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Irish prime minister blasts Vatican
On July 20, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said an independent judicial investigation into the handling of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Cloyne “exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago. And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.” The Cloyne Report found that Bishop John Magee, a former secretary to three popes, paid “little or no attention” to child safeguarding as recently as 2008 (Catholic News Service).

Vatican reviewer praises Harry Potter movie
Antonio Carriero, writing for the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, had positive things to say about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2:  “[F]rom the pure of heart like the young Harry, ready to die for his friends, come big lessons….Power, success and an easy life do not bring the truest and deepest joys. For that we need friendship, self-giving, sacrifice and attachment to a truth that is not formed in man’s image,” the review said (Catholic News Service).
Sr. Beth Johnson responds to Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine In mid-June, Fordham University systematic theology professor Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson submitted a 38-page defense of her 2007 book, Quest for the Living God, after it was harshly criticized by the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.  Johnson named explicit problems: “Ideas are taken out of context and twisted to mean what they patently do not mean. Sentences are run to a conclusion far from what I think or the text says. False dilemmas are composed. Numerous omissions, distortions, and outright misstatements of fact riddle the reading. As a work of theology, Quest for the Living God was thoroughly misunderstood and consistently misrepresented in the committee’s statement.” Full text available at http://ncronline.org.

Does supersizing parishes lower Mass attendance?
A recent study conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found that the number of Catholic parishes has declined by 7.1 percent in the past ten years. In 2010 there were 17,637 U.S. parishes. The average number of registered households in each parish grew to 1,168, and the average number of people attending Mass at Catholic parishes was 1,110 in 2010, up from an average of 966 a decade earlier. However CARA also found that while smaller parishes were more likely to be closed or consolidated, they have higher average Mass attendance than larger parishes. The study was done for the Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership project.  For full study, visit http://www.emergingmodels.org.

Vatican orders investigation of Cleveland Bishop Lennon
The Vatican sent retired Bishop John M. Smith to Cleveland from July 11-16 to assess the leadership of Bishop Richard G. Lennon. A June 24 story by veteran Vatican journalist, Marco Tosatti, had reported the Vatican intended to investigate the Cleveland bishop.  On July 11, the diocese released a statement saying Lennon himself requested the visit “because a number of persons have written to Rome expressing their concerns about my leadership of the diocese.” An estimated 25-30 people met with Smith during the week.  Among those interviewed were leaders of parishes closed by Lennon.  Some fifteen Cleveland appeals are now pending in Rome.  On July 12, the FutureChurch Board of Trustees issued a statement welcoming Bishop Smith to Cleveland and asking that the report be made public. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/23, 7/12 and www.futurechurch.org).

Czech woman priest accepts award for Communist-era underground Church
Throughout the 41 years of Communist rule in the former Eastern bloc country, an underground network of groups and individuals kept the Catholic faith alive by ordaining married men and women. In early April their achievement was honored in Vienna. Bishop Dusen Spiner and Ms. Ludmila Javorová, who was ordained to the priesthood 40 years ago, came to Vienna to receive the Herbert-Haag Foundation Award. In 1997, Javarova privately visited Cleveland FutureChurch members (The Tablet 4/9/11). 

Women’s Ordination Discussion Heating Up
In just the past four months there have been multiple public statements from one cardinal, three bishops, and many priests about opening ordination to  to women and married men. Here is a sampling:


Focus on FutureChurch

Summer 2011


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