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Jubilarians 2018: Ursulines of Brown County

11/13/2018 - 12:44pm

60 Years

Sr. Jeanette Johnson, OSU

For over 47 years Sr. Jeanette was an elementary school teacher that included St. Vivian Finneytown, St Henry in Cincinnati and St. Louis in Owensville. During those years she also taught religious education in various parish in the St. Martin Deanery area. In 1975 she helped a refugee Vietnamese family become acclimated to the United States. She now resides in Fayetteville, Ohio and spends her time assisting the Ursulines who are residing at Mt. Notre Dame assisted living and health care center in Cincinnati.

Sr. Lawrence Sickman, OSU

Sr. Lawrence worked for the Archdiocese in religious education. Eleven years were spent ad Regional Director in the Dayton area. Seventeen years were spent in elementary education as an elementary school principal. In earlier years she taught four years at Ursuline Academy Cincinnati teaching Home Economics and also taught at the former School of the Brown County Ursulines in St. Martin, Ohio. Presently Sr. Lawrence is ministering three days a week at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center in Norwood where she finds the work challenging and interesting.

Sr. Nancy Vollman, OSU

Sr. Nancy began her ministry as a teacher that included Ursuline Academy and St. Peter in Dayton. She also served as principal at St. Henry School in Cincinnati. Sr. Nancy continued her service as part of the Administrative Team and Counselor at Chatfield College before becoming a Counselor at Catholic Social Services in Covington, Kentucky. For the past 25 years she has been a spiritual director and given numerous directed retreats. In addition, Sr. Nancy was director of formation. She served as a community Counsel member as well as Superior General for 12 years. She continues to do spiritual direction.

Pope names Archbishop Scicluna adjunct secretary of CDF

11/13/2018 - 12:35pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Paul Haring

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis named Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, arguably the Catholic Church’s most respected abuse investigator, to be adjunct secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Announcing the appointment Nov. 13, the Vatican press office said the archbishop would continue to serve simultaneously as head of the Malta Archdiocese. "To fulfill the duties entrusted to him by Pope Francis, Archbishop Scicluna will travel to Rome on a regular basis," said a note on the archdiocese’s website.

Archbishop Scicluna is expected to have a key role in the organization of a meeting in February on child protection that Pope Francis has asked all presidents of national bishops’ conferences to attend.

The 59-year-old archbishop, who holds a doctorate in canon law, worked at the doctrinal congregation for 10 years as the "promoter of justice" — a position similar to prosecuting attorney — dealing with cases of alleged clerical sexual abuse.

But even after being named auxiliary bishop of Malta in 2012, he continued to be the person the pope would call on to investigate high-profile cases of abuse, consolidating a reputation for treating victims with compassion and respect, and for insisting church officials respond to allegations clearly.

He generally is credited with consolidating the cases against Legionaries of Christ founder Father Marcial Maciel Degollado and Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien and, most recently, for convincing Pope Francis to take measures against several bishops in Chile.

Archbishop Scicluna also serves as president of the doctrinal congregation board that reviews appeals filed by priests laicized or otherwise disciplined in sexual abuse or other serious cases.

Although born in Toronto, he has lived in Malta since he was a year old. He did his university and seminary studies in Malta and was ordained to the priesthood in 1986.

During the Synod of Bishops in October, reporters asked Archbishop Scicluna about the state of discussions regarding the need for greater accountability of bishops in handling abuse cases. He said accountability would be a topic at the world meeting on abuse prevention the pope called for Feb. 21-24.

"We know there is a great expectation for more accountability," he said. "Now how is that going to develop? I think we need to trust Pope Francis to develop a system whereby there is more accountability."

"We bishops realize that we are accountable not only to God but also to our people," and accountable not only for what they do, but what they fail to do when it comes to "stewardship" and protection, he said.

The crisis caused by ongoing revelations and allegations "is a very important moment" for everyone in the church because "it is going to make us really, really humble," the archbishop told reporters. "There is no other way to humility except through humiliation, and it is a big humiliation, and it is going to make us humble, I hope."

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Gifts of the Magi

11/13/2018 - 12:00pm

Moving Forward

Charlotte suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband. The violence stopped when she called police and pressed charges. The police took her to the Family Justice Center where she developed a safety plan while police searched for her husband. Once he was behind bars and a civil protection order was in place, Charlotte began applying for jobs to support her family. For 13 years, her husband provided the sole source of income for the family. Now Charlotte needed a job to take care of her children. She applied for numerous jobs but without a current work history or college degree, she struggled to re-enter the workforce.

Charlotte learned about opportunities in the trucking industry from her aunt. Charlotte was thrilled to find a five-week training program that guaranteed job placement by graduation with local companies that required limited short-term trips. Charlotte knew with a stable, well-paying job she could care for her children as a single parent and move forward. Through your support of Gifts of the Magi, Charlotte received $2,195 to offset some of the cost for the Truck Driver Training program.

I am forever grateful for this opportunity to create a new life for my family. We lived in fear and darkness so long. Your gift is like a ray of sunshine after stormy weather.

Thank you and God Bless,
Charlotte

Regaining Mobility

St. Vincent de Paul learned that Kathleen was unable to leave her home for two years because Medicaid did not cover the cost of portable oxygen. So Kathleen lived isolated at home, tethered to a huge oxygen tank. Her local SVDP conference began assisting Kathleen by paying for portable oxygen, but the 18-pound oxygen tanks were difficult to carry. Kathleen labored to breathe and the heavy tanks took a toll on her heart. Kathleen also received a grant from a pharmaceutical company to offset her annual co-payments for a daily medication that retails for $90,000 a year. Combined with other required medical treatments, her family often chose between refilling the oxygen tanks and critical home and auto repairs. When Kathleen’s husband received a raise, the family rejoiced. However, the celebration was short-lived. His raise put the family over the poverty guideline for receiving grants to offset medical expenses.

The Gifts of the Magi provided Kathleen with $2,009 to offset the cost for oxygen equipment that will solve her oxygen insecurity for years to come and allow her to continue being active in her parish.

I received my portable oxygen concentrator that was purchased by your organization, and I cannot begin to express my gratefulness. I suffer from Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension that makes it difficult for me to breathe. It makes activities that were once routine difficult, or even, out of reach. I used to have to carry oxygen tanks wherever I went. I had to carry them over my shoulder, or drag them behind me in a metal cart. Shopping at the grocery store was difficult. I always worried whether or not I would have enough portable oxygen to last me for the month, or if I could even afford to purchase more. I no longer have these worries. Having this new machine has returned some of the freedom to me that my disease has taken away, and I am truly grateful.

Forever Grateful,
Kathleen

Securing a Home

Maribel and her nine-year-old daughter slept on the floor of a friend’s apartment. Maribel met kind people at Mass one Sunday who encouraged her to reach out to the Su Casa Hispanic Center. Maribel is seeking asylum and rebuilding her life here. One day her friend moved out of the apartment and left Maribel with overdue rent. While she just received her first paycheck working for a cleaning company, she did not have enough money to avoid eviction. Maribel was scared she and her daughter would end up homeless. Su Casa assisted Maribel in working with the landlord who transferred the apartment lease to her.

Through your support of Gifts of the Magi, Maribel received $1,115 for rent and a security deposit to avoid becoming homeless.

My daughter and I will be eternally grateful to all of you for your generosity and for helping us secure a home here in Cincinnati. You were the angels that God put in our path to save us! I have never had a place of my own, never. I don’t know how to pay you for all the help you and the Su Casa staff have been giving us in times of desperation and uncertainty. We left Guatemala trying to save our lives. We had been sleeping on the floor until we found help of Su Casa. We finally found a place to stay and the opportunity to live again and be safe. Thanks to your gift, we have a home!

