Thursday, January 24

Handicapping the next Pope in the Wall Street Journal.
A brief article looking at why Hispanic Catholics convert to Pentecostalism. It cites a poll that claims that no more than 53% of Hispanics in the US are still Catholic - I don't know if that number includes those who are unaffiliated as well as those who've converted, but it's a pretty astonishing number, if true:


...the acting pastor of the 12th Street sanctuary, speaking on condition that his name not be used, gave a theological explanation: In a Pentecostal environment, the intimacy with God is greater than in most of the traditional denominations, Catholic of mainline Protestant, he said.

"I have encountered Jesus," the minister stated adamantly, refusing to elaborate.

I don't doubt it. I also don't doubt that Catholics need to know that Jesus is encountered in Catholicism, too, and to be told how...when did we stop doing this and start preaching in such abstractions?

Not just Catholics, cont'd:Australian Church's Sexual Assault Crisis Deepens

The Australian Anglican church's crisis over sexual assault allegations has broadened beyond the state of Queensland with the conviction last Friday of a former Anglican priest with a criminal record for paedophilia dating back more than 40 years.

Today is the feastday of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers. A couple of quotes:

Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made of it.

and

Blessed are those whose hearts are ever open to God's inspiration; they will never lack what they need to live good holy lives, or to perform properly the duties of their state. For just as God gives each animal through its nature the instincts needed for its self-preservation, so - if we offer no obstacle to grace - he gives each of us the inspirations needed for life, activity and self-preservation on the spiritual level.

When we are at a loss what to do, when human help fails us in our dilemmas, then God inspires us. If only we are humbly obedient, he will not let us go astray. Some plants point their flowers at the sun, turn them with it as it moves. The sunflower, however, turns not only its flowers, but its leaves as well. In the same way all God's chosen ones turn their hearts toward God's will by keeping his commandments. But those who are utterly filled with charity turn to God's will by more than mere obedience to his commandments. They also give him their hearts, follow him in all that he commands, counsels or inspires, unreservedly, with no exceptions whatsoever.


One of the most impressive crisis pregnancy centers, Expectant Mother Care, is being attacked by New York state's attorney general, demanding all sorts of documents, presumably to go after various aspects of the center's operation and shut them down. You can donate to help through the center's website.

They have one of those amazing, spectacular new 3-D ultrasound machines, and you can see a beautiful little clip of an unborn baby here. I watched it over and over - viewing it is a good start for contemplation of all sorts of matters.

The Boston Globe reports on the first documents released in the Geoghan case and to anyone familiar with diocesan ways, there are no surprises. There are several articles reporting on various dimensions of the documents, and the most interesting are those revealing how church officials dealt with Geoghan. Here's what Thomas Daily, now Bishop of Brooklyn, then Chancellor of the diocese, did back in 1982:

After being briefed on the allegations, Daily ordered that Geoghan be placed on sick leave in February 1980. It lasted about a year until Geoghan was reassigned to St. Brendan Parish in Dorchester and before long began visiting the home of the boys that he had allegedly raped at St. Thomas Parish.

Incensed by Geoghan's reappearance, four adult relatives of the boys sought a meeting with Daily in July 1982 to determine why Geoghan was still a priest. Within a month, Daily summoned Geoghan to his office to question him about the new accusations.

However, Daily acknowledged in his deposition that, wanting to avoid any allegation of sexual abuse, he questioned Geoghan as to whether he should be taking the boys out at night.

''And the main thrust was that he was keeping the youngsters out too long,'' Daily said. After Geoghan denied he had been acting inappropriately with the boys, Daily allowed him to go on a planned sabbatical to Rome and then return to parish work.

What do we notice about this? Several things: 1) no attention to victims 2) total denial of the problem - focusing on keeping boys that he'd previously molested out too long??? 3) taking the priest at his word, refusing to dig deeper 4) the inability to see any of what had been perpetrated as a crime.

Apparently more documents will be released tomorrow.

A summary of the most recent persecution of Christians in China.

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