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Pope picks Augustinian nun to write Good Friday meditations


Pope picks Augustinian nun to write Good Friday meditations

By Sarah Delaney
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI chose an Augustinian nun to author the texts for this year's Way of the Cross procession on Good Friday, the Vatican announced March 25.

Mother Maria Rita Piccione, a contemplative nun who leads the Federation of Augustinian Nuns, wrote the texts that will be read at each of the 14 stations, the Vatican statement said.

Each year, the pope selects a different person to author the texts that mark the steps in the solemn, candlelight ceremony that begins at Rome's Colosseum and leads toward the nearby Forum and Palatine Hill.

Mother Piccione, who lives in the cloistered convent attached to the Four Crowned Saints church in Rome, is the third living woman to be chosen to write the meditations. The previous two were chosen by Pope John Paul: Mother Anna Maria Canopi of the Mater Ecclesiae Abbey in Isola San Guilio, Italy, wrote them in 1993, and Sister Minke de Vries, a nun in the Protestant community of Grandchamp, Switzerland, wrote the texts in 1995.

Newsflash to Dolan: Catholics lead on gay equality


Some of you may have stopped to cringe when Archbishop Dolan, in a segment of his interview webcast on 60 Mintues Overtime, compared the strong desire of a gay couple to be married to his strong desire to play shortstop for the Yankees.

The punch line: “I may have a desire to play short stop, but that doesn’t mean I have a right to it because I don’t have what it takes. And that would be what the church would say about marriage.”

But if you cringed too long (or were distracted by sudden, unusual thoughts of Derek Jeter), you may have missed his following, remarkable statement.

Before I reveal it, I must note that Dolan never once utters the words gay, lesbian or homosexual during his comments on marriage. He consistently uses vague language, as you’ll note in the quote below. This in and of itself is intriguing. But then, while pontificating about who has a right to marriage, he says this:

On this day: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire


On this day, a century ago, 146 people lost their lives as a result of the fire at the Triangle Waist Company. Most were burned to death. At least fifty jumped out windows to be smashed on the pavement nine stories below.

Click here to read their names. Clicking a victim's name will bring up more information: married or single, religion, counry of origin, how long in the U.S., address, burial place, union member.

Morning Briefing


Bishops reaffirm zero tolerance


The U.S. bishops' conference Administrative Committee met in Washington March 22-23. NCR was told that they discussed the recent scandal in Philadelphia, where a grand jury found that 37 priests remained in ministry despite "substantial" allegations of sexual abuse.

We were told that the bishops pulled back from specifically addressing the Philadelphia situation in a public statement. Instead, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, as president of the conference, issued a statement confirming the bishops' commitment to zero tolerance.

“We remain especially firm in our commitment to remove permanently from public ministry any priest who committed such an intolerable offense,” Dolan said.

NCR senior correspondent John L. Allen Jr. is working on a story, so stay tuned.

The press release from the bishops' media office and the full text of Dolan's statement follows.



Clerics who sexually abuse minors are forbidden from ministry
Backs April Child Abuse Prevention Month for protection of children

Marking Romero's day


Today is Oscar Romero's day.

31 years ago this day the popular Salvadoran archbishop was murdered while celebrating Mass.

As we went about editing and posting reflections from Scott Wright and Jesuit Fr. Dean Brackley to mark the day, I couldn't help but hear the words from the archbishop's last speech over and over in my mind.

A day before his brutal death, Romero made a vocal outcry over the bloody U.S.-backed civil war in his country, calling upon Christians in the army to stop the bloodshed.

Cleveland diocese, city council in stained glass windows 'stand-off'


Stained glass windows in landmark Catholic churches in Cleveland now closed or expected to close are at the center of a dispute about the process of removing them from the buildings.

Should the diocese be required to go through the standard procedure of getting prior permission from the Landmarks Commission or can the diocese side-step the city's rules pursuant to a special one-off deal with the mayor?

All the usual elements are at play: freedom of religion, special treatment for the diocese, threats of litigation, possible political payback by city council members who are angry with the diocese for its massive church closings in Cleveland and abandoning poor neighborhoods, and of course, money.

Cleveland's WYKC Channel 3 reports on the story.

April may be cruel month for relations with traditionalists


For anyone hoping that longstanding ruptures between Rome and the traditionalist wing of the Catholic church are on the brink of swift resolution, it may turn out that April is indeed the cruelest month.

tSometime in early April, two developments are set to come down the pike, each with implications for relations between the Vatican and so-called “traditionalists”, meaning Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass and who harbor deep reservations about the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

tFirst, the Vatican’s “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, responsible for relations with the traditionalists, will bring out an instruction concerning implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 document Summorum Pontificum, which installed the older Mass as an “extraordinary form” of the Latin rite.

tSecond, what could be the final round of talks will take place between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, the traditionalist body founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which broke with Rome in 1988.

Connecticut diocese settles abuse claim


From the Connecticut Post:

BRIDGEPORT -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has agreed to pay $200,000 to the family of a man who claimed he was abused as a child by first a gardener and then a priest at St. Theresa's Church in Trumbull in the 1970s.

Michael Powel died in October 2008 after an eight-year battle with cancer, but his wife and two adult children continued his lawsuit against the diocese. The agreement would end the family's claims against the diocese.

"It has been a long road, and it's really unfortunate Mike couldn't be here to see the end of it," said the family's lawyer, Michael Reck.

Diocesan spokesman Brian Wallace said the church does not believe it committed any wrongdoing. "But its just too expensive to continue to defend against this frivolous lawsuit brought by out-of-state lawyers who are practicing a pattern of trolling for lawsuits across the country," he said. "The diocese remains committed to zero tolerance to abuse and a safe environment."

Curious Timing and Tough Cases on Immigration


Federal officials announced the arrest yesterday of about 130 immigrants in Northern Virginia, half of whom are in the US legally, the Washington Post reports today.

The announcement was made as President Obama returned from his trip to Latin America, including a last stop in El Salvador, home to many of the immigrants who migrate to the Washington suburbs looking for work.

“About half of those arrested — 64 — were in the country legally, and the rest were not, officials said,” the Post reported. “But even those with legal status, such as work permits or ‘green cards,’ can be deported if they commit crimes of ‘moral turpitude’ or receive sentences of a year or more,” the paper said.


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April 21-May 4, 2017