Always grateful,
Maribel

GIFTS OF THE MAGI Donor Intent Card
Enclosed please find my donation for “Gifts of the Magi”
In the amount of $ Donor’s Name: _____________________________________________________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
City:  _______________________________________________State: _____________ Zip:_______________
Email: _________________________________________________________________________________
Make checks payable to Gifts of the Magi. Mail this form and your contribution to:
Gifts of the Magi Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio 7162 Reading Road, Suite 600, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237
All donations are tax-deductible. Donor lists are not sold nor provided to any other organization

Gifts of the Magi began in 1993 as a cooperative project between “The Catholic Telegraph,” the Archdiocesan Council of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, and Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio. The project focuses on using money in ways that will allow families to bring about long-term change. Many parishes now use Gifts of the Magi cases for their Christmas giving trees, asking parishioners to donate a small portion of what each family needs. We are grateful to those parishes for their support and encourage others to consider joining in the project. We give thanks most of all to our readers for their generosity of money and spirit.

Archbishop Dennnis M. Schnurr: World Day of the Poor Nov. 18

11/13/2018 - 10:49am
Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

October 2018

My Dear Friends in Christ,

On November 18, the Church will once again celebrate a World Day of the Poor. In his message for the occasion, Pope Francis directs us to reflect upon what it means to “hear the cry of the poor” (cf. Ps 34). He exclaims: Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid. (Message for Second World Day of the Poor, no.4)

Pope Francis’ challenge to us is to consider how we can respond to the needs of the poor – through direct charity, yes – but also by finding ways for them to fully participate in society. And, he calls us to do so, not just by devising solutions we think are best for the poor, but by actually listening to their own cries and ideas for self-betterment.

This is precisely what the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is all about!

For Catholics in the United States, the weekend of November 17-18 is fittingly our annual collection for CCHD, the U.S. bishops’ anti-poverty, social justice program. Through the grants we make to well-vetted organizations, CCHD uniquely empowers those in poverty to identify their own needs and to become their own agents of positive change.

As a result of your generosity from last year’s CCHD Collection, over 2,600 low-income individuals in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati benefitted from the work of our funded organizations. Among them are hard-to-hire people obtaining jobs and employment skills, women escaping human trafficking, youth developing leadership skills, and neighborhood leaders securing decent housing and public services in their communities. In every instance, CCHD was there to hear their cries, to help them find a place at the decision-making tables impacting their lives and to give them a sense of ownership over their communities.

CCHD is a mandatory collection in the archdiocese, which means that every parish will be taking it up. We send two-thirds of this collection to the national CCHD offices at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (much of which comes back to fund organizations operating in our archdiocese). The remaining one-third is granted just to agencies in our own archdiocese. A smaller portion supports the U.S. bishops’ Black and Indian Mission Fund, anti-poverty education efforts in our parishes and schools, and administration of these funds. It is our strict policy that organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in activities that promote abortion, same-sex marriage, the death penalty, affronts to human life and dignity, or any positions contrary to fundamental Church teaching.

Thank you in advance for your donations on CCHD Collection Weekend. You can learn more about CCHD’s work in the Archdiocese at www.catholiccincinnati.org/socialaction.

With gratitude for your attentiveness to the cry of the poor, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

WPAFB Dayton Airforce base parish boasts active faith community

11/13/2018 - 10:28am
Cheri Champagne, Catholic coordinator at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish on Wright-Patterson AFB, poses with Father Donald Moss, pastor. (Courtesy Photo)Cheri Champagne, Catholic coordinator at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish on Wright-Patterson AFB, poses
with Father Donald Moss, pastor. (Courtesy Photo)

By Sharon Semanie

Nine children are scheduled to be confirmed at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), in November. The celebrant, Archbishop Timothy Broglio does not represent the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, but rather the Archdiocese for Military Services (USA) in Washington, D.C., the sole endorser of Roman Catholic chaplains and priests for the U.S. government.

Cheri Champagne, Catholic coordinator at Our Lady Queen of Peace, recently provided an inside glimpse into WPAFB and the role of its faith community during a Dayton area parish leadership summit held at the Wright-Patterson Club. The purpose of the meeting was to “foster a mutually beneficial relationship between our base and civilian communities in support of our Catholic military members).” Parish priests and deacons in attendance represented St. Peter, Huber Heights; St. Charles Borromeo, Kettering; St. Luke, Beavercreek; Queen of Apostles, Dayton; Ascension, Kettering; Mary, Help of Christians, Fairborn; and Sacred Heart, New Carlisle.

Attendees were told WPAFB, a massive base covering 8,125 acres with three runways, is the home to Air Force Materiel Command and executes 40 percent of the USAF budget. It serves as the largest single site employer in Ohio, has an annual payroll of $2.2 billion, and provides a $4.3 billion economic impact per year to the area. Its schools receive $700,000 in federal aid annually and the ever-popular National Museum of the United States Air Force attracts over 1.1 million visitors each year.

The Chaplain Corps office is located in Building 219, a former hospital built in the 1940s. It’s one of many “helping agencies” on base that assists airmen and their families with mental health, alcohol and drug abuse, family advocacy, educational research, and, of course, religious accommodation and liberties.

The 88th Air Base Wing Chaplain Corps aims to “provide spiritual care and ensure all airmen and their families have opportunities to exercise their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.” There are four chapels on the base, including two free-standing chapels — Kittyhawk and Prairies — along with a teaching hospital and the Air Force Institute of Technology. Father Donald Moss, a retired navy chaplain “on loan” from the Diocese of Austin, Texas. serves as pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace, and is assisted by Father David Vincent of Ludlow Falls.

The uniformed chaplains and base priests, noted Champagne, provide for the spiritual needs of the WPAFB community and preside at the 10 weekly Masses on base along with weddings and funerals. They also provide counseling and resilience training, which she described as “weekend retreats, faith-based activities, or perhaps taking lunch to a unit” on base.

There are an estimated 225 registered families at Our Lady Queen of Peace and these numbers naturally fluctuate due to military moves that generally take place during the summer and winter cycles. Twenty-five percent of the Catholic community represents active duty, while the remainder are veterans and civilians. Weekly religious education classes attract 90-plus children ranging from pre-school to senior high age.

Champagne, an active mother of five who lives in Beavercreek, said the WPAFB Catholic community plays an active role outside its base as well. Outreach activities include the St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter meal preparation and serving. There are also Respect Life activities, prayer chains and vigils, mission trips, blessing bags created by youth that contain selfcare items, a prayer tent at the Air Force Marathon, and Christmas caroling at the VA Hospital. Champagne was among 17 WPAFB individuals — both Catholic and Protestant —who assisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

“We also have a strong working relationship with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” she added, citing catechist training, compliance with child safety standards, local program participation, local resource use, and financial aid. In addition, WPAFB also has the support of Catholics from off-base communities, dual registrations and military members who turn to the WPAFB chapel for support whether they are registered or not.

The summit, said Champagne, hopefully created an awareness among attendees of opportunities they have “to get involved,” from emergency support, such as hospital visitations or Red Cross/military notifications, to reciprocity for Mass backup and assisting military families with unique needs.

AMS, created by St. John Paul II in 1985, ministers to the U.S. Armed Forces and represents the largest archdiocese worldwide responsible for over 1.8 million men, women and children; 220 military installations in 29 countries, 153 VA medical centers, and federal employees serving outside the U.S boundaries in 134 countries.

AMS, according to Champagne, receives no funding from the U.S. government, but relies solely on the “generosity of its chaplains, men and women in uniform and private benefactors.”

