"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen.1:27)

Friday, July 25, 2008

"The truth of my judgement and conclusions"

James Cardinal Stafford has provided his personal reflections on the reception that Pope Paul VI's 1968 encycyclical, Humanae Vitae, received in the United States and his home diocese of Baltimore.

Recounting how, shortly after the encyclical's publication, he found himself gathered in a Baltimore rectory basement, being encouraged to add his name to the already-published "Statement of Dissent" by a number of clergy from Washington, Stafford states that he could not sign it. Why? "I remained convinced of the truth of my judgement and conclusions," he writes.

I'm glad that His Eminence recognizes the respect that is due to an individual's judgment and conclusions -- especially ones borne of careful thought, study, and prayer. Wouldn't it be nice if such respect were more broadly recognized at all levels of the Church, especially as it relates to those heart-felt issues that, sadly, tend to cause strife and division, rather than discussion and mutual understanding.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Congressman should mind his own business

Local D.C. public radio station WAMU reported this morning that Republican Congressman Mark Souder from Indiana has introduced legislation regarding guns and the District of Columbia. In part, Souder suggested that pending legislation in the D.C. City Council would "deprive people of their civil rights," and that his proposed legislation was an attempt to ensure that citizens were not deprived of a civil right.

If Mark Souder is so concerned with fundamental civil rights of Americans, then perhaps he should start with the right of self-governance and publicly support efforts to provide full congressional representation for the almost 600,000 residents of the District of Columbia who are disenfranchised from full participation in American government. Perhaps he should also focus his time working on issues that affect the people who elected him -- and leave the elected officials of D.C. to do the same!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Room for Gay and Lesbian Youth in the Church?

Pope Benedict XVI is in Australia for World Youth Day. I wonder if he'll have time to attend a forum for gay and lesbian youth sponsored by Acceptance Sydney, an organization providing a "safe, spiritual and social environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, their family and friends"?

Monday, July 14, 2008

The People of God at Work

I defy anyone not to be moved by the Assembly's response to a man who heckled Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson as he attempted to deliver the sermon at a London church recently. Bishop Robinson is in London as the outsider-looking-in, having been uninvited form the decennial Lambeth Conference which, as the conference's Web site states, is an occasion, "when all bishops can meet for worship, study and conversation. Archbishops, diocesan, assistant and suffragan bishops are invited." Stopping his sermon as an unruly man stands and shouts at him, calling him a "heretic," the gathered assembly of the faithful come to the Bishop's aid by joining their voices in song to drown out the disruptive heckler.

As for Bishop Robinson, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William's has added insult to injury. Not only has Williams invited every other Anglican Communion bishop (along with their spouses!), but so too has he invited "bishops from other churches 'in communion' with the Anglican Communion, bishops from United Churches and a number of ecumenical guests."

For Bishop Robinsson and the people of New Hampshire, this must be like discovering that that your neighbors are having a block party -- and yours is the only family on the street not welcome. And not only that, people from other parts of town have been invited as well. For you and your family, however ... well, there just wasn't a place at the table!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Catholics' Financial Support for Pope Decreases

The Vatican's consolidated financial statement for 2007 has been published, and things don't look so good. The annual Peter's Pence collection -- the traditional means by which Catholics around the world directly support the Pope and his evangelizing ministries -- fell by a staggering 32% (i.e. from €70.4 million in 2006 to €50.8 million in 2007).

Even despite an anonymous gift of €9.09 million (over $14 million) from one very generous individual, the Holy See still had a deficit of €9 million for the year. The weak U.S. dollar was cited as one of the major reasons for this deficit ("This decrease [in the surplus] ... 'is due above all to a sudden very strong reversal of trend in fluctuations of the rate of exchange, especially of the US dollar.'")

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Study in Contrasts

The photo on the cover of the recently published book, "Life in Paradox: The Story of a Gay Catholic Priest," depicts its author Paul Murray being ordained at the hands of the late Pope Paul VI. The irony of the photograph is that the man ordained side-by-side with Paul is none other than Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and newly-appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Archbishop Burke is famous (or is it infamous?) for not only advocating the regular exclusion from Eucharistic sharing of those whose political views may be inconsistent with some official Church teaching, but also for the recent draconian measures against an apparently well-loved and well-respected Pastoral Associate in one of Burke's St. Louis parishes.