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Sunday, June 6, 2004

Imagining Catholicism.

At last! An article in a newspaper that reflects people's faith rather than simply describing political controversies and institutional intrigues. (Of course, there's no shortage of either in this story, but the Boston Globe gives us a conversation with four Massachusetts Roman Catholic artists about their adult faith: "Scandal, Stereotype, 'Sin': Do 'Mystic River' and 'The Sopranos' get it right? Four Catholics on whether they see themselves in today's pop culture" (Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe 6.6.04).

Restraining conservative bishops. And here's news that the Vatican isn't happy with the noisy way some U.S. Catholic bishops have talked about barring some politicians from communion: "Communion Issue Creates Split Among U.S. Bishops" (Laurie Goodstein, New York Times 6.6.04, reg req'd).

Six months after Archbishop Raymond L. Burke announced that he would deny communion to Roman Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, only a handful of bishops have said they agree and many more have made it clear that they think he went too far.

The discord among the bishops, a group that usually tries to speak with a unified voice, has provoked dismay from Vatican officials and even Pope John Paul II, according to transcripts and reports of recent Vatican meetings with American prelates.

Cardinal Joseph F. Ratzinger, a Vatican official, told a group of visiting American bishops last week that he wanted to meet with an American task force that is studying how to relate to Catholic politicians. And the pope, in an address on marriage last month to American bishops, made a general but pointed reference to "the formation of factions within the church" in the United States.

The bishops are scheduled to hash out the issue at a closed meeting starting June 14 in Englewood, Colo. It will be the first time since the contretemps began that the bishops who disagree with Archbishop Burke, who was bishop of La Crosse, Wis., and is now archbishop of St. Louis, will have a chance to debate.

"They're all waiting for the meeting in Denver when they can get behind closed doors and complain about this," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of America, a Catholic magazine.

"There's nothing the bishops dislike more than the appearance of being in disarray," Father Reese said. He added, "They need to have a national policy because when one person denies communion and gets headlines across the country, people wrongly assume he's speaking for all the bishops, and he's not."

Good news!

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 6 June 2004 at 9:17 AM

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