Catholic church – Catholics Come Home Boston http://catholicscomehomeboston.org/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 06:13:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-05T154232.929.png Catholic church – Catholics Come Home Boston http://catholicscomehomeboston.org/ 32 32 Obituary: Mary Ann Pick (11/23/22) https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/obituary-mary-ann-pick-11-23-22/ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 06:13:59 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/obituary-mary-ann-pick-11-23-22/ Mary Ann Pick, 70, of Merrill, died on Friday November 18, 2022 at her home surrounded by her family following a courageous battle with cancer. Mary Ann Cheever, daughter of Howard and Rose (Rielly) Cheever, was born August 7, 1952 in Sioux City. She attended school in Sioux City and graduated from Bishop Heelan High […]]]>

Mary Ann Pick, 70, of Merrill, died on Friday November 18, 2022 at her home surrounded by her family following a courageous battle with cancer.

Mary Ann Cheever, daughter of Howard and Rose (Rielly) Cheever, was born August 7, 1952 in Sioux City. She attended school in Sioux City and graduated from Bishop Heelan High School in 1970. She earned her associate’s degree in radiology from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sioux City. She then went to work for Dr. Howard in Sioux City.

She was married to David Pick on October 13, 1978 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Sioux City. Dave always joked that he took the city dweller to the countryside! Mary Ann continued to work in Sioux City for a few years before staying home to raise her children. After her children grew up, she returned to work in radiology at Marian Health Center in Sioux City until retiring due to ill health in 1991. Although she retired from radiology, she worked alongside her husband on the farm for many years.

After her marriage, she and Dave lived on the farm north of Merrill. She was an active member of Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill until its closure where she served on the board for many years. She was currently a member of All Saints Catholic Parish in Le Mars. She loved her weekly “hour of power” during worship at church.

In her youth, she was active in Girl Scouts and always talked about all the places she traveled and the fun she was having. Mary Ann loved her family, especially her children and grandchildren. Her passion was to take care of everyone she met. He was a very selfless person. She enjoyed visiting all her friends and relatives and was grateful for all their kindness. She loved them so much and hugged them like it was a professional sport.

She has worn many “hats” during her life; Taxi, Cook, Nurse, Farmer, Counselor, Housekeeper, Daycare, Grandmother, Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, X-ray Technician, Mammographer, Supporter, Organizer, Accountant, Parishioner, Counselor, Tractor Driver, coin runner, manager, buyer, baker and many more. She wore every hat very well!

Survivors include her husband of 44 years, Dave de Merrill; their children: DJ Pick of West Hollywood, California, Angie (Matt) Schnepf of Le Mars, and their children, Mitchell, Max and Mick, Danny “Buck” (Becca) Pick of Merrill, and their children, Lila, Linden, Layna and Layton; and Dusty (Kelsi) Pick of Merrill, and their children, Claira, Molly and Bennett; three brothers: Pat Cheever (DeeEtta Riley) of Sioux City, Mike Cheever of South Sioux City, Nebraska, and Tim (Teresa) Cheever of Firestone, Colorado; two sisters: Kay (Bob) Prybilla of Mound, Minnesota, and Jane (Steve) Alpers of Minneapolis, Minnesota; many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; his father and stepmother, Jim and Cleo Pick; an infant grandson, Michael Schnepf; two sisters-in-law, Gayle Cheever and Becky Pick; and a brother-in-law, David Conrad.

Christian Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Parish – Eglise Saint-Joseph du Mars. Reverend Bruce Lawler will celebrate mass. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Remsen. Family visitation began at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22 at All Saints Catholic Parish – Saint Joseph of Mars Church. There was a rosary at 5 p.m. and a Bible prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will resume from 9:30 a.m. until time of service Wednesday at the church.

Arrangements are with Rexwinkel Funeral Home in Le Mars.

Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family by www.rexwinkelfh.com.

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Brazilian progressive clergy threatened with death after Lula’s election https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/brazilian-progressive-clergy-threatened-with-death-after-lulas-election/ Mon, 14 Nov 2022 09:26:23 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/brazilian-progressive-clergy-threatened-with-death-after-lulas-election/ SÃO PAULO – Auxiliary Bishop Vicente de Paula Ferreira of the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte was threatened by a gunman after a mass Nov. 12 in the suburban town of Moeda, a sign of the political violence facing members of the clergy in Brazil. Since former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defeated incumbent President […]]]>

SÃO PAULO – Auxiliary Bishop Vicente de Paula Ferreira of the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte was threatened by a gunman after a mass Nov. 12 in the suburban town of Moeda, a sign of the political violence facing members of the clergy in Brazil.

Since former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defeated incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff on October 30, similar incidents have occurred in different parts of the country.

