Scripture, Theology Go Together, Says Pope. In what is widely regarded as a helpful intervention at the October synod of Bishops, Pope Benedict addressed the need for integration of theology and scripture study in coming to understand the meaning of both for the Church.  When Theology is not rooted in scripture, and/or vice versa, there will be problems with the way sacred writings are interpreted, said the Pope. According to the English-language briefing officer, Fr. Thomas Rosica, the pope wanted his talk to be treated as one of the final synod propositions. (Catholic News Service)

Court Rules Vatican Abuse Lawsuit Can Proceed. On November 24, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lawsuit filed against the Vatican by three men who were allegedly sexually abused as children in the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY could move forward. The lawsuit claims a 1962 directive from the Vatican instructed church officials in Louisville to remain silent about clergy sex abuse allegations in the archdiocese. Louisville attorney William F. McMurry filed what is believed to be the first clergy sexual abuse suit that names the Vatican as the sole defendant.  (Catholic News Service)

Poll Finds Generational Differences.  A new survey released on October 8 by Faith in Public Life found that younger Catholics more strongly supported Senator Barack Obama, activist government, same sex marriage, access to abortion than older Catholics. The results were based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of 2000 American adults and a larger over-sample of younger adults (age 18-34) using both land line and cell phone interviews. Full results can be accessed at

Crisis in Funding Priest Retirement. The U.S. Church will face a significant retirement crisis by 2010 when 40 percent of its 27,614 diocesan priests will be 75 or older, says Rev. J. Daniel Dymski, a retired priest of the diocese of Erie, PA.  Dymski is a cofounder of the group called Laity in Support of Retired Priests, Inc. In an article published in the September 22, 2008 issue of America, he pointed to the inadequacies of most diocesan pension funds as a small cohort of young priests must support the larger number of baby boom retirees.

Half of Anglican Ordinands are Women.  Nearly half of all Church of England (COE) ordinands are now female, according to official Church Statistics for 2007 released in early November.  Vocations have also increased by 15% overall in the past ten years with 552 new full and part time clergy ordained last year.  If trends continue nearly 25% of all full-time COE positions will be held by women in 2012. Currently there are 12,732 COE parishes served by 7616 full-time clergy. Said spokesman Steve Jenkins: “What is new is the number of ordinations.  It still hasn’t caught up with the number of retiring stipendiary clergy, but the gap is closing.”
(The Tablet 11/1/08)

British Bishop, Laity Support Married Priesthood. In mid November, Bishop of Nottingham, Malcom McMahon said marriage should not be an obstacle to a priestly vocation.  His comments came at the same time that a petition calling for married clergy and signed by 4000 Catholics, including members of the nobility, was presented to a meeting of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.   McMahon said it was  “a question of justice” for men who felt a call to priesthood and to marriage, as well as for parishes deprived of Eucharist because of too few priests.”
(The Tablet 11/15/08)

Women’s Ordination Worldwide Presents Diaconate Petition. Dressed as women leaders of the early church such as Mary of Magdala and Phoebe the Deacon, representatives of Women’s Ordination Worldwide presented a petition requesting restoration of the female diaconate to the Vatican on October 15. Designed to coincide with the Synod of Bishops, the petition was supported by 26 international organizations and more than 1700 individuals. After taking the women’s passports, a senior Vatican security official arrived by car to receive the petition and said he would see that it reached Pope Benedict.  One of the women, Jennifer Stark said:  “We were told by the police that he was the top official of Vatican City Security and that it was the first time in 15 years that he had come personally to the square to collect a petition.” (The Tablet, 10/25/08)

Vatican Goes Green. The Vatican won the 2008 Euro Solar Prize for turning the football field-sized roof of its Paul VI audience hall into a giant solar-power generator.  A German company, SolarWorld, donated and installed 2,400 solar panels on the top of the Vatican’s audience hall after Vatican officials made public their plans to convert the rooftop into a solar-power generator. The gift is estimated to be worth about $1.55 million dollars. The Vatican’s solar-panel roof will produce some 300,000 kilowatt-hours of power each year.  (Catholic News Service, 11/26/08)

Swiss Guard Open to Women? The new commander of the Swiss Guard, 36-year-old Daniel Anrig, has said he was willing to consider the possibility of allowing female recruits.  Anrig told a Swiss news Web site,, that although he was unfamiliar with the finer details of the Swiss Guard regulations he believed, “as commandant, one has to be always open to new questions including those relating to recruitment.” Anrig was named commander of the Swiss Guard by Pope Benedict XVI in August. (Catholic news Service, 12/2/08)


Focus on FutureChurch

Fall 2008


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