lifelong faith formation. In addition to those changes, Malone raised $42.2 million in pledges in a capital campaign in which 25 percent of the money raised is to be returned to parishes where contributors worship.
Although Malone has moved to Buffalo, he will continue to oversee the Maine diocese. Last month, Pope Benedict XVI appointed the bishop its apostolic administrator in Maine, effective the day of his installation in Buffalo.
Malone will continue to serve Catholics in Maine and western New York until the pope names a new bishop for the Diocese of Portland.
“I was surprised to be asked to do this,” Malone said last week. “It is kind of unusual for a former bishop just beginning in a new diocese to be asked to take care of the old diocese. Normally, the Holy Father would ask another bishop from somewhere in New England, such as the Archdiocese of Boston, to administer the diocese.”
Day-to-day operations will be handled by Monsignor Andrew Dubois and Monsignor Michael J. Henchal, who served as vicars general under Malone. The bishop said he would teleconference weekly with key staff members in Maine and spend a couple of days a month in the state.
Malone said that as apostolic administrator he would have all the authority he had as bishop in Maine but would not be able to do anything “significantly new,” such as authorize construction of a new building or close a church.
Although he will continue to speak to Maine Catholics about same-sex marriage, Malone has registered to vote in New York and plans to cast his ballot in Buffalo, Sue Bernard, spokeswoman for the diocese, said Thursday.
It is unlikely a new bishop will be named for Maine before the November election. Malone said he hopes his successor will “be vigorously involved in the work of the New Evangelization plan.”
“We just have too many empty seats at the Lord’s table on Sundays,” he said. “Even though there is this hyped-up promotion of atheism these days, I don’t think that’s the issue with inactive Catholics. People’s lives get busy. Church drops down on this list of activities. We need to be more effective in addressing that than we have been.”
Baber agreed that reaching the 70 percent of Maine residents who are not actively involved in a church or who do not believe in God should be a priority for the next bishop.
“The next bishop should listen to his flock,” she said. “We are the church, rather than the 2 percent of those ordained. We will no longer just pay, pray and obey. We are educated and informed and want to live the gospel message of love and compassion and inclusivity.”
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Published: June 25, 2012
Archbishop Gomez on the Fortnight for Freedom
Los Angeles archbishop Jose Gomez wrote the following June 21 posting on the First Things website.
On June 21, the night before the Catholic Church traditionally remembers the martyrdom of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More at the hands of King Henry VIII, American Catholics will begin a unique two-week vigil of prayer, sacrifice, and public witness for the cause of religious liberty.
The Fortnight for Freedom was called by my brothers in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it will conclude with the ringing of bells in churches all across the country on July 4, the memorial of our country’s independence. The bishops aren’t comparing the conditions of the American church in the early 21st century with that of Catholics persecuted during the English Reformation. We’re blessed in our country with a religious liberty that, sadly, most people in the world today do not enjoy. According to the Pew Center, three out of four people worldwide live in a country where the government doesn’t protect their right to worship and serve the God they believe in.
This global context puts the Catholic Church’s current conflict with the U.S. government in some perspective. But just because believers today aren’t executed for their beliefs and are free to go to church on Sundays, that doesn’t mean freedom of religion isn’t in jeopardy in America.
For our country’s founders—and for every American generation until now—freedom of religion has meant much more than the freedom to worship. Freedom of religion has meant the freedom to establish institutions to help us live out our faith and carry out our religious duties. Freedom of religion has meant the freedom to express our faith and values in political debates—and the freedom to try to persuade others to share our convictions.
In recent years, many have observed that our American consensus on religious liberty, conscience protection, and religion’s public role has been eroding. There are many causes for this. The first is the reality of religious indifferentism or “practical atheism”—the fact that growing numbers of people in our society are living as if God doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. There’s no reason to care about religious freedom if you don’t care about being religious.
