Home » Archive by category 'National News'

Colorado bishops oppose ‘radical’ abortion bill


Catholic News Service

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The three Catholic bishops of Colorado sent letters April 14 to state legislators urging opposition to a bill aimed at defining abortion as a fundamental right in the state of Colorado.

The bill, S.B. 175, was introduced by state Democratic Sens. Andy Kerr and Jeanne Nicholson and state Democratic Reps. Dianne Primavera and Mike McLachlan.

On April 10, the measure passed on a 4-3 party line vote by the Democratic-majority Senate Health and Human Services Committee and now moves to the Senate floor.

A Senate hearing was scheduled for the afternoon of April 15, and Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila was to lead a prayer vigil at the Capitol while the hearing took place.

The letter to legislators, signed by Archbishop Aquila and Bishops Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Stephen J. Berg of Pueblo, followed an April 11 open letter from the Denver archbishop calling on “all Coloradans of Good will” to devote 10 minutes to prayer for the defeat of the proposed bill.

Supporters of S.B. 175 say it aims to protect freedom of conscience from government interference in an individual’s reproductive health decisions.

The bill proposes “to prohibit a state or local policy that denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decisions or a state or local policy regarding reproductive health care that is inconsistent with, or that denies or interferes with access to information based on, current evidence-based scientific data and medical consensus.”

However, the Colorado Catholic Conference, the legislative arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, released an analysis April 8 that shows the bill is not quite what it appears to be.

“This is a radical bill that would create a fundamental right to abortion among other things defined as reproductive health care in this bill,” said the conference’s executive director, Jennifer Kraska.

“No Colorado state governmental body at any level would be able to enact any common-sense policy that ‘denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decision,’” she said. “This bill is an attempt to convince the people of Colorado that their ability to make choices concerning their reproductive healthcare will somehow be hindered — which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

She called S.B. 175 “an extreme piece of legislation that would have a destructive impact on Colorado’s ability to limit or regulate abortion and other items defined as ‘reproductive healthcare’ in this bill.”

“It has the potential,” she continued, “to eliminate a broad range of laws including: parental notification laws, parental involvement laws, laws promoting maternal health, government programs and facilities that pay for or promote childbirth and other health care without subsidizing abortion, conscience protections laws, laws requiring that abortion only be performed by a licensed physician, laws regulating school health clinics, laws concerning abstinence education, laws affecting pregnancy centers and so on.”

Among the bill’s supporters are NARAL Pro-Choice America and its Colorado affiliate; the organization claims that this will be the first bill of its kind passed in the country.

In a recent statement, NARAL said that S.B. 175 will prevent “attacks on women’s health” that have come in the form of pro-life bills that restrict abortion access being passed in other states the past year. NARAL has mobilized advocates of legal abortion to support the bill.

According to Kraska, S.B. 175 is essentially a state Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, that goes further than simply upholding a so-called right to abortion.

“It affects rights to anything defined as ‘reproductive health care,’” Kraska said.

In S.B. 175, “reproductive health care” is defined as: “treatment, services, procedures, supplies, products, devices or information related to human sexuality, contraception, pregnancy, abortion or assisted reproduction.”

A federal FOCA measure was last introduced in the 110th Congress (2007-2009) and went nowhere. But as introduced, it declared that it is the policy of the United States that every woman has the “fundamental right” to terminate a pregnancy. The act would prohibit government at every level — federal, state and local — from “interfering” with a woman’s decision to have an abortion and from “discriminating” against the exercise of such a right.

FOCA was first introduced in 1989. Abortion groups feared that the Supreme Court was retreating from its 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision and began a drive to establish an even more expansive right to abortion on statutory grounds.

Karna Swanson, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver, told the Denver Catholic Register that the Colorado bill could “be a devastating blow that would firmly establish a culture of death in Colorado.

“The pro-life movement has been working for decades to promote legislation that protects life and promotes a culture that is life-giving and life-affirming. This legislation directly attacks those efforts, and threatens to sever that most beautiful bond between mother and child.”

Swanson said the bill could threaten pro-life initiatives in Colorado that help mothers with unplanned pregnancies.

 By Bill Howard

One year later: Boston still strong



Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley joins the family of Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard at the finish line for a wreath-laying ceremony in Boston April 15. Martin’s sister, Jane, wipes her face as she stands with her mother, father and another brother. The ceremony was one of many events marking the first anniversary of the bombing. Young Martin was killed in the attack, just a few days shy of his ninth birthday.