Ferreira, a vocal critic of the Bolsonaro right, left the church after mass and was approached by a stranger who apparently was not part of the parish. The Brazilian press reported that the author is a supporter of Bolsonaro.

Bishop Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, who is also president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), released a statement in which he said that Ferreira was “a victim of intolerance, of the lack of a minimum of conviviality, of cowardly disrespect.

“Judicial steps are already being taken to ensure that hostilities directed against a servant of the Gospel, in the exercise of his mission, do not go unpunished,” de Azevedo said in the statement.

Although the presidential election is now over, political battles continue in Latin America’s most populous nation.

Many Bolsonaro supporters refuse to accept the election results and accuse the Superior Electoral Court of committing fraud in favor of Lula. However, no evidence of voting irregularity was provided.

Shortly after the result was announced, Bolsonarist groups staged dozens of roadblocks on highways across the country, which were finally cleared on November 10. Additionally, several Bolsonaro supporters are camped outside military bases in different cities and are asking the armed forces to stage a coup.

The Catholic Church has not been immune to political turmoil. Since the beginning of the presidential campaign, there have been numerous cases of worshipers interrupting masses and accusing the clergy of supporting Lula.

Although Bolsonaro is Catholic, he receives most of his support from Brazil’s growing evangelical and Pentecostal congregations, and his supporters often accuse the Catholic Church – and in particular the country’s bishops’ conference – of being biased towards left.

At the same time, many bishops and priests have openly supported the aims of the Bolsonaro administration, especially regarding its pro-life support.

However, since Lula’s second-round victory, it has been Bolsonaro’s supporters who have been most responsible for threats against Catholic clergy. In the past week, there have been at least two death threats directed at members of the Church, not including the threat made against Ferreira.

In the city of Sidrolândia, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, a predominantly Bolsonarian community told a priest to leave the parish in which he had worked for six years. During the presidential campaign, the cleric announced that he would vote for Lula.

Local journal Correio do Estado reported that the priest asked to remain anonymous due to the death threats.

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Franciscan friar Sérgio Görgen, a longtime advocate for small farmers who ran for the state legislature as a member of Lula’s Workers’ Party, received death threats from a local politician on 7 November.

During his campaign, Görgen released a video in which he appeared outside the Santa Elmira farm, where in 1989 he and dozens of landless peasants promoted a land occupation. The large estate then became unproductive, which under Brazilian law meant it could be expropriated by the government in its land reform program.

But the 1989 demonstration was violently repressed by the police during a raid which left 17 injured and 23 arrested. In his campaign video, Görgen briefly recounted the story of the so-called “Santa Elmira Massacre” and said he hoped the property would one day come under land reform.

José Sérgio de Carvalho, a member of the council of the town of Salto do Jacuí, where the farm is located, mentioned Görgen’s video during an official council session, saying that “no one should be surprised if someone gives a big blow to the head of the brother”, adding that he was ready to be the person to do it.

“This threat is linked to the electoral moment. The most radical segments of agribusiness are very dissatisfied [with Bolsonaro’s defeat]said Görgen Node. Large-scale agricultural enterprises were strong supporters of Bolsonaro, who pledged to open up much of the Amazon region to development.

Görgen says people are now trying “to bully progressive clergy in Brazil.”

“I feel threatened, but someone who has undertaken a mission like mine must be ready to face such a situation. my bishop [of the Diocese of Bagé] showed me his solidarity, as well as many Catholic movements,” he said.

In recent weeks, conflicts provoked by Bolsonarian priests have also been reported by the Brazilian media.

On November 6, a priest from Nerópolis, in the state of Goiás, argued with a group of lay people during mass. Witness says Father Danilo Neto told congregants who voted for Lula to leave the Church, news site reports G1.

A video of the moment has gone viral on the internet. The priest is seen talking with a woman, who allegedly criticized him for telling Lula supporters to leave. Neto then said he would leave the place, since the faithful “do not need a priest”. He took off his cassock, threw it on a bench and left the church.

The Diocese of Anápolis said the matter was under investigation and reaffirmed the Church’s neutrality in party politics.

In the state of Paraná, a priest was photographed taking part in one of the roadblocks protesting Lula’s victory. The Diocese of Jacarezinho said on November 10 that Father Carlos Eduardo Casprov had been reprimanded by Bishop Antônio Braz Benevente.

Benevente’s statement also noted that this was Casprov’s second time engaging in political activism: he had previously been reprimanded on April 14.

João Décio Passos, professor of religious studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, said Catholic Pentecostalism and traditionalism have been growing — and converging with support for Bolsonaro since his 2018 campaign.

“These groups have media and a strong social media presence. They tend to be self-referential and break with official Catholic Church guidelines,” Passos said. Node.

This movement has created politically conservative pockets in the Brazilian Church, which tends to be moderately progressive.

