Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California Bishops Support Anti-Gay Sentiment

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops spoke out against a California Supreme Court ruling requiring a doctor to inseminate a lesbian. In this case, Guadalupe Benitez wanted to become pregnant so that she and her partner could raise a child together. Dr. Christine Brody told them that she does not perform that procedure for unmarried couples. A course at the time that this occurred, lesbians were not allowed to be married in California.

The bishops, in responding to this case, are decrying that doctors will be required to go against their religiously formed consciences in cases of artificial insemination. The contradiction here is that this doctor has no problem performing artificial inseminations (which is officially against Catholic church teaching), she just does not want to do it for a couple whose relationship she does not acknowledge. Dr. Christine helps families break Catholic sexual ethics on a daily basis, but the bishops do not express a specific problem with that; they have a problem with her denying this "sinful" procedure to lesbians. The California Catholic Conference is really embarrassing themselves.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fr. Roy Bourgeois Calls For Women's Ordination

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, best known for his work to close the School of the Americas, concelebrated and preached at the ordination of Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska on August 9th. According to the National Catholic Reporter, he met with his religious community today and received a "canonical warning" for participating in a women's ordination ceremony. His community has sent a report to the Vatican from whom he could receive a harsher penalty, but for now he is just receiving a warning.

Bourgeois spoke of his actions as an act of conscience. And like his actions towards the closing of the School of the Americas, his participation was a stand against injustice.

I applaud Fr. Roy's heroic stance that could affect his work against the School of the Americas. It resonates with King's decision to address the Vietnam War when others were concerned it may affect his effectiveness for civil rights. Thank God for priests like Fr. Roy who are willing to face repercussions from the United States as well as the Vatican in the name of justice.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

President Bush Makes Religious Freedom a Priority

I have been really impressed with President Bush during his visit to China. This past Sunday he went to church in Beijing, which was bold move in itself. Afterwards, he stated: "You know, it just goes to show that God is universal, and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion."

As a Catholic, I am of course more aware of Catholic oppression in China, though countless religious groups face oppression. According to the Catholic News Service, there have been severe restrictions on unregistered clergy since right before the Olympics. Unregistered clergy and bishops are those who chose not to register with the government, which is the law, and face sometimes harsh penalties for doing so. Most of these unregistered clergy are concerned that if they registered with the State, that the government would try to compromise their ministry. In response to recent crackdowns, most clergy have left the Beijing area for the time being or are choosing to lay low. One bishop is under house arrest.

In spite of all of this, Bush seems willing to sacrifice good trade relations with China to emphasize religious freedom while he is there. This seems a bit out of character with his normal priorities, but better late than never.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Church Finances

In the last couple weeks there have been two Catholic parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese dealing with issues of financial indiscretions - St. John Vianney in Brookfield and St. Anthony in Menomonee Falls.

In light of this, Archbishop Dolan looks to be on the forefront in trying to ensure that donations from parishioners are used properly. He has stated that starting soon all the parishes of the Archdiocese will be audited on a regular basis. He already mails out regular Archdiocesan financial statements to the Catholics of the Archdiocese and parishes are now required to make parish budgets and year-end financial statement available to all parishioners.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the bookkeeper from St. Anthony's was stealing money by doing such things as overstating how much the parish was spending on utility bills, but I do not see how that would be possible if the parish had proper measures in place to ensure that no one had too much control over the pocket book. While requiring parishes to disclose their financial statements has been a good step, requiring parishes on a regular basis to have their books audited will close loopholes such those that were abused at St. Anthony's.

This is another example of how having the clerics of the Catholic Church held accountable to the laity will increase trust in the Catholic Church and make a better Catholic Church. Clerics were never meant to be accountants and making it the responsibility of the pastor to ensure that proper accounting procedures are followed will eventually result in situations similar to St. Anthony's Parish.

A Faithful Catholic