(CNS photo/Brian Snyder, Reuters )

Shooting victims at Kansas Jewish community center mourned

April 14th, 2014 Posted in National News, Our Diocese


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Outpourings of grief and support came in response to the murder of three people at two Jewish-run facilities in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park April 13, the day before the Jewish feast of Passover was to begin.

Although none of the three dead were Jewish, local police and the FBI labeled the killings a hate crime the day after the shootings. A former Ku Klux Klan leader with a history of anti-Semitism was charged in connection with the killings.

A police officer guards the entrance to the scene of a shooting at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan., April 13. A gunman opened fire at two Jewish facilities near Kansas City that day, killing three people, police said. (CNS photo/Dave Kaup, Reuters)

One of the dead was a Catholic woman, Terri LaManno of Kansas City. She was at Village Shalom, where Frazier Glenn Cross, according to police, headed after allegedly shooting a doctor and his teenage grandson at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City a mile away.

LaManno was a member of St. Peter Parish in Kansas City. Her identity was released midmorning April 14. Her mother lives at Village Shalom, an assisted living residence near the community center.

The married mother of two college-age children, LaManno, 53, worked an occupational therapist at the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, according to the Kansas City Star.

The newspaper reported that a rosary was said for LaManno after Mass April 14.

“I express my deepest condolences to the Jewish community for the unspeakable act of violence that occurred on their campus on Sunday,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in an April 13 statement.

“Our prayers also extend to the Methodist Church of the Resurrection for the loss they feel as a congregation, and to all the families who have experienced pain, sorrow and loss because of this event,” Archbishop Naumann added. The other two victims, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, 69, and 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood, were members of that congregation.

“I will remember all of you as we enter this prayerful time of remembrance, Holy Week and Passover,” Archbishop Naumann said.

The American Jewish Committee lamented the killings in an April 13 statement.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this heartbreaking tragedy,” said AJC executive director David Harris.

“As we await more details on the attack and its motive, we join in solidarity with the entire Kansas City area community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, in expressing shock, sadness and dismay,” Harris added. “We can’t help but note that this attack comes on the eve of Passover, a celebration of Jewish freedom from oppression and violence.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based Muslim advocacy group, said U.S. Muslims “stood in solidarity” with American Jews in the wake of the attacks, which also critically wounded a 15-year-old boy.

President Barack Obama, in an April 13 statement, said, “While we do not know all of the details surrounding today’s shooting, the initial reports are heartbreaking.”

Underwood had been driven by his grandfather to the Jewish Community Center so he could audition for an “American Idol”-style competition called KC SuperStar.

Cross, 73, who has also used the name Frazier Glenn Miller, or simply Glenn Miller, was caught by a television camera shouting “Heil Hitler” inside a police car after his arrest.

An April 15 AP story said that Cross was charged with one count of capital murder for the deaths of the 14-year-old and his grandfather and one count of first-degree premediated murder for the killing of LaManno. Cross was being held on $10 million bond and was to appear in court the afternoon of April 15.

When he heard about the Overland Park shootings, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said, “I felt sick: Not again. Not ever again.” For the Pittsburgh area, he said, the news was “doubly painful,” because southwestern Pennsylvania was still reeling from the stabbing rampage at an area high school just days earlier.

“I pray for their healing in body, mind and spirit. My heart is troubled by both tragedies,” he said in an April 14 statement. “As we grieve the brutal act of hatred committed against our dear sisters and brothers in Overland Park, we are appalled that it was committed in the very week that Jews and Christians each begin to celebrate the redeeming love of God at Passover and at Easter.”

“This year it is the grief and horror of this hate crime that will mark the holiday as different,” Bishop Zubik added. “In sharp contrast, our response must be marked by love and solidarity as Jews and Christians, people of all faiths and people of no faith at all reach out to one another with comfort and to say that hatred has no place in our society. Together we must redeem this moment. Love must triumph over hate.”

In a statement released April 15 by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, based in Silver Spring, Md., Wasim Malik, the organization’s national vice president said: “As Muslims, we have regard for all humanity: Hindus, Christians, Jews or Muslim — they are all our fellow brothers and sisters. … (We) mourn the loss of our fellow human beings. Our prayers and sympathies are with our Jewish brethren.”

