For the record, the March 24 U.S. bishops' doctrine committee's stinging critique of Sister Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God was not the first time Johnson was in the news last month.
She was honored two weeks earlier by Fordham University where she teaches theology. Johnson was awarded with a Bene Merenti Medal, honored for 20 years of service at the university. The citation on the program read as follows:
Distinguished Professor of Theology
The Times took on the U.S. bishops again writing:
Board appointees are supposedly equipped to scrutinize each diocese’s adherence to zero tolerance. But the grand jury in Philadelphia found that the hierarchy there continued to protect accused priests despite repeated scandals and vows for reform.
The haunting question is how many other Philadelphias may be out there.
Dozens of protestors marched outside the offices of Cardinal Justin Rigali on Friday demanding the Catholic Church do more to protect children from abuse.
The noon rally attracted several different groups who support survivors of sexual abuse by priests. They were joined today by a priest and a nun.
The New Hampshire House majority leader said he stands by his Facebook post referring to Catholic Bishop John McCormack as a "pedophile pimp."
McCormack spoke at a Statehouse rally Thursday, criticizing budget cuts.
"We urge the legislature and the governor to place the poor, the unemployed, and our most vulnerable citizens first," he said.
On Friday morning, D.J. Bettencourt, a Catholic, responded on his Facebook page.
"Bishop John McCormick (sic) of the Catholic Diocese of NH told the crowd, ‘It’s a moral concern (because) the vulnerable take priority in our society.’ Would the Bishop like to discuss his history of protecting the 'vulnerable'? This man is a pedophile pimp who should have been led away from the State House in handcuffs with a rain coat over his head in disgrace. He has absolutely no moral credibility to lecture anyone," the post said.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States have been lobbying for years against equal rights for the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community. There were prominent in favoring repeal of same sex marriage in California and Maine, and they pushed hard to keep it from becoming law recently in Maryland. In addition, they have lobbied against adoption rights and even equality in employment.
tNow, Catholics who favor human equality - no matter what a person’s sexual orientation - have come together to make a political impact for LGBT rights. Implicitly, they are saying to Members of Congress: you may hear from the Bishops on this, but they no longer represent most of the flock. We do.
tOn Wednesday, March 30, a coalition of Catholic groups called “Equally Blessed” sponsored a Congressional Briefing in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill. Congressional sponsors were Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA). It was attended by at least 100 people. I was pleased to moderate the session.
Funeral Masses ought to be times to mourn the passing of a family member or friend, as well as times to celebrate who they were and what they contributed to the community.
This is not always the case. Many Catholics have maddening stories to tell about pastors who are rigid with the rules, and funerals that were stale, "boiler plate," without anything that fit the life of the deceased.
But I was lucky recently, lucky to have found a priest who was open, compassionate and flexible.
The effort that helps poor people pay their heating bills – the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – was launched in the 1970s with revenue from the “excess profit tax” (ah, those were the days!) on oil companies. Now, apparently, both Republicans and the Obama Administration agree that there’s not enough money to continue funding the program at current levels.
At today’s Huffington Post, the always-reliable Sam Stein provides a wonderful account of the hemming and hawing Energy Secretary Steven Chu was forced to resort to as he defended the Administration’s proposed $2.5 billion cut in LIHEAP funding. Defending the indefensible is difficult, even for a Nobel Laureate.
LIHEAP is a rubber-meets-the-road program. It is not sexy – not like converting some old technology to “green technology.” It is not high profile; those who benefit, the nation’s lowest income people living below the poverty line, are not typically the subjects of sympathetic newspaper profiles or television news segments.
Compared to this time last year when the only film that got my attention in the first months was "Winter's Bone," I have already seen some terrific films.
"Of Gods and Men," "Win Win," "Potiche" ("Trophy Wife"), "The Adjustment Bureau" though I have issues with it, and Julian Schnabel's "Miral." Today I saw "Limitless" and I cannot stop thinking about it. It is parked in my mind.
A recent story in the Lower Hudson News (N.Y.) presents a good overview of the state of the religious vocation to becoming a brother:
Iona's first seven presidents were part of the Catholic community that founded the college in 1940 and has run dozens of top schools across the country.
These days, though, there are hardly any Christian Brothers young enough to be considered for such a demanding job. In fact, the role of all Catholic brothers in the U.S. has been quietly shrinking for decades as the often misunderstood "Brotherhood" gets smaller and older.
Only about 4,700 brothers from all communities are still serving nationally, compared to 12,300 in 1965, and their average age is close to 70. The Christian Brothers are a graying microcosm of this trend.