Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cardinal Levada: no “celibacy issue” in reception of Anglicans into Catholic Church

Catholic News Agency

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2009 / 12:13 pm (CNA).- In an extensive clarification released on Saturday by the Vatican press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. made clear, on behalf of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Levada, that there is no “celibacy issue” delaying the publication of the Constitution that will establish the context in which Anglicans can be received into the Catholic Church.

In a statement released in English –breaking the common use of Italian- Fr. Lombardi explained that “there has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic Constitution regarding Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, announced on October 20, 2009, by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to more than ‘technical’ reasons.”

“According to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the basis of the delay, namely, disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision,” Fr. Lombardi’s statement explains.

Responding to the speculations, which include suggestions that also celibacy in the Catholic Latin rite would be open to discussion, Fr. Lombardi offered the official comments of Cardinal Levada.

“Had I been asked I would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no substance to such speculation. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me.”

According to Cardinal Levada, Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution will be ready “by the end of the first week of November” and its delay “is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references.”

The Prefect of the Congregation also explains that “the drafts prepared by the working group, and submitted for study and approval through the usual process followed by the Congregation, have all included the following statement, currently Article VI of the Constitution:

- 1. Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement "In June" are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of Code of Canon Law 277, §1.

- 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.”

Cardinal Levada further explains that “this article is to be understood as consistent with the current practice of the Church, in which married former Anglican ministers may be admitted to priestly ministry in the Catholic Church on a case by case basis.”

With regard to future seminarians, the Cardinal explains that “it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned.”

“Objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See,” Cardinal Levada said.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rome welcomes disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church

By JAMES GRAFF, World Editor

(Oct. 20) -- The number of married Catholic priests could grow sharply as the result of the Vatican's epochal decision to welcome thousands of disaffected Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic church.

At press conferences in Rome and London on Tuesday, Vatican officials announced that the church would set up a special canonical structure that will ease the conversion of members of the Anglican Communion without them having to give up what the Vatican called "the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony." That means not only a body of prayers and hymns, but also a tradition of married priests and bishops.

"It's a stunning turn of events," says Lawrence Cunningham, theology professor at Notre Dame University. "This decision will allow for many more married clergy in Western churches, and that's going to raise anew the question, 'If they can do it, why can't the priests of Rome?'" says Cunningham. "I can already picture the electronic slugfest on the Internet in coming days and weeks."

The Catholic church already allows clergymen who convert from Protestant denominations to remain married on a case by case basis, and married priests are common in the Eastern Rite, a group that uses Orthodox traditions but is loyal to Rome.
But the arrangement with the Anglican Communion goes much further. Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's top doctrinal official, announced in Rome that the church would set up a personal ordinariate -- in essence a diocese defined not by geography, but by function, like the division that serves Catholics in the military -- for converted Anglicans.

The move comes after years of discord within the Anglican Communion, which unites 77 million Anglicans and Episcopalians under the loose authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The church has been racked by schisms over the ordination of women and its stance toward homosexuality.

Some Anglicans believe the Vatican's move will deepen those divisions. "When it comes to elegant funerals, no one can beat the Vatican," wrote commentator Andrew Brown in The Guardian. "The Roman Catholic church is no longer even pretending to take seriously the existence of the Anglican Communion as a coherent body."

For many traditional Episcopalians, as the denomination is known in the U.S., the last straw was the 2003 election of openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire. In protest, hundreds of churches have broken links with the Episcopal church and declared themselves in line with the conservative Anglican bishops in Africa or South America.

Martyn Minns, the bishop of one such dissident group, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, said today, "This move by the Catholic church recognizes the reality of the divide within the Anglican Communion and affirms the decision to create a new North American province that embraces biblical truth."

The news is likely to have a particularly strong effect in Great Britain, where there has been a tendency for years for members of the nominally Anglican majority to join the Catholic church, from theologian John Cardinal Newman in the 19th century to former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007.

Such conversions have generally meant not only a recognition of the pope's authority, but also a rejection of Anglican traditions. That turning away may no longer be necessary. "Now you can be an Anglican and still be Catholic," says Jo Bailey Wells, director of Anglican Studies at Duke Divinity School. "The Anglicans never had that vote of confidence before."

