Bishops’ abuse response must trump all other issues, advisers say (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
BALTIMORE (CNS) — A group that has been advising the U.S. bishops for 50 years on multiple issues chose to speak to the bishops in Baltimore Nov. 13 on just one issue: the clergy sexual abuse
crisis itself and ways to move forward from it. “We are facing painful times as a church,” Father David […] Full Story
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advisers say appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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National Review Board expects to push bishops on abuse accountability (Tue, 13 Nov 2018)
BALTIMORE (CNS) — Members of the National Review Board see their work as one way to continue challenging the U.S. bishops “not to back down” from efforts to improve accountability in responding to
clergy sexual abuse, said board chairman Francesco Cesareo. “This is a moment of opportunity and it is not a moment to be […] Full Story
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abuse accountability appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Vatican asks American bishops to delay vote on sex abuse response proposals (Mon, 12 Nov 2018)
BALTIMORE (CNS)–At the urging of the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will not vote on two proposals they were to discuss at their Baltimore meeting regarding their response to the
clergy sex abuse crisis. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, informed the bishops as they opened their fall general assembly Nov. […] Full Story
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on sex abuse response proposals appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Archbishop Gomez: ‘Pray hard’ for all affected by California shooting (Thu, 08 Nov 2018)
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—After a shooting spree late Nov. 7 at a country-music bar in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles from the heart of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles asked people to
“pray hard” for the victims and their families. Thirteen people, including the suspected gunman and a 29-year veteran of the […] Full Story
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California shooting appeared first on Georgia Bulletin.
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Puerto Rico: ‘An unprecedented level of need’ (Mon, 06 Nov 2017)
Catholic News Service was the first major Catholic news organization to send a photographer and a reporter to tour the island and document the efforts of the church and other organizations to help
many of the people far from the capital of San Juan. Continue reading → >> Read more
Historic Tomb of Michelangelo and altarpiece in dire need of repairs (Wed, 11 Oct 2017)
By Matthew Fowler ROME (CNS) — The historic tomb of Michelangelo and the Buonarroti family altarpiece in the Church of Santa Croce in Florence are in dire need of cleaning and restoration due to
sustained damage over the past 50 … Continue reading → >> Read more
A look back at the Legion of Decency (Thu, 17 Aug 2017)
By Mark Pattison and Julie Asher WASHINGTON (CNS) — It’s summertime and the movies are plentiful. As everyone knows the summer movie season is a big one for Hollywood, and when it comes to a close,
it is followed closely … Continue reading → >> Read more
Jamboree called ‘life-changing event’ for youths, adults (Fri, 28 Jul 2017)
Here’s a dispatch from Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia sent earlier this week by Msgr. John B. Brady from the national Scout jamboree, which closed today. A retired
priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, he became … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 23, 2017 (Fri, 21 Jul 2017)
July 23, Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 Psalm 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16
2) Romans 8:26-27 Gospel: Matthew 13:24-33 By Sharon K. Perkins Catholic News … Continue reading → >> Read more
John C. Quinn tended to the ‘least of these’ in U.S. newsrooms (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
WASHINGTON (CNS) – I’m convinced that around the country, and perhaps the world, there are many letters similar to the one I received in the mail some 18 years ago. It was written by hand and it
ended with a … Continue reading → >> Read more
Some cheese with your ‘whine’: Pope ‘establishes’ complaint-free zone (Fri, 14 Jul 2017)
By Junno Arocho Esteves Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis left a not-so-subtle message outside his office in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence: anyone who is thinking of
making a fuss, leave your whining at the door. … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 16, 2017 (Thu, 13 Jul 2017)
July 16, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) Isaiah 55:10-11 Psalm 65:10-14
2) Romans 8:18-23 Gospel: Matthew 13:1-23 By Jeff Hedglen Catholic News Service It seems as though every time … Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 9, 2017 (Fri, 07 Jul 2017)
The Scriptures this weekend contain a familiar, but difficult text. “Take my yoke upon you,” Jesus says. “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” Continue reading → >> Read more
Word to Life — Sunday Scripture readings, July 2, 2017 (Fri, 30 Jun 2017)
July 2, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A. Readings: 1) 2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a Psalm 89:2-3,
16-19 2) Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42 By Beverly Corzine Catholic News Service One winter morning I awoke …
Continue reading → >> Read more
Priest uses mother's sauce recipe to help the needy, evangelize (Thu, 15 Nov 2018)
This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.
Father Jim Sichko poses with a bottle of Miss Marie's Spaghetti Sauce at the offices of the Diocese of Lexington,
Kentucky, on Oct. 26. (CNS/Katie Rutter)
When Fr. Jim Sichko recalls Tuesdays during his childhood in Orange, Texas, he can almost smell the aroma of his mother's homemade tomato sauce wafting through their home.