But our freedoms are also being eroded as the result of constant agitation from de-Christianizing and secularizing elements in American society. In the public arena, we’ve seen relentless efforts to get Church agencies to go along with secular agendas that violate Catholic beliefs—from trying to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and sterilizations, to trying to coerce Catholic adoption agencies to place children with homosexual couples.
In our wider culture, Christian faith and values are increasingly portrayed—in the media, in the courts, even in comments from high government officials—as a form of bigotry. In our diverse, pluralistic society, it seems sometimes that Christianity is becoming the one lifestyle that can’t be tolerated to have a role in public life.
These same secularizing and de-Christianizing forces are at work in our current conflict with the federal government’s health insurance mandates. No one can credibly claim that this conflict with the government is about access to abortion and birth control, because unfortunately, both are widely available and affordable to anyone who wants them in this country, often subsidized by federal and state governments.
It’s hard to escape the conclusion that our present conflict is part of a larger cultural struggle to redefine America as a purely secular society—a society in which religious institutions have no legitimate public role unless they are serving the government’s purposes.
This struggle to secularize America has been going on for a long time. What’s new is that our government, which is entrusted with the duty to protect religious liberty, has now taken sides against the liberty of the nation’s largest religious community. In this present conflict, our government is using the full weight of its powers to try to dictate the terms under which the Catholic Church and individual Catholics will be permitted to participate in our society. For perhaps the first time in our history, our government is acting as if our human rights don’t come from the hand of God, but are instead “benefits” that the government can bestow, define, and take away.
I’ve had well-meaning people ask me: Why has this conflict become so important to the Church? Why won’t we just “compromise” and provide birth-control insurance to our employees? They want me to know that this would be a small price to pay for the greater good of the Church being able to keep serving the poor in her hospitals, schools, and charities.
I agree that this has been a needless and unprovoked distraction for the Church. Catholic institutions have been forced at many levels to divert time, energy, and resources better spent serving the poor to defending ourselves against this unwarranted threat to our freedom from our own government.
But the Church doesn’t serve the poor to please the government. We serve the poor because we are compelled by the love of Christ. This same love for Christ compels us to bear witness that life, marriage, and family are sacred and that preventing children from being born is immoral. So the “compromise” we’re being offered is no compromise at all. It’s capitulation. It’s the temptation to serve the government instead of God.
To read original story, Click here.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 12:10 AM By Dan
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 3:40 AM By Thomas Edward Miles
I now understand, “lets not make a MOUNTAIN out of a MOLE HILL!!” The Bishops are NO, Thomas More or John Fisher, that’s for sure!!! However, the chopping block is looking good!!!!
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 4:49 AM By MAX
In addition to praying this 4th of July, read the US Constitutution and urge others to do so. You will be surprised at how many times OBAMA has VIOLATED his OATH of OFFICE to uphold the Constitution. These are only two – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ” AND ” all legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (meaning that the Obama Administration can not make up its own laws).