Comments Off

U.S. bishops release resource guide on Girl Scouts for Catholic parishes

April 10th, 2014 Posted in National News Tags: , ,


Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — Responding to concerns about Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts, a U.S. bishops’ committee released key points from its dialogue with Girl Scout leaders outlining major concerns of church leaders and the national organization’s responses.

A Girl Scout cadet with Troop 4458 adjusts her sash during an April 3 awards ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Some claim the Girl Scouts promotes Planned Parenthood and its advocacy of birth control and abortion, but the organization strongly denies such accusations. A U.S. bishops’ committee plans to develop a resource bishops can share with priests, youth ministers, pro-life directors, educators others in their diocese on Catholic identity for Catholic troops and guidance for parents. (CNS photo/Lisa Johnston, St. Louis Review)

The aim of the resource, issued April 2 by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, was not to support or oppose Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts of the USA, known as GSUSA, but to provide local bishops, pastors, youth leaders and parents with necessary information to determine their level of involvement.

Catholics have been affiliated with Girl Scouts for 100 years and there are an estimated 400,000 Catholic girls among the nation’s 3 million Girl Scouts. In the past few years, questions about the organization have sparked online discussions, boycotts of Girl Scout cookies and the ousting of troops from Catholic parishes.

Concerns have been raised about the Girl Scouts’ relationship with Planned Parenthood and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. There also have been questions about the organization’s policy on human sexuality and contraception and its program materials and resources.

The bishops’ committee spent one year gathering information about concerns and another year in dialogue with Girl Scout leaders in an effort to clarify the issues.

“The exchanges between USCCB staff and GSUSA staff were pleasant, informative and respectful. GSUSA staff was generous with their time, indicated a strong desire and willingness to work more closely with the Catholic Church in the United States,” said the committee, noting that the resource materials are not only posted on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, but also the Girl Scouts site, www.girlscouts.org.

In providing the information it obtained, the committee said the decision for Catholics to participate or not in Girl Scouts is a local one and that “diocesan bishops have the final authority over what is appropriate for Catholic Scouting in their dioceses.”

This material “does not intend to be exhaustive,” the committee noted, nor was it an attempt to “make decisions or set out national norms.”

It also recognized “the history of significant work and relationships between Girl Scouts and the church and the service Girl Scout councils and troops have provided dioceses, parishes and local communities.”

In a question-and-answer section, the Girl Scouts said they have “no official relationship” with Planned Parenthood. They also said the way GSUSA is structured does not allow the national office “to prohibit local councils or troops from collaborating with or forming their own local relationships with Planned Parenthood” or other organizations.

Regarding WAGGGS, an international group based in London that describes itself as advocating for the education of girls and young women and promoting “sexual and reproductive health/rights,” GSUSA said it “only participates in select WAGGGS programming” and does not have “the ability or purview to criticize, explicitly distance itself from, or change particular advocacy positions within WAGGGS.” Its contributions to the organization are only from investment income and not from cookie sales, dues or registration fees.

The Girl Scouts said their national office has a neutral policy on sexuality and contraception but that it doesn’t “prohibit individual councils or troops from taking a position or sponsoring programming on human sexuality or other topics” if the troop has parental consent and other approvals.

In a question about Scout membership by youths who identify themselves as transgender, the Girl Scouts said: “Placement of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority.”

Within this resource, the bishops’ committee stressed the need for communication between diocesan leaders and local Girl Scout councils as well as using a “memorandum of understanding” which is a form establishing mutual understanding between Girl Scouts and dioceses and parishes stressing that parish troops are “free from any programming or activities contrary to the church’s teaching.”

Robert McCarty, executive director of the Washington-based National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Washington, who met with Girl Scout leaders on several occasions about Catholic concerns brought to the federation’s attention, said there has been a long history of secular organizations partnering with the church and the cooperation needs “regular communication and a sense of accountability.”

McCarty said April 8 that Catholics working with secular organizations does not mean “blanket endorsement” of them. He also stressed that the dialogue between the bishops’ committee and the Girl Scouts provides “a starting point” to “find common ground and move forward.”

He said the Girl Scout leaders had “every right to feel criticized but they did not.” Instead, he said they met with Catholic leaders and were willing to change things and even re-do materials.