Marie Ceraso Sichko was a native of Italy who would make fresh sauce, bake delicious dishes and lay out her finest china for her weekly lunch guests each Tuesday.
"Through the front door would come stinky, smelly, garbage sanitation workers," said Sichko, who currently serves in the Diocese of Lexington.
"They would come in and they would dine," he told Catholic News Service in an interview. "She would serve them."
Marie Sichko's simple act of charity for the local sanitation workers has rippled out to touch thousands. Sichko decided to bottle her secret sauce recipe and, after his mother died unexpectedly
last year, chose to donate the proceeds from sauce sales as a tribute to her memory.
Marie Sichko, mother of Fr. Jim Sichko, is seen in an archival photo from April 19, 2016. (CNS/Courtesy of Jim
Now, just two months after Sichko unveiled "Miss Marie's Spaghetti Sauce," the bottles can be found on the shelves of more than a dozen Kentucky retailers, are used at high-end Lexington
restaurants and have been shipped across the country through Father Sichko's website, www.frjims.com.
The Kentucky priest estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000 of the 15-ounce bottles have been purchased in addition to many more gallon-sized containers bought by restaurants.
"All of our gifts can be used for the greater glory of God and just as my mother fed others, even in her death and rising to new life, she continues to feed people that don't even know her,"
The tomato sauce is bottled by a food supplier in Louisville using all-natural, Kentucky-produced ingredients.
Sichko invests part of the profit back into the manufacturing process. The rest of the proceeds, however, he splits between the Southeast Texas Hospice, which cared for his mother at the end of
her life, and his home Diocese of Lexington.
"To think that he would take part of those proceeds and bless the diocese," said Debbie Swisher, the finance officer for the Lexington Diocese, "it's just tremendous."
Lexington is designated a "mission diocese" because many of its parishes cannot support themselves. Only about 3 percent of the population is Catholic; most of the diocese's territory is comprised
of the Appalachian area, known to be one of the poorest parts of the country.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, several of the counties in this eastern half of the Bluegrass State have a poverty rate of about 40 percent.
"People come to our doors all the time needing assistance with pharmacy, needing food, needing basic needs for themselves and for their families," Swisher told CNS.
Miss Marie's Spaghetti Sauce is displayed at the high-end retailer L.V. Harkness & Co. in Lexington, Kentucky,
Oct. 22. (CNS/Katie Rutter)
Proceeds from sauce sales will bolster the diocese's annual appeal, which helps to fund Catholic Charities' outreaches as well as other ministries such as Catholic schools, young adult ministry,
seminarian education and sustaining retired priests.
With every order shipped from his website, Sichko includes literature about the Diocese of Lexington and Southeast Texas Hospice. He also includes a photo of Miss Marie herself with a recipe of
one of her favorite dishes.
Sichko calls his sauce shipments a unique method of evangelization. He himself is a full-time evangelist, appointed by Pope Francis in 2016 as a "missionary of mercy." He still travels the United
States for speaking engagements and regularly makes headlines for performing random acts of kindness, such as giving $6,000 to the employees of a coffee shop.
"Sadly, we live in a very angry, a very negative society right now," explained Sichko, "and I believe that people are looking for ways of kindness and goodness and a sense of returning to basic
principles and values of giving, of being kind, of loving our neighbor."
The story of the sauce has inspired at least one local chef to pay it forward. Jeremy Ashby decided to incorporate Miss Marie's into the menu of his two Lexington restaurants, Brasabana and AZUR
Restaurant and Patio.
Jonathan Sharp, a sous chef at AZUR Restaurant and Patio in Lexington, Kentucky, tosses spaghetti noodles with
Miss Marie's Spaghetti Sauce Oct. 22. (CNS/Katie Rutter)
For each children's spaghetti dish sold at either restaurant, Ashby gives most of the proceeds to a local organization called Fayette Eating Education & Delivery, or FEED, which provides
weekend meals to youngsters in need.
"Some kids are afraid to go home for the weekend because they're going to be hungry until Monday," Ashby explained of FEED, "so they pack backpacks and give them to the kids, so they have
something to eat for the weekend."
For adults, Ashby uses Miss Marie's in a dish with spaghetti, bacon and caramelized onions.
"(The sauce) just kind of exudes that home-cooked, simple feeling that brings you back to grandma's table," he said.
Sichko's supplier just bottled 4,200 more jars of Miss Marie's Spaghetti Sauce. The priest envisions that, through her recipe, his mother's generosity will continue to spread far into the
"I think her legacy of prayer, her legacy of feeding, her legacy of love, and embracing all is what continues," Sichko said.