“The novelty in the current picture is that these pockets have taken on a self-contained existence and broken with church consensus in the name of their own perspectives,” Passos said.

Mário Betiato, a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná in Curitiba, said Brazilian bishops should speak out more.

“Neo-fascism has created divisions not only in the Church, but also in education, in communications, in families. Its major figure is Bolsonaro. The Church does not act to manage such ruptures,” he said. Node.

Betiato argued that “the bishops do not take a public position [against Neo-fascism]» and therefore « the Church is on the verge of schism ».

He blames “poor theological training” for the adherence of priests and lay Catholics to Bolsonarism.

“They are unable to accompany the Church. They don’t want to debate faith and its interfaces with science and culture, they don’t want to debate the role of women. They just want to fight ‘communism’ and be applauded,” he said.

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Listening, “a necessary prerequisite for the development of faith”: the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/listening-a-necessary-prerequisite-for-the-development-of-faith-the-catholic-bishops-of-nigeria/ Fri, 11 Nov 2022 21:56:14 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/listening-a-necessary-prerequisite-for-the-development-of-faith-the-catholic-bishops-of-nigeria/ “This attitude opens the way to a real dialogue”, they add in their message signed by the president of the RCCS, the archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji. The Catholic Bishops are calling for “a well-represented pastoral council in all parishes as a way to create space, more space for dialogue and participation.” “In a Synodal Church, […]]]>

“This attitude opens the way to a real dialogue”, they add in their message signed by the president of the RCCS, the archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji.

The Catholic Bishops are calling for “a well-represented pastoral council in all parishes as a way to create space, more space for dialogue and participation.”

“In a Synodal Church, ways must be found through which those on the periphery such as the illiterate, the materially poor, and the silent members of the Church can be heard,” RCCS members say.

They add: “Without a doubt, wars, dissension, bitterness and acrimony can be avoided by embracing the power of listening and dialogue”.

The National Pastoral Congress, which began on November 8, was organized under the same theme as the Synod on Synodality, “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”.

In their Nov. 11 collective statement, RCCS members also stress the importance of ongoing catechetical formation in Africa’s most populous nation.

“Catechetical formation, which is a continuous and dynamic process, is at the heart of the growth and development of the Christian life”, they say, and add: “There is no gain in saying that we should be constantly trained in our faith”.

To achieve catechetical formation, say RCCS members, “a well-developed program, which should include a Catholic curriculum for missionary schools, should be designed so that catechetical formation is such that it does not end with the reception of the sacrament but initiates a process which should accompany the Catholic throughout his life.

“It is not only desirable, but a necessity for effective Christian witness. In the pursuit of this ideal, all hands must be on deck”, add the Catholic Bishops in their message published at the end of the National Congress which was held at the Catholic parish of Saint-Paul in the Archdiocese of Benin. City.

They call on members of the clergy, men and women religious “to take the lead in the catechetical formation of the faithful. As immediate collaborators, catechists must be adequately trained and justly remunerated, while parents, for their part, must ensure the initial catechetical formation of their wards supported by an exemplary Christian lifestyle.

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No guarantees for Catholic schools as Archdiocese of St. Louis delays closure decision https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/no-guarantees-for-catholic-schools-as-archdiocese-of-st-louis-delays-closure-decision/ Wed, 09 Nov 2022 00:00:00 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/no-guarantees-for-catholic-schools-as-archdiocese-of-st-louis-delays-closure-decision/ ST. LOUIS — The decision to merge Catholic parishes will come ahead of school closures as part of an overhaul of the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ downsizing plan. Archdiocesan leaders initially said the announcement of primary school closures would come in January and take effect in the fall of 2023, giving students and teachers time […]]]>

ST. LOUIS — The decision to merge Catholic parishes will come ahead of school closures as part of an overhaul of the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ downsizing plan.

Archdiocesan leaders initially said the announcement of primary school closures would come in January and take effect in the fall of 2023, giving students and teachers time to find new schools.

The refusal of parents and teachers during recent “listening sessions” in each parish has led the archdiocese to delay school closures to the 2024-2025 school year, although some may still come earlier.






Bishop Mitchell Rozanski


David Carson



“Only after discerning what the parish landscape should look like will we discern what our parish schools should look like, as they are highly dependent on parish support,” reads a letter from Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski on Tuesday. to school staff.

As part of its “All Things New” restructuring process, the archdiocese is seeking to reduce the number of parishes from 178 to between 70 and 90 in the plan to be announced in May. About a third to half of parish schools are expected to close under the plan.

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The Archdiocese of St. Louis says it must close churches in the area to meet the needs of a changing congregation of Roman Catholics.



The change in timeline indicates parental reaction has been understated, said Mike Oslance, a former Catholic school principal in St. Louis and the Metro East, most recently at Holy Trinity in Fairview Heights.

