Archive for January, 2015

Banning girl altar servers takes Catholic Church backyard / San Francisco Chronicle

By Sally Vance-Trembath, Santa Clara University ecclesiologist and former Voice of the Faithful® vice president

The pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, the Rev. Joseph Illo, recently decided to stop training girls as altar servers, reserving the role for boys. He explained that, among other things, serving at Mass is a preparation for priesthood — a male-only vocation.

“The decision to phase out girls is not only out of step with current Catholic teaching, it also risks triggering painful memories for many Catholic women, just as they were beginning to feel hopeful about their status in the church.”

Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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Cardinal sparks row over whether Church teaching on family can change / Cruxnow.com

During a recent Vatican summit, the top official at the Synod of Bishops stirred controversy by reportedly telling participants they should not be ‘shocked’ by theologians questioning Church teaching on matters such as marriage and family life.

“Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri also reportedly said that if the aim of the synod is simply to repeat established Church teaching and discipline, then it would be ‘senseless’ to hold it.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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San Francisco priest bars altar girls, sparks another controversy / Religion News Service

A Catholic priest who recently took charge of a San Francisco parish has said only boys can be altar servers, a move that is sparking both criticism and praise and comes amid a wider debate over conservative concerns that the Catholic Church has become too ‘feminized.’

“As media coverage of the controversy at Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church began to build in recent days, the Rev. Joseph Illo defended his decision in a statement issued Monday (Jan. 26), saying he decided to make the change in November, a few months after he became pastor. Illo cited two main reasons for the switch.”

By David Gibson, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Catholic organizations post open letter to let bishops know 2015 Synod on the Family needs broad input

Bishop sash and cross

Should only bishops be heard at 2015 Synod on the Family?

Voice of the Faithful®, along with 15 other Catholic organizations, is issuing an open letter calling on the world’s bishops to widen the circle of auditors and experts invited to the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family.

In part, the letter states: “We urge the Vatican Synod office to make every effort to include a wide diversity of Catholics, especially those from the constituencies being discussed: divorced and remarried people; cohabitating couples; interfaith families; impoverished families; single parents; families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members; same-sex couples; and families torn by the violence of war and abuse.”

Click here to read and sign the letter and offer additional comment. You have until March 3. The letter then will be sent to all English-speaking bishops and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops. The Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family takes place this October.

COR (Catholic Organizations for Renewal), to which VOTF belongs, also has put up a website to help facilitate input into the synod — OurCatholicFamily.org — And Click here to download sample letters and resources from fellow COR member FutureChurch. These will help you communicate your views to your bishop.

Click here to review the Lineamenta the Vatican has sent to bishops around the world to outline the parameters of the synod and the process of collecting input.

Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church.

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Did the Pope open the door to women in the Church? / Newsmax.com

… Speaking to a crowd of students at the University of Santo Tomas during his recent visit to the Philippines, Francis noted with gentle disapproval that there weren’t many women in attendance. Then he said a series of things so simple and true that they were at once obvious and sublime.”

By Kathleen Parker on Newsmax.com — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Pope names former top prosecutor to head board for clergy abuse appeals / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis named the Vatican’s former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases to head his new doctrinal team dealing with appeals filed by clergy accused of abuse.

“Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna, 55, of Malta was appointed president of the new board of review within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“The Vatican announced his appointment as well as the names of the board’s eight other members Wednesday (Jan. 21).

“Before being named an auxiliary bishop in Malta in 2012, Scicluna spent 10 years as promoter of justice at the doctrinal congregation, handling accusations of clerical sex abuse. He said the church must respond to allegations clearly and not react with “inertia, a culture of silence or repression.”

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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St. Paul Archdiocese declares bankruptcy, calling it ‘fairest’ course / Star Tribune

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Friday, becoming the 12th in the nation to say its treasury cannot withstand the unprecedented wave of lawsuits from clergy abuse victims.

“The move freezes lawsuits against the church, protecting the archdiocese from creditors while allowing it to develop a reorganization plan. It also halts three abuse trials scheduled to begin Jan. 26.”

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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