“Unlike a conventional diocese, the AMS has no parishes or parish boundaries,” she said. Chapels are the property of the U.S. government and are multi-use shared by other religious denominations. All sacramental records are maintained by the AMS in D.C. and is “in stark contrast with conventional parishes where sacraments are recorded in the parish registry and the parish has control of the physical space.”

Protesters gather outside bishops’ meeting in Baltimore, call for change

11/12/2018 - 10:43pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

By Emily Rosenthal

BALTIMORE (CNS) — As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened a Day of Prayer at the Fall Bishops General Assembly Nov. 12, John McKeon was the first to walk a path along Aliceanna Street outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, just after 9 a.m.

Along with his wife, Karen Greklek, he made the journey from New York to show his concern with a simple poster board sign and matching pins that read "REPENT RESIGN."

"I don’t think the church would miss a beat if they all resigned," McKeon said, calling for a collective resignation similar to that of the bishops of Chile. "There are many ways to serve the Lord – they don’t have to be a bishop."

Even if Pope Francis does not accept the resignations of every bishop, he said, the gesture would show remorse.

"I’m here because of my faith," said McKeon, a parishioner of St. Mary-Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Mount Vernon, New York. "I want the Catholic Church to be what it should be, not what it is."

Leaders from BishopAccountability.org organized a morning news conference, where they and victim-survivors of abuse denounced the Vatican’s request for the U.S. bishops to delay any vote on two proposals they were to discuss at the assembly regarding their response to the clergy sex abuse scandals.

The Vatican — via the Congregation for Bishops — asked the U.S. bishops to delay any vote until after a February meeting with the pope and presidents of the bishops’ conferences around the world that will focus on addressing clergy abuse. The bishops were informed of the request just as the general meeting was being called to order.

Action "absolutely cannot wait," said Peter Isely, a spokesperson for Ending Clergy Abuse and founding member of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, who was the first to speak at the news conference. "There’s no reason to wait. ‘ It’s well overdue; it’s time to stand up and do something."

Isely, a victim-survivor of abuse in Wisconsin, said the bishops "need to deliver" at their Nov. 12-14 fall general assembly.

"They cannot walk out of this conference without delivering anything," he said.

Isely still considers himself Catholic because he believes there is a possibility that there will be change.

"I don’t know what a post-abuse church will look like, but that’s one I want to be a part of," he said. "I still do believe out of ‘ the voice of that suffering (by abuse victims and survivors) will come the real spiritual reform of this church."

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, and Terence McKiernan, the organization’s president, pointed to Bishop Steven R. Biegler of Cheyenne, Wyoming, as a good example of an accountable bishop.

McKiernan told the Catholic Review, the news outlet of the Baltimore Archdiocese, that releasing the names of accused and continuously updating those lists are steps in the right direction of attaining accountability. The Archdiocese of Baltimore was one of the first in the country to publish such a list in 2002, with updates to the list in the years since.

"We know survivors who can’t go into a church," McKiernan said, adding that, as a researcher, he cannot walk away. "This has actually made my faith stronger and more important.

The news conference also heard from Shaun Dougherty, a victim-survivor from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It was Dougherty’s first time protesting outside the bishops’ assembly. He said throughout his entire adult life, some members of the conference covered up clergy sexual abuse.

"This time, if they’re going to do it again, they’re going to do it with me standing here," Dougherty said. "I will not cower again."

One of nine children and raised in a "very, very" Catholic household, Dougherty said he stopped practicing his faith as a teenager as a direct result of the abuse he encountered.

"I wholeheartedly struggle with faith," he said. "If they (bishops) want me to believe in God, they should probably do something to show me that they believe in God."

Dougherty last encountered clergy sexual abuse in 1983 but said "the mental torment and torture has lasted every day since that time."

His family knows about the abuse, and most have since left the Catholic Church. He still has two brothers and a sister who actively practice the Catholic faith, and he acknowledged that the personal choice lies with the individual.

"The Catholic faithful and the Catholic hierarchy — in order to get me to go back (to the church) — would have to act the way they taught me to act in Catholic school," Dougherty said. "Until then, I don’t believe in anything."

Fewer than 10 people participated in the protests outside the conference hotel on the first day of the fall meeting.

Some protests of and demonstrations in support of the general assembly began over the weekend. A group of priests, seminarians and lay faithful walked nearly 50 miles from Emmitsburg to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore Nov. 9-11 in penance and prayer.

Just before those pilgrims participated in 4:30 p.m. Mass Nov. 11, a paper was taped to the door of the basilica listing "5 Theses" by a group of the same name. They called for full transparency, survivors’ voices, simple living, women in church leadership and praying for a reformed church.

Members also placed the theses in the collection basket with two pennies — their "two cents" — attached. Liz McCloskey, one of the leaders of 5 Theses, said the pennies paralleled the day’s reading from the Gospel of Mark.

"The Gospel for the day is the widow’s mite," McCloskey told Catholic News Service. "This is a drop in the bucket. This is a huge institution that’s been around for 2,000 years and is slow to change.

"There is a feeling of powerlessness or not influencing the church, yet Jesus said those two cents are of value," she said. "My hope is that this is a contribution that’s valued and is heard."

– – –

Rosenthal is a staff writer at the Catholic Review, the news website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Dennis Sadowski of Catholic News Service contributed to this article.

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Survivors of clergy child sex abuse tell U.S. bishops of rejection, pain

11/12/2018 - 10:40pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Rhina Guidos

BALTIMORE (CNS) — Luis A. Torres Jr. stood before a group of U.S. bishops during one of the most publicly watched of their fall annual meetings Nov. 12 in Baltimore and in doing so revealed to the world the reality that he has lived with since childhood: that he was abused by a priest.

"I’m not private anymore. Everyone knows," said Torres, a lawyer and member of the Lay Review Board of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, which examines policies for removing priests who have abused.

It was unclear but it seemed that the moment marked the first time he revealed the truth publicly. He also spoke of what he witnessed toward those who have come forward in the Catholic Church when they revealed what had happened to them at the hands of clergy.

"I witnessed a church that didn’t understand or didn’t seem to care, or worse, a church that was actively hostile to the children who had trusted and suffered under its care," he said. "A church that professed faith but acted shrewdly, a church that seemed to listen less to Christ’s teachings and more to the advice of lawyers, a church that seemed less interested in those it had harmed."

He spoke of a church more concerned with the protection of assets than its people.

He told his story to the group of bishops gathered for prayer in a makeshift chapel at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Though his statements were livestreamed, no press was allowed in the chapel.

In the telling of his pain through sometimes deep breaths, Torres told the bishops: "You need to do better." He also told them that "the heart of the church is broken and you need to fix this now."

Torres’ story was one of two experiences U.S. bishops heard from survivors of clergy child sex abuse, who still remain active in the church. The other account came from Teresa Pitt Green, who along with Torres, founded Spirit Fire Live, which says on its website that it is devoted to "healing and reconciliation in relationships with adults, families and parishes wounded by child abuse and trauma."

"My heart breaks for you," Pitt Green told the bishops, saying that "the Lord has cried more tears … because of some of the decisions some of you have made. I don’t know how you bear it."

Neither was accusatory in tone, rather their declarations were given calmly as reflections during a day of prayer for the bishops, in which a reflection was given after a Bible reading. While two other reflections addressed what the laity need from the bishops and how bishops can be ministers of healing, the victim statements painfully painted the landscape that has brought the Catholic Church in the United States to address the sex abuse crisis so urgently.

Pitt Green spoke of the manifestation of the wounds by those who’ve been abused: suicides, addictions, chronic mental illness, broken relationships.

"We are the damaged goods of our age," Pitt Green said.

Pitt Green said she had found a way back to the church and applauded measures that have been taken to curtail child sex abuse in Catholic churches, schools and institutions and thanked the bishops for expressing a desire to do something about it. But she also acknowledged the anger expressed by other victims and survivors, saying that "many who have been entrusted to your care are noisy and they’re angry, and I understand."

