Friday, May 30, 2008

Vatican Issues Statement on Women Priests

According to, the Vatican has officially instituted penalties of automatic excommunication for those involved in the ordination of a woman.  I suppose they are hoping that the male bishops that were responsible for secretly ordaining female bishops will come forward now that they are excommunicated, but I don't think that that will happen.  

The significant thing here is that in 1994 when John Paul II released his letter stating that the issue of women priests was closed and no longer open to debate among Catholics, that many Catholics chose not to listen.  This papal teaching has been rejected by lay Catholics, lay ecclesial ministers, priests, bishops, and now the Pope himself.  Benedict has in one sense rejected this teaching by John Paul II by allowing the Vatican to put out this statement that will undoubtedly keep the debate alive and well.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Michael Lightner Going to Newman Center

Fr. Michael Lightner, a priest of only three years for the Archdiocese, is being put in charge of the Newman Center at UW-Milwaukee. It's very rare that a priest would be given his own placement only after three years. Under normal circumstances, a priest would be given another three year term as an associate pastor.

Right now Lightner is finishing up his first three year term as an associate pastor at St. Francis Borgia in Cedarburg. It's been a rough three years full of rumors of odd conduct on his behalf. I do not want to perpetuate rumors that may be partially false, so I will not list them here. Suffice it to say that many parishioners at St. Francis Borgia did not like him. In his own farewell letter, Lightner states: "Some of you may be dancing because of this news." Really? That's an odd thing to write. He goes on to write: "I have to say the tough things you don't want to hear."

Its obvious enough that Lightner did not get along with a significant portion of parishioners, not just a picky few. And now the Archdiocese is sending him to the Newman Center where he will be in charge without any direct oversight. At this point there is nothing to indicate that he will not create a significant amount of inimical relationships there. This seems like a huge mistake. Lightner at the very least needs another parish placement. It will be very interesting to see what transpires at the Newman Center this year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Audits for Every Parish in the Archdiocese

As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Archbishop Dolan will be requiring that all 211 parishes in the Archdiocese undergo audits to protect the more than $198 million that are donated without restriction to these parishes every year. I must applaud Dolan for his proactive stance on the financial accountability issue. Since he has come to Milwaukee, I thought he has done a good job of reporting the financial status of the Archdiocese. I am also aware of the fact that the Journal Sentinel is correct in reporting that he has been thinking about doing this for quite a while.

So while I believe that this decision was not precipitated by the possible mishandling of money at St. John Vianney, the timing seems a little too convenient. But then again, if he was going to unveil this plan originally a month from now, why not just do it now instead. Bravo Dolan!

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 12, 2008

No More Communion Services in Rockville Centre, NY

Bishop Murphy of Rockville, NY, who as late at 1998 was advocating the readmission to ministry of pedophile priests in Boston as an aide of Cardinal Law, has ended the practice of communion services at parishes in his diocese.

According to his letter, bringing communion to the sick and homebound will still be allowed, but weekday communion services will be banned as of July 1st, 2008. I presume that if a priest calls in sick on Sunday, a communion service may be permitted for those who have gathered.

On the one hand, I agree with his reasoning that the reception of communion should not be separated from the celebration of the Mass. On the other hand, if the hierarchy is not going allow women or married priests in the near future, isn't it better to give people a taste of what is to come. As I commented on in another post, the priest shortage in the Netherlands has made communion services so common that parishes no longer differentiate between Masses and communion services on their published schedules.

So while it is good theology, I do not see it as practical unless Murphy is going to start advocating for women and married priests.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dedicated Spanish Catholics for Women/Married Priests

According to a recent study done by the Spanish magazine 21rs and as reported in English by Rentapriest, 67% of Spanish Catholics are in favor of optional celibacy and 49% are in favor of women's ordination. Regarding directives from the hierarchy, only about 20% felt these directives were necessary and tried to follow them. The young adults questioned would like to see the Catholic Church more open to dialogue and more committed to the poor.

For me, this is quite stunning news. I always figured that the Catholics who still go to church in Spain would be more conservative.

A Faithful Catholic