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 7:20 AM By MacDonald
“But the Church doesn’t serve the poor to please the government. We serve the poor because we are compelled by the love of Christ.” LOVE IT! This reminds me of a speaker at the Anaheim Religious Ed Congress years ago who asked the huge crowd: who helps the poor because it makes them feel good, and then, who helps the poor because God says to? She said, “I’m with the SECOND group!” It’s not about feeling good or virtuous or showing off, it’s about obeying the commandments of the Almighty, which including helping the needy. Or else. (“Whatever you NEGLECTED to do for these of these…”)
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 7:55 AM By Camille
Religious liberty is a wonderful but nebulous goal to seek. A more concrete concern at present is the possible state authorization to expand the workforce by licensing midwives to kill babies, SB 623, Abortion, formerly SB 1338, is fast approaching a final vote in Sacramento. Be a Thomas More, stand up and declare you will not support this attack on Christian values.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 7:56 AM By Catherine
Archbishop Gomez wrote, “I’ve had well-meaning people ask me: Why has this conflict become so important to the Church? Why won’t we just “compromise” and provide birth control to our employees?” I would like to ask Archbishop Gomez if these well-meaning people are our own un-catechized fellow Catholics or even possibly other lead shepherds? Archbishop Gomez states that this attack on the Church is a “needless and unprovoked distraction for the Church” How can this battle be referred to as a needless unprovoked distraction? How can you win the battle if you keep ignoring the root cause? This latest attack is a well deserved punishment and a much needed wake up call for years of disobedience. Laity as well as clergy have been rebelling against, ignoring or trying to dismantle Church teaching. Our Catholic Institutions should be using their time, energy and resources to take care of the poorest of the poor, The SPIRITUALLY NEGLECTED. You DO provoke and invite the onslaught of secularism when you fail to defend and uphold all Church teaching. This battle has absolutely been provoked for years by the combination of disobedience and spiritual neglect. Our lead shepherds do have authority to enforce Canon 915. Our lead shepherds do have the authority to monitor what is taught in our Catholic Universities, Colleges, grade schools and other Catholic Institutions. Many of our own Catholics such as Kathleen Sebelius have from within provoked this battle while still receiving Holy Communion and calling themselves a Catholic in good standing. That was not a distraction. That was another in your face rejection of our Catholic Faith. Our bishops cannot just rely on the faithful for the Fortnight for Freedom. Our bishops have to courageously and charitably love the likes of Kathleen Sebelius just as much as the poor. After all even Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you; but me you have not always.” Matthew 26:11 Douay- Rheims Catholic Bible
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 8:03 AM By Rick DeLano
“So the ‘compromise’ we’re being offered is no compromise at all. It’s capitulation. It’s the temptation to serve the government instead of God.” Bravo, Your Excellency. The lines are, at long last, being clearly drawn. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this is now a fight, and fights require a strategy for victory, and a willingness to remove those within one’s own ranks who are committed partisans of the opposition. Canon 915.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 8:11 AM By Cole Thornton
On the previous Friday before this posting Bishop Gomez was in bed with Obama all excited over the lawless ruling concerning immigration and those under 30 here illegally. In this posting, with no mention of the word Obama, he goes after the “U.S. government”. When satan tempted Jesus I remember Jesus telling satan to be gone and get lost, not “maybe we can work next week on health care”, or “maybe we can partner next month on immigration”, or “fill in the blanks”. Reading Gomez comments is like watching a ping pong match.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 8:16 AM By MD
What a great article. I think the bishops have done a good job thus far at defending the freedom of our faith, but I have not seen it trickle down to the parish level enough. Every Mass should be educating the faithful about what is going on, that this is not a fight about contraception, but about the ability to serve God according to His Divine Law. Even if Obama Care is struck down this week, which I pray it is, our struggle with the government has just begun as it is very clear that they are on the offensive to secularize America more than it is already. The problem is, we have allowed it to become a secular society and are now reaping what we sewed. I am glad we are beginning to wake up now. There is great hope and our bishops have shown us this hope if we heed their call to prayer, fasting, sacrifice and education. God Love You.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 10:20 AM By JLS
If we have ostriches instead of bishops, then how has this come about?
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 10:27 AM By Ray
7:56 AM By Catherine. Catherine said it so right.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 12:48 PM By Ted
As long as he allows open dissenters at his Religious Ed conference, he has no credibility whatsoever on any subject.
He’s the same as Mahony, two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 1:49 PM By JLS
MD, I’ve heard the same tune, “beginning to wake up”, now for over thirty years … must be a very long dawn, or is it still twilight time?