Indeed, two prominent British priests who publicly broke from Anglicanism years ago stated today that after this ruling from Rome, some Anglicans "will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land."

Whether that happens or not, today's decision marks a milestone in the relations between the Vatican and the church of England, which King Henry VIII established in 1534 after the pope refused to grant him a marriage annulment. Since then, religious and social battles have often marked relations between Catholics and Anglicans. Says Cunningham: "This would have been unthinkable 200 years ago, and barely imaginable in the 19th century."

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Father Dueppen and the Stripper: The Story Continues

Agencia EFE

Miami (USA) — A former Catholic priest who created a scandal in Miami because of his affair with a former stripper acknowledged paternity of a child born during the relationship with the woman and now wants a large part in her custody, The Miami Herald reported yesterday on its website.

David Dueppen asked a court in Miami-Dade County that he be granted custody of the baby Marilyn Epiphany at least 70 percent of the time with the child, according to court papers filed this week.

"He has never denied paternity of the child and would like to be very involved in her life," said Raymon Rafool, lawyer for the 42-year old former priest.

The lawyer also denied the charges of alleged domestic abuse that have been made against his client.

The scandal of the love affair between Dueppen and former dancer Beatrice Hernandez broke out last September when the woman asked for support for the girl she gave birth to in January and said that the father was the former priest.

Hernandez also requested a restraining order against the former priest who, according to her, began to suggest that she attend a swingers club and a nudist colony so that she could be released from the evil spirits that Dueppen said possessed her.

The woman revealed that she met Dueppen at the nightclub where she worked as a stripper.

Dueppen worked at St. Francis de Sales, Miami Beach, the same church where famous former Catholic priest Alberto Cutie, who was captured by a photographer on a beach caressing and kissing a woman who later became his wife when he abandoned Catholicism, celebrated Mass.

The relationship between Dueppen and Hernandez ended in 2005 and she threatened to sue the church and to avoid the suit the Archdiocese of Miami reached an agreement with the former dancer through which she received $ 100,000, said the woman.

But the affair resumed in 2006 when Dueppen sought out the former dancer and two years later she became pregnant.

According to Hernandez, the former priest put into questioned his paternity, so she demanded a DNA test.

The former priest initially refused and Hernandez threatened to go to the Church with the baby.

During that time, said Hernandez, both had violent arguments and on one occasion Dueppen allegedly tried to strangle her.

The Archdiocese of Miami has reported that in 2006 it was informed through an attorney that the former priest was allegedly failing to comply with a fiduciary relationship with a woman.

"When he became aware of this, Archbishop John Favalora removed Fr. Dueppen from parish ministry and gave him a leave of absence for 13 months. During that time, he recieved professional spiritual help, including his obligation to faithfully practice celibacy and all other aspects of a moral life," a statement indicated.

After a favorable professional report, and a renewed assurance by Dueppen that he could and was willing to lead a celibate life, the former priest was reassigned to a parish in 2007, but not with the responsibilities of a pastor.

Culture Notes: "Into Temptation"

Into Temptation is another movie dealing with priests, celibacy, etc. but more interesting because it was made by Patrick Coyle, the son of an ex-Catholic seminarian who left to get married.

Official Movie Synopsis:

John Buerlein works the crossword while old women confess the sins of their husbands and the homeless sleep it off in quiet pews--just another day at St. Mary Magdalen’s Downtown Catholic Church where he is the overworked, underpaid pastor.

His shift is nearly over when a beautiful call girl enters, Linda, to confess a sin she hasn’t committed yet:

“I’m going to kill myself. On my birthday. And I’m Aries, Father, so I don’t have a lot of time.”

Then she disappears and Fr. John sets out to find her.

Along the way he befriends an ex-prizefighter, a street-smart librarian, a renegade street-whore, an omniscient cab driver, and a moody pimp who quotes Robert Frost. Together this ad-hoc congregation sets out to save a life…and possibly redeem their own.

Fr. John is hit, hit-on, held at knife point, treated to a peep show, and informed by the archdiocese in no uncertain terms that his career is in jeopardy if he doesn’t cease and desist.