McCarty recognized that the USCCB resource will not satisfy everyone and said that just that day he received letter from a Catholic who said people in her parish want her to stop leading the parish Girl Scout troop because of claims they had heard of its association with Planned Parenthood.

Gladys Padro-Soler, GSUSA’s faith and social issues adviser, told CNS in an April 9 email that Girl Scout leaders “are confident that the USCCB’s new Web resource will encourage Girl Scout councils and local dioceses that have experienced trying times during this period to reclaim the collaboration and communication they have always shared.”

She noted that GSUSA “believes local issues are best solved with local solutions” and hopes that diocesan offices and Girl Scout councils use “memorandums of understanding” to clearly identify their partnership terms and to also alleviate “concerns a diocese may have about Girl Scouts’ service to girls.”

“Ultimately,” she said, “it is the church’s own parishioners that deliver the Girl Scout program and they are empowered both by GSUSA and the church to ensure the program meets their faith’s tenets.”


Comments Off

Holocaust survivor, friend of Blessed John Paul says he was ‘Apostle of Hope’


Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — Hanging on the wall in her office is a large painting of horses standing in a field with overcast skies and a vast, fallen tree, struck down by lightning in a ferocious storm.

This painting, Lena Allen-Shore was told, would never sell, as no one would want a plain picture of horses. But Allen-Shore doesn’t just see the horses. She sees the fallen tree and the ones standing around it, as well as the horses, which endured the brutal storm.

Poet Lena Allen-Shore holds an undated photo of herself pictured with Blessed John Paul II, whom she considered a dear friend. Allen-Shore is Jewish and was born in the late pope’s native Poland, where her family managed to avoid being taken to a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust. A recent health issue is preventing her from attending the April 27 canonization ceremony in Rome for Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

Despite a traumatic past, one still has the strength to carry on.

This is something that Allen-Shore, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, learned from her “dear friend,” Blessed John Paul II, through various letters, poems and visits over the course of some 25 years.

“He gave me something very important,” Allen-Shore told Catholic News Service in an interview at her home in Philadelphia April 2. “He taught me how to believe that good people exist.”

To her, he was a man of compassion. He was someone who built bridges between different cultures, despite any tensions of the past.

To her, he was the “Apostle of Hope.”

Their friendship began in 1978, shortly after Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, Poland, was elected pope and took the name John Paul II. A fellow Pole, Allen-Shore wrote to him, addressing their similar experiences during World War II and her hope for a better future.

She received a response, and the two corresponded back and forth until his death in 2005. They communicated in various languages, though mainly their native Polish tongue.

In 1996, Allen-Shore contacted now-Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was secretary to Blessed John Paul, and organized a visit to the Vatican. She and her family visited Blessed John Paul many times afterward.

Aside from their Polish backgrounds, Allen-Shore and her friend were able to relate through their mutual love for poetry.

“When you are a poet, there is a part of life that is different,” Allen-Shore said. “You have a special part of you that is connected with the world that becomes very important.”

Allen-Shore has written several poems and more than 100 songs based on her life and experiences, many of which inspired by her time with Blessed John Paul.

She often plays these songs on the white piano in the corner of her living room. The piano, like every inch of the walls in her home, holds dozens of photographs illustrating special times of her life.

By the piano hangs a photo showing one of her later visits with Blessed John Paul. She’s handing him a copy of her book “Building Bridges: Pope John Paul II and the Horizons of Life,” which was inspired by their many interactions.

“What is the most important (thing) in the world today?” Allen-Shore asked, remembering her friend. “To have a little bit of compassion. This compassion of the Holy Father was very important.”

She shared about their trip to Jerusalem where Blessed John Paul demonstrated compassion and the ability to “build bridges” among people of different faiths.

During this trip, he visited Yad Vashem, a Jewish memorial to the Holocaust.

“Here came a man in the white robe — a human being — who understood the Holocaust because (he) was in Poland during the war,” Allen-Shore said. “He was somebody who came out from Christianity and said, ‘It’s time to make peace. It’s time to understand each other.’”

A tear rolled down her face.

“He showed me that somebody cares for all those little children who died,” she said.

At that moment, he was not a pope, she said. He was already a saint.

In that same trip to Jerusalem, Blessed John Paul visited the Western Wall, a last remnant of the Jewish temple and significant place for Jewish people to visit. At the wall, he placed a written prayer, asking for forgiveness.