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 1:52 PM By Bob One
Ted, please list the dissenters and what they have said that makes them dissenters. Thanks.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 2:56 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Ted, 12:48 PM,
As the leader of the opposition to the Religious Dis-Education Congress, I can’t agree that he has no credibility. His credibility is limited by his derelictions, but not non-existent.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 3:07 PM By lula
The condition we find ourselves in right now is the result of the prolonged practice of Satanic Sympathy = feeding evil by reason of doing Christian Charity. Charity demands understanding and clarity of thinking so that the recipient of it will learn to see the love of God and His Justice that after one ahs received the help, then, one must go ahead to do the right thing ~ how to feed oneself and solves one’s own problems. Helping someone out in an emergency, but not his/her poverty. it is not a sin to be poor, if one choices to stay there, its his/her choice. No one should be responsible for someone else’ choice. No one can eats for anyone else; let each gathers his/her own food for his/her mouth. We will take care of the young, the sick, the elderly and the inferred, but never the able bodies ~ even the animals know how to feed themselves, so they don’t perish! What we have encouraged is “Slothfulness” to too many for too long! time to do it right ” as ye saw so shall ye reap (eat).”
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 8:11 PM By max
wow! people calling an opus dei priest or in this case archbihswop a LIBERAL and a DISSENTER is something i never thought i’d see in my lifetime…
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 9:28 PM By JLS
Yes, Jesus fed 5000, and He did it in less than one day. He spent another three and a half years, or about 1260 days (less a few more for more such feedings maybe) preaching and teaching the Word. In fact He fed the thousands specifically so He could teach them. It sure does not seem to be the way the Church works it today … rather they simply feed them and then tell them all is well no matter what they choose to do.
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 11:57 PM By Carolyn
Psalm 10B. Rise up, Lord God! Raise your arm! Do not forget the poor!
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 1:05 AM By Denise Riggio
“The days of America are numbered.” John Anthony Hardon S.J. Servant of God When I heard him say this to a group of catechists that Fr. trained and founded of which I am a member, I honestly didn’t realize his prediction would occur in my lifetime.
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 10:47 AM By k
Denise Riggio, thank you for being a Marian Catechist. Are you going to the Church Teaches Forum in Louisville?
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 11:02 AM By Marie
I read the entire “Fortnight for Freedom: Why Now” article by Archbishop Gomez in the online FIRST THINGS 6/21/2012. There was an excellent comment by Charles N. Marrelli of “Writers for Life” that explains why a majority of Catholics would vote for radically pro-abortion President Barack Obama: ………
6.21.2012 | 3:10pm……..
Charles N. Marrelli says: I just don’t get it! And please, will someone explain it to me. I understand how we would want to schedule special events in support of a national campaign to teach and witness for religious liberty. But where has everyone been during the last forty years? The Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of 1973 legalized, and purportedly, moralized, abortion on demand! What similar national campaigns did we initiate for preborn life?……. I read recently that Archbishop William Lori called religious liberty, “the pre-eminent social-justice issue of our time.” In my opinion, the pre-eminent social injustice of all time is abortion-on-demand, and for four long decades millions of our preborn American citizens have suffered the worst kind of social injustice, not just the loss of religious liberty, but the loss of life itself! ………Regrettably, our nation’s religious leaders, and respected moralists, did not recognize the magnitude and severity of this greatest of evils. If they had, the majority of Catholics would not have voted for a radically pro-abortion president. ………Abortion on demand is a premeditated act that destroys the life of a preborn American citizen; the inevitable consequence is that we are a nation of barbarians. ……Prayers for our preborn American citizens,
…….Charles N. Marrelli….Writers for Life……Irvine, CA 92620….prolifedigest(DOT)com…………We are a nation of BARBARIANS, indeed!
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:07 PM By Cole Thornton
JLS, Soup kitchens in your local city afford the local bishop and some of his priests to come once a year, ladle food for a couple hours, take a few pictures for the local diocesan newspaper, make a couple of emotional statements, then go home. The clergy does this dressed in civilian clothes, no collars are seen, and nothing is changed by this charade. At least those 5000 Jesus fed got a pretty good sermon as they ate!
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 10:10 PM By JLS
You’ve hit the nail on the head, Marie. Soft episcopal language vs clear sharp bold confident language one finds in Scripture and Saints.