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Mother's legacy feeds poor, models charity
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In This Series
Parish roundup: Catholics support Tree of Life Synagogue
Nov 14, 2018
Baltimore Archdiocese, Catholic Charities help launch Parish
Nov 8, 2018
Parish roundup: Audio-visual tech connects incarcerated
mothers with their children
Nov 7, 2018
Catholic deaf group re-energized with Masses, social media, youth
Nov 1, 2018
Parish roundup: Pittsburgh parishes merge; marriage prep renews
Oct 31, 2018
View all › >> Read more
Six sex abuse survivors announce lawsuit against U.S. bishops (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Attorney Jeffrey Anderson points to an illustration during a Nov. 14 press conference in Baltimore. Anderson is
suing the U.S. Catholic bishops. (CNS/Catholic Review/Kevin J. Parks)
As the U.S. bishops entered the last public part of their 2018 fall general assembly, centered largely on the clergy sex abuse crisis, six clergy sex abuse survivors announced Nov. 14 a lawsuit
against the prelates' main organization, the U.S. Catholic bishops conference.
In a news conference near the hotel where the bishops were holding their annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Minnesota lawyer Jeff Anderson gathered three survivors from California, Minnesota and
Pennsylvania to talk about the suit filed in federal district court in Minnesota late Nov. 13.
The firm said in a news release that the lawsuit seeks "court ordered disclosure of identities of all offenders and their histories known only to the bishops who continue to keep this information
The suit names Joseph Mclean of Minnesota, Paul Dunn of New York, Phillip DiWilliams of Pennsylvania, Darin Buckman of Illinois, and Mark Pinkosh and Troy Franks of California as plaintiffs.
The lawsuit alleges that the USCCB concealed "the known histories and identities from the public, parishioners and law enforcement of clergy accused of sexually abusing children across the
The USCCB did not release a response but typically wouldn't respond to a lawsuit.
McClean, one of the survivors at the news conference, said he chose to join the lawsuit because he wants the bishops to "come clean."
"I'm here to protect kids" and to give victims the opportunity to heal, said McClean, who said his abusing priests brushed his pelvis against him during a retreat and kissed McClean when he was
17. Years later, after taking legal action to obtain documents about the priest, he said he discovered that he had done the same to others but was never stopped.
Anderson said there were others out there like that priest, and they pose a "danger that is real and imminent." That's why the lawsuit demands full disclosure of all known offenders in the 196
dioceses across the country, including the 120 dioceses that have not released a list of clergy who may have offended, he said during the news conference.
The church "maintains" a public hazard, said Anderson, who also announced a lawsuit against the Vatican in early October and has taken similar legal action over the years against dioceses around
Also present in the room was a man Anderson identified as Deacon Bob Sondag of Peoria, Illinois, who said he served as a victim assistance coordinator and said "the checks and balances put in
place in the 2002 Dallas charter have been compromised," referring to the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," a set of procedures adopted by the bishops to address the sex
"At times, it seems that protecting the institution is a higher goal than caring for the victims," said Sondag, reading from a statement.
Asked whether it was opportunistic to be unveiling the lawsuit in Baltimore while the bishops were meeting, Anderson said, "Yes, it is opportunistic," but added that it was an opportunity taken in
the interest of protecting children.
>> Read more
Bishops' conference's 2019 budget reflects abuse-related expenses, refugee cuts (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati speaks Nov. 13 during the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS/Bob Roller)
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' 2019 budget, approved Nov. 14 by a 223-12 vote with six abstentions, reflects increased expenses related to the new clergy sex abuse crisis, according to
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati, conference treasurer.
It also reflects, he said, the downward trend in the conference's Office of Migration and Refugee Service's budget due to federal policy changes. Neither the cuts in refugee resettlement funds nor
the abuse-related expenses can be fully assessed "with any certainty" at this time, Schnurr said.
The 2018 budget estimates abuse-related costs at $500,000, he added, "and as much as $1 million for 2019." The figures do not include $250,000 for what Schnurr called a "communications surge
project." A proposal to create and fund a commission to investigate abuse allegations against bishops — the vote for which was not held after the Vatican asked bishops' conference leadership to hold
off on it — was estimated to cost about $500,000, figuring a start date of July 1, 2019.
Moreover, the change for next spring's conference meeting from a retreat to a business meeting "which are more expensive" meetings "to mount," Schnurr said — also will figure into the 2019
numbers, including a cancellation charge from the hotel which had been reserving rooms for the bishops.