Torres said he struggled with understanding and explaining even to himself what happened and the different manifestations of trauma as an adult.

"I admit, I don’t understand, so I get why you may not understand it either. Abuse of a child is the closest that you can get to murder and still possibly have a breathing body before you," he said. "When a child has been abused, particularly by someone whom they trust, you have destroyed the child. You have mortally wounded the soul and the spirit of that child. This is particularly true where the abuse is by a priest."

The abuse causes a break in the child’s connection to God, and robs him or her of innocence, trust, faith and love, he said.

"Truly, this is the devil’s best work," he said. "It’s as if the child had been shot. Sometimes the bullet catches the child right away and they fall immediately via drugs, crime, suicide or something else. For others the bullet may not reach its destination for many years."

He credited the Diocese of Brooklyn with his willingness to remain with the church because through its Victims Assistance Coordinator, it had demonstrated a "willingness to share my journey" and restoring faith, "where once I knew betrayal."

That betrayal was compounded when the church treated victims as liabilities, as dishonest, or as seeking money, he said.

"The pain of this ongoing betrayal is not restricted to victims but it’s also experienced by the families of victims, by the larger church community and by priests," he said.

Torres spoke of the "dissonance" survivors experience when the people who encouraged them to follow the footsteps of Christ failed to follow that example.

"What would Jesus’ response have been in the same situation?" he asked. "Would he have called his lawyers and denounced the victims? Or would he have turned over the tables in a fit of rage and declared that this was intolerable in his father’s house."

He asked that survivors not be looked as liabilities or adversaries.

"We are your children, we are your brothers, and your sisters, we are your mothers and your fathers. Your words and actions have caused us further harm and pushed us away," Torres said. "Through silence, distrust and defensiveness, we bear the shame of a crime to which our only contributions were trust, faith and innocence.

"I’m not angry, I’m mostly angry at myself. And I don’t know why. I know you experience a lot of our anger because it’s out there," he continued. "But I am so sad and disappointed, and think this is what many people feel, victims, laypeople, priests, everyone."

In a news conference following the survivors’ declarations, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he couldn’t speak about the reaction of the bishops as a group but offered his personal reaction.

"When you hear someone speak like that, it hits you very hard," he said, but added that he found it "very moving."

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, of Burlington, Vermont, who was with Cardinal DiNardo at the news conference, said what the bishops had heard from survivors in the past was that no one listened to them, so they wanted to "be open and receptive and listen" and not necessarily issue a response but wanted to say "we believe you and we’re listening to you."

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Cardinal: Delay in vote on abuse response proposals a ‘bump in the road’

11/12/2018 - 8:48pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

By Dennis Sadowski

BALTIMORE (CNS) — A Vatican-requested delay in adopting practices that are expected to boost accountability among U.S. bishops in their response to clergy sex abuse is a "bump in the road," said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston told reporters Nov. 12 that the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican requested that no vote be taken on the proposals during the bishops’ fall general assembly.

The proposals include standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

They are among steps developed by the USCCB Administrative Committee in September in response to the firestorm that has emerged since June over how the bishops handled reports of wayward priests.

The Administrative Committee consists of the officers, chairmen and regional representatives of the USCCB.

"We have accepted it with disappointment," Cardinal DiNardo said of the congregation’s request during a midday news conference.

"We have not lessened in any of our resolve for actions. We are going to work intensely on these items of action. We can’t vote on them totally, but clarify them, get them more intensely canonically well, so that Rome will see that. We’re going to keep pushing and moving until we get to a point where they become action," he said.

"We are ourselves not happy about this," he continued. "We are working very hard to move to action. We are just at a bump in the road."

The request from the Vatican congregation was outlined in a letter received the weekend before the assembly opened. It cited two reasons for seeking the delay, according to the cardinal.

He said the congregation wanted the bishops to wait until after the upcoming February meeting of the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world called by Pope Francis to address clergy sex abuse and the need to ensure that the proposals are in line with canon law.

Under questioning, he clarified that the letter expressed the need for "further precision" of the proposals under canon law.

Citing the universal nature of the Catholic Church, he also said that the U.S. bishops cannot act unilaterally to enact standards unless they comply with canon law.

The cardinal stressed that he planned to press the need for the proposals to improve bishops’ accountability when he represents the U.S. bishops at the February gathering.

Until Cardinal DiNardo announced that no vote would be taken on the proposals as the bishops opened their fall general assembly in Baltimore, none of the bishops were aware of the Vatican’s concerns, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications,

"It has thrown us a little bit sideways because it was completely unexpected," Bishop Coyne said of the Vatican correspondence.

Nevertheless, he explained to reporters, the bishops "by nature are collegial" and "do not work in separate entities" when adopting standards under canon law.

Cardinal DiNardo said he did not know if the congregation’s letters originated with Pope Francis. He said that during a meeting with the pope in October in Rome, the pontiff expressed interest in the direction the U.S. church was taking.

The cardinal repeated several times that the bishops were committed to implementing the proposals despite the setback. "The bishops are all of one mind on this," he said.

Acknowledging that some parishioners would be "quite angry" that no action was to be taken during the fall assembly, he said that it will show each bishop what it means to be a "local shepherd."

"You always want to keep giving people a sense of hope," Cardinal DiNardo added. "We need a living sense of hope right now and I think the church can grant it even through the shepherds but even through our good and wonderful people who are moving along."

The cardinal cited the history of the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" as an example of how the church works. When the charter was proposed and was sent to the Vatican for review in 2002, it met with some "reticence," but that 16 years later "nowadays that is universal around the world."

"What I find within our Catholic faith sometimes it takes maybe a little longer than we would even like. But the net effect, because we are a universal church, is that you can get things done that are really fine," he said. "I’m hoping myself that what we are doing now, whatever it might be, with some of the he bumps in the road, that this will eventually work out. I don’t think that’s Pollyannaish."

The call for action resonated in at least one province of bishops. As the bishops were in the midst of their day of prayer and reflection on their response to abuse, the bishops of Missouri made public a letter and statement sent to the chairman of the USCCB Committee for the Children and Young People.

The letter and accompanying statement to Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette, Indiana, committee chairman, said that while the bishops support some of the proposed actions from the Administrative Committee, they hoped the USCCB would address the "abuse of power that is at the center of the sexual abuse scandal of our church."

Among several steps, the Missouri bishops called for abuse survivors to be at the center of the church’s response to the crisis; strengthen the 2002 charter; have each bishop mandate that the charter apply to each religious order serving in their diocese; and better utilize the charisms of the laity.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

 

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Vatican asks USCCB to delay vote on sex abuse response proposals

11/12/2018 - 2:53pm

By Dennis Sadowski

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 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. 12 in Baltimore that the Vatican wanted the bishops to delay any vote until after a February meeting with the pope and presidents of the bishops’ conferences around the world that will focus on addressing clergy abuse.

Affected are proposed standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

Cardinal DiNardo said he was disappointed that no action would be taken during the assembly, but that he was hopeful that the delay "will improve our response to the crisis we face."

The assembly planned to move forward with discussion of both proposals from the bishop’s Administrative Committee.

The Administrative Committee consists of the officers, chairmen and regional representatives of the USCCB. The committee, which meets in March and September, is the highest authority of the USCCB outside of the full body of bishops when they meet for their fall and spring general assemblies.

In response, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago suggested the general assembly move forward with its discussion of the two proposals. He also called for a special assembly in March to weigh and vote on the measures after being informed by the outcome of the February meeting in Rome.