In listening sessions, parishioners were frustrated that schools were not a topic of discussion.

“Parents are going to be much more invested in what happens to their children than where the confessional or the 5 p.m. mass is going to be,” Oslance said.

There are 85 schools with more than 19,000 kindergarten through eighth graders in the archdiocese, which spans St. Louis and 10 eastern Missouri counties. Enrollment has more than halved over the past two decades.

Largest Catholic Primary Schools 2021-2022

Catholic Schools by Enrollment (K-8). Source: Archdiocese of Saint-Louis

School Registration
St. Joseph, Cottleville 843
Immaculate Conception, Prairie de Dardenne 727
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, Saint Louis 495
St. Peter, Kirkwood 493
Sainte-Catherine Labouré, Sappington 461
St. Gerard Majella, Kirkwood 430
Holy Child, Ballwin 420
Assumption, O’Fallon, Missouri 418
Holy Cross Academy, St. Louis County 409
St. Patrick’s, Wentzville 406

Targets for reducing the number of schools include:

• Increase teacher salaries, which start at around $30,000.

• Increased student/teacher ratio from 14:1 to 25:1.

• Increased enrollment to respond to capacity building. On average, places in primary schools are 64% occupied.

• Reduce the need for support from parishioners. Parishioners subsidize about one-third of the archdiocese’s total school budget, or about $50 million in 2021-22.

The delay does not mean that all parochial schools will necessarily remain open next year, according to a fact sheet given to educators on Tuesday. School closings could happen “organically” as parishes merge.

“As parish models are decided, many schools may see their teachers apply elsewhere and families choose to enroll their children in the school where they will attend church,” the document reads.

The archdiocese still intends to give raises to teachers next year, one of the goals of the downsizing process. Tuition is expected to exceed the current average of $5,000 to $7,000 per year.

A recent parent survey “overwhelmingly supported a tuition increase to give our teachers fairer compensation,” said the Reverend Chris Martin, vicar for strategic planning.

Tuesday’s announcement does not apply to the two archdiocesan high schools in the city of St. Louis — Rosati-Kain and St. Mary’s — which are scheduled to close in May. Supporters of the schools hope to keep them open as independent Catholic high schools and have held open houses to recruit freshmen for fall 2023.

Mike England, president of St. Mary’s, said this month that the school had raised $3 million for the campaign called “The Work Is Ours.”

The Archdiocese of St. Louis says it must close churches in the area to meet the needs of a changing congregation of Roman Catholics.




The Archdiocese of St. Louis is proposing larger-than-expected church cuts.  Some Catholics plan to fight back.

The downsizing plan will reduce the number of parishes from 178 to between 71 and 90, according to the latest figures from the archdiocese.


Which Catholic parishes in the Saint-Louis area will close?  The clues are in the data.

The 178 parishes will hold two “listening sessions” on plans to merge or close Catholic church operations.


Rosati-Kain supporters show school as they work on stimulus packages

With a future in limbo, supporters of Rosati-Kain gather to welcome prospective students.


Archbishop: Drop in enrollment, boosted by income, closure of 2 Catholic high schools in Saint-Louis

Rosati-Kain and St. Mary’s are among the smallest in the Archdiocese.

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Review: At the Vatican Falls, Victims of Sexual Abuse Wage War on the Catholic Church https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/review-at-the-vatican-falls-victims-of-sexual-abuse-wage-war-on-the-catholic-church/ Sat, 05 Nov 2022 21:00:00 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/review-at-the-vatican-falls-victims-of-sexual-abuse-wage-war-on-the-catholic-church/ Romans 12:19 says, “Never take revenge, but indulge in the wrath of God,” which sounds like a clever way the wicked convince their victims that they will someday get justice. Fortunately, Catholics do not read the Bible, thus providing the basis for Vatican Falls, Frank J. Avella’s revenge fantasy for victims of priestly sexual abuse, […]]]>

Romans 12:19 says, “Never take revenge, but indulge in the wrath of God,” which sounds like a clever way the wicked convince their victims that they will someday get justice. Fortunately, Catholics do not read the Bible, thus providing the basis for Vatican Falls, Frank J. Avella’s revenge fantasy for victims of priestly sexual abuse, now makes its world premiere at The Tank. Ambitious, imaginative and totally bizarre, it offers several surprises to the audience, not all of them great.

We think we see where Vatican Falls starts from the oldest scene, which introduces us to Vi (Tucker Aust), Charlie (Danny Hilt) and Matt (Jeremiah Clapp), members of the Boston chapter of Survivors of Catholic Abuse Refuge (or SCAR). We prepare for two and a half hours of tearful monologues about the terrible abuse these men suffered as boys at the hands of trusted clerics.

