Tuesday, September 17

Just because I feel like it:

Feminists for Life.

As if we didn't know: The World Council of Churches is struggling with finances as well as with evangelicals and the Orthodox.
Thanks to a commentor for digging up the website for the Northern Kentucky St. Vincent de Paul Community Pharmacy
A research study of growth trends in religion reveals that Mormons and Pentecostals are growing the fastest

with Catholics trying to keep up:

The Roman Catholic Church also posted strong growth, although its geographic areas shifted. It remained the largest denomination in the country, growing 16 percent to 62 million.. A larger proportion of Catholics now live in the West than in the Midwest; the Catholic population grew faster in the South than it did in the Northeast."That has a lot to do with the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States," said researcher Clifford Grammich, who collected the figures for the study. In recent years some states in the West and South have had large increases in Hispanic populations, among whom Catholicism is by far the dominant religion.

The study was conducted using self-reporting by the denominations.

The Atlanta paper breaks apart the results for their area, with the interesting point that:

The area's Catholic population surged in the suburbs. Catholics now outnumber Methodists -- Atlanta's second largest religious group -- in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fayette, DeKalb, Rockdale and Clayton counties.Nationally, the Catholic Church gained 16.2 percent during the 1990s, outpacing the 13.2 percent increase in the nation's population. But the church hardly grew in traditional Catholic areas of the Northeast and Midwest, while exploding in the South and West, with 30 percent and 42 percent increases respectively."It doesn't come as a surprise to me," said Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, pastor of All Saints Church in Dunwoody. "There's a lot of immigration coming here from the North and a lot of industry has moved down here, too."Hispanic immigrants also play a role, but perhaps not as significant as one might think because they often don't register with local parishes, church officials said.

Pataki signs contraceptive-coverage act.
One of the articles I've been intending to blog all week, but have delayed until I had time to blog some thoughts along with it - it appears as if that moment is not going to come, as all my thinking must be directed towards other writing matters - so, instead of thinking, we'll just link this one: Peter Steinfels and the media and The Situation from The Tablet.
Good discussion of grace and forgiveness at The Corner
Ah-ha!

The Queens pastor whom school principal Barbara Samide accused of embezzlement and sexual harrassment has turned himself in.

The Rev. John Thompson surrendered today and is expected to plead guilty in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens to a charge of grand larceny for stealing $95,000 from St. Elizabeth’s parish in Ozone Park.Thompson will receive 5 years probation and not serve any jail time.Thompson, who presided at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church for four years, left on Palm Sunday amid accusations by former parish school principal Barbara Samide that he siphoned church dollars to his gay lover.The reverend told parishioners he was leaving because of health problems.

Lileks on church architecture:

...it reminds you how churches completely shook off the past after WW2. They built sleek stripped-down structures that abandoned their specific historical vocabulary. Churches now looked like ski lodges, motel lobbies, golf-course clubhouses. Machines for efficient praying to a Savior in the gray flannel robe. The church we attended in Fargo was modernized in the 50s as well, and to my eyes today it looks like the perfect parish for Paul Drake, Perry Mason’s detective associate. I can see him taking the pulpit, putting out his Pall Mall, shooting a finger at the choir, and giving a sermon, the title of which would be “Is God a Square?”

Thanks, Meggan!

Thousands flock to see Buddha's footprint and the frog guarding it.
Could you do this?

Man severs his own hand with circular saw. Puts hand in freezer. Drives self to hospital.

Prognosis for reattached hand? Very good.

Reeves blames Bush, Church, for lack of progress in research that might help him walk.
From Poynter: Why faith can matter in a story, and how easy it is to miss it.
A bishop in the underground Chinese Catholic Church was reportedly arrested.
Oh my...sometimes it takes a youthful eye with nothing to lose to speak forthrightly...

From the USC student paper a student takes a walk through the LA Cathedral

Where is the cathedral? Downtown, roughly proximate to nothing and a drive from anywhere. Because of to the "competitive parking market" unless you attend Mass (which doesn't even occur on Saturdays), expect to dish out $2.50 for every 20 minutes spent trying to determine which end of the church is the front. But cross that bridge when you get to it, because freeways radiating out from the church's near vicinity include the 110, 101, 10 and 5 freeways. So, depending on which direction you are coming from, you can expect traffic to be either miserable, immobile, or a parking lot by the time the peach-colored wall surrounding the church comes into view. Try to make it to the 8 a.m. Spanish Mass and you'll find the pope could walk faster than you'll be moving.

And then catch his observation of why the crypt area of the church is so much more traditionally designed than the main body:

Here you'll find nothing challenging or cutting edge in the design. As ecclesiastically traditional as incense, the beauty demands the question: how can they make a monstrosity out of one part of the church, but stick to a beautiful tradition on the another? The answer is simple: no one is going to dish out the Gross National Product of a small African country to have his corpse or ashes spend the rest of eternity in a crypt that looks like a work by the artist Wassily Kandinsky.

Make sense of this:

the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office is about to wrap up its investigation of sexual abuse in the Cleveland diocese

They've identified 360 people accused.

The investigators have identified 360 people accused of sex abuse, about 100 of whom are priests, Mason said. The rest are nuns, lay teachers and administrators, custodians and even school-age students and parents.
"I don't think there's another prosecutor's office in the country that has taken a proactive step to go out and find this many victims," said Richard Bell, who headed the prosecutor's diocesan sex-abuse team. Bell and Mason said it will be a few weeks before they know how many cases pass the evidentiary hurdles and statute of limitations restrictions required for presentation to a grand jury. Mason said the time restraints for bringing charges against alleged abusers have been exceeded in almost all the cases, but he expects some indictments will be issued.

"Accused" is one thing and "charged" is another, and "found guilty" is still another. And note the wide sweep - including students and parents accused as well. (One would wonder what a sustained investigation of sexual abuse within the Baptist Church of Atlanta would turn up, especially if you included custodians, parents and students...)

A hundred priests (over fifty years), though...

Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, whose account of imprisonment by the communists in Vietnam made him an inspirational figure for many Catholics in his homeland, died yesterday. He was 74.
A third case of Catholic church vandalism in Brooklyn
Take your pick o' holy ones today:

You can have Hildegard of Bingen,visionary, writer, composer, artist, leader, advisor to bishops and sometimes combatant with them...or you can have Robert Bellarmine, cardinal, theologian, counter-reformer....

Or you can have both the artist-mystic and the Jesuit cardinal, and just embrace your happy Catholic both-and self, as is, of course, best.


Other Hildegard links: here and here is a good article by Charlotte Allen reclaiming Hildegard from the New Agers.

Happy Birthday to my daughter, Catherine Louise, aka Katie Lou! She's eleven years old. Celebration tonight will be dinner and a cake. The sleepover party will happen on Friday. Just keep thinking....it's only once a year....it's only once a year....

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