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Looking for a Good Friday vigil?


Here's note just received from Voice of the Faithful

National Vigil of Sorrow

Good Friday is a day of sorrow and mourning for the Catholic Church. On this solemn day, we stand in solidarity with victims of clergy abuse and, as Pope Benedict requested of the faithful in Ireland, devote ourselves to the healing and renewal of the Church. We call on our pastoral leaders to say “Stop the Hiding; Start the Healing.”

Members of Voice of the Faithful will gather in Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. We will pray together as we stand in support of the survivor community. The clergy abuse scandal has plagued the Catholic Church for far too long. It is time for accountability and transparency from the leaders of the Church, an apology is not enough. We invite everyone to join us for all or part of this special national event.

New York City
- St. Patrick's Cathedral, 12pm - 3pm

- Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 12pm - 3pm

- Holy Name Cathedral, 3pm

Washington, D.C.
- Cathedral of St. Matthew, 12pm – 1pm

Click here for more details.

The sinuous, slithery ones and us


I saw it before my brain lobes even registered I’d seen it. Its beige coils striped with deep russet hourglass shapes blended well against brown leaves, yet a mere glimpse as I approached sent a spark down my spine at light speed that jerked me back like a horror-struck puppet on a string even before my cerebellum announced to my awareness that I’d almost vexed a venomous copperhead by stepping on it.

My brother Bob and his wife Sue live in the Missouri Ozark forest. They wake spring mornings to bluebird serenades outside their window and evenings watch the moon rise through the fragrant native pines.

Every summer for the past dozen years, though, they’ve been plagued by copperheads. Last June I met one of them up close.

A half dozen or more of these beautiful (but somewhat dangerous) snakes at a time slither near their house on very warm evenings, coiling up on the steps leading to their front porch, even draping themselves over the loops of garden hose that hang nearby.

Bob tries to relocate them by means of a garden hoe and a covered bucket. When he finally loses patience with the outbreak, he kills them with a shovel.

Pope was warned in '63 of abusive priests


A story is circulating this week out of Los Angeles noting that Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paraclete, an order with a mission to serve troubled priests, warned Pope Paul VI in a 1963 letter of the dangers of keeping in ministry priests who had sexually abused children.

For a fuller treatment of Fitzgerald's awareness of the danger of priest sex abusers and his persistent efforts to warn the hierarchy see NCR's report of a year ago. Fitzgerald's letter was actually a follow up to a personal visit with Paul VI during which he warned the pope of the danger posed by such priests to children and to the church.

JPII: Under the Bus


I guess no one can say the hierarchy is not taking the threat of scandal seriously anymore. In an interview yesterday, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, spoke about the desire of many to have a full-scale investigation of charges leveled against his predecessor Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer. He said that then-Cardinal raztinger supported the investigation but others counseled against it. He had this to say about Pope Benedict’s commitment to rooting out the scourge of clergy sex abuse. “I can still very clearly remember the moment when Cardinal Ratzinger sadly told me that the other camp had asserted itself.” There was no investigation.

Did he just throw Pope John Paul II under the bus? Yes, he did.

Western Mo. Catholics rally for immigration reform


The U.S. bishops' immigration reform campaign is hitting the Congressional districts of Western Missouri today and tomorrow.

Bishop Robert Finn, ordinary of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, launched the U.S. bishops' "Justice to Immigrants" campaign in January with a postcard campaign (There was a sign-up table in the narthex of my parish church.), and the diocesan Human Rights Office has taken up the challenge.

Darkness will have its hour


Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

Jesus and his disciples have slipped back into the city after two days of rest in Bethany. The city is jammed with a quarter of a million pilgrims who have come home out of the diaspora to observe Passover. The Romans are nervous and soldiers are everywhere in full gear, leather body armor and helmets, with swords, metal tipped spears and truncheons at the ready.

Covering the coverage


The Catholic media often analyze how the secular media cover the church--specifically the sex abuse story. Now a secular publication--the Atlantic--is analyzing how Catholic media are covering it.

NCR gets high marks, as do Commonweal and America. Not surprisingly, the National Catholic Register, a conservative publication, is more concerned about anti-Catholic spin from the secular media than with the crimes committed by priests.

I take issue with the author's opinion that NCR's March 26 editorial represents a "turning point in the publication's coverage of the scandal." The editorial's call for accountability is just the latest in years--no, decades--of strongly worded observations and appeals from this newspaper's editors, columnists and reporters.


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