Then his first love turns up after 20 years, as beautiful as ever, to tell him she is divorced and that she never stopped loving him. He was her first. She was his only. Shockingly, John’s mother encourages the reunion.

When John emerges from his descent into the world of pornography and prostitution to stand again before his congregation, he is a profoundly changed man, as are the members of his church who now hang on his every word.

The Director's Background

Patrick Coyle tells the story of his father, his inspiration for the character of Fr. John in an article in Moving Pictures:

My dad was the baby of a big Irish family that emigrated from County Mayo in Ireland and finally settled in Omaha, Nebraska. It was decided he would be "the family priest" by his mother, Margaret, at a very early age. Every proper Irish Catholic family ought to have one, or so went the prevailing turn-of-the-century thought (20th, not 21st.), and Margaret was a woman who got her way...

...So, when the time came, Jimmy went off to seminary and all was well in Grandma Margaret's world. Enter my mother, Margaret Mary Quinlan, 5-feet-2, eyes of blue, a mountain of singing talent, cute as a button and not afraid to have some fun on a dance floor. My dad heard her sing the Ave Maria in church one Sunday and went "backstage" for an introduction after mass. Eight children later, including yours truly, the rest is history. My dad went to work as a traveling salesman after serving his country in WWII.

...I began to wonder, one day, what kind of priest my dad would have made. Out came Into Temptation.

A Mother, a Sick Son and His Father, the Priest

Laurie Goodstein
New York Times

O’FALLON, Mo. — With three small children and her marriage in trouble, Pat Bond attended a spirituality retreat for Roman Catholic women in Illinois 26 years ago in hopes of finding support and comfort.

What Ms. Bond found was a priest — a dynamic, handsome Franciscan friar in a brown robe — who was serving as the spiritual director for the retreat and agreed to begin counseling her on her marriage. One day, she said, as she was leaving the priest’s parlor, he pulled her aside for a passionate kiss.

Ms. Bond separated from her husband, and for the next five years she and the priest, the Rev. Henry Willenborg, carried on an intimate relationship, according to interviews and court documents. In public, they were both leaders in their Catholic community in Quincy, Ill. In private they functioned like a married couple, sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children.

Eventually they had a son, setting off a series of legal battles as Ms. Bond repeatedly petitioned the church for child support. The Franciscans acquiesced, with the stipulation that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It is now an agreement she is willing to break as both she and her child, Nathan Halbach, 22, are battling cancer....

Click here for the rest of the story

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In Memoriam: Fr. Leo Lynch

Fr. Leo Lynch, a married priest in Saginaw, Michigan, and CITI member, passed away last week. Here is his obituary from The Saginaw News and an earlier article from National Catholic Reporter.

A Life Remembered: Leo Lynch 'stood up for others who couldn't speak up for themselves'

By Sue White
The Saginaw News
October 12, 2009, 11:11PM

“Sue,” Leo R. Lynch would start, drawing out my name, “I want to talk to you about a little something.”

Maybe it was his folk trio, The New Image, pulling together a show again for a worthy cause. Or he would share some news on his sons, Stephen and Andrew, each finding success on stages in New York City and Chicago.

Afterward, when the story came out, he’d call back again, usually leaving a message that went something like “Boy, was I surprised when I picked up the paper this morning...”

And the funny thing is, meeting with friends and family at his visitation services Monday, Oct. 12, almost everyone remembered in different ways how much he touched their lives.

Through it all, added his wife, Judy, “he was a man of God. To Leo, wherever there were people, there was church.”

Lynch died Friday, Oct. 9, after suffering a heart attack. He was 78. A funeral liturgy will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Snow Funeral Home, 3775 N. Center in Saginaw Township, followed by interment in Roselawn Memorial Gardens.

A Bay City native, Lynch was ordained a Catholic priest in 1956 in Rome. Throughout his ministry, he was active in fighting the issues of the day, such as racism, poverty and war.

“I think of so many things when I remember my dad, but the role he played in the civil rights and anti-war movements stands out,” Stephen Lynch said. “Even when he was playing with Al Lacki and Ralph Buggia in The New Image, the songs were always about important things in troubled times.