Migration and Refugee Services' budget has shrunk from $97 million last year to $78 million this year and to $66 million next year, "an overall decrease of about $31 million," Schnurr said.
The Trump administration has slashed the number of refugees it admits into the United States since it took office in 2017.
"MRS administration is decreasing $12.1 million due primarily to the reduction in the number of refugee arrivals and that directly impacts pass-through funding to the dioceses for local
administration and direct assistance to clients," Schnurr said in a budget overview prepared for the bishops. Federal awards and contracts are the chief source of MRS funds.
"Refugee arrivals processed by MRS dropped from about 21,000 in 2016 to roughly 14,500 in 2017 to possibly only 8,000 in 2018. A slight increase in refugee arrivals of 10,000 is estimated for 2019
as increased security procedures get implemented by the federal government," he added. "Diocesan sites (for resettlement) dropped from 96 in 2017 to 76 in 2018. Some sites decided to drop out of the
programs or were closed by the government funding agency because the added capacity for resettlement offices was no longer needed."
Migration and Refugee Services' resettlement services department revenue is likewise decreasing by $1.4 million "due largely to both a reduction in the number of refugee arrivals and changes in
number of clients eligible to be serviced by the program," Schnurr said. "The Cuban-Haitian program experienced a 76 percent cut due to the cancellation of automatic parole for Cubans who arrive in
the U.S.A. without a visa, and a slowdown of processing individuals through the parolee orientation program ... due to the sonic attacks at the U.S. embassy in Havana."
The 2019 bishops' conference budget reflects a 3 percent increase in the size of the diocesan assessment, or tax, each diocese pays to fund conference activities.
In communications, Schnurr noted that the overall budget for communications includes "Catholic Communications Campaign Committee-approved grants of $2.8 million." He added, "Talks continue within
the Subcommittee for CCC and the broader Communications Committee to reduce the amount of grant funding to the operations of the Communications Department including CNS (Catholic News Service)."
The 2018 conference budget lists an even $3 million in CCC grants to fund various communications operations. The proposed 2019 number is slated to shrink slightly to $2.85 million in 2019.
Within the conference's communications umbrella, CNS "continues to project no increase in revenue. This reflects the continuing trend of fewer diocesan newspapers publishing in print," Schnurr
said. "The Office of Marketing and Episcopal Resources is projecting a 2 percent decrease in revenue in the amount of $59,000 due to lower revenue from publication sales."
>> Read more
Florida bishop elected next bishops' conference treasurer starting fall 2019 (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Attendees are seen Nov. 12 at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops general assembly in Baltimore. (CNS/Kevin
Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg, Florida, will be the next treasurer of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, taking office next November.
Bishops voted 157-87 for Parkes as treasurer-elect Nov. 14 during their fall general assembly.
Votes also were cast for a new chairman of the Committee on National Collections and chairmen-elect for the committees on Catholic Education; Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations; Divine
Worship; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Migration.
Archbishop Paul Etienne of the Anchorage, Alaska, was elected to chair the Committee on National Collections. He outpolled Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington, 137-111. Etienne will
replace Bishop Joseph Cistone, 69, of Saginaw, Michigan, who died Oct. 16; he was voted in as chairman-elect at the November 2017 assembly and was to have taken office at the end of this year's
In February, Cistone announced that he had begun treatment for lung cancer. The bishop was optimistic about what was to be a six-month treatment. He had experienced a persistent cough and labored
breathing since September 2017, and he sought tests that diagnosed the cancer.
Parkes will succeed Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, who is starting his third and final year of his three-year term. The St. Petersburg prelate will serve one year as treasurer-elect and
then start a three-year term in office at the conclusion of the 2019 fall general assembly.
The treasurer also chairs the Committee on Budget and Finance and serves as vice chairman of the Committee on Priorities and Plans.
Bishops also voted for chairmen-elect of five committees. Those elected will serve for one year before beginning three-year terms at the conclusion of the bishops' 2019 fall general assembly.
Those elected include:
-- Committee on Catholic Education: Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, California, over Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, 142-103.
-- Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations: Bishop James Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, over Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, 168-77.
-- Committee on Divine Worship: Archbishop Leonard Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, over Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, 132-113.
-- Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development: Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City over Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, 140-105.
-- Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco over Bishop John Doerfler of Marquette, Michigan. The vote finished in a tie at 125 votes
each, but Cordileone became the chairman because he has been a bishop longer.
-- Committee on Migration: Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodríguez of Washington, over Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, 158-88.
The bishops also re-elected one member and elected two new members to the Catholic Relief Services board of directors. Bishop James Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, was
re-elected. New members are Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese of the Military Services USA and Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City.