“He put a letter, like everyone who goes there,” Allen-Shore said. “Who was he? He was the man who was a pope, and he wrote the letter to God. … Do you think I would forget this? Never.”

Allen-Shore also accompanied Blessed John Paul on a visit to Assisi, Italy, in 2002 for the World Day of Prayer for Peace.

She remembered how tired Blessed John Paul was during the later trips in his life, but he persevered.

“I will never forget how many times I was afraid he would faint,” Allen-Shore said. “But he was (still) talking to people. Why? Because he knew that he could give them something.”

Blessed John Paul died April 2, 2005, at the Vatican, after suffering septic shock and heart failure. He was 84.

On April 9, 2005, Allen-Shore wrote one final letter to her friend.

In it, she described the scene at his funeral where “millions of people (came) to pay their respects.” Allen-Shore attended the funeral Mass with her son, Jacques, sitting very near the small, wooden coffin.

A Bible sat on top the coffin, she wrote, and during the service, a “docile” wind somehow moved it. Jacques also noticed the shift.

“The book is no longer on the middle of the coffin,” he had whispered to his mother during the service. “The book now rests on the left side, there upon the heart of John Paul II — where it has always been.”

Allen-Shore then remembered what Jacques had said in June 1996, when they first visited Blessed John Paul.

“This is not a man,” he had said. “This is goodness.”

Pope Francis will canonize Blessed John Paul II, along with Blessed John XXIII, on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27.

The Vatican invited Allen-Shore to attend the canonization, but because of her health, her doctor advised her not to go.

Though deeply saddened, Allen-Shore knows he was always a saint to her.

“The Jews, they don’t have saints. But you know what? I have this respect for everyone who’s like him,” she said. “He is a saint for me. Definitely yes.”

Allen-Shore has promoted understanding between different religious groups and cultures for several years. For 33 years in the U.S., she taught some 28 courses on the Holocaust, the importance of art, communication and the meaning of life.

Her book “Building Bridges: Pope John Paul II and the Horizon of Life” chronicles her meetings with Blessed John Paul, several poems and biographies of their lives.

The third edition, published in 2007, includes letters from Blessed John Paul as well as his response to the book after reading it in 2003.

“(The book) you gave me was written ‘with heart,’” he wrote to Allen-Shore. “Thank you for seeing deep into my thoughts and understanding the intentions guiding my actions.”

A related video has been posted at http://youtu.be/RPuYjnlv9kM.

 — By Navar Watson

Comments Off

Illness will prevent Chicago cardinal from attending canonizations


CHICAGO — Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago has resumed his chemotherapy that had been delayed because of an infection he incurred in late March, according to an archdiocesan statement.

Upon the advice of his doctors, the cardinal has decided to remain in Chicago and not travel to Rome for the April 27 canonization of Blesseds John Paul II and John XXIII, as he had originally planned, the April 8 statement said.

Cardinal George plans to maintain his schedule for Holy Week and Easter services at Holy Name Cathedral. He also was to hold a briefing April 11 for Chicago-area media about the upcoming canonizations.

His recent activities have included opening the Lumen Christi Institute’s sixth annual conference on economics and Catholic social thought in early April. On April 8, the cardinal was at St. Xavier University to offer his reflections about “the living legacy” of the Second Vatican Council. It was the final lecture of the university’s 2013-14 Catholic Colloquium series.

In early March, the archdiocese announced that Cardinal George, 77, would undergo a new round of chemotherapy to address “current signs of activity of cancer cells surrounding his right kidney.”

His chemo was suspended when he was hospitalized March 14 to March 21 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. He was treated for dehydration and received antibiotics for an infection his doctors had identified.

The cardinal was diagnosed with urothelial cancer in August 2012 and underwent chemotherapy at that time. The cancer, dormant for well over a year, is still confined to the area of his right kidney


Comments Off

High court declines cases about same-sex marriage, campaigns, executions


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that said a New Mexico photographer violated the state’s human rights law by refusing to photograph a commitment ceremony for a same-sex couple.

The court April 7 also declined to review a case brought by the Iowa Right to Life Committee, challenging Iowa’s law prohibiting corporate contributions in state elections. A lower court had upheld the law, which bans direct contributions to candidates and committees by corporations, but allows unions to make such contributions.

And on a third issue, the court declined to take up cases over the type of chemicals that states use to execute inmates.

There was no comment from the court in rejecting the cases.

