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Sisters of Mercy elect new leadership team

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Nearly 300 Sisters of Mercy from across North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Guam and the Philippines gathered at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Ill. June 20-30 to pray, discern a direction for the next six years and host a public witness to call attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

On June 29, the Sisters of Mercy elected the new leadership team for the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas: Patricia McDermott, RSM, president; Eileen Campbell, RSM, vice president; Anne Curtis, RSM; Mary Pat Garvin, RSM; and Deborah Troillett, RSM.

100th anniversary of Maryknoll sees protest for Bourgeois

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Calling attention to the pending removal of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, seven activists stood outside a Mass celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the order at its headquarters in New York Wednesday.

The protest came 100 years to the day of the official creation of the order by Pope Pius X.

Bourgeois, who is known for his work as the founder of SOA Watch, received a first warning from Maryknoll superior general Fr. Edward Dougherty in March threatening him with dismissal from the order and laicization by the Vatican if he would not recant his support of women's ordination.

The activist told NCR last week that while he had not yet received the second warning from Dougherty, he was anticipating its arrival "any day." He also said he had been in contact with a canon lawyer and is considering planning a visit to Rome to plead his case.

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers communications manager Mike Virgintino told NCR Friday that because of Bourgeois' retaining of a lawyer, the order has delayed providing a second letter to the priest in order to allow a chance for more dialog.

From the mail bag

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This was in the mail bag today, from Rita Dwyer, Saginaw, Mich.

Dear Editor:

I was fortunate enough to attend the American Catholic Council in Detroit [June 10-12]. It was great!

In case you are doing an article on it [Editor’s note: See below.] you are welcome to use my enclosed cartoon. I believe you are the only paper who would print it!”

Scranton, Pa. diocese gets new pastoral vision

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A new pastoral vision has been presented to the people of the Scranton, Pa. diocese after the disastrous tenure of the prior bishop.

According to the Scranton Times-Tribune:

The Most Rev. Joseph Bambera released a document outlining his vision for the Diocese of Scranton on Tuesday, more than six months after he invited Roman Catholics to help articulate the future of the 11-county church.

The 16-page pastoral letter is called "Wounded and Loved, Regathering the Scattered" - a title that acknowledges the pain and hope of several years that saw both the closure of many churches and schools and the creation of new, merged parish structures.

Read the Pastoral Letter here.

The goal of the vision is to "restore our sense of being part of something larger than ourselves and greater than our personal inadequacies," Bishop Bambera wrote.

Bishops need to hold each other accountable, reform group says

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The following press release from Voice of the Faithful came across my desk yesterday. It sounds like a creative response to a current episcopal problem.

NEWTON, Mass. – U.S. bishops must finally institute strong measures of fraternal correction when bishops fail to follow their own Charter for the Protection of Children and Young people after clergy are accused of child sexual abuse, according the Roman Catholic Church reform and abuse survivor support group Voice of the Faithful.

'Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage'

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“Without a Doubt” is the name of the column Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., writes in his diocesan newspaper. In Arpil 2009, that column bore the headline “Rhode Island, Most Catholic State, Welcomes Gay Marriage.” (More than half of Rhode Islanders are Catholic various sources say).

Tobin explained his headline: “That’s a headline we haven’t seen yet, dear readers, but probably will in the next couple of years.” He uses the rest of the column to rally his Catholic faithful and defeat any attempts to make gay marriage or civil unions legal.

Tobin has been a staunch defender of traditional marriage and has opposed the civil union bill as “a gateway to gay marriage.”

Tobin’s headline pretty much came true last night.

On this day: Czeslaw Milosz

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On this day, a century ago, the great Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz was born in Lithuania. (Click here to hear his name pronounced.)

"The year was 1911. The parish had two churches. To the nearest, the wooden one, people drove or walked to Mass. The other, a baroque structure of stone (baroque was introduced by the Jesuits) and three miles away, housed the civil registry. . . . There I was baptized and received into the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church."

Catholics and marriage equality in New York

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On June 23, the New York State Senate voted for marriage equality. They did this in spite of opposition from the Catholic Bishops and other religious groups. Even though New York State is relatively liberal political territory, it is large and influential nationally.

That vote, I believe, signals a definitive shift in the political winds on this issue nationally. It's been coming for a while, and New York looks like the turning point. Tens of thousands of gays and lesbians will soon marry -- and the world won't come to an end.

Most interesting, the New York Senate is Republican controlled, and although only four Republican senators voted for the bill, the leadership could have prevented a vote, but did not. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Roman Catholic, signed the bill into law almost immediately.

The same legislation almost passed in the Maryland legislature earlier this year. And the Catholic governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, pushed for the bill and was ready to sign it had it passed.

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