As they meet around Dunkin’, fellow countryman Riccardo (Ace Young) shares espresso and cannoli with Claudia (Carlotta Brentan), an attractive young Vatican employee. Riccardo is in Rome to launch SCAR’s master plan, which involves cybercrime, kidnappings and spectacular acts of violence committed against the Roman Catholic Church. Suddenly, this support group reveals itself for what it really is: a terrorist cell.

And given the crimes they avenge, it’s easy to support the terrorists, even if their plans don’t seem entirely thought out. Claudia is a kind of double agent. They also work with a source codenamed La Farfalla (Jacopo Costantini). The Italian characters tend to speak in the third person with an irritating mix of English and Italian: “I can’t imagine the pain…confusion…East horrible… It’s good that you tell Claudia,” she remarks when Riccardo talks about his history of abuse. It’s the first indication that this piece is a bit of mortadella.

Carlotta Brentan directs Vatican Falls and plays Claudia, and Ace Young plays Ricardo.
(©Ashley Garrett)

At least Vatican Falls has a fascinating villain in the form of Father David, upon whom Edward L. Simon bestows a boyish innocence that helps us understand how the priest justified his own heinous behavior: “I was practically a boy myself,” claims the priest, while also assuming the role of protector of this family. Riccardo’s widowed mother, Teresa (an overworked Alice Barrett-Mitchell), certainly treats him like the man of the house, trusting him completely. We grasp the terrible price of this blind faith through the silent figure of Riccardo’s younger brother, Peter (James Gracia, whose watchful eyes constitute the most moving performance of the evening).

More in line with Avella’s action-movie script is a hellish prelate called only “Monsignor,” whom Ryan Wright plays as a cocky butler who wields power over the Vatican bank. As the fabulously sassy and frighteningly wrathful leader of SCAR, Aust plays Vi as a high-heeled angel of death. Thankfully offering comic relief, Hilt is very funny as Masshole Mrs. Malaprop: “I don’t fancy getting water-ballooned by the Feds,” he tells his co-conspirators, obviously referring to a other heightened interrogation technical but nevertheless evoking a lovely image.

young, old american idol contestant who appeared on Broadway in Hair and Fat, gives an emotionally engaged performance as a man deeply troubled by his past and uncertain about his future. He flaunts his beautiful singing voice in the second-act number “Sunday Mourning,” which brings the show to a halt, not because it’s so good, but because he’s literally doing nothing to advance the plot. It’s a bit like when Bette Midler starts singing in Hocus Pocus 2 — the song is suspected to be in the contract.

Ace Young stars in Frank J. Avella Vatican Fallsdirected by Avella and Carlotta Brentan, at the Tank.
(©Ashley Garrett)

This moment is so shocking because it’s out of step with the production of Avella (the playwright co-directed with Brentan), who jumps between short cinematic scenes set across years and continents. Tony DiBernardo’s set of platforms features levels and multiple configurations, allowing performers to instantly transport us to any space. Shirlee Idzakovich’s costumes do the job (she particularly has fun with Vi), while Zëk Stewart’s sound design and David Shocket’s lighting (a tower of LEDs becomes stained glass) further aid our imaginations. Thanks to sheer theatrics, Avella pulls it off most of the time – however, the moment we see an actor miming electrocution (he writhes in pain as the lights go on and off), we suspect the Avella’s Hollywood blockbuster ambition crashed against the physical and economic limits of off-off-Broadway.

Still, Avella is to be admired for writing a piece on this subject that doesn’t just wallow in victimhood. In their highly fantastical way, these characters defend themselves and act. It may not be very Christian, but it is undeniably dramatic.

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The void in the leadership of the Church: is damnation possible? https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-void-in-the-leadership-of-the-church-is-damnation-possible/ Mon, 31 Oct 2022 13:59:42 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/the-void-in-the-leadership-of-the-church-is-damnation-possible/ By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | October 31, 2022 Today I bring you a “guest post” by the late Father Paul Mankowski, SJ, from the new collection of his pseudonymous works, Diogenes unveilednow available from Ignatius Press. This column originally appeared in our “Off the Record” section, which we […]]]>


By Phil Lawler ( bio – articles – email ) | October 31, 2022

Today I bring you a “guest post” by the late Father Paul Mankowski, SJ, from the new collection of his pseudonymous works, Diogenes unveilednow available from Ignatius Press.

This column originally appeared in our “Off the Record” section, which we later removed. I reproduce it here not only to draw attention to the “Diogenes” collection (although that would be reason enough), but also to offer readers an explanation of how we might approach what is clearly a crisis in our Church.

