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Pittsburgh priest honors seal of confession, removed from ministry

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday on the strange, profiles-in-courage worthy story of Benedictine Fr. Mark Gruber, who honored the seal of confession to the point of losing of his job.

From the piece:

A former student of the Rev. Mark Gruber has told both state police and canonical investigators that he downloaded pornography on the priest's computer. He says that Father Gruber knew that, but couldn't say so because he had sacramentally confessed that sin to the priest before the pornography was discovered. Priests are forbidden to reveal the contents of a confession under any circumstance.

But the former student has spoken with Father Gruber's canon lawyers, state police and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Father Gruber's suit says that on Dec. 15, the young man gave a sworn statement to the priest's canon lawyers, for the case that his Benedictine superior filed against him in Rome. He said he had downloaded pornography, and then confessed doing so.

Invest in local communities

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Somehow we manage to both disparage our humanity and exalt it at the same time.

We are told by TV evangelists that we are unworthy, abject sinners. Low self-esteem and depression are epidemic, especially among teens. There is widespread interest in angels and UFOs, beings that will perhaps save us from ourselves. We don’t really feel good about our humanness. We’re always trying to improve. Self help books are legion in bookstores.

On the other hand, our human-centered theologies zero in on the relationship between God and humans, to the exclusion of all else. We see ourselves as the pinnacle of things, the last word on the subject of life forms. We see the whole universe as just a backdrop to the salvation drama between God and us humans.

Churches are for praying, not campaigning

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As a service to clients, Catholic News Service regularly reprints and makes available a "sampling of current commentary from around the Catholic press." Here is its latest offering, an unsigned editorial titled "Churches are for praying, not campaigning" which appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of the Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Providence.

Immigration reform is about 'God's option for the poor'

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If Vatican II was to have been a revolution, it is hard to fathom what Pope John XXIII may have actually had in mind when, in a talk given in 1959 before the start of the council, he spoke of his dream of recovering the “church of the poor.” What if the church looked like the original circle of disciples around Jesus, without power or possessions, traveling light, preaching God’s justice and love, made up of outcasts, the weak, the exploited and crucified of history? It was an old man’s prayer, spoken from the throne of a 2,000 year-old institution held captive by its own temporal aggrandizement and claim of absolute authority, one of the last monarchies on earth.

Fr. Sam stole nonprofit's money

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Fr. Samuel Ciccolini, a beloved Catholic priest who founded the Interval Brotherhood Home of Akron, Ohio, stole money from the nonprofit group's foundation, his attorneys have admitted.

But Ciccolini, better known as "Father Sam," has since repaid the money he took, attorneys Peter Cahoon and Gregory Plesich wrote in an 11-page brief filed last week in federal court in Cleveland.

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