>> Read more
U.S. bishops discuss proposed restrictions on prelates removed from office (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Attendees are seen Nov. 12 at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops general assembly in Baltimore.
During the second day of their annual fall assembly in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops discussed, even though they weren't voting on, procedures they could use to restrict bishops removed from their
position or reassigned due to sexual abuse allegations or "grave negligence in office."
This protocol can be viewed as a resource for bishops responding to specific cases. It does not offer new penalties or impose an obligation on bishops, said Bishop Robert Deeley of Portland,
Maine, who is chairman of the the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.
"Only the Holy Father can remove a bishop from office," he said Nov. 13, stressing that the protocols were meant as guidelines pointing out the disciplinary actions that could be taken as part of
The document presented to the bishops explains what exactly a resigned bishop, referred to as "bishop emeritus," cannot do.
Quoting the "Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops," written by the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops in 2004, it notes that the relationship with the diocesan bishop and the bishop
emeritus should be "marked by a fraternal spirit."
The bishop emeritus, it adds, ideally would not interfere directly or indirectly with the governance of the diocese and would carry out his activity "in full agreement with the diocesan bishop and
in deference to his authority."
In cases where a bishop emeritus' resignation or removal was due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual misconduct with adults or due to grave negligence of office, it says the
diocesan bishop should invite the bishop emeritus to "refrain from the exercise of publish ministry."
If the bishop emeritus does not agree to cooperate, the diocesan bishop should "request further and swift intervention from the Holy See regarding those matters outside his competence."
"The diocesan bishop will inform the bishop emeritus that public notice will be given concerning the matter, reminding him of the words of Pope Francis, 'The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of
minors may no longer be kept secret,' and his promise that those responsible will be held accountable."
The protocol also notes that even though the bishop emeritus has the "right and responsibility to preach the word of God everywhere, a diocesan bishop may expressly forbid it in particular cases
within the diocese. He may also request that the Holy See extend this prohibition more broadly or deny the exercise of the right entirely."
Other stipulations include:
-- The bishop emeritus can be denied the ability to witness marriages and the public celebration of other sacraments or rites in the church.
-- The diocesan bishop may adjust the benefits given to a bishop emeritus such as not funding travel or secretarial assistance.
-- Diocesan bishops can decided if "the privilege of burial in the cathedral church is due the bishop emeritus or if other arrangements should be made."
-- Participation in the USCCB plenary sessions would be determined by USCCB president, in consultation with the Administrative Committee.
No vote was to be taken on this protocol since the Vatican Congregation for Bishops asked the USCCB to delay any formal action approving the hand-in-hand protocols pending further review of their
compliance with canon law and the pending meeting of presidents of bishops' conferences around the world in Rome in February.
Further discussion on the topic was scheduled for Nov. 14, the closing day of the public session of the bishops' meeting.
>> Read more
Virginia Catholics praise dismissal of assisted suicide by state legislature (Thu, 15 Nov 2018)
Arlington, Va., Nov 15, 2018 / 03:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Virginia Catholics are praising the decision of a joint commission of the
state legislature to take no action on a study on assisted suicide.
Last year, Del. Kaye Kory (D-Fairfax) asked the Virginia state legislature to consider legalizing so-called “medical aid-in-dying” or physician-assisted suicide.
After receiving public comment, the Joint Commission on Health Care, which was tasked with studying the issue, voted 10-6 on November 7 to take no action on the issue.
“I was very pleased to receive the news that the Virginia Joint Commission on Health Care rejected efforts that might ultimately have led to the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in our
commonwealth,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington told the Arlington Catholic Herald.
“The commission received nearly 3,000 public comments against legalizing assisted suicide, and comments against assisted suicide outnumbered comments for assisted suicide 8-1! I thank the leadership
of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Arlington Diocese’s Office for Marriage, Family and Respect Life and so many citizens, especially among our Catholic faithful, for standing up for life!” he
In a statement posted to the Virginia Catholic Conference website, director of the conference Jeff Caruso said that voters’ voices had been “heard loud and clear” on the issue.
“In prayer and in public, your voices are urgently needed to bring Gospel values to bear on vital decisions being made by those who represent you,” he said.
Of the 3,000 comments against assisted suicide received by the commission, about 2,000 of them them were submitted through the Catholic Conference, Caruso told the Arlington Catholic Herald.
“The gift of life is something that should never be abandoned or discarded and that's the principal that was upheld by the joint commission,” he said.
