I hope you are following the NCR reports on this Web site this week about the sacking of Australian Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese He was removed by the Vatican this week after an Apostolic Investigation, which came in the wake of comments Morris made some years back suggesting the church be open to married and women priests.
On this day in 1975, Eddie Doherty died. The headline on his obituary in the New York Times said, "Rev. Edward Doherty, 84, Dead; Star 'Front Page' Era Reporter".
The obituary mentions only a few of the many newspapers he worked for in his long career: "The News, whose trucks and billboards proclaimed him The Star Reporter of America", The Mirror, which "billed him as America's Highest Paid Reporter", and The Chicago Tribune.
Diocese's financial policies hurt churches. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is a wasteland of closed churches. Parishioners are told repeatedly that there is not enough money to keep them open.
Osama bin Laden is dead, shot by U.S. Navy SEALS during a helicopter raid on his million dollar mansion located outside the Pakistani city of Islamabad.
News of his death brought back memories of September 11, 2001, a brilliant day of cloudless skies and invigorating temperature.
Our Catholic Worker community had just buried Dan Lawrence, a former Trappist monk and beloved member of our household. For several days, we had been swept up in the rituals and emotions that accompany the passing of a loved one. On the morning of September 11th, I awoke, thinking, "Finally, we can get back to our normal routine."
But the day was far from normal. I can still vividly recall Brenna Cussen, then a member of our community, standing in the kitchen doorway, looking solemn and perplexed. She had just been listening to the radio and wanted to know if we had heard "anything about planes crashing into the World Trade Center."
In recent decades, the Vatican has silenced or stifled many theologians who dared to voice new or creative theological ideas. I've long wondered if it ever occurred to the Curia that a healthy public discussion of these ideas might benefit the church. But they continue to treat Catholics as children whose minds must be "protected" from wayward thoughts.
But in recent weeks, it has become apparent that the real threat they perceive is not just new ideas; it's women! The very thought that God might consider women the equals of men in ministry, especially the priesthood, seems to send Curia officials up the wall. They just can't cope.
In recent years, they have gone after Rev. Roy Bourgeois, pressuring his Maryknoll religious order to remove him for his outspoken advocacy of women priests. And now, they have targeted a bishop, William Morris, of the Toowoomba diocese of Australia. His crime? He wrote a pastoral letter in 2006, suggesting women's ordination as one of a few potential solutions to the priest crisis. Duh? Isn't that obvious?
Honoring the hierarchical tradition of removing bishops and priests who dare to speak a truth that runs into conflict with the papal party line, Australian Bishop William Morris was ousted yesterday. Morris claims that the catalyst for his removal was his 2006 argument suggesting that instituting a married clergy and women’s ordination could rescue the church from shrinking vocations. This argument led Benedict XVI to open in an investigation into Morris’s diocese.
Read the full story at The New York Times Web site.
It is interesting to note that Vice President Joe Biden was praying or at least fidgeting with his rosary beads as President Obama and is top security advisors watched a video screen of CIA Director Leon Panetta describing the final take down of Osama bin Laden, according to The New York Times' reporting.
One interesting exercise is to count how many Catholics were at the president's table, at his side or in the room watching the action.
This past weekend, I was on a panel at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival at the University of Southern California (USC). The panel, in part, had to do with my recent book Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) and co-authored with the subject of the book, Sal Castro. The book came out in February and is selling quite well.
With the killing of Osama Bin Laden recently, and hearing loud cries of vengeance and tentative affirmations of some strange notion of justice on the television, I could only think of this award-winning documentary about Afghanistan that I saw in April at the Religious Communicators Council (RCC) conference: The Garden at the End of the World.
Amid the general rejoicing over Osama bin Laden's death, there have been a handful of pundits, bloggers and Facebook-ers who are challenging the Mike Huckabee-inspired "Welcome to hell" sentiment. (An aside via a question: How does our nation's reaction to Osama's death make us any better than the folks who danced in the street during 9/11? Answer: It doesn't.) I'm proud to say many of these people questioning the celebratory behavior are Catholics -- two of them young college women with minds of their own and fires in their bellies.