Monday, October 27, 2008

Vatican Evolution Congress to Exclude Creationism, Intelligent Design ~ Catholic News Service

Sep-16-2008 By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

Speakers invited to attend a Vatican-sponsored congress on the evolution debate will not include proponents of creationism and intelligent design, organizers said.

The Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana are organizing an international conference in Rome March 3-7 as one of a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."

Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc, a philosophy professor at the Gregorian, told
Catholic News Service Sept. 16 that organizers "wanted to create a conference that was strictly scientific" and that discussed rational philosophy and theology along with the latest scientific discoveries.

He said arguments "that cannot be critically defined as being science, or philosophy or theology did not seem feasible to include in a dialogue at this level and, therefore, for this reason we did not think to invite" supporters of creationism and intelligent design...

READ entire article:


Supporters of creationism and intelligent design won't be too happy about that!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Opening on Women Lectors ~ John Thavis, CNS Blog

This interesting proposal came out of the Synod of Bishops on the Bible that has been meeting at the Vatican during the past couple weeks or so.

We all know that in most parishes in our diocese, women have long been proclaimers of the Word. So what's this about anyway?

Well, it appears the proposal is to formerly recognize and install women and men in the ministry of lector, a position that was originally considered one of the "minor orders" on the way to ordination to the priesthood. Those "minor orders" were abolished after Vatican II and it is now seen that women and men actually have the right to proclaim the Word because of our Baptism.

There will surely be opposition to this proposal in some circles and it is not known if Pope Benedict will approve the proposal or not.

What do you think? Or does it even matter...

An opening on women lectors?
Posted on October 25, 2008 by John Thavis

VATICAN CITY — Probably the most newsy — and somewhat unexpected — item in the final propositions of the Synod of Bishops on the Bible was a proposal to allow women to be officially installed in the ministry of lector.

The issue was raised in Proposition 17 on “The ministry of the word and women,” and on Saturday morning it passed with 191 votes in favor, 45 opposed and three abstentions, according to our sources.

“It is hoped that the ministry of lector be opened also to women, so that their role as proclaimers of the word may be recognized in the Christian community,” the proposition states in its final sentence.

What Pope Benedict XVI will do with that proposal is unclear, according to Vatican people I spoke with shortly after the synod vote.

The issue, of course, is not whether women can act as lectors, or Scripture readers, in Catholic liturgies. They already do so all over the world, including at papal Masses.

The question is whether women can be officially installed in such a ministry. Until now, the Vatican has said no: canon law states that only qualified lay men can be “installed on a stable basis in the ministries of lector and acolyte.” At the same time, canon law does allow for “temporary deputation” as lector to both men and women, which is why women routinely appear as lectors.

The reasoning behind church law’s exclusion of women from these official ministries has long been questioned. For centuries, the office of lector was one of the ”minor orders,” generally reserved to seminarians approaching ordination. While seminarians still are installed formally as “acolyte” and then as “lector” before being ordained deacons, since the 1970s service at the altar and proclaiming the readings at Mass have been seen primarily as ministries stemming from baptism and not specifically as steps toward ordination.

“It’s important to emphasize that any proposition for women lectors would simply arive from their baptism and not from any presumptive opening for orders,” said one Vatican source.

The synod took up the question because some have suggested that in promoting greater scriptural preparation and presentation, the church designate “ministers of the word.” Lectors were seen as natural candidates.

It’s interesting that this proposal, while passing overwhemlingly, drew the greatest number of “no” votes than any of the other 54 propositions, most of which passed with fewer than five opposing votes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vatican Suspends Indian Bishop ~ CNS

Vatican suspends Indian bishop after he adopts young woman

TRIVANDRUM, India (CNS) -- The Vatican suspended Bishop John Thattumkal of Cochin Oct. 23 amid controversy over his adoption of a 26-year-old woman as his daughter. In its statement, the Vatican also ordered a probe into the adoption controversy, asking Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil of Verapoly to set up a three-bishop committee to conduct the inquiry...

...Father Stephen Alathara, spokesman for the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council, said the inquiry might take a few years. Kerala is a state in southern India. "The communique says a final decision would be taken only after the inquiry report is submitted and till then (Bishop Thattumkal) remains suspended," he said, adding that the bishop will have no administrative or religious responsibilities.

Oct-24-2008 By
Catholic News Service

Why can't a bishop adopt? Do you remember some years back, Fr. George Clements, a priest in Chicago, adopted two young boys and raised them? Wasn't he the same priest who began the One Church, One Child project?

Was it because the adopted person was a young woman? Was it an inappropriate action in a country like India?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Change of Plans? Pastoral Planning ~ standing maryanna

I was surprised to read this new twist in the Bishop's Question and Answer session (AND THE BISHOP SAYS) with Steve Neill in this week's Catholic Virginian. Here was the question put to the Bishop:

Q. Regarding the long-range planning process in the diocese, does it appear that people can expect changes beginning in January regarding more collaboration among neighboring parishes?

A. First of all, there are some misperceptions about the planning process. In January, all things being equal, a plan will be in place. It does not necessarily mean that the plan will take place. In other words, we’re making a distinction. We are adopting a plan that is like a time-released capsule in the analogy of medicine.

The pill dissolves in stages in order for one to receive the benefit. This is similar to our plan.
It won’t be triggered in a particular area unless the number of priests starts to decline. If the number of priests declines, the plan we adopted will be triggered.

The plan is there to be kept available if you need it.

(The Catholic Virginian, October 20, 2008 Volume 83, Number 26)

That certainly isn't what those of us who are interested were lead to believe. Sounds like there has been enough feedback (grumbling) by many influential parishes that drastic change will not be welcomed. The threat of a drop in collections, perhaps?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Filling the Void

Okay, I've changed my mind!

Despite the fact that I already take care of two blogs, I decided that it's very important to set up a Catholic blog about religious and spiritual issues; and to make it available to the People of God in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia. So here it is!

This blog will be what you folks make it. I am asking the Richmond Catholic blogging community to send me articles about things you are concerned about. I will place those articles on the blog under your blogging name. Email articles to me at

I will not allow name calling or uncharitable articles to be posted on this blog either. Those previous Richmond Catholic blogs died because of the unacceptable comments that destroyed any possiblilty of a reasonable discussion. I reserve the right to delete anything that violates these norms. I have reconsidered the use of anonymous comments and will allow them; though I hope you will use a blogging name so that your comments can be replied to more easily.

That having been said, I would like this blog to serve both progressive, moderate and traditional Catholics. I am very open to all types of religious subject matter. Just because I am a progressive Catholic, doesn't mean that I am not interested in all aspects of our common Faith. Just remember, keep your articles to a reasonable length. Most people give up on long involved articles (like this one)!

If you wish to post an article and don't want to use your real name, get a gmail account that you will only use for this blog. If you post an article from some Catholic or secular source, please give the source so I can reference it.

If you have any suggestions, let me know. That's all for right now...

I hope this effort will be welcomed by the Richmond Catholic Blogging Community.