Caruso said it was “very significant” that the commission declined to take action on assisted suicide, because it is something that could be helpful in the continued fight against legalizing it in
The vote included all of the commission’s Republicans, as well as one vote from a Democrat on the commission. One of the commissioners who voted against assisted suicide was a surgeon, another was a
Del. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg), who has experience as a surgeon, told the Virginia Mercury that he voted to take no action because he had witnessed people who had long-outlived their
“The resiliency of the human condition is truly an amazing thing,” he said. “Each one of us has certainly, many, many times in our professional careers been faced with somebody who had no chance,
they’re going to die in three months, and yet in fact it just wasn’t their time yet.”
The commission did pass several measures to improve health care in the state’s jails and prisons, including actions aimed at improving mental health and substance abuse.
Kory told the Virginia Mercury that she would not propose any assisted suicide legislation this year.
The seven states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized assisted suicide.
>> Read more
Harvard students hold Catholic Sex Week to explain Church teaching (Thu, 15 Nov 2018)
Cambridge, Mass., Nov 15, 2018 / 12:27 am (CNA/EWTN News).- After Sex Week at Harvard University this year, the Catholic Student
Association hosted a series of talks designed to offer insight on the Catholic understanding of sexuality.
Hosted Nov. 6-8, this was the first Catholic Sex Week the student organization had conducted. The events followed Harvard Sex Week on Oct. 28-Nov.4, which included discussions on polyamory, fetishes,
Jack Clark, vice president of intellectual development for the Catholic Student Association, helped organize Catholic Sex Week, which he said was not a rebuttal to Harvard Sex Week but an opportunity
for people to learn a different perspective on sexuality.
“After Harvard Sex Week, we kind of did a few events of our own just to get people talking, to present the Catholic view of sexuality,” Clark told CNA.
“I think the biggest goal was to educate ourselves and to a lesser extent the Harvard community on the reasoning and the belief behind the Catholic view on sex and sexuality.”
The event included three discussions – featuring as speakers Fr Patrick Fiorillo, the undergraduate chaplain; Steve and Helene Bowler, a Catholic married couple; and Dr. Janet Smith, the keynote
speaker who also holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
At the talk on Tuesday, Fiorillo explained in detail some of the points in Humanae Vitae, the landmark encyclical reaffirming Church teaching against contraception, which marked its 50th anniversary
earlier this year.
On Wednesday, married couple Steve and Helene Bowler shared their personal experience transitioning from a failure to live out the Church’s teaching on contraception to an eventual cooperation with
it. Clark said the family is sympathetic to the difficulty of this teaching, but emphasized the spiritual growth it has produced.
Smith spoke on Thursday about the topic “Why sex is complicated.” The discussion approached a general understanding of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and how it differed from a do-what-you-want
attitude, said Clark.
“Dr. Smith’s talk was really emphasizing the role of sex and how it can’t be separated from real emotional intimacy, from procreation, from the family, and obviously, from a Catholic perspective, we
look at men and women as complimentary.”
The first two talks were held at the Catholic center and attracted about 30 people each. The third event was held on campus and welcomed 60 attendees. Jack was not sure if any non-Catholics attended
the events, and said he did not yet know if the series would be repeated next year, but he said he sees the talks as a success.
“I don’t think there is a plan to set this up as an annual thing, but we certainly want to build on the moment that we created. I think people are talking about Catholic views on sexuality more than
they have been… I am excited to see where that energy goes, whether it is reading groups or discussions or more talks.”
>> Read more
Bishop Malone criticized for $200,000 house renovation (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Buffalo, N.Y., Nov 14, 2018 / 07:31 pm (CNA).- Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York has come under fire for reportedly spending
an estimated $200,000 to renovate his new home - a former convent near St. Stanislaus Church.
Malone had announced in April that he would sell his bishop’s mansion to help pay for compensation for victims of sexual abuse in the diocese. He has since moved into his new residence with his
Internal diocesan documents and emails detailed the cost of the renovation, and were released in a Nov. 12 report from Charlie Specht of local news station WKBW. The
estimated expenses include $22,000 for ramp access for handicapped visitors, $30,000 for landscaping, $7,200 to install WiFi, and $46,000 for a garage addition and a parking spot for staff.
Malone wrote in email released by WKBW that a visiting priest was “alarmed about my living in such a run down neighborhood” when Malone took him by the new residence.
“I wasn’t surprised by [the priest’s] reaction...no successor of mine would want to go there!” Malone wrote.
Publicly, however, Malone has told the press that he was looking forward to moving in, and said “it’s a good thing for me to be over there” in a neighborhood where “there are some encouraging
Last month, Siobhan O’Connor, former executive assistant to Malone, leaked internal diocesan documents to the local press. The
documents purported to show that the diocese culled down a list of over 100 clergy accused of “criminal, abusive or inappropriate behavior” to a final, publicly released list of just 42 who were
“removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry” due to allegations. This list was originally released in March.