"It is clear that the Holy See is taking seriously the abuse crisis in the church," Cardinal Cupich said, adding that the February meeting was a "watershed moment" in church history.

"We need to be clear where we stand and tell our people where we stand," he said.

MORE TO COME

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

 

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Bishops must be blameless servants, not princes, pope says

11/12/2018 - 2:20pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Vatican Media

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A bishop must be "blameless" and at the service of God, not of cliques, assets and power, especially if he is ever to "set right" what needs to be done for the church, Pope Francis said.

A bishop must always "correct himself and ask himself, ‘Am I a steward of God or a businessman?’" the pope said in his homily during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae Nov. 12, the feast of St. Josaphat, 17th-century bishop and martyr.

The pope’s homily looked at the day’s first reading from St. Paul’s Letter to Titus (1:1-9) describing the qualities and role of a bishop.

The apostle underlines how a bishop must be a steward or "administrator of God, not of assets, power and cliques," the pope said.

Most of all, he said, a bishop must be "blameless," the same quality God asked of Abraham when he said, "walk in my presence and be blameless." It is a quality that is the cornerstone of every leader, he added.

According to the apostle, a bishop must not be licentious, rebellious, arrogant, irritable, a drunkard, greedy or obsessed with money. A bishop with even just one of these defects, the pope said, is "a calamity for the church."

A bishop must be hospitable, temperate, just and holy; he must have self-control, love the good and be faithful to the Word, to the true message as it was taught, the apostle says.

If this is what a bishop should be, the pope said, then "would it be wonderful to ask these questions at the beginning, when inquiries are made to elect bishops? To know whether one may keep going with other inquiries?"  

Above all, the pope said, a bishop "must be humble, meek and a servant, not a prince."

This is "the word of God" that comes from the time of St. Paul and isn’t something recent from the Second Vatican Council, the pope added.

The church can only "set right" what needs corrected when it has bishops who have these qualities, he said.

What matters to God, he said, is a bishop’s humility and his service, not how nice he is or how well he preaches.

 

 

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Vatican asks USCCB to delay vote on sex abuse response proposals

11/12/2018 - 10:59am
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address Nov. 12 during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address Nov. 12 during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service

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 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. 12 in Baltimore that the Vatican wanted the bishops to delay any vote until after a February meeting with the pope and presidents of the bishops’ conferences around the world that will focus on addressing clergy abuse.

Affected are proposed standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

Cardinal DiNardo said he was disappointed that no action would be taken during the assembly, but that he was hopeful that the delay “will improve our response to the crisis we face.”

The assembly planned to move forward with discussion of both proposals from the bishop’s Administrative Committee.

The Administrative Committee consists of the officers, chairmen and regional representatives of the USCCB. The committee, which meets in March and September, is the highest authority of the USCCB outside of the full body of bishops when they meet for their fall and spring general assemblies.

In response, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago suggested the general assembly move forward with its discussion of the two proposals. He also called for a special assembly in March to weigh and vote on the measures after being informed by the outcome of the February meeting in Rome.

“It is clear that the Holy See is taking seriously the abuse crisis in the church,” Cardinal Cupich said, adding that the February meeting was a “watershed moment” in church history.

“We need to be clear where we stand and tell our people where we stand,” he said.

Cardinal DiNardo to US bishops: Avoid despair, presumption in addressing abuse crisis

11/12/2018 - 10:51am

By Ed Condon

Baltimore, Md., Nov 12, 2018 / 08:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo opened the fall assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) with a speech calling for bishops to avoid the two temptations of “despair and presumption” as they address the sexual abuse scandals facing the Church.

In his opening speech, given as president of the USCCB, DiNardo said that the Church must rely on “trusty faith,” and “living memory” as it seeks to support victims of abuse and to reassure the faithful.

DiNardo’s address was clearly amended to account for the surprise announcement that the Holy See had blocked the bishops from voting on two key proposals.

Shortly before his speech, the cardinal told the hall that he had been instructed by Rome that the U.S. bishops were not to vote on a proposed new set of standards for episcopal conduct or on the creation of a new lay-led body to investigate episcopal misconduct. Instead, the American bishops have been told to wait until after a special meeting of the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences called by Pope Francis for February.

Despite the sudden change to the conference agenda, DiNardo said that the American bishops take the abuse crisis seriously.

“We remain committed to the program of episcopal accountability. Votes will not take place, but we will move forward,” DiNardo told attendees.

Addressing survivors in the first person, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston said, “I am deeply sorry.”

“In our weakness we fell asleep,” he said, while calling for a renewed vigilance, both against abuse and against paralysis in the face of recent scandals.

Despair, he said, must yield to the knowledge that the Church “has always been and will always be the body of Christ” which the bishops are called to serve as members.

On the other hand, DiNardo also warned against presuming that the current crisis would just “blow over” or worse, was a crisis of the past not the present. While noting that many of the recent scandals concerned cases of abuse from past decades, he said that the Church could not presume that victims should “heal on our timeline.”

Progress has been made, DiNardo told the bishops, but they must remain “willing but also ready to ask forgiveness” of victims, survivors and the faithful. Bringing healing to the sexual abuse crisis will require “all our spiritual and physical resources”

“It is only after listening that we can carry out the changes needed,” DiNardo said, ending with a plea to the bishops that the conference proceed untied in humility.

“Let us submit to the Holy father and to each other in a spirit of fraternal correction,” he said.

“Brothers, we have fallen into a place of great weakness. We must act right here and right now to better serve our sisters and brothers.”

“We can begin to clean and then to heal the lacerations in the body of Christ.”

Dean appointments announced

11/12/2018 - 9:13am

The Archbishop’s Office has announced the following appointment of Dean:

Reverend Bernie Weldishofer, Saint Andrew Deanery

Reappointed for another term:

Reverend Richard Walling, Saint Marys Deanery
Reverend Christopher Worland, Dayton Deanery
Reverend Kyle Schnippel, Saint Margaret Mary Deanery
Reverend Michael Bidwell, Saint Lawrence Deanery
Reverend Larry Tharp, Hamilton Deanery

The four year appointments are effective January 1, 2019. Terms of office are staggered among the eleven deaneries.

Other deans are:

Reverend Todd Grogan, Cathedral Deanery
Reverend Del Staigers, Saint Francis de Sales Deanery
Reverend William Wagner, Saint Martin Deanery
Reverend Steven L. Shoup, Sidney Deanery
Reverend John MacQuarrie, Springfield Deanery.

Jubilarians 2018: Oldenburg Franciscans

11/10/2018 - 9:25am

80 years

Sister Irvin Marie Kreimer

Sister Irvin entered the Sisters of St. Francis on September 8, 1938 from St. Leo Parish, Cincinnati, and made final vows on August 12, 1944.

She taught in the archdiocese at St. Aloysius School, Sayler Park; St. Peter School, Chillicothe; St. Peter School, Hamilton; St. Anthony School, Dayton; St. Catharine School, Cincinnati and Sacred Heart School, Fairfield. Sister also taught and was principal in Catholic schools in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

From 1983 – 2005 she ministered at the motherhouse in Oldenburg. In 2005 she retired and resides in St. Clare Hall where she serves through prayer and presence.

75 years

Sister Ruth Breig (formerly Sister Rose Michael)

Sister Ruth entered the Oldenburg Franciscans from St Anthony Parish, Dayton on September 8, 1948 and professed final vows on August 12, 1954.

Sister taught in the archdiocese at St. Joseph Nazareth School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Cincinnati; St. Ann School, Hamilton; and St. Anthony School, Dayton. She also taught in Catholic schools in Indiana.

She now resides in St. Clare Hall at Oldenburg and ministers by prayer and presence.

