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No mincing of words when Australia's priests meet


I have no idea what is meant by the blogger's final line: "You wouldn't be dead for quids," but I certainly understood a great deal that went before in this report from a meeting of Australia's National Council of Priests. The priests are rather unrestrained in their calls for reform and in their critique of the church's handling of any number of issues.
One of the speakers was Fr. Donald Cozzens, writer in residence at John Carroll University in Cleveland, who's written extensively on the clerical culture and its problems.
There's an earlier entry about the conference and more on Cozzens' presentation here.

Wis. priest pleads in embezzlement case


"A Catholic priest accused of embezzling about $200,000 from two Crawford County parishes and the Diocese of La Crosse entered an Alford plea to reduced charges Wednesday.

The Rev. Robert Chukwu, 59, made the plea in Crawford County Circuit Court to three counts of misdemeanor theft and entered an 18-month deferred prosecution agreement, said Jim Birnbaum, attorney for the La Crosse Diocese. The plea means Chukwu admits no wrongdoing but concedes a jury likely would have found him guilty."

Grafting Thin Skin on Thick Skin


The Vatican's document lumping child sex abuse with the ordination of women as "grave crimes" strikes me as preposterous on its face and I understand the outrage it's triggered.

On the other hand, I can imagine how it makes gut-level sense to the command post in Rome. Both of these activities pose enormous threats to the church's efforts to preserve its corporate identity.

We've already seen how devastating the sex abuse scandals has been on the church, and it's not over by a long shot. The new "norms" won't end that. The thick-skinned forces absorb the hits and march on without major adjustments.

But the ordination of women reveal the thin-skinned side and constitutes a backhanded compliment. The pope's entourage is entirely justified in viewing this movement as a threat of even bigger proportions in the long run. Women in the priesthood could cause untold havoc with the established order.

Fla. diocese gets $9.7 million from HUD


The Catholic Diocese of Venice, Fla., has been awarded a grant of $9,724,600 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money will be dedicated to constructing an apartment facility for low-income elderly people of all faiths, as an outreach of the Diocese of Venice through Blessed Pope John XXIII Roman Catholic Church, according to a news release.

Surprising defenders of academic freedom


Of course, conservative Catholics are up in arms about the recent firing of an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, who taught the Catholic position that homosexual acts are wrong--and followed up his classroom lecture with an email that emphasized that he personally believed the position.

* Chicagoan Tom Roeser railed against the "sense of liberal fascism that the school exhibits over freedom of thought."

* First Things blogger David Mills quotes an anonymous friend in academia who says this case shows the need for tenure to help administrators do the right thing, i.e., protect academic freedom.

Roman Catholic Women Priests respond to Vatican document


Roman Catholic Women Priests issued a statement late last night (North America time) anticipating the release this morning of the Vatican's revision of certain church laws, which as expected, added the "attempted ordination of women" to list of "grave crimes."

The release opens by objecting to having women's ordination and sex abuse of minors by clergy in the same category of sin, which fellow blogger Maureen Fiedler wrote about earlier (Don't know whether to laugh, cry or scream!).

Here is the rest of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests statement:

The Strength to be Bold


My admiration for those who exercise heroic courage for justice testifies in part to my own lack of anything close to it.

Mostly my efforts to right the wrongs as I see them stops at the computer terminal with occasional jeremiads directed at a cluster of targets. But that all takes place at a safe remove. I'm not much of a street campaigner or a speaker of "truth" to power out in public.

That's why I need constant prodding from those who provide me models. Two of them died this week.

One was a Protestant minister, a mainline one no less, named George W. Webber. "Bill" He'd been formed at Harvard and Union Theological Seminary in the days when those credentials won entry to the now extinct Protestant Establishment. While a dean at Union, however, he heard one of those diffenent drummers calling him to battle against racism and poverty.

He moved to East Harlem and helped begin the East Harlem Protestant Parish and lived there for decades. He became immersed in an increasing number of justice initiatives. A quiet, self-effacing man with a radiantly spiritual manner, he and the ministry became a magnet for young people who identified with its example and its stature.

Judge drops Haiti abuse charges against Fairfield alum


A federal judge has dropped all charges against Douglas Perlitz, a Fairfield University alum who was charged with using his position as head of a youth charity organization he founded to prey on poor, homeless boys in Haiti. The story was reported on The Hartford Courant Website.

The judge dismissed the charges because the federal prosecutor brought the action in the wrong jurisdiction. The judge later agreed to delay dismissing the charges until July 23 in order to allow federal authorities to re-indict Perlitz, who will remain in custody, in another jurisdiction.


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In This Issue

October 21-November 3, 2016

  • Reformation's anniversary brings commemorations, reconsiderations
  • Picks further diversify College of Cardinals
  • Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility
  • Special Section [Print Only]: SAINTS