The diocese has since added names of accused clergy to the list,
bringing the total number acknowledged by the diocese to 78.
O’Connor reportedly suggested to Malone in March that he could live in the rectory of St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, taking up residence in a newly-vacated suite and allaying some of the
additional costs of renovating the convent.
Malone thanked O’Connor for the idea at the time but said he needed the additional space for his “rather ample personal theological library” and his piano, and said he preferred to live in a
residence that was solely his own, and not a parish rectory, WKBW reported.
According to additional emails, Malone requested that the convent be used solely as his residence, despite the fact that the building had been used for parish meetings, choir practices, and
gatherings since the 1970s.
“I prize privacy above most everything,” Malone reportedly wrote. “I cannot live in a building that is used or meetings, or for anything other than my residence.”
Kathy Spangler, spokesperson for the diocese, responded to the situation in a statement to local media.
She said the rectory at the cathedral was “simply not suitable for the gatherings [the] bishop hosts and was therefore not considered,” and that the convent was chosen in order to “accommodate the
many gatherings and events that a bishop hosts during the year.”
She said much of the expensive work was being done to make the building handicapped accessible, as well as other non-cosmetic improvements such as repairing air conditioning and bringing electrical
systems up to code.
Spangler also said Malone would not have made the move to the convent if he were concerned for his safety in that neighborhood, and that the bishop “does not want to be alone.”
CNA reached out to the Diocese of Buffalo for further comment but did not receive a reply by press time.
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Cardinal DiNardo hopeful for Church in US (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2018 / 05:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Acknowledging that he was disappointed by the Vatican's decision to block a
vote on sex abuse reform measures, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said Wednesday he nonetheless sees a hopeful future for the Church in the United States.
In the closing statement of the USCCB’s Fall General Assembly Nov. 14, the president of the conference focused on the upcoming meeting of bishops’ conference presidents in Rome, and hopes that the
discussions there among representatives of the global Church will assist with the continued “eradication” of sexual abuse in the Church.
DiNardo offered praise for the various abuse victim testimony and abuse experts throughout the week, saying that they had given him direction and “such good counsel in these last few days.”
In the wake of the allegations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, DiNardo reiterated how over the summer, the bishops committed themselves to three goals: an investigation of the claims against
McCarrick, developing an easier way to report abuse, and developing a means of holding bishops accountable.
“We are on course to accomplish these goals,” DiNardo told the crowd of bishops.
“That is the direction you and the survivors of abuse have given me.”
DiNardo then proceeded to outline some of the “action steps” the bishops hope to take in the coming future. These include the creation of a process for complaints that are reported to a third-party
compliance hotline, the completion of a proposal for a lay commission, and the creation of a national network of diocesan review boards and lay experts that will oversee metropolitans.
These steps represented a combination of some of the proposals that came up over the course of the week’s general assembly.
DiNardo also said that the bishops will look to finalize protocol and standards, and will be creating new guidelines for the release of list of names of priests who have substantiated claims of
abuse. He also called for a “fair and timely” investigation of McCarrick and a publication of the results.
The bishops will be “committed to take the strongest possible action at the earliest possible moment,” he said. He looks forward to the February meeting, as he believes that working with the global
Church will serve to make the Church in the United States even stronger.
“We must thus as bishops recommit to holiness and mission of the Church,” he said. He said that he is “confident” that along with Pope Francis, the Church will move forward “decisively” after this
And despite Monday’s initial frustration, DiNardo said that the past three days were “a sign of hope for me, not a disappointment.”
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'What are people to make of our silence?' Bishops discuss McCarrick in Baltimore (Wed, 14 Nov 2018)
Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2018 / 04:38 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The bishops of the United States resumed their open-floor discussion on the
recent sexual abuse scandals facing the Church in America Wednesday morning. In addition to debating the best means of institutionally responding to the crisis, the specific case of Archbishop
Theodore McCarrick was raised by several speakers.
Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville told the conference Nov. 14 that the allegations against McCarrick, and the scandal of his rise and fall, were not just affecting long-time Catholics. Many people in
the process of entering the Church found themselves having the example of McCarrick throw at them by friends and family as evidence that they were entering an institution in crisis.
Stika said McCarrick, and the letters of former nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, were serving as “ammunition” to discourage people from entering the Church, and that many Catholics felt that
bishops were only responding to the sexual abuse crisis when they were “forced to” by the media.
Several bishops spoke in favor of the USCCB acting as a body to speak out about McCarrick.
Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth told the conference hall that “we end where we begin.”