The New Mexico case had originally raised religious rights issues, but that line of legal challenge was dropped. Instead, the question the court was asked to consider was whether the state law unconstitutionally infringes on the photographers’ free speech rights.

At issue was Elaine Huguenin’s refusal to photograph a commitment ceremony for Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth.

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that under the New Mexico Human Rights Act, Elane Photography, Huguenin’s business, is a public accommodation and therefore is subject to its anti-discrimination provisions “and must serve same-sex couples on the same basis that it serves opposite-sex couples. Therefore, when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the (anti-discrimination law) in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races.”

The case has figured prominently in actions by other states to try to enact laws that would allow businesses to refuse to participate as service providers in same-sex marriages when the owners believe that to do so would conflict with their beliefs that such marriages are wrong.

In the Iowa case, the court left intact a ruling by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said upheld the state law banning corporate political contributions. Right to Life had sued, saying the law violates equal protection principles by allowing campaign contributions from unions but not corporations, and that such bans violate the First Amendment.

The 8th Circuit had overruled parts of the Iowa law, such as some disclosure requirements, but left intact the prohibition on corporate contributions. Last week the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling struck down dollar limits on how much an individual may contribute to a political campaign.

The court also declined to get involved in two cases questioning whether inmates have a right to know what drugs states plan to use to execute them.

A shortage of the lethal drugs used for years in executions has led to changes in the systems states use. In executions in Ohio and Oklahoma in January, witnesses reported apparently painful, lengthy struggles as inmates were killed. The cases the court declined to hear were filed by inmates in Missouri and Louisiana who sought to know the type of execution they faced.


Comments Off

Phila. seminary to sell Eakins paintings to support renovation costs


Catholic News Service

PHILADELPHIA — St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood announced it was placing five portraits painted by Thomas Eakins for sale through Christie’s Private Sales in New York.

Other pieces of art have also been placed for sale with other auction firms.

Funds from the sale of the paintings, first discussed in October, will go toward the seminary’s consolidation and renovation expenses. Additional funding is expected to come through a capital campaign and the sale of approximately 40 acres of the 75-acre campus.

“The seminary has long been a steward of these works, but it is the right time to seize an opportunity to do what is best for the artwork and for the seminary itself,” said Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior, seminary rector.

“We will keep many of the paintings in our collection but the core mission of the seminary is to form men for service in the priesthood. We are not a museum. Our hope is that as a result of this decision the Eakins paintings can find a home where they can be well cared for and viewed widely by people from across the country. What we are doing is consistent with our overall efforts to re-energize the seminary and focus on its mission while building for the future.”

The Eakins paintings the seminary plans to sell include: “Archbishop James Frederick Wood” (1877); “Reverend James P. Turner” (1900); “The Right Reverend James F. Loughlin” and “Dr. Patrick Garvey” (1902); “James A. Flaherty” (1903).

Other than the Archbishop Wood and Flaherty portraits, the Eakins subjects were faculty members of St. Charles Seminary. Although the Philadelphia-born Eakins was not Catholic, during the first part of the 20th century he and a Catholic friend, Samuel Murray, would bicycle on Sundays to the seminary to attend vespers and enjoy conversation with the priests.

These visits, shortly after the death of Thomas Eakins’ father, were said to have brought him solace.

Eakins, who is widely considered by American art historians to be the most profound realist of his time, donated paintings to the priests, most of whom left them to the seminary.

Flaherty, the only layman depicted in the portraits, was a Philadelphia lawyer and founder of the Knights of Columbus in Philadelphia and elsewhere in Pennsylvania. He went on to become supreme knight and filled that post during perhaps its most dynamic period.

Under his watch in World War I, because of a shortage of Catholic chaplains, the Knights recruited and paid priests to serve as chaplains. After the war the Knights organized training programs for returning soldiers, which became the model for the federal G.I. Bill.

Flaherty’s portrait was commissioned by the Philadelphia Knights and displayed in their headquarters until it was ultimately donated by them to the seminary.

Archbishop Wood (1813-1883) became the fifth bishop of Philadelphia in 1860. When the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese 1875, he was its first archbishop.

In addition to the Eakins portraits, two other paintings have been placed for sale with other auction agencies.

How much the paintings will bring, only time will tell. They are considered lesser works of Eakins, and were mostly painted as gifts to friends. The Msgr. Loughlin portrait, which is full length, is probably the most valuable, according to Cate Kokolis, vice president of services and assessment at St. Charles who is most knowledgeable about the collection.

