Monday, May 19

This one's for all the kneejerk Jesuit-bashers out there:

Jesuit to ride cross country to raise funds for Project Rachel

A Jesuit priest who teaches at Georgetown University in Washington will spend the summer bicycling from coast to coast to raise funds for post-abortion counseling offered through Project Rachel.Father Eric A. Zimmer, an assistant professor in the communications, culture and technology program at Georgetown, planned to begin his 4,000-mile journey in Anacortes, Wash., north of Seattle, on Memorial Day, May 26, and to complete what he calls the "LifeRide" by July 20 in Washington, D.C.Averaging 80 miles a day, he will travel across the northern United States through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, then south to Indiana, through Ohio and Pennsylvania and finally along the C & O Canal towpath from Western Maryland into the District of Columbia.,,,,

But "this is not just a fun adventure," he said in an interview with Catholic News Service before leaving for Washington state. The main purpose of the ride, he said, is to raise awareness -- and money -- for Project Rachel and the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing.

Here's the website for Fr. Zimmer's LifeRide. Very cool. Looks like he's coming straight through Fort Wayne, but I can't find anything more specific yet.

If you would like to discuss last night's 6 Feet Under, please do so - and note, I didn't say, if you want to discuss whether 6 Feet Under should exist or whether anyone should watch it. We covered that last week.

And yes, sadly, the pregnant character did have an abortion, but if you think that a presentation of abortion not accompanied by speeches explicitly declaring its immorality is a "promotion" of abortion, then consider this episode:

*This program always starts with a death. (It's about a family-owned mortuary business, and the death always figures thematically in the rest of the episode) The death this week was of a serial killer, executed in Texas, his body brought back to SoCal for burial by his (it becomes apparent) whacked-out daughter.

*Unbeknownst to her family, the 20-year old daughter in the mortuary family gets pregnant and has an abortion, but not before a scene in which, having been asked to watch her baby niece, the camera focuses on her, deliberately and intensely staring in the distance, her back to the baby. The abortion clinic seen is eerily distant, giving the clear impression of an indifferent assembly line. Four names called to go into the procedure rooms, women lined up in recovery, attached to machines, mostly unattended, four more names dispassionately called out when that batch is through.

*And in the end, when the character with the missing, presumed dead wife (and the father of aforementioned baby) has a vision of meeting her on the beach, he expresses sorrow that she has disappeared just when he was starting to get it, to really commit. He says something like, "You were a chance for me to get it together...." And she responds..."I'm not a chance. I'm a person."

End of episode.

So...for me, at least, the connection was darkly transparent, even if it was unintentional...serial killer storyline juxtaposed with an assembly-line abortuary scene...a missing, presumed dead figure not appreciated by her husband until she was gone telling him, "I'm not a chance, I'm a person."

Dehumanization every where you look. Phew.

Anyone but a cradle Catholic married priest, please....

When priests don't run the parish in the Diocese of San Bernandino

Though virtually every diocese in the country faces a serious shortage of priests that threatens to leave parishes without full-time clergy, the San Bernardino diocese, which covers San Bernardino and Riverside counties, is meeting the challenge on a scale not seen elsewhere.A dozen of the diocese's 110 parishes and missions — some among its largest — are being run by so-called parish coordinators, half of them lay persons. The rest are nuns and deacons.....

Lynn Zupan, 66, has been the full-time, lay parish administrator at San Gorgonio Catholic Church in Beaumont since last July.....
On Sundays she gets to church at 7 a.m. — an hour before a fill-in priest celebrates the first of two Masses, one in English and another in Spanish. "I'm here a half-hour early greeting people," Zupan said. But Sunday duties only scratch the surface. During the week, Zupan, who holds a master's degree in religious studies and had 12 years of experience in parish work in San Bernardino and San Francisco, supervises 11 volunteer and part-time staff members.She had the last word in shaping the parish budget, runs the business office, and fields telephone calls from the parish's 1,400 families. Planning weddings and funerals, caring for the sick and making sure parish buildings and grounds are maintained are all part of the job.