Sister Patty Campbell (formerly Sister M. Suzanne)

Sister Patty entered the Sisters of St. Francis on September 12, 1943 from St. Mary Parish, Dayton, and made final vows on August 12, 1949.

Sister taught in the archdiocese at St. Aloysius School, Bridgetown and Carroll High School, Dayton. She also taught at Catholic schools in Indiana. She served as Pastoral Associate at St. Peter Parish in Chillicothe as well as at a parish in Oklahoma. Sister was core member of Resurrection House of Prayer in Cincinnati and worked as Parish Life Coordinator, Retreat and Spiritual Director in Indiana.

She continues in motherhouse ministry at Oldenburg where she resides.

Sister Marie Cecille DiTullio

Sister Marie Cecille entered the Sisters of St. Francis from Holy Name Parish, Cincinnati on September 12, 1948, and made final vows on August 12, 1954.

In the archdiocese Sister taught at St. Bartholomew School, St. Pius School and St. Catharine School in Cincinnati; St. Peter School, Chillicothe; St. Aloysius School, Bridgetown; and St. Peter School, Hamilton. She also served as organist at most of those parishes. She taught and played the organ at Catholic schools and parishes in Indiana and Missouri as well. Sister later served in hospital chaplaincy and family care ministry in Florida and Ohio.

She continues in motherhouse ministry at Oldenburg where she resides.

Sister Rose O’Brien (formerly Sister James Ellen)

Sister Rose entered the Oldenburg Franciscans from St. Clement Parish, St. Bernard on September 8, 1948, and made final vows on August 12, 1954.

She taught in the archdiocese at Our Lady of Victory School, St. Francis Seraph School, St. Bartholomew School in Cincinnati; St. James School, White Oak; and St. Mary, Middletown. She served as assistant director, director or coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of the Rosary, St. James (White Oak), and St. John the Baptist Parishes in Cincinnati. She also served as a missionary in Mexico and taught English as a second language and general education degree classes in Cincinnati.

Sister now resides at the motherhouse and continues to minister there.

Sister Jean Michael Sauntrybonaventleonard

Sister Jean entered the Sisters of St. Francis from St. John the Baptist Parish, Harrison on September 5, 1948, and professed final vows on August 12, 1954.

In the archdiocese she taught at St. Bernard School (Winton Place), Cincinnati. She also taught at Catholic schools in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. From 1973 – 1981 and from 1984 – 1999 Sister worked as a missionary in Papua New Guinea.

She resides and serves at the motherhouse in Oldenburg.

Sister Therese Tackett (formerly Sister M. Kenneth)

Sister Therese entered the Oldenburg Franciscans on September 8, 1948, and made final vows on August 12, 1954.

She taught and served as principal in the archdiocese at St. Bonaventure School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, and St. Joseph School in Cincinnati. She also served in Catholic schools in Indiana and Missouri and worked as a missionary in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.

She continues in motherhouse ministry where she resides.

Sister Rita Vukovic (formerly Sister Mary Anselm)

Sister Rita entered the Oldenburg Franciscans from St. Anthony Parish, Dayton on September 8, 1948, and made final vows on August 12, 1958.

In the archdiocese she taught at St. Clement School, St. Bernard; St. Michael School, Cincinnati; St. Aloysius School, Bridgetown; and Bishop Flaget High School, Chillicothe. She also taught at Catholic schools in Indiana.

Sister ministers through prayer and presence in St. Clare Hall at Oldenburg.

60 years

Sister Laurina Schneider (formerly Sister Mary Clara)

Sister Laurina entered the Oldenburg Franciscans on February 2, 1959, and professed final vows on August 12, 1964.

She taught at Our Lady of Mercy School, Dayton and worked in spiritual care and activities at Oakwood Village in Urbana and St. Leonard in Centerville. Sister also taught at Catholic schools in Indiana and served as a missionary in Kentucky and Mexico.

She currently ministers in the wellness center at the motherhouse.

Sister Joan Schwake (formerly sister Mary Verna)

Sister Joan entered the Oldenburg Franciscans on February 2, 1959, and professed final vows on August 12, 1964.

In the archdiocese she taught at St. Francis School, St. Pius School, and St. Ann School in Cincinnati; and at Assumption School in Mt. Healthy. Sister also taught in Catholic schools in Indiana and Illinois and served at Santa Maria Community Services in Cincinnati.

She now resides at Oldenburg and is active in motherhouse ministry.

Sister Mary Ann Stoffregen (formerly Sister M. Lenore)

Sister Mary Ann entered the Oldenburg Franciscans on October 4, 1958, and made final vows on August 12, 1964.

She taught at St. Clement School in St. Bernard and at Catholic schools in Indiana. Sister served the community in formation and leadership ministry. She also ministered with Northern Cheyenne and Crow Native Americans in parishes and at a women’s spirituality center in Montana.

She resides at the motherhouse and ministers in the archives area.

50 years

Sister Bernice Stenge

Sister Bernice entered the Sisters of St. Francis on September 8, 1968, and made final vows on August 10, 1975.

She has ministered as staff therapist and counselor at Archdiocesan Consultation Services and as a counselor at Mercy Professional Services. Sister also taught at Catholic schools in Indiana and served as councilor on the congregational leadership team.

She currently resides at the motherhouse and serves as pre-retirement/retirement transition minister.

Sister Irvin Marie Kreimer Sister Patty Campbell 60 Years - S. Mary Ann Stoffregen, S. Laurina Schneider and S. Joan Schwacke 50 Years - Sister Bernice Roell

Religious groups made effort to drive their flocks to midterm voting

11/09/2018 - 8:45pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Octavio Duran

By Rhina Guidos

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Just before the polls opened on Election Day on the West Coast, the Franciscan friars of the Province of St. Barbara in California tweeted a photo of Brother Sam Nasada in a brown habit holding a sign, imploring others to vote, using a quote from Pope Francis: "Indifference is dangerous."

Religious groups such as the Franciscans in California were not the only ones urging voters to the polls during this year’s Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Months before the election, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas used social media to encourage Americans to register to vote and on Nov. 6 provided polling information for different states online while encouraging those casting ballots to "Vote with Mercy."

It’s hard to gauge just how much influence religious groups had on voter turnout, but many preliminary estimates released the day after the election said more than 113 million votes were cast — the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1966, said a report from the U.S. Election Project.

During a Nov. 8 panel on "Religion and the 2018 Midterm Elections" sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Washington’s Georgetown University, panelist Rebecca Linder Blachly, director of government relations for the Episcopal Church, said many religious groups were able to mobilize their flocks and form coalitions with other denominations around issues such as feeding the hungry, immigration and refugee resettlement. The latter has "rattled a lot of Christian groups," she said, since the Trump administration has moved to severely cut the refugee number.

Groups such as the Mercy sisters published guides about where they stood on issues such as racial justice, the economy, immigration and refugees, health care, gun violence prevention, global peacemaking and the environment. There’s also the U.S. bishops’ document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," which covers many of those same issues and aims to guide Catholics "in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy."

The Mercy sisters’ voting guide "2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide: A Call to Holiness" asked potential voters to reflect on issues based on what the Gospel and church teachings say and what to consider when voting for a candidate or an issue.

Preliminary analysis on how religious groups voted in the midterm elections released Nov. 7 by the Washington-based Pew Research Center showed that while many Christian denominations backed Republicans by large margins, Catholic voters remained almost evenly split between the country’s two major parties. Pew’s preliminary data showed that, of Catholics voting in the midterms, 50 percent voted for Democrats and 49 percent voted for Republicans.

Panelists from the Berkley Center’s religion and elections event said they were interested to see what a breakdown of the Catholic vote will show, which might reveal the influence of the Latino Catholic vote or a move by more White Catholics toward the Democratic Party in the midterms.