The Archbishop Wood portrait might have been the most valuable were it not for an ill-conceived attempt at restoration in 1930 that greatly diminished its value. This plays into Bishop Senior’s point, the paintings will be better preserved for future enjoyment if they are placed in an institution where they can receive the expert attention they deserve.

An older St. Charles Seminary history mentions at least 150 paintings on display at the seminary, mostly religious art, but none are deemed as commercially valuable as those that are now being marketed, although some others may be sold at a future date.

One interesting painting that remains is the “Crucifixion” painted by Francis Martin Drexel, displayed in the Eakins Room. He was the father of Anthony Drexel, who founded Drexel University, and the grandfather of St. Katharine Drexel. He switched from art to investment banking, which was much more lucrative.

But maybe not, considering that Eakins’ most famous work, “The Gross Clinic” (1875), was originally sold to Jefferson Medical College for $200 and resold by the now-university in 2006 for $68 million.

Eakins’ only religious work, a “Crucifixion” painted in 1880, could not attract a buyer because it was deemed “too graphic.” It was donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by the Eakins family in 1929.

Because of the art sale and the other planned fundraising methods the seminary is poised for future growth to 200 seminarians in residence, as well as hundreds of nonresidential candidates for the permanent diaconate and full- and part-time students enrolled in the graduate theology school.


Comments Off

Atlanta archbishop will sell new residence at center of controversy


ATLANTA — Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory announced April 5 that he will vacate the archbishop’s residence in early May and move into another available archdiocesan property.

He said that he has decided to sell the property and “invest the proceeds from that sale into the needs of the Catholic community.”

The announcement was his latest action following public and media criticism about the new $2.2 million residence.

Archbishop Gregory issued a statement of apology in his March 31 column in The Georgia Bulletin, Atlanta’s archdiocesan newspaper, acknowledging he had received “heartfelt, genuine and candidly rebuking letters, emails and telephone messages” during the past weeks about the residence.

In the column he had said he would meet with archdiocesan consultative bodies to hear their assessment of what he should do about the new residence. He convened the meeting the morning of April 5 at the chancery.

Afterward, a statement about his decision on the property was issued as a press release.

“I have decided to sell the Habersham property and invest the proceeds from that sale into the needs of the Catholic community,” the archbishop said.

His decision came after consulting with members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Archdiocesan Finance Council and the Council of Priests, he said, “and hundreds of well-meaning parishioners of differing points of view, some who sent written observations, as well as my own personal reflection and prayer.”

He continued, “In early May, I will vacate the house. At this time we are considering a number of locations including another archdiocesan property, excluding the former residence.”

“I want to thank those parishioners whose prayers, counsel and concern brought this issue to light and ensured that their archbishop was properly attuned to the important symbolism of simple actions and the challenges faced by many of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Atlanta,” he stated.

The new 6,000-square-foot residence is located on property donated to the archdiocese from the estate of Joseph Mitchell, nephew of Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone With The Wind.”

In his will, Mitchell requested that primary consideration be given to the Cathedral of Christ the King, where he worshipped. The cathedral received $7.5 million for its capital fund and spent roughly $1.9 million to buy the archbishop’s former residence.

Cathedral officials had budgeted an additional $1 million to expand the archbishop’s former residence so its six priests can live there, freeing up space on the cathedral’s cramped campus. The cathedral rector, Msgr. Frank McNamee, asked Archbishop Gregory to sell the residence to the cathedral because it is in walking distance and parishioners strongly wanted their priests to be that close.

The sale funds were used to build the new residence. An additional $300,000 went toward making it handicapped accessible and including a larger chapel than the one in the older residence.

Archbishop Gregory moved into the newly built home in January. Some local Catholics reacted unfavorably to the move and articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media outlets were critical of it.

In his March 31 column, the archbishop wrote: “As the shepherd of this local church, a responsibility I hold more dear than any other, certainly more than any configuration of brick and mortar, I am disappointed that, while my advisers and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia.”

He said the “passionate indictments of me as a bishop of the Catholic Church and as an example to them and their children are stinging and sincere. And I should have seen them coming.”

The groups whose counsel Archbishop Gregory sought on the issue represent various constituencies in the archdiocese. He regularly consults them to advise him.