Diocese of Lansing places married former Episcopal priest as pastor

If we are going to discuss this, let us please skip over the preliminaries and all agree to agree on this: celibacy is an invaluable, irreplaceable charism, with a firm and vital place in Roman Catholicism. The celibate or consecrated religious is a sign of life in the Kingdom: a life totally centered on God. There is also immense practical value to the unmarried in ministry - believe me, as a former pastoral worker, who did so with three children, I will not argue with that for a second. At the same time, I have known many married couples - DRE and youth ministry teams, mostly - who have flourished in parish ministry and seem to have been made for it, as individuals, a couple, and as a family. And no, adjusting the rule would not "solve" any problems. Various Protestant denominations are experiencing clergy shortages as well - there is no way we can blame our clergy shortage totally on resistance to mandatory celibacy. So many other factors: a changed world in which the pursuit of material success is paramount, and is even a paramount value pushed on Catholic children by their Catholic parents; from a social and economic standpoint, the greater opportunities for education and success available to more people, and the accompanying decline of priesthood (and religious life) as a way up and out (sorry, but it's true), and so on...

But let's just look at this situation as presented to us from these two stories, especially the first. If celibacy is called for (as some argue) because it supposedly "frees" the priest or religious for service...why are we welcoming married people as pastoral ministers? In a previous thread, a couple of weeks ago, the argument was made to put permanent deacons in parishes in pastoral leadership when there is no priest. Setting aside the obvious problem that this is not exactly the purpose of a permanent diaconate, the same question arises. Say a permanent deacon is married and has children and is placed as a parish administrator...what are we saying?

I suggest that what we're saying is that this particular argument for mandatory celibacy is hogwash, and what we're doing to "solve" the priest shortage in terms of parish administration shows it. There are good, solid, theological reasons for a the presence of a celibate priesthood in the RC church -for those who are called to live out that sign to which I referred above. But it does not follow that then all pastoral or parish leadership and administration - and all that's a part of it - necessitates that all involved in those ministries be celibate. As I said, even our own Church, as it is presently coping, is demonstrating that this is not true. It seems to me that the Eastern churches figured this out a long time ago, and I really don't see why cracking the human genome was easier than the Western church's comprehension of this truth.

So that's what I want to discuss - how do these solutions support or undercut the RC church's adherence to the rule of mandatory celibacy for cradle Catholics?

Adventures at Catholic college commencements:

White House chief of staff Andrew Card at Stonehill College (protest: Catholic League and anti-war protesters)

Gibson's Jesus, Jim Cavaziel, at King's College in PA

Santorum at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia (protesters: several graduating seniors

and, of course, the the Sanchez sisters at Mount Saint Mary's in LA

For more, see the Cardinal Newman Society

By the way, I received a note from a lady for whom this was her 50th anniversary of graduating from Mount Saint Mary's, in response to an OSV column I wrote on the Chris Matthews mess at Holy Cross. She wrote:

Last week I went to my Golden Reunion at Mt. St. Mary's College, Los Angeles. At the commencement the speakers were chosen because they are two sisters of Latin decent who rose to become Congresswomen in the State of California, the Sanchez Sisters. I know this is the reason they were chosen but unfortunately they are pro-choice. There were pickets there at the entrance to the College. The College is built on top of a Santa Monica Mountain and therefore could not get up the hill. We Golden Grads did not stay for the Graduation itself only for the luncheon and Baccalaurate Mass, and were unaware of the President's choice until that morning. Most of us Grads work in some way or another for Pro-Life so this was very disturbing.

I have changed the "Catholic News" link on the left so that it takes you to Catholic World News. Unfortunately, even though the previously linked site provides many useful stories, it does so in the context of an increasingly evident anti-Israel, and perhaps even anti-Semitic worldview. So it's outta here.

CWN requires subscription to access some material, and when you want information filled in, you can always head to Catholic News Service, Zenit (for Vatican news) or just type in "Catholic" to Google News.


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