“I respected him for that. He stood up for others who couldn’t speak up for themselves.”

In 1969, feeling he could no longer support the church’s views on divorce and remarriage, intercommunity services and the celibacy of priests, Leo Lynch resigned from what he called his “institutional” church.

Lynch married the former Judith Hayes in 1970, and continued to minister to the faithful, celebrating Mass with the Emmanuel Catholic community. As people told his family Monday, “once a priest, always a priest.”

He had many gifts, including playing the padre in the Midland Music Society’s 1980 production of “Man of La Mancha,” one of several roles he held in community theater.

Later, he watched his sons embrace the stage and Stephen Lynch receive a Tony Award nomination for his lead role in Broadway’s “The Wedding Singer.”

But doing God’s work was definitely his greater calling, his son remembered.

“I knew him as a great father, someone I could always turn to when I needed someone,” Stephen Lynch said. “But I’ve met so many people since I’ve come home, and from what they’re telling me, it feels like he reached out to everyone in the community.

“They all had a story to tell, how he affected their lives in some way. He was always helping as many people as he could. He lived his faith.”

Married priest celebrating Mass in Saginaw: parish cites canon law, invites priest

by Tim McCarthy
National Catholic Reporter
Feb 26, 1993

SAGINAW, Mich. - The priest was married, the parish closed, but the Mass went on.

With his wife, Judy, in attendance, Father Leo Lynch, a priest in the Saginaw diocese until he opted for secular life in 1969, wore no vestments over his blue business suit and red-plaid tie. Just the same, he was priest aplenty for the St. Rita remnant gathered that icy Saturday evening in the church they said the diocese was taking away from them piece by piece.

Last August, with closure round the corner for St. Rita and four other inner-city churches, rebellious parishioners called upon Lynch to celebrate a protest Mass in a parking lot. ABC-TV's "20/20" was there, no doubt savoring the moment during the sign of peace, when Lynch went over and embraced one of his grown sons.

No such hoopla surrounded the Feb. 6 Mass, only the third Lynch has celebrated publicly since 1969, but it was a public challenge to progressive Saginaw Bisbop Kenneth Untener. Lynch said it might cost him his part-time job as choir director for another Saginaw parish.

When members of Saginaw's Save the Churches approached him last summer, armed with the canons they said allowed him to celebrate Mass, Lynch accepted but appealed to them to ask him not because canon law said so: "Ask me because Jesus said, 'Break the bread.'"

"I have no addiction to be priest (in terms of celebrating the Eucharist)," he said, doodling at the kitchen table during a recent interview in his comfortable culde-sac home. "But these people have a right to the Eucharist."

Although St. Rita closed officially Nov. 15, there has been a Mass the-re every Saturday or Sunday since then. Usually the Masses draw 40 to 50 people who say they refuse to sacrifice their close-knit community to the larger joint parish the diocese has asked them to merge with. Married or not, Lynch is welcome.

Friday, October 02, 2009

2nd Bishops’ Synod for Africa: Married Priests Want In

The Kenyan newspaper The Standard reports today that married priests want their voice heard in the forthcoming second Synod of Catholic bishops set to begin next week in the Vatican.

Through their prelature, Married Priests Now, the clergy argue that the synod would be incomplete without the agenda of the clerics renouncing their celibacy vows.

The presiding archbishop of the movement in Kenya Rev Daniel Kasomo said the issue of married priests should be top on the agenda in the meeting to be attended by bishops from across the continent.

By the way, in an related story which we failed to report when it occured back in June (mostly because we have been keeping a distance from all these guys), the five American bishops who were part of Archbishop Milingo's "Married Priests Now" have broken with Milingo to form their own "Married Priests USA". The five are Archbishops Peter Brennan (NY), Joseph Gouthro (NV), Patrick Trujillo (NJ), George Stallings (DC) and Bishop Joaquin Perez (FL). They say that they have disassociated themselves for theological and philosophical differences...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why are fewer Catholics taking road to the abbey?