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:08 PM By JLS
Cole, of course something is changed by the soup kitchens … the recipients of the food go on to live another day or so. But the govt is capable of doing this, and after all maybe they supply most or a big part of the money. Maybe the govt participation is why the bishops go incognito, not wanting to take false credit for a govt operation.
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:45 PM By max
“St. Anthony’s Dining Room (45 Jones Street), has been serving free meals to the poor and homeless in the Tenderloin since 1950 and now serves about 3,000 meals a day. The dining room, which was a converted garage and sat about 200 people, has served approximately 38 million meals in its 62 years, often to people for whom this is their only guaranteed meal each day.” SOMEHOW, i think JESUS is not angry with this catholic outreach in san francisco…silly me…
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:05 PM By JLS
max, you are intentionally or numbly deflecting the issue. Why are you deceptively polarizing the faithful? There is a false rumor that traditionalists had the charity dimensions of the Church … Why do you bear this false witness against your neighbor?
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 10:10 AM By max
“Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:05 PM By JLS—max, you are intentionally or numbly deflecting the issue. Why are you deceptively polarizing the faithful? There is a false rumor that traditionalists had the charity dimensions of the Church … Why do you bear this false witness against your neighbor?” woo, boy, JLS, it looks like your typingh is getitng as bad as mine, becasue your post doesn’t make any sense. did you mean to write something else? like maybe “hate” instead of “had” ?
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 6:55 PM By JLS
max, if you did understand what my post says, then you’d be guilty of it, but in that you are obviously without guile, then it’s ok. No reason to get all fritzy about it.
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 11:30 PM By JLS
max, yes, “hate”, and you continue to avoid the engagement. Hit and run?
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 11:33 PM By JLS
max, maybe if the pastors in the Frisco area had been more faithful to Christ, then there would’ve been far fewer people lining up at the soup kitchen. Maybe the extreme imbalance between corporal works of mercy and spiritual works of mercy has been institutionalized, with govt help, to the point where the real Gospel has been forgotten.
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2012 4:28 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
JLS, 11:33 PM,
I think what you meant to write was, if the Bishops had taught more about the Capital Sin of Sloth, there would have been far fewer people lining up at the the soup kitchen?
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 6:41 AM By Mark from PA
Max, thank you for your post of 6/27, 6:45 PM. Yes, these people are doing the work of Christ, who said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these my brother, that you do unto me.”
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 7:42 AM By JLS
In other words, why feed the devilish. Convert them to the Bread from Heaven.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 8:49 AM By Mark from PA
Mr. Fisher, I read your comments just before I left for Mass. I hope that you listened to the second reading at Mass today. St. Paul spoke about sharing and equality. The gospel was one of my favorites, it spoke of the healing of a woman and also how Christ brought back to life a 12 year old girl.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 11:57 AM By Abeca Christian
Who really are the poor one has to ask. Who are they? It can’t be the ones who abuse the system at the expense of the hardworking Americans. Who really are the poor? Or are they poor in spirit?
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 12:19 PM By JLS
Kenneth, partially. But I tried to convey more than simply that the uncatechised poor would be slothful. I’m laying it on the doorstep of the bishops’ throne rooms … because that is what the Pope has done. In other words what good does it do to feed the belly without feeding the soul? None.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 2:19 PM By OSCAR
CCC: # 1866, and # 2411 need to be taught by Bishops, as well as Holy Scripture – 1 Thess 4:12 and 2 Thess 3:10. Do you think they are afraid of the wayward Nuns jumping up and down, and the Theologians who support Liberation Theology – stealing and coveting of others goods?