“So much of the outrage we experience - and I think it's a rightful outrage - is prompted by the injustice that our people have experienced at the hands of predators, at the treatment of our
seminarians and our priests who were entrusted to the care of former cardinal McCarrick, a trust that was not only violated, but was ignored by others who were responsible for paying
Olson observed that while Pope Francis had accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the college of cardinals and sent him to a life of prayer and penance pending a canonical process, the USCCB had yet
to respond as a body to the scandal caused by one of their own.
“He is an emeritus [bishop of a U.S. diocese] and as such he is supposed to be a welcome guest here. He is not welcome and we should say it,” Olson said. He also questioned if the bishops’ reliance
on structural and procedural reform was overshadowing their need to act with moral authority.
“We have said the Holy See should let us get some new norms, get a process together. Do we use this process as means of avoiding our pastoral responsibilities?” Olson asked, suggesting that the
conference needed to condemn not just McCarrick’s alleged behavior, but also Vigano’s call for the resignation of the pope, which he called an attack on the Petrine office.
Bishop Liam Cary of Baker also insisted that the conference needed to respond to the McCarrick scandal as a body, saying McCarrick had “grievously offended” not just his victims but all Catholics,
priests, and bishops.
By abusing seminarians “successively, over decades” Cary said McCarrick had left a “shameful residue” on all the bishops, and that while other institutions had revoked honors previously bestowed on
the former cardinal the USCCB had taken no action.
Cary cited the example of bodies, like the U.S. Senate, which could pass resolutions to censure its members as one way they could respond, but insisted that some kind of action was urgently
“What are people to make of our silence?” he asked. “How do we lead our brother to the mercy of God if we leave unspoken the demands of his justice?”
Bishop Cary echoed Bishop Olson’s concern that McCarrick was still technically qualified as a welcome participant at the conference.
“If McCarrick were to come to this microphone would he be allowed to speak?” Cary asked, noting that there was no open microphone for his victims.
In addition to the specific problem of Archbishop McCarrick, the bishops also discussed how they could proceed more generally in the light of the Holy See’s intervention to prevent them from voting
to adopt the proposed Standards for Episcopal Conduct or to create an independent special commission to investigate allegations against bishops.
Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange summed up the dilemma facing the conference.
“We cannot just sit back and do nothing,” he told the bishops. If a deliberative vote was not possible, he said, the bishops needed to at least take “some sort of consultative vote” to show that the
American bishops were firmly resolved among themselves.
Bishop Robert Christian, auxiliary bishop of San Francisco, expressed the frustrations of many bishops at the inability of the conference to act.
He pointed out that as several scandals broke over the summer “the leadership of this conference was blocked from either working in partnership with the Holy See or leaving it to us in the
Christian said that he was concerned by the Holy See’s intervention. He observed that it could take months for the Vatican to produce a final resolution after the February meeting of the heads of the
world’s bishops’ conferences in Rome. This could mean, he said, that the U.S. bishops could find it still “impossible” to act in March, or even June, of next year.
“It is all the more important to vote today as if we were voting on a policy,” he said, so that both the faithful and the Holy See could see the clear mind of the bishops.
Despite the support of many on the conference hall for the original proposal for an independent commission to receive and investigate allegations against bishops, a few bishops have suggested they
would prefer to see a different system altogether.
Bishop Gregory Hartmayer of Savannah proposed that Rome should instead be asked to consider amending canon law to give metropolitan archbishops an expanded role and authority for dealing with
allegations against bishops in their province. His proposal was echoed by Bishop Robert Coerver of Lubbock.
Hartmayer noted that it might be better for accusations against a bishop to be considered by “a jury of their peers” since, he said, “no one understands a bishop so much as another bishop.”
He also said that bishops owed each other the “courtesy” of listening “to one of our brothers who has misbehaved in some way.”
While the majority of the interventions from the floor were concerned with what direct action the conference could take, others were more reflective.
Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond gave a long and clearly personal reflection on the pain experienced by priests and laity alike in his former diocese, Washington.
Knestout said that he looked upon the current scandals on a continuum of previous crises, stretching back 50 years to the promulgation of Humanae vitae, saying that the rejection by many
clergy of that document, and the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life and sexuality, had caused “one long crisis of leadership and teaching” in the Church.
Despite the clear and forceful calls by several bishops for some clear statement on the case of Archbishop McCarrick, when the bishops resumed their seats after breaking for lunch they voted down a
resolution to “encourage” the Holy See to release whatever documents it could on McCarrick.
As they debated the minutiae of the resolution’s wording, the bishops found they could not even agree on the inclusion of the word “soon.”
After the defeat of the proposal, one bishop remarked to CNA that “we cannot seem to speak clearly, even when we want to agree.”
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