The chronicle was written almost fifteen years ago; Diogenes often saw beyond the horizon. This explains the approach taken in “Off the Record” (OTR) at a time when we often worried about capricious bishops, but still had full confidence in the soundness of statements from Rome. Today, when statements from the Vatican often raise our eyebrows, our blood pressure, even our righteous anger, the logic exposed by Diogenes is all the more compelling.

If asked to explain what I hope to accomplish with my own commentary on Catholic affairs, I might repeat the last sentence of this column as I present it today.

—Phil Lawler


Off The Record has now been around for five years and to the extent of forty-six hundred posts, and it may be appropriate to do what we have not done so far, namely, to explain what we think we are up to.

Although sub-labeled “Newsroom Notes”, OTR debuted in an ongoing exchange of emails between half a dozen correspondents ironically exasperated by senior clergymen’s failures to conduct themselves as Catholics. , and by their even more distressing failures to enable others to access the spiritual bounty of the Church. Many of our exchanges took the form of routine recriminations about the fragility of this or that homily or pastoral letter or interview, but underneath there was a deeper sense of unease. Bad clerics are vexation, but an understandable and probably inevitable vexation. Harder to explain – and harder and harder to deny – was The Emptiness at the center of Church activity: the lack of concern for souls in danger.

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” said Saint Paul, “for it is God who acts in you.” OTR was created to tackle the problem (never articulated as such by contributors): how does a Catholic work out his salvation when his pastors do not believe there is a damnation from which he must be saved?

Perhaps no Catholic bishop or religious superior has publicly declared his disbelief that a soul could be lost. Yet it is so rare for a churchman to affirm this doctrine that it is staggering when it happens – think of the stunned outrage in response to the disciplinary actions of Bishops Bruskewitz and Burke.

More disturbing than the silence of the bishops, however, is their “performative” rejection of a saving component of their ministry. Whatever their personal opinions, they act as if it was possible for a man to lose his soul by making a spiritually deadly choice.

Imagine a mother whose toddlers crawl between her legs under the kitchen sink, open various bottles marked with the skull and crossbones, pour the contents into sippy cups, then trotted out drinking the contents, shaking their heads with a puzzled resignation. Either the woman is criminally negligent or she doesn’t believe the marked bottles actually contain poison. There is no third possibility.

The strange but indisputable fact is that most Catholic pastors behave like this abnormally nonchalant mother. The Church still labels some bottles with the skull and crossbones – that is, it still professes a belief in mortal (soul-destroying) sins, but even those of its clergy who give their assent verbal to the doctrine of the Church seldom conduct their office in a manner that is intelligible if the doctrine were true.

Let’s take a simple example: weekly participation in the Sunday Eucharist is a precept of the Church, a failure that the Catechism qualifies as a grave sin (§§2180, 81). Less than a third of American Catholics respect this precept. This means that more than 60% of the laity are at serious spiritual risk. Yet perhaps one in a thousand clergymen displays the 60% concern they would show toward a person in danger of bodily death. It is likely that many of those 60% are too poorly catechized to commit deliberate mortal sin by skipping Mass, but to the extent that this compounds the failure of the clergy, it should heighten their alarm rather than appease it. By their reckless inaction, they announce that they do not take damnation – their own or that of their flock – as a serious possibility.

Or, think of the Church’s missionary work among the unevangelized: once a primary concern for Catholics everywhere, now urgently emptied by the sentimentality that surrounds the anonymous Christian and his exotic spiritualities. The missionaries return to give us good news of wells dug or dances learned, rarely of pagans being baptized.

One can examine ecclesiastical endeavors along any axis of Catholic teaching and find further performative confirmation of the Void. But it was the clergy sex abuse crisis that turned unease into outrage. As shocking as the abuses were in themselves, the truly troubling aspect of the scandal was the reaction to the abuses from bishops, religious superiors and other clergy in positions of power. Official denials, cover-ups, silent transfers of offenders, tough tactics with victims underscored a moral callousness that appalled even civilian agencies. Worse still, and infinitely more difficult to reconcile with the Faith, was the near total lack of concern for the spiritual fate of the victims, perpetrators, and (given their lies under oath) the bishops themselves. OTR was born out of our fledgling attempts to make sense of a Church ruled by sleepy churchmen indifferent to its supernatural ministry. Either they’re malicious or they don’t really believe anything important is at stake. There’s no third possibility.

The OTR has taken the liberty of denigrating “empty-suited” clergy, especially senior clergymen, a denigration that many Catholics of good will find in themselves repellent and contrary to Christian discipleship. We do not doubt the good faith of their objections; we hope our detractors are right and hope that we are the ones who have misinterpreted the situation; we wish them success in proving us otherwise. But the main sticking point is that these critics deny what we find undeniable: the bishops beaming indulgently at little ones with Liquid Plumber in their cups.