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 3:07 PM By JLS
Kenneth, I just now checked Wikipedia for a concept of Mexican political parties … I now understand why such a large portion of US hispanics vote Democrat … all the Mexican political parties are socialist in one way or another.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 6:06 PM By max
JLS, does each bishop really have a “throne room?” how very cool. “off with their heads!” “bring me my scepter!” i can just picture it now…
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 8:36 PM By Catherine
MarkfromPA, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” You are right Mark. A vote for Barack Obama was not at all helpful for the most vulnerable of your brothers and sisters or for the religious freedom of the Catholic Faith and other faiths.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 8:38 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
JLS, 3:07 PM,
The same could be said, and is being said, about the two major Parties in America. We have to use our God given judgement to decide which one is best at this time.
In Mexico, the PRI is the Party of Calles the butcher of the Cristeros, the PAN is closer to the Republcan model, and the the third one is closer to the Communist Party. Of course Calles’s Party is also closer to the Communist Party.
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 8:39 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Do you actually trust Wikipedia?
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 9:08 PM By JLS
The thing about ownership of money is that capitalism produces more of it. The money is not hidden in a bank vault but used. The whole issue is who should control how the money is spent. Welfare for people so they do not have to work? Various projects the pay those who work?
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 9:36 PM By Anne T.
Be careful what you wish for, Thomas Edward Miles. The French Revolutionaires did a lot of chopping off of heads only to find their heads chopped off in turn. And King Henry VIII, well he ended up mentally and physically incapacitated with some illeness that he probably contacted from an STD.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 9:45 PM By Anne T.
Thank you Archbishop Gomez for speaking out.
Posted Sunday, July 01, 2012 10:29 PM By Anne T.
Actually, Henry the VIII was a total mental and physical wreck before he died, not just incapacitated.
Posted Monday, July 02, 2012 5:40 AM By Canisius
@ Bob One, liberals by definition are dissenters, get that through your skull
Posted Monday, July 02, 2012 4:40 PM By Abeca Christian
Government agencies such as Section 8, their representatives treat landlords with such disrespect. They are rude and unprofessional. I don’t see why anyone would want to work with such rude government reps. Our taxes are paying for these agencies to thrive yet they treat outsiders as if they need to be kissing up to them. I hope landlords would not be so desperate to accept section 8. I feel for those that need government help but yet have to feel like slaves and so dependent. God have mercy!
© California Catholic Daily 2012. All Rights Reserved.
The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg expected to livestream a special Mass Wednesday morning to wrap up its two-week Fortnight for Freedom campaign.
The nationwide campaign highlighted religious freedom, an issue that pitted the Catholic Church against the Obama administration over health care mandates.
“Religious liberty is not about worship, but it is about a lifestyle, a way that we live our lives, a way that is influenced by our relationship with God and the Commandments he gave us to live as his people,” Bishop Joseph McFadden said during the campaign’s opening Mass.
Local events included a June 22 prayer rally on the square in York and a June 24 prayer event at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in New Freedom.
Bishops organized the education campaign during liturgical feasts for martyred defenders of the faith. Independent advocacy groups such as CatholicVote.org and Women Speak For Themselves, have joined the effort with TV ads, videos, Facebook appeals and petition drives.
While the religious freedom campaign includes protests against state laws and policies, the bishops’ immediate target is the mandate President Barack Obama announced in January that most employers provide health insurance that covers birth control.
Federal officials said the rule was critical to women’s health by helping them space out pregnancies.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
In other religion news around the region:
Steeple answers: Several readers sent in answers to last week’s compilation of church steeple photos in York.
The correct answers are: 1. Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 950 W. Market St.; 2. St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, 839 W. Market St.; 3. St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception, 309 S. George St.; 4. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 25 W. Springettsbury Ave.; 5. Christ Lutheran Church, 29 S. George St.; and 6. First Presbyterian Church, 225 E. Market St.
Also, 7. Asbury United Methodist Church, 424 E. Market St.; 8. Friendship Baptist Church, 401 E. Market St.; 9. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 700 E. Market St.; 10. Fourth United Methodist Church, 1067 E. Market St.; 11. Advent Lutheran Church, 1775 E. Market St.; and 12. Messiah United Methodist Church, 1300 N. Beaver St.