Belfast Telegraph
Wednesday, 30 September 2009

As the number of vocations to the priesthood in Ireland falls dramatically, Malachi O'Doherty asks if this means that the Catholic Church will have to radically change its attitude to women

The single element in the secularisation of Ireland that guarantees a radical change in our religious culture is the collapse in vocations. In Catholic understanding, a vocation to the priesthood or religious life is a calling from God. Well, God has fallen strangely silent.

The churches are not emptying nearly as fast as the pulpits are. Many thousands of people in this country still want the services and support that come with at least occasional church attendance and membership of a congregation. But the church, as they have understood it, is about to disappear.

Ten times more priests are leaving the church or dying as are hearing the call and responding to it. So most of the ones we are left with are older men, many of them tired and overworked.

The 159 priests of the diocese of Down and Connor is being replenished by only one or two new vocations a year. In 1950 the diocese had one priest for every 700 Catholics. Now each priest has double that number to look after.

This is a crisis for the church but also an indicator of a fundamental change in the character of Catholic Ireland.

Once we had thousands of priests. The optimist says that Ireland was inordinately devout then and that the figures were inflated beyond what was natural; in that case a sort of normality is restoring itself now.

In other countries priests have several parishes to serve and live with the reality of half-hearted commitment among the faithful.

Ireland is simply turning into a normal western country from having been virtually obsessed with religion. It was a phase we were going through and it is over.

In the near future, many parishes will have no priest at all. A priest from outside will have the responsibility of dropping by to consecrate the eucharist, but he will not be there on Sunday to say mass. A lay eucharistic minister will distribute communion instead and lead the prayers.

That will effect two likely changes in the character of Catholic worship.

Since the line of communication from the institutional church to the people will have been broken, the power to impose dogmatic rigour will weaken. And, since most eucharistic ministers are women, we may shift in a decade from a male led church to something that looks, feels and sounds matriarchal.

Already there are more women than men in Catholic colleges studying theology, preparing for the responsibility they will inherit.

The other main churches say that they are not suffering the same rapid decline. The lonely celibate life of a Catholic priest is probably harder than that of a married pastor in the Church of Ireland and Presbyterian Church.

An indication of that is that some Catholic priests are defecting to the Church of ireland. One is Mark Hayden, in his new parish in Gorey in Co Wexford.

The Church of Ireland Chaplain at Queens University, Belfast, was a Roman Catholic and several women who have felt called to the priesthood have gone into the Church of Ireland. Olive Donahoe in Portalise is one.

An ex-priest in the North West was recently invited by a Church of Ireland bishop, over a game of golf, to cross over and take a parish. But the secular trend in Ireland is following the pattern of change in other European countries a generation before us, according to University of Aberdeen sociologist Steve Bruce: "The trajectory is the same."

There are certainly signs of growth in some of the evangelical churches but this may be masked by surges of enthusiasm which attract people from one church to another.

When Pastor George McKim started to hold prayer services in hotels in Belfast and Templepatrick in June, he drew several hundred people, but it is likely that few were new converts to religious faith. The other churches which those people had come from will have registered corresponding declines.

There was a similar surge of enthusiasm for healing services at the north Belfast Elim church last year.

This year, the Catholic seminary at Maynooth, reported an increased number of men coming forward for training.

One recent high profile recruit to training for the priesthood was former Northern Ireland international soccer player, Philip Mulryne, who has begun his studies.

To attract increased numbers the President of Maynooth, Mgr Hugh Connolly had reached out to older men and announced that he was changing the training regime to teach men to pray and lead prayer.

In the past, the main flow of entrants would have been from the schools.

Boys coming out of Catholic schools would have had daily exposure to praying in front of others and been at ease with it.

Mgr Connolly was recognising that for the priesthood to survive at all a new kind of recruit had to be won over and catered for with an education that started with the basics. The church hopes that older men, who have a clearer sense of what they want from life, will be less likely to drop out or leave the priesthood after a few years, but there is a growing sense that the priesthood is no longer a life long commitment.

The increase that is being celebrated amounts to 36 men in the whole of Ireland.

There are currently 77 men in training.

They are coming into a church vastly unlike the one they were baptised in and they will be its lonely and over worked inheritors.

And one other bad augur. Those who are close to the new generations of priests say they are much more conservative than the older men of the generation dying out. They might not fit so well into the new Ireland.