Unlike liberals or the factionalist right, the OTR does not call for “structural change” or a state-of-the-art accountability system. Individually, we have each written countless letters of appeal to countless clergymen, but OTR does not circulate manifestos or canvas signatures for petitions. We want the clergy to do today what the Church has called them to do since its beginning. While our dismay sometimes takes on a sardonic form of expression, it should be remembered that we measure our pastors not against some idiosyncratic standard of our own design, but against the promises they themselves have made by taking their functions. The purpose is to alert high and low clergy that some Catholics still rely on these promises, and to remind them – in terms they are likely to remember – that their spiritual duty is not optional.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for over 30 years. He edited several Catholic magazines and wrote eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is news director and senior analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full biography.

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New Vatican document hints at LGBTQ inclusion in the Catholic Church | World https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/new-vatican-document-hints-at-lgbtq-inclusion-in-the-catholic-church-world/ Fri, 28 Oct 2022 01:36:15 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/new-vatican-document-hints-at-lgbtq-inclusion-in-the-catholic-church-world/ Country the United States of AmericaUS Virgin IslandsU.S. Minor Outlying IslandsCanadaMexico, United Mexican StatesBahamas, Commonwealth ofCuba, Republic ofDominican RepublicHaiti, Republic ofJamaicaAfghanistanAlbania, People’s Socialist Republic ofAlgeria, People’s Democratic Republic ofAmerican SamoaAndorra, Principality ofAngola, Republic ofAnguillaAntarctica (the territory south of 60 degrees S)Antigua and BarbudaArgentina, Argentine RepublicArmeniaArubaAustralia, Commonwealth ofAustria, Republic ofAzerbaijan, Republic ofBahrain, Kingdom ofBangladesh, People’s Republic […]]]>

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Richard A. ‘Dick’ Barrett | News, Sports, Jobs https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/richard-a-dick-barrett-news-sports-jobs/ Mon, 24 Oct 2022 10:20:12 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/richard-a-dick-barrett-news-sports-jobs/ Richard A. “Tail” Barrett, 78, Tyrone, died on Friday. He was the son of the late Samuel A. and the late Margaret L. (Leonard) Barrett. He first married Paula A. Thomas of Patton on October 22, 1966; she predeceased him on March 14, 1987. She was the loving mother of his surviving children, Rick (Kristin) […]]]>

Richard A. “Tail” Barrett, 78, Tyrone, died on Friday. He was the son of the late Samuel A. and the late Margaret L. (Leonard) Barrett.

He first married Paula A. Thomas of Patton on October 22, 1966; she predeceased him on March 14, 1987. She was the loving mother of his surviving children, Rick (Kristin) Barrett and Julie (Kevin) Ferner.

On April 14, 1988, he married Gwendolyn W. Summers, who predeceased him on January 13, 2022.

Besides his children, he is survived by one sister, Margaret “Peggy” Raiigh; four grandchildren: Brice R. Barrett, Seth D. (Samantha) Barrett, Taylor M. (Cameron) Brown and Maddie B. Ferner; a great-grandson, Mason O. Brown; and soul mate, Eleanor Spangler. He was also predeceased by a sister, Patty Rhudy.

Dick was a 1962 graduate of Cambria Heights High School. He graduated from Penn State University in 1966 with a Bachelor of Education in Biology and in 1975 with a Master of Education in Administration. He was also a footballer for the Nittany Lions, playing from 1962 to 1966. He worked as a biology and life science teacher at Tyrone Area High School from 1966 to 1970, then became the administrative assistant to the Superintendent of Tyrone from 1971 to 1996. While at Tyrone he coached the football team from 1966 to 1969.

He had been a member of Sinking Valley Country Club since 2001 and a member of the NRA since 1980. He was also a member of the Tyrone Fishing Club from 1971 to 1991. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, golfer and loved to fly his flight simulator.

Dick was a very caring and loving person who enjoyed the presence of his family and friends, was always supportive when needed, and represented honesty and integrity.

A mass for Richard A. “Tail” Barrett will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 28, 2022 at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Tyrone, under the direction of Father Jozef Kovachic. Friends will be received at the church from 1 p.m. until mass time.

Contributions in his memory may be made to St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, 1105 Cameron Ave, Tyrone, PA 16686.

Arrangements are in the care of the Feller Memorial Home.

]]> Cardinal Gregory stresses the need for believers to fight against racism https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/cardinal-gregory-stresses-the-need-for-believers-to-fight-against-racism/ Thu, 20 Oct 2022 21:27:54 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/cardinal-gregory-stresses-the-need-for-believers-to-fight-against-racism/ WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholics and all people of faith must engage in the “tremendously important work” of fighting injustice, racism and other societal ills that prevent people from living in peace, said Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory in an October speech. 13 address at Fairfield University in Connecticut. In his lecture – as the inaugural […]]]>

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholics and all people of faith must engage in the “tremendously important work” of fighting injustice, racism and other societal ills that prevent people from living in peace, said Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory in an October speech. 13 address at Fairfield University in Connecticut.