Readers who sent in answers: Frank and Karen Arcuri of West Manchester Township, Sharon and Sarah Wilt of Dover Township, Paul and Kathryn Summers of Spring Garden Township, Samuel Laucks II of Dallastown, the Rev. Tom Shelley of Zion (Shaffer’s) United Lutheran Church in Codorus Township, Dianne Bowders of York Township, the Rev. Glenn Detter of York First Church of God in York, Deb Fuhrman of York, Jimmy Russell of York and Richard K. Konkel of Spring Garden Township.
Keep reading because we’ll return to this theme in a few months with some pictures of rural church steeples.
Special project: When York Country Day student Matthew Evans was looking for a topic for his senior honors history thesis, he recalled a confusing November morning in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in York.
Parishioners were given a new translation of Mass that day to coincide with the first day of Advent. The changes to the Roman Missal, the ritual text of prayers and instructions
for celebrating Mass, were ordered by the Vatican as a better translation of the original Latin text.
Members of the church have called it the biggest change to Catholic worship in generations.
“We were confused,” said Evans, 18. “None of us had any idea why” the changes were made.
Evans had his senior thesis idea: the evolution of Catholic Mass language. The topic required him to explore the Second Vatican Council, which convened from 1962 to 1965 and made specific liberal language changes to promote greater participation in the liturgy.
After months of research and rewrites, Evans ended up with a 14-page paper he presented to the school. And he gained academic skills he will take to York College this fall, where he will major in secondary education. It also gave him a better understanding of the Mass language.
“It’s making sense what they’re trying to do,” Evans said. “They’re trying to take the English and all the other languages and return them back to the Latin text.”
New book: Hanover resident Kelley Latta has written a new book titled “Tested by Fire: Will What You Build Survive?” A member of Hanover First Church of God, she is the founder of Kelley Latta Ministries.
The book is written in workbook form to help the reader connect better with God’s teachings, Latta said via email.
“The study is for anyone desiring to go deeper with God and experience Him personally,” she said. “It demonstrates what walking with Jesus really looks like according to Scripture and guides readers into real relationship with Jesus.”
Latta and husband Steve Latta have two sons, Austin, 13, and Mason, 11. She teaches a women’s class on Sunday morning at her church and often leads a weekly Bible study.
The book is available at www.KelleyLattaMinistries.com. Related guides are also available as free downloads.
Radio appearance: The Rev. Canon David Lovelace, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in York, is the featured speaker July 22 on “Day 1″ with host Peter Wallace, the nationally syndicated ecumenical radio program also accessible online at Day1.org.
His “Day 1″ sermon for the eighth Sunday of Pentecost, based on Mark 6:30-34,53-56, is entitled “An Invitation You Will Not Want to Refuse.”
“In a world where religion has become suspect, I wonder how many people identify the church as a place to address their needs, a community in which to find wholeness,” Lovelace said. “I believe God is pushing us toward a new understanding of connectedness and spirituality.”
The program includes opening and closing interviews with Lovelace conducted by Wallace, who is also executive producer.
“Day 1″ has been broadcast every week for 67 years, formerly as “The Protestant Hour.” The show is distributed to more than 200 radio stations across America and overseas. The program is produced by the Alliance for Christian Media, based in Atlanta.
Masonic prince named: Barry Martz of Chambersburg was recently chosen to serve as Sovereign Prince of the Council of Princes of Jerusalem, one of four Masonic organizations comprising the Scottish Rite Bodies of the Valley of Harrisburg.
Martz is a member of Cumberland Lodge No. 315 in Shippensburg, where he served as Worshipful Master of the lodge in 2003. He became a member of the Valley of Harrisburg in 1979. He serves the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania as a Regional Chairman of Masonic Education, a position he has held since 2005.
Have a tip? Contact John Hilton at email@example.com or 717-771-2024. More at www.yorkblog.com/faith.