Some panelists cited figures from a 2016 election poll by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute that showed Catholics overall voted for then candidate Donald Trump 52 percent to 45. However, a breakdown of that vote showed that white Catholics voted 60 to 37 percent for Trump while Latino Catholics voted 67-26 for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

E.J. Dionne, a columnist for The Washington Post, who is Catholic and has studied the relationship between religion and politics, also was on the panel.

"I am coming to the conclusion at this moment in history that religion does not matter at all, that religion is often given as a reason but it’s actually a rationale ‘ people are voting their identities and dressing them up in the decent drapery of religion," he said during the panel.

Religion matters in voting, he said, but a person’s sense of identity seems to play a more important part. He referenced the 2016 PRRI poll that show the difference between white Catholics and Latino voters in voting for and against Trump.

"A very substantial majority of Latino Catholics voted against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton. That would suggest to us that there was not a particular Catholic thing going on there," Dionne said. "They were voting other aspects of their identity."

But he said Catholicism can exert a force on the views of people on both sides of the political spectrum.

"It makes conservatives more communitarian and it makes liberals think more about family issues, have qualms about abortion," he said. "I think it creates some tensions on both sides but I think Latino, White (Catholic) numbers suggest that those of us who are Catholics should not pretend that Catholicism is that decisive in people’s views."

Panelist Clyde Wilcox, professor of government at the Georgetown University, said a more detailed view of the voters behind the numbers, which is not yet available, may show what could be happening for Catholics in the political landscape.

But he said that "gradually, what’s happened over time is that whites are leaving the Catholic Church and Latinos have grown as a percentage but that’s a slow growth. I don’t know the data but this might represent a shift in white voters who are Catholic."

What this political season has shown is that religious groups made a major effort in organizing their flocks, by mobilizing people to vote for their values, forming coalitions with other denominations in areas where they agreed and participating in big and small events attended by religious leaders seeking to persuade religious voters on certain issues, Linder Blachly said. And some went beyond the grassroots efforts.

The Faith and Freedom coalition spent $18 million to mobilize the vote, Linder Blachly said, and had previously spent $10 million in the 2016 election. Most of it was spent on efforts to support the Republican Party.

"So, that’s some real dollars and that’s different," Linder Blachly said. "I haven’t seen anything like that."

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Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

Is China’s targeting of Catholics pushback from low-level party officials?

11/09/2018 - 8:32pm

IMAGE: CNS photo/Roman Pilipey, EPA

By Michael Sainsbury

BANGKOK (CNS) — Although China and the Vatican signed a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in September, persecution of Chinese Catholics continues.

Some believe there is considerable pushback against the Vatican-China deal from inside China’s United Front Work Department, the Communist Party-controlled religious bureaucracy, especially at a more localized level.

"Many officials at a local level feel they need to change in their old ways to deal with religions. This means a more difficult job and less power," said Francesco Sisci, a longtime Italian media correspondent in Beijing and now a senior researcher at Beijing’s Renmin University.

"So, they are not happy," he told Catholic News Service. "So, they are sloppy or try to sabotage Beijing. If they undermine the agreement, they can recover some of their previous power. It is a proof of Beijing’s determination in the agreement that problems are only scattered in a very few places and are not very widespread."

The latest controversy for Catholics is the detention of at least four priests: Fathers Zhang Guilin and Wang Zhong from the Diocese of Xiwanzi and Fathers Su Guipeng and Zhao He from the Diocese of Xuanhua. The men were detained during October and November; both dioceses are in Hebei province.

Their sin appears to be a refusal to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the government-sanctioned organization that works to control church leaders. A number of publications have reported the detained bishops have been subject to detention house arrest and indoctrination classes.

As well, the cross from the bell tower and the spires of a church in Shangcai County in central Henan province were destroyed; the church was sealed, reported Asia News, a Rome-based missionary news agency.

The campaign to "sinicize" religion has been officially underway since the annual meeting of the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee in October 2017. Then new rules and regulations on religion were introduced in February and March. The State Administration for Religion Affairs, which oversaw the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the government-sponsored bishops’ conference, was disbanded, and its activities and staff were put under the direct control of United Front Work Department. This is the arm of the party responsible for policy on religions, and it answers directly to top party leaders.

Many people hoped the deal with the Holy See would see an end to the string of cross removals, church demolitions and the detention of clerics.

"What is happening actually is an application of the new regulations about registrations of priests and churches" implemented earlier this year, Sisci told CNS.

Lawrence C. Reardon, associate professor of political science, University of New Hampshire, noted that the current campaign is not focused just on Catholics, but is indicative of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s continuing campaign to control all religion.

"The lower levels have been given the green light and are continuing to tighten controls over Islamic, Protestant and Catholic official and unofficial communities," he said. While the Buddhist and Daoist communities seem unaffected, he said, the United Front Work Department is going after "commercial activities."

"I think the center does always have the capacity to control their organizations in the periphery, so you get some overly zealous cadre going after ‘miscreants’ in order to ensure that UFWD won’t target them as being too lax," he said.

"The top has told them to tighten the screws, and the provincial/local levels are adding more ‘torque’ to ensure compliance and keep Beijing away," he said.

"The impression I have is that the UFWD is very happy to add more ‘torque,’ as they fear religious revival coming from abroad and from within."

The Sept. 22 deal between the Vatican and Beijing allowed the pope’s veto over Beijing’s candidates for bishops for the first time since 1951. Seven previously illicit bishops — and one who is dead — were forgiven and recognized by the pope.

One surprise about the provisional agreement was the lack of any decision by Beijing on the fate of 30 Vatican-appointed bishops who never registered with the patriotic association. The Vatican has said discussion on the official status of these underground bishops continues.

In the past, many of them have vowed not to join the patriotic association. But many are getting old, and while there is no official list, Sisci believes there may be "just a handful" who are below age 75, the age at which canon law mandates bishops submit their resignation to the pope. The pope does not have to accept the resignation.

Reardon said that while the Vatican has not forgotten about these bishops, "it is trying to find a way to finesse a just resolution of their cases."

He said this was always going to be "a step-by-step process, and the two sides have just gone through the initial phase … who knows how long this will take? I’m assuming the Vatican is looking for a comprehensive solution so that the mainland church can undergo reconciliation and reunification."

Michel Chambon, a researcher at Indiana’s Hanover College, is not so sure.

"I doubt that the state will do much about the underground bishops — at least officially, " he said.

"I would be surprised if any official ‘reconciliation/recognition’ occurs. Still, the state might turn a blind eye to their work, as it has done in the past, to let continue their pastoral work, as long as they keep a low profile."

Ucanews.com reported Nov. 9 that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, retired bishop of Hong Kong, flew to Rome in late October and handed a seven-page letter to Pope Francis, appealing for him to pay attention to the crisis facing the so-called underground church in China. He told ucanews.com that, because some parts of the provisional agreement on bishops had not been made public, Catholics practicing their faith clandestinely did not know what they should do when government officials told them they must join the patriotic association because of the deal.

 

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Jubilarians 2018: Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

11/09/2018 - 1:00pm

75 Years

Sister Ruth Ellen Evers

Sister Ruth Ellen Evers worked with students for 36 years as an elementary teacher and principal at schools in Ohio and Arizona, including four years opening the Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, AZ with Sisters Dorothy Stang and Paula Marie Becker. After retiring, she went back to school to learn hair design, and was a cosmetologist to the sisters for 12 years at the Mt. Notre Dame Convent. She lives at Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati, and helps others through the ministry of prayer and community service.

Sister Patricia Kinser

Sister Patricia Kinser served students and their families for 30 years as an elementary teacher and principal at schools in Ohio and Illinois. After her retirement, she worked as a school secretary at Summit Country Day School, tutor for work-based education, and meeting space coordinator for the sisters at the Mt. Notre Dame Convent. She currently helps others through the ministry of community service, and resides at Mount Notre Dame Health Center.

