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Bishops Should Help Select Bishops. The highest judicial authority in the Church, Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, recently told the Italian monthly 30 Giorni that local bishops should be permitted to vote for new episcopal candidates. A vote “would contribute to the making of fitting choices of people known and evaluated by bishops…” Pompedda is Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. (The Tablet June 19, 2004)

• Irish Priests Say Yes to Married, Women Priests. The Sunday Times anonymously surveyed 325 priests by telephone last spring. Sixty-nine percent said priests should be permitted to marry and 58.1% supported women’s ordination to the priesthood. Only one priest was ordained in Dublin this year. Fr. Brendan Hoban, a parish priest and the author of Change or Decay: Irish Catholicism in Crisis, said the Irish Church is “dying on its feet” and optional celibacy and women’s ordination are vital to address the shortage of priests.
(The Tablet, May 22, 2004)

• Women’ Leadership Increases in Diocesan Positions. According to a new 2003 survey released in June by the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on women, the number of women in mid level administrative and professional positions increased by 2.5% from 46.6% to 49.1% However women in top management positions which report directly to the bishop (chief of staff, chief financial officers etc.) improved only marginally from 23.5% to 25%. (Catholic News Service Davenport Catholic Messenger 7/2/2004)

• Catholics Mistrustful of Bishops’ Handling of Sex Abuse. A new survey released by Dean Hoge of Catholic University of America and James Davidson of Purdue University discovered that 75% of Catholics believe that the failure of bishops to stop sexual abuse was a bigger problem than the abuse itself. (Catholic News Service/ Davenport Catholic Messenger 7/29/04 )

• Cincinnati Priests Request Optional Celibacy to Avert Loss of Eucharist. In a letter to Bishop Wilton Gregory, 110 priests from Cincinnati asked for discussion of a married priesthood. “ As Catholics we claim to be a eucharistic community working to establish the kingdom of God,” the priests wrote. “Actually we are drifting away from that reality with the closing of churches and merging of parishes.” Fr. Harry Meyer, pastor of St. Susanna parish who helped draft the letter also said church leaders should, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, also discuss ordaining women. (Davenport Catholic Messenger July 1, 2004)

• Vatican Posts Deficit for Third Straight Year. At the end of 2003, the Vatican is 22 million dollars in the red. Church officials attributed the deficit to a weak U.S. dollar and
sluggish stock growth. U.S. donations did not drop as expected but could not keep pace with the declining dollar against the euro. Peter’s Pence donations, a fund used for the pope’s charities and in the past to offset the deficit, increased to 55.8 million, almost 6 percent over 2002.
(Davenport Catholic Messenger, July 14, 2004)

• Danube Female Bishops Ordain Six to Diaconate On June 26, in service on the Danube, two female bishops, Austrian Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and German Gisela Forster and one male bishop, Rafael Regelsberger of Austria ordained six Catholic women from five countries, to the diaconate. This is a continuation of the illicit ordinations that began on the Danube River in 2002 when seven women, including Mayr-Lumetzberger, Forster and former Ohio First Lady Dagmar Celeste were ordained by two alternative Catholic Bishops. One of the new deacons is an American, Dr. Victoria LaRue who sees her ordination as working “from the margins to create my priesthood, working sometimes with other Catholics on the margin, sometimes with other faiths, but always committed to spreading God’s incarnate love.”
(New Women, NewChurch Summer, 2004)

• More Catholics, Fewer Priests In 2003 there were 44,212 priests in the United States, 275 fewer than in 2002, while the number of U.S. Catholics increased by about one percent to 67 million. In May, the Vatican published worldwide statistics for 2002 which again showed a marked increase in Catholics to 1.08 billion while the number of priests remained static at only 405,058, nine fewer than 2001. The church’s workforce also showed 2.7 million catechists, 143,745 lay missionaries, 28,766 members of secular institutes, 782,932 religious women, 54,828 religious brothers, 30,097 permanent deacons and 4,695 bishops. (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate Summer, 2004).

Fall 2004





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