Catholics continued the “Fortnight for Freedom” observance as parishioners gathered Thursday evening in the sanctuary of St. Therese of Lisieux for a holy hour of prayer and exposition of the Holy Eucharist.
Fortnight for Freedom began June 21 and continues to July 4. The 14-day period is meant to help every Catholic to become better informed about religious freedom and the Catholic faith.
Bishop Richard F. Stika, Diocese of Knoxville, in a press release, described the fortnight as a time to consider what it means to be Catholic and to stand up against attacks on the freedom to exercise religious faith.
Fortnight for Freedom was born in response to a Department of Health and Human Services mandate forcing virtually all employers to pay for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs to employees. The administration of President Barack Obama published a final ruling on Feb. 15 mandating contraception and sterilization coverage in almost all private health plans nationwide, with an “extremely” narrow exemption for some religious employers.
In a March 21 notice of proposed rulemaking, the administration left the mandate unchanged while proposing an accommodation under which the mandate might be applied in various ways to the employees of religious organizations that are not exempt.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. It also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization. Catholic charities, schools, universities or hospitals — which the bishops say are vital to the work of the church — are not exempt.
The administration does not view them as religious employers and deserving of conscience protection because they do not serve primarily persons who share the same religious beliefs.
The United States Supreme Court ruled Thursday morning in a 5-4 decision upholding almost all of the law, including the requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty.
According to the Associated Press, the court said the penalty is essentially a tax, and that’s why the government has the power to impose it. The ruling somewhat limits the plan to expand the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, a joint effort of the federal government and states. The justices stated the federal government could not withhold a state’s entire Medicaid allotment if it does not participate in the expansion.
The AP reported that unless Congress changes the law, starting in 2014 almost everyone would be required to be insured or pay the penalty. Subsidies would help people who can’t afford coverage.
Also, most employers, including religious employers, would face fines if they do not offer coverage for their workers. Newly created insurance markets are designed to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy affordable coverage.
Additionally, insurers would be prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging those people more. Women could not be charged more than men. During the transition to 2014, a special program for people with pre-existing health problems would help those people get coverage.
The law is expected to bring coverage to about 30 million of the estimated 50 million uninsured people in the U.S. Overall, more than 9 in 10 of the eligible population — citizens and legal residents — will be covered, according to The AP.
Bishop Stika stated in the press release that the Supreme Court decision does not address the fundamental flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Legislation will be necessary to fix serious problems in the law in order to protect the freedom of conscience for all Americans, prevent the use of taxpayers’ money to fund abortions and allow all people living in the United States to have access to health care,” he wrote. “The Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform to ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable.
“The bishops ultimately opposed the ACA’s final form for reasons that included the following: failure to respect and provide for essential conscience protection; the use of federal funding for abortions and mandatory coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and birth control; and a failure to care for all people from conception to natural death.
“The Catholic Church has not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not do so today. Instead, I, together with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.”
I just read an article about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Atlanta. They are up in arms about the government requirement that their for-profit affiliated businesses must provide contraceptive services to their female employees as part of their employer-provided health insurance.
They are morally outraged. That requirement smacks of intrusion by government into their religious freedom.
I would ask, where was that moral outrage when they were covering up for numerous pedophile priests? During that time, the bishops were noticeably silent while actively covering up the facts and giving those despicable priests a place to hide from the law.
The Catholic Church is also working very hard to make sure that marriage rights are denied to same-sex couples. I understand their feelings on this subject, but no one is forcing them to marry same-sex couples in the church, so why should they have any say in the matter?
They say that it is a moral issue. Again, I would say that the history of the Catholic Church on a number of moral issues leaves them very little ground to stand on.
This country was conceived with the idea of separation of church and state. The last time religion and government were intermixed, witches were burned at the stake.
Keep your faith and worship any way you desire, but don’t try to imprint your faith onto others.
Robert Tremaine, Livermore Falls
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