Saturday, November 2

In the Washington, D.C. area, at least, the Catholic charismatic movement has become dominated by Hispanics.

These meetings, which are thriving at Hispanic-dominated parishes in the Washington area and across the country, are a sign of how the face of the Catholic charismatic movement has changed radically from white to Hispanic in recent years. But even as Latino immigrants are reenergizing the movement, they have revived apprehension among the Catholics who frown upon this form of worship.

Religious scholars agree that if the Catholic Church had not allowed the Hispanic gatherings, it would have lost a huge percentage of its Latino population to rapidly expanding Protestant faiths such as the Assemblies of God. And it is these immigrants who largely fueled Catholicism's growth over the past 10 years.

"The charismatic movement keeps a lot of Latinos Catholic," Berghout said. "By nature, [Latinos] are expressive, and if they are constantly frustrated by an institution, they are going to leave to go to a Pentecostal church."

But not everyone has been happy with the results. The Rev. Franklyn M. McAfee, head pastor of St. Catherine of Siena in Great Falls, said many priests in the Diocese of Arlington believe the Hispanic gatherings go too far and will not allow them in their parishes.

"People shy away from them because of the emotionalism," he said. McAfee added that while his parish occasionally hosts English-language charismatic services for physical and inner healing, they are more calm and meditative. "All that jumping up and down -- I wouldn't want that here," he said.

From the NYTimes (LRR): A useless interview with Bishop Dailey of Brooklyn.

Although he said he deeply regretted any harm his administrative actions or inactions might have caused, he seemed to view the current pressures he faced as a cross laid upon him by God. "I just want to be able to accept whatever comes and to see it as God's will for me," he said. "If it's the cross, then you know I want to take it. If I bleed, I'm supposed to bleed. If you're a Christian, you've got to be Christ, and if you're Christ you have it in your life to have a cross. He himself said, `If you don't have a cross, you can't follow me.' "He has been reading the writings of Edith Stein, a nun killed at Auschwitz and later canonized, and said he identified with her.

Well, maybe not entirely useless.

From the NYTimes (LRR) a profile of the Jesuit who reviews film for La Civiltà Cattolica

He works for a publication that is written and edited by him and other Jesuits, with whom he lives in an enclave in the Eternal City. It is published with all the typographical flourish of "Foreign Affairs" and distributed to about 15,000 readers, most in Roman collars.His allotted niche is usually just inside the back cover, following the bibliography for the more prominently featured articles ("The Mystery of the Pentecost," "With Regard to Euthanasia and the 'Right to Die'"), as if he were providing an afterthought of empty calories at the end of a nutritious spiritual feast. But, somehow, Father Fantuzzi and his ruminations are known throughout the Italian movie industry and Italian cultural circles, and even beyond. "Many directors who would never read Civiltà Cattolica buy it just to read one of his reviews," said Paolo Benvenuti, who is one of them.

Today....our parish is sponsoring a day-long "Spirit Fest" of adult education seminars. Michael's speaking this morning on "How to Get More out of Going to Mass" and I'll be speaking this afternoon on "How to Cope with Scandal in the Church." In between, there will be, naturally enough, football. I'm also waiting for Katie to return from her overnight at a friend's house, and for the usual, quite predictable sniffles caused by not-enough-sleep. Plus, I think they were going to a football game last night (the girl's brother plays on the team) and it was COLD. Hot chocolate will probably be in order.

Inventory of historical materials turns up treasures and interesting nuggets:

The pilot inventory, conducted with the help of volunteers and several experts from Cleveland State University, took four months. It already has yielded dividends, including the answer to a question that has long puzzled parishioners of Lorain's Holy Trinity Church: Why do the pews on one side of the church have hooks, while those on the other side do not? The answer was found in the elaborately detailed procession of Catholic saints painted on the ceiling. Close examination showed that all the male saints were on the side of the church with pew hooks and all the females on the side without. It turns out that in the early days of the parish, when it was populated largely by Slavs, men sat on one side of the church and women on the other. The hooks were for the men's hats, said Anthony Phelps, a local archivist helping with the inventory.

Asian-Americans having difficultly breaking into the leadership of large congregations....except in Catholic Churches.

While American-born Asians struggle to ascend to the pulpit of the largest Protestant churches, their presence has become increasingly more common in Roman Catholic pulpits. The difference is that Catholic congregations don't choose their priest; he is assigned by the church. There are Latino, Filipino and Indo-American priests presiding over large, multicultural congregations across the San Jose diocese's 52 parishes.In 1995, the Rev. Paul Duong became the first Vietnamese priest to head a predominantly white Catholic parish in Saratoga.``There clearly are barriers, but the thing is they welcome you with their spirit,'' said Duong, who speaks English with a heavy accent, having come to the United States in 1975 when he was a grown man. ``They've gotten used to it, my broken English. They understand.''

There are a number of possible changes to church governance that I've always thought would be helpful, but congregations selecting their priests and pastors has never been one of them. In some diocese, parishes are asked to list the qualities they want in a priest, but the trouble is, they all want the same thing: Jesus Christ, and he's not available. At least in the sense they want him to be. When a pastor or other priest becomes a problem in a parish, then the parish deserves a fair hearing from the bishop and a role in deciding whether he should be removed, but I really think that in the end, no matter what you do - select yourself or take what you're given, the end result is the same - everyone has to adapt and learn and change.


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