70 Years

Sister Joan Krimm

Sister Joan Krimm worked for 27 years as an elementary teacher at schools in Dayton and Cincinnati, and as a missionary in Coroata, Maranhao, Brazil with her best friend, Sister Dorothy Stang. She spent 17 years as the Pastoral Coordinator at Mother of Christ Church in Cincinnati, and provided more than 20 years of service to the sisters as a provincial team member, community coordinator and administrator of the sisters’ Justice and Peace ministry. Sister Joan continues to advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims.

60 Years

Sister Judi Clemens

Sister Judi Clemens began her ministry as a high school teacher at schools in Dayton and Columbus, before spending the next 22 years as a missionary in Brazil. After returning to the U.S., she worked for 18 years in Brazilian pastoral ministry in Massachusetts and Florida before becoming the Site Director for Notre Dame Americorps in Cincinnati. Sister Judi supported the sisters for five years as a member of the Ohio Province leadership team, and is currently a coordinator for the Ohio Province Justice, Peace, Care of Creation Office. She also serves as the Chair of the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers Board.

Sister Dorothy Deger

Sister Dorothy Deger worked with students for 18 years as an elementary teacher and principal at schools in Ohio, Illinois and Arizona. She spent the next 11 years working in Pastoral Ministry in Peru, before becoming a vocation minister, parish life coordinator and neighborhood outreach member in Phoenix, AZ. She returned to Cincinnati in 2012, and recently retired from her role as the Co-Coordinator at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center, where she cared for many of our elderly Sisters.

Friday Night Football in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

11/09/2018 - 8:16am

Week 2 of the Playoffs (The Road to Canton)

Archbishop Alter Knights (11-1) 13
vs.
Stephen T. Badin Rams (8-4) 0
at Middletown Barnitz Stadium, Friday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Bishop Fenwick Falcons (9-3) 27
vs
Wapakoneta Redskins (11-1) 17
at Piqua Alexander Stadium, Friday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Elder Panthers (8-4) 34
vs.
Lakota East Thunderhawks (8-4) 6
at Mason Dwire Field Atrium Stadium, Friday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Lehman Cavaliers (8-4) 0
vs.
Fort Loramie Redskins (8-1) 35
at Piqua Alexander Stadium, Saturday, November 10th at 7:00 p.m.

Week 3 of the Playoffs (The Road to Canton)

Archbishop Alter Knights (11-1)
vs.
Wapakoneta Redskins (11-1)
Friday, November 16th at 7:00 p.m. at Piqua Alexander Stadium

Elder Panthers (8-4) 
vs.
Colerain Cardinals (12-0)
Friday, November 16th at 7:00 p.m., at Mason Dwire Field, Atrium Stadium

Week 8 Standings*
Archbishop Alter Knights (11-1) Ohio Ranking #39, National Ranking #477
Elder Panthers (8-4) Ohio Ranking #7, National Ranking #53

Bishop Fenwick Falcons (9-3) Ohio Ranking #91, National Ranking #1,074
Stephen T. Badin Rams
 (8-4) Ohio Ranking #132 National Ranking #1,595
Lehman Cavaliers (8-4) Ohio Ranking #402, National Ranking #6,297
Chaminade Julienne Eagles
(7-4) Ohio Ranking #169 National Ranking #2,297
Moeller Fighting Crusaders (6-5) Ohio Ranking #34 National Ranking #425
Carroll Patriots (6-4) Ohio Ranking #247, National Ranking #3,630
Saint Xavier Bombers (5-6) Ohio Ranking #27 National Ranking #326
Roger Bacon Spartans (5-5) Ohio Ranking #258 National Ranking #3,804
Summit Country Day Silver Knights (5-4) Ohio Ranking #547 National Ranking #9,600
La Salle Lancers (4-5) Ohio Ranking #47 National Ranking #580
Purcell Marian Cavaliers (4-6) Ohio Ranking #395 National Ranking #6,427
McNicholas Rockets (1-9) Ohio Ranking #452 National Ranking #7,469
Catholic Central Irish (0-10) Ohio Ranking #715, National Ranking #14,002

*Rankings by MaxPreps

Men from Elder pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The Rosary was led by Fr. Anthony Brausch, Rector of Mt. St. Mary's Seminary (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)Men from Elder pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. The Rosary was led by Fr. Anthony Brausch, Rector of Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary (CT Photo/Greg Hartman)

 

Jubilarians 2018: Adrian Dominican Sisters

11/09/2018 - 6:19am

70 Years

Sister Therese (Thomas Frances) DeCanio, OP, a native of Chicago, graduated from Aquinas High School in Chicago in early June 1948 and entered the Adrian Congregation later that month. She professed her First Vows on December 31, 1949 and her Final Vows on December 31, 1954.

Sister Therese earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena Heights College (University) in Adrian, Michigan, in 1955; a master’s degree in history from DePaul University, Chicago, in 1966; and a master’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, in 1974. She also holds a certificate in the Theology of Social Ethics from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

After teaching at elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Sister Therese came to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to teach at St. Vincent Ferrer, Cincinnati, from 1953 to 1957. From 1957 to 1964, she taught at elementary schools in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Sister Therese switched her focus to high school education in 1964, teaching for the remainder of her ministerial career at high schools in Illinois.

Sister Therese is currently in active retirement at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse, in the ministry of prayer and presence.

Sister Helen (Ingrid) Hankerd, OP, of Chelsea, Michigan, graduated from Chelsea High School and entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1948 from St. Mary Parish in Chelsea. She made her First Profession of Vows in 1949 and her Final Profession in 1954.

Sister Helen has served as a teacher throughout her years of ministry. After teaching in Detroit for six years, she came to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, to teach at St. Antoninus from 1956 to 1962. She has since taught at schools in Michigan and Ohio and spent time caring first for her father and then for her sister, both in Chelsea.

60 Years

Sister Mary (Marie Zita) Miday, OP, a native of Louisville, Ohio, graduated from Louisville High School and on November 21, 1956 entered the Carmelite Monastery at Elysburg, Pennsylvania. She professed first vows in 1959 and final vows in 1962. Sister Mary lived at the monastery until 1975, when she began serving in a number of pastoral ministries at parishes in Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico. She returned to the cloister in Elysburg and resided there from 1979 to 1982. She took a leave of absence to determine where God was calling her next.

In 1983 she earned an associate’s degree in fine arts from Siena Heights College (now University), Adrian, Michigan, sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. She ministered as the Activities Assistant at St. Theresa Home in Cincinnati from 1983 to 1986.

Sister Mary made final profession in the Adrian Dominican Congregation in 1989. She later earned a bachelor’s degree from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio, and a certification in occupational therapy, both in 1989.

Sister Mary ministered in occupational therapy at health care centers in Florida from 1989 to 2005. She ministered at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Citrus Springs, Florida, from 2006 to 2010, taking three months off from November 2007 to February 2008 for volunteer service in New Orleans. She retired and moved to the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse in 2010.

“My time in religious life has been extremely rewarding,” Sister Mary said. “I felt so close to our Lord while deepening my prayer life. After that, I felt called to the active lifestyle, to the Adrian Dominicans. The experience of God’s presence did not cease but seemed to draw both lifestyles together in my life.”

The Dominican Sisters of Adrian are a Congregation of nearly 620 vowed women religious whose roots go back to St. Dominic in the 13th century. The Sisters minister in 22 states and in four other nations: the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Norway, and the Philippines. The Vision of the Adrian Dominican Sisters is to “seek truth, make peace, reverence life.”