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is a multicultural group of young, middle-age and older adults who are laypeople, representing small, mid-size and large parishes. They work with the archbishop to address religious, social and economic issues related to pastoral concerns within the archdiocese.

The Archdiocesan Finance Council is composed of some 15 laypeople experienced in finance, civil law and general business matters, as well as six priests.

The Council of Priests is composed of more than 30 priests of the archdiocese. By canon law they represent all of the priests and assist the archbishop in fulfilling his role as chief pastor.

A pastor who attended the meeting strongly praised the archbishop’s decisive action in deciding to sell the residence.

Even before he called the consultative meeting, Archbishop Gregory in his column acknowledged “there was a problem and he owned it completely,” said Msgr. Dan Stack, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Cartersville.

At the chancery meeting, “he listened, thanked us for our input and dismissed us. A few hours later, following the strong majority opinion, he made the decision to retreat from his recently completed home,” the pastor said.

Msgr. Stack said that most of the more than 50 people at the meeting voiced their opinion on whether the archdiocese should keep or sell the residence. A “fair consensus” of their advice was “a house isn’t worth this much controversy,” he said.

The majority recommended selling the property, but some very strongly wanted to “stay the course,” he said, believing that the residence was a good business decision and equivalent to the previous residence where successive Atlanta archbishops have lived and hosted events since 1966.

Msgr. Stack added, “I have been thrilled with this archbishop from the first words of his homily at his installation and was thrilled again this morning. … I think he and the archdiocese will benefit from this difficult decision.”


Comments Off

Le Moyne names first woman to lead a Jesuit college


By Catholic News Service

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Linda LeMura, newly named president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, is the first laywoman to be appointed president of a Jesuit college or university.

The college, founded in 1946, is used to some firsts. It also was the first Jesuit school of higher education to open as a coeducational institution.

Linda LeMura, pictured in an undated photo, has been named the new president of Jesuit-run Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. She is the first lay female to serve as president in the history of Jesuit higher education. (CNS photo/Charles Wainwright, courtesy Le Moyne College)

LeMura, who served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Le Moyne since 2007, was unanimously elected by the school’s board of trustees April 3 to succeed Fred Pestello, who announced in March that he would be leaving Le Moyne at the end of June to become president of St. Louis University, which is also Jesuit. Pestello was Le Moyne’s first lay leader.

LeMura said in a statement that “it is truly humbling” to be selected as the school’s president.

“These are challenging times to be sure as the landscape of higher education and our world is changing rapidly. However, what remains constant is the value of a Le Moyne education. I am honored by this selection and am proud to be a member of this community.”

Prior to her work at Le Moyne, LeMura had several titles in her 11 years at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, including professor, graduate program director, chairperson and assistant chairperson in the departments of exercise science and biology and allied health sciences.

A native of Syracuse, LeMura received her bachelor’s degree in biology and education from Niagara University and her master’s and doctorate degrees, both in applied physiology, from Syracuse University.

LeMura has taught applied physiology, anatomy and physiology, bioethics and the biology of aging. Her research and expertise is in pediatric obesity, pediatric applied physiology, lipid metabolism, and energy metabolism.

At Le Moyne, she played a pivotal role in the revision of the school’s core curriculum, the establishment of the Madden School of Business and the renovation and expansion of the college’s science facilities.

Jesuit Father Michael J. Sheeran, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Washington, said LeMura is “particularly esteemed within Jesuit higher education circles.”

He noted that LeMura was part of a small group sent to Rome last year to brief Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, prior to his address to the board chairs and presidents of the U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities.

“Based on her familiarity with the mission and identity of Jesuit institutions, she comes to the Le Moyne presidency very well prepared,” he said.

Sharon Kinsman Salmon, chair of Le Moyne’s board of trustees, said LeMura has “superb leadership skills, a deep understanding of Jesuit ideals, and an appreciation for the many challenges facing higher education today.”

She also noted that LeMura’s “commitment to students and faculty will continue to be the foundation of her work.”

LeMura is married to Lawrence Tanner, professor of natural systems science at Le Moyne. The couple’s daughter, Emily, is a sophomore at Jesuit-run Fordham University.

The Post-Standard daily newspaper in Syracuse reported that LeMura does not plan to live in the home the college purchased for its president two years ago. She will continue to live at her family home when she takes the helm of the college, which is just four miles from where she was raised.


Comments Off
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.