In his lecture – as the inaugural speaker of the Jesuit University’s “Faith Leaders for Racial Justice” series – the cardinal emphasized that while the Catholic Church “has been at the forefront of racial reconciliation and racial justice for many years…we have not overcome all barriers of injustice even within the church itself.

Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, third from right, speaks during the ‘Faith Leaders for Racial Justice’ lecture series at Fairfield University in Connecticut on October 13, 2022. (CNS Photo/Handout , Fairfield University via Catholic Standard)

He also said it was “appropriate for us as a church to discuss the important subject of racism in the context of our faith” and stressed that to overcome the sin of racism, congregations and ministries must be authentic places of hospitality and welcome.

The cardinal said the faithful “are called to model Christ in our society in every possible way” and can be guided to do so by following Catholic social teaching, which he called an “incredibly valuable part of our faith”.

He lamented what he called “a unique and tense time in our history”, adding: “We are bombarded with the negative heaviness of it all as it becomes painfully clear that we don’t care about our neighbour… We see these things happening all around us and know that we cannot sit back and let them continue.

He also criticized what he called a “breakdown in civility and respect (which) threatens our unity and hampers our ability to address the myriad issues we face – such as institutional racism, police brutality, armed violence and respect for the dignity of every human life, especially the most vulnerable.

“Our ability to communicate and speak honestly with each other to engage in meaningful and healthy conversation is diminishing, and it’s costing us our well-being,” he said. “As believers and religious leaders, it is our responsibility to address any inequalities we see – as we always pray, work and promote peace in a world full of hostility and conflict.”

Cardinal Gregory urged the faithful to familiarize themselves with Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, “Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship”, published in 2020 to call on the world to reject racism and war and work towards world brotherhood and solidarity.

He also suggested careful consideration of the US bishops’ pastoral letter, “Open Our Hearts Wide: The Persistent Call to Love,” against racism.

He emphasized that racism can be overcome if believers “experience a continuous conversion to live the gospel message and work for justice. When our brothers and sisters are treated unfairly because of their country of origin or subjected to structural racism because of the color of their skin or discriminated against because of a disability or anything else, we are called to proclaim the gospel message,” he said.

“We are on a journey as a human family, and I am hopeful that we will experience racial reconciliation in our continued conversion through honest and respectful dialogue,” he added. “With this and our renewed commitment to progress, guided by our devotion to prayer and our active work to end racism and division, we will get there.”


Szczepanowski is editor of the Catholic Standard, an archdiocesan newspaper in Washington.

Read more Racial Justice

Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville catches fire https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/st-patricks-catholic-church-in-watsonville-catches-fire/ Tue, 18 Oct 2022 07:25:00 +0000 https://catholicscomehomeboston.org/st-patricks-catholic-church-in-watsonville-catches-fire/ GOOD EVENING, I’M DAN GREEN… AND I’M ERIN CLARK… ### WE HAVE LATEST NEWS FROM WATSONVILLE… THE WATSONVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT CONFIRMS TONIGHT… THAT JUST AFTER 10:00 PM. .. THEY RECEIVED A CALL THAT ST. PATRICK’S CATHOLIC CHURCH IN WATSONVILLE WAS ON FIRE… WE HAVE VERY LITTLE INFORMATION SO FAR… THIS IS A VIDEO SENT IN […]]]>

GOOD EVENING, I’M DAN GREEN… AND I’M ERIN CLARK… ### WE HAVE LATEST NEWS FROM WATSONVILLE… THE WATSONVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT CONFIRMS TONIGHT… THAT JUST AFTER 10:00 PM. .. THEY RECEIVED A CALL THAT ST. PATRICK’S CATHOLIC CHURCH IN WATSONVILLE WAS ON FIRE… WE HAVE VERY LITTLE INFORMATION SO FAR… THIS IS A VIDEO SENT IN BY A VIEWER WHO WISHES TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS. ..ACCORDING TO FIRE DEPARTMENT FIRE IS NOW AVAILABLE…BUT NO WORD ABOUT DAMAGE OR INJURY…THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORE

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville catches fire

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville catches fire

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville caught fire Monday night. The fire was reported just after 10 p.m. According to the Watsonville Fire Department, the fire was extinguished just before 11 p.m. So far there is no information about any damages or injuries. It’s a developing story. Follow KSBW.com for more news as it comes.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville caught fire Monday night.

The fire was reported just after 10 p.m. According to the Watsonville Fire Department, the fire was extinguished just before 11:00 p.m.

So far there is no information about any damages or injuries.

This is a developing story. Follow KSBW.com for more news as it comes.

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