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FutureChurch Endorses Right of Catholic Groups to Support Healthcare Reform.  In mid-May, the FutureChurch Board of Trustees joined twelve other Catholic renewal organizations in signing the following public statement: We support the right of the Catholic Health Association, NETWORK, and the President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, to publicly support healthcare reform as a matter of social justice.  We recognize that their support was met with opposition by some bishops and that, in making a public statement, they expressed a different opinion about the importance of healthcare reform and of the legislation offered than did the USCCB. We find the reactions by some members of the hierarchy to be vindictive and disrespectful of those who supported this important legislation.  As do all Catholics, women religious have the right to honestly disagree with the bishops’ interpretation of a legislative text, to express that disagreement respectfully, and to act accordingly. We are privileged to stand with the Catholic Health Association and women religious of the United States of America, and support this courageous expression of conscience.

Rosemary Goldie, Vatican II Pioneer Dies.  Rosemary Goldie, who was one of the first female “auditors” at the Second Vatican Council and the first woman to hold a Vatican position in the curia, died on February 27.  Donna Orsuto, director of Rome’s Lay Centre lauded her in this way: “Rosemary laid a path through uncharted territory for the laity and especially for women in the half century she spent in Rome.  Her book, From a Roman Window, (Harper Collins, 1998) …  offered a panorama of lay participation in the Church during those incredible 50 years. It also showed the depth and breadth of this extraordinary woman’s influence on the Church before, during and after Vatican II.”  (The Tablet 3/13/2010)

Pope Losing Sleep Over Pius X Society.  Wolfgang Beinert, an emeritus professor at Regensburg Univeristy and a former student of then-Father Joseph Ratzinger, told the German paper Der Spiegel:  “I know from personal conversations that the whole St. Pius X Society (SSPX) affair is causing him sleepless nights.  It really is a very serious matter.”  In January 2009, on the recommendation Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos the former head of the Congregation for the Clergy and an avid promoter of the Tridentine Mass, Pope Benedict lifted the excommunications of four SSPX bishops. Both the Cardinal and the Pope apparently believed that Benedicts motu proprio allowing celebration of Mass in the old rite would smooth the way for their reintegration. Instead, the formerly renegade bishops are pushing for revision of central teachings of Vatican II. One of their number, Richard Williamson, is on trial in Germany for his public views minimizing the Holocaust. Meanwhile Castrillon-Hoyos is being strongly criticized for a 2001 letter praising a French bishop for protecting a priest convicted of raping a boy and sexually abusing ten others.  Publication of the letter led to Castrillon-Hoyos being disinvited as principal celebrant for an April 24 Tridentine Mass in Washington DC to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Benedict’s papacy.  (The Tablet, April 17, and May 8, 2010)

Pope, Cardinal Rodé Snub International Heads of 800 Female Religious Orders. Neither Pope Benedict nor Cardinal Franc Rodé could find time in their schedules to meet with over 800 leaders of the International Union of Superiors Generals (UISG) meeting in Rome the week of May 10. The leaders represent some 800,000 apostolic religious from all over the world.  The oversight is especially puzzling since the Pope had been scheduled to address the group for many months. Instead Cardinal Bertone  sent a short telegram canceling the audience because of Benedict’s visit to Portugal. Cardinal Rodé, who heads the Congregation for Apostolic and Religious Life, sent word he was “unable” to attend the once-in-three-years gathering, taking place just three miles from his office. In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Philippa Hitchen, the president of the UISG, Sr. Maureen Cusack, questioned why the  apostolic visitation of US communities being conducted by Rodé’s office wasn’t done in consultation with the leadership of the American sisters. Cusack conceded that the actual process  “seems to be OK, but there’s the whole question of the secrecy surrounding the final report...” Cusack said there are many bishops who are deeply appreciative of the sisters’ work, but there are too many who simply have “no notion” of the diverse charisms of religious life. (The Tablet 5/18/10 and National Catholic Reporter 5/28/10)


Focus on FutureChurch

Spring 2010


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