Another call for dialog
Priests speak out against
Vatican's anti-gay policies : New York Blade
Some Catholic priests who are tired of the Vatican's anti-gay rhetoric have joined together to start
Catholics Affirming Homosexual Leadership, an organization founded to support gay clergy and parishioners.
The CAHL Web site explains its purpose: "As members of the Catholic Church, we want to express our support for the countless gay religious men and women, deacons, priests and bishops who have ministered in the Church throughout the ages. We affirm those gay priests and seminarians who continue this tradition of faithful service."
There's not much there yet, but, after all, the Vatican hasn't released the official document yet either.
Patrick Sweeney at 10:38 PM
South Africa: Catholic Bishop Calls for New Aids Theology : AllAfrica.com
A South African Catholic cleric who supports the use of condoms against HIV/AIDS, contrary to the church's stance on the prophylactics, has called for a new "theology" for the pandemic.
Bishop Kevin Dowling [C. SS. R., Rustenburg] told The Chicago Tribune that such a theology would be based on an ethic of "human dignity and justice and human rights instead of just an ethic of sexuality".
Official Roman Catholic teaching bans condoms because they are a form of contraception, arguing that abstinence is the best way to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
However, Dowling argued that abstinence in marriage should be reconsidered "in a diocese full of desperately poor women with few options beyond prostitution to feed their children."
If he can no longer teach official Roman Catholic teaching, he ought to resign so the people of his diocese can have a bishop who does.
Patrick Sweeney at 11:45 PM
Pope will pull the strings on the Supreme Court : Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor: Concord Monitor (NH)
Will pope decide what is lawful?
though I do not think a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court should be doled out on the basis of religious orientation, I also do not think a religion should automatically excommunicate a member of the U.S. Senate for voting to uphold a law deemed constitutional in several Supreme Court tests.
I did not pick this fight. The Roman Catholic Church made it a necessary consideration by the decision the Vatican handed down during the 2004 election cycle.
In 2004, Marc Balestrieri, a Roman Catholic canon lawyer from Los Angeles, sued John Kerry for heresy in ecclesiastical court. The basis of the suit was Kerry's support of a woman's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy under U.S. law.
In October 2004, Balestrieri received his answer from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The congregation wrote that any Catholic politician who says he personally opposes abortion but supports a woman's right to choose incurs automatic excommunication.
Neither the pope nor any other high Catholic authority has disagreed with or denounced the decision. In fact, the person who headed the congregation at the time is now pope. That would seem to cement this decision by the church to dictate the actions of its adherents within the U.S. government.
The problem arises when there is an accepted, constitutional law that provides for a woman certain lawful access to terminating a pregnancy through a personal decision. The church is saying that not only Catholic women but also all women in the United States cannot have that lawful access.
We have never had a Roman Catholic majority on the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts was the fourth Catholic on the court. If Judge Alito is confirmed, it will be a Catholic majority. That means five Catholics could overrule any decision before the court. The final arbiters of a woman's right to choose will be five Catholics, each of whom will be automatically excommunicated if he, as they are all men, chooses to uphold a woman's right to choose.
Chris Baker-Salmon, Antrim
Just one problem, Chris, with this theory: Kerry was not excommunicated. In fact, he was not even denied Holy Communion.
I don't think any Catholic politician by name has been actually been denied Holy Communion, much less excommunicated, for supporting the killing by choice of the unborn.
As for Marc Balestrieri, his last press release was in January 2005.
No action has been taken on his complaint.
Patrick Sweeney at 11:30 PM
Update: Msgr. John Woolsey
High-life rev sez: Everyone does it! : New York Daily News
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned - but heck, so has everyone else.
That's the moral twist on a legal argument raised by a Catholic monsignor who's hoping to win a criminal dispensation from charges he stole $820,000 from his upper East Side parish.
Lawyers for Msgr. John Woolsey, the former pastor of St. John the Martyr Church, have told a Manhattan judge that priests like him have been hiding money from the Archdiocese of New York for years.
Parishes routinely shortchange Edward Cardinal Egan on the archdiocese's share from the Sunday collection - hiding funds in accounts beyond the eyes of church auditors, the lawyers said.
Woolsey's story, laid out in court papers seeking dismissal of a grand larceny indictment, is backed up by a longtime church bookkeeper and by an old pal, William Donohue, the outspoken president of the Catholic League.
"This has been going on for years. It's a way of life," Donohue told the Daily News. "He's one of the greatest priests I ever met in my life. To impute that this man would grab money out of poor boxes is outrageous and malicious. His integrity is being ripped off."
This is the second greatest scandal in the American Church today: money and greed.
Patrick Sweeney at 11:20 PM
Keep moving, there's nothing to see here...
Catholic bishops' president defends American priests after a negative 'avalanche' over abuse : AP
The president of America's Roman Catholic bishops defended American priests Monday, saying a "handful" of miscreants who sexually abused minors have forced the rest of the clergy "to endure an avalanche of negative public attention."
You've got to get down to the 7th paragraph to find out that this "handful" has bankrupt his own diocese.
It's one billion dollars and the number is only going to grow. Please, don't minimize the problem.
Patrick Sweeney at 10:53 PM