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San Francisco cathedral bell found

October 27th, 2011 Posted in National News Tags: , , , ,


SAN FRANCISCO — The historic bell stolen Oct. 23 from the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco was recovered Oct. 26 in West Oakland across the street from a scrap metal yard near the Port of Oakland docks, San Francisco police said.

The theft of the bell received widespread news coverage. Given to the church in 1889, the bell was in service at the former St. Mary’s Cathedral until it burned to the ground in 1962, when it was moved to the current cathedral site.

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Changes in the words at Mass are a good thing

October 27th, 2011 Posted in Catechetical Corner


The Dialog has been reporting in a series of stories this year on preparations for changes in the English-language translation of the Mass coming on the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27. The following is Father Peter J. Daly’s view on the new translation, based on the new Roman Missal.

By Father Peter J. Daly

After all the “sturm und drang” (“storm and stress”) of the past few years, the changes in some of the words at Mass will probably turn out to be a good thing. Here is why.

First, they will make us pay more attention to the celebration of the Mass, at least for a while.

Second, they will make us talk about the history and the development of the Mass.

Third, they will be a better sign of the unity of the church, at least in the Mass of the Roman rite.

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Looking at parish closures from different angles


“The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith” by Julian Guthrie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Boston, 2011). 288 pp., $25.

“No Closure: Catholic Practice and Boston’s Parish Shutdowns” by John C. Seitz. Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2011). 322 pp., $39.95.

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Bell stolen from San Francisco cathedral

October 26th, 2011 Posted in National News Tags: , , ,


SAN FRANCISCO — A 5,330-pound church bell owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco since 1889 has been stolen from the grounds of St. Mary’s Cathedral, apparently for the scrap value of its copper.

The bell was reported missing at 11 a.m. Oct. 24. It has been on a concrete slab in a garden in front of the cathedral at Geary Boulevard and Gough Street since 1970.

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London Benedictines investigated over abuse cases

October 26th, 2011 Posted in International News Tags: , , ,


LONDON — At the request of the Vatican, a bishop has conducted a review of child protection procedures at a Benedictine abbey following a number of high-profile child abuse cases.

Auxiliary Bishop John Arnold of Westminster and Abbot Richard Yeo, president of the English Benedictine Congregation, conducted the apostolic visitation at Ealing Abbey and the neighboring St, Benedict’s School during September.

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Catholic students at Jesuit house help Thai flood victims

October 25th, 2011 Posted in International News Tags: , , ,


BANGKOK — Catholic university students and staff used the Jesuit residence, Xavier Hall, as a base for relief efforts for flood victims on the outskirts of the capital.

About 30 students from the Catholic Undergraduate Center of Thailand joined hundreds of other volunteers at two relief centers in Don Muang and Chatuchak sections of the city, reported the Asian church news agency UCA News.

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Catholics recall Gadhafi’s brutality, look to future

October 24th, 2011 Posted in International News Tags: , , ,


BEIRUT — Catholic leaders said they could not rejoice at the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but they recalled some of his more brutal moments and speculated on the future of Christians in the region.

“Gadhafi brutalized people for 42 years. He lived by the sword and, therefore, it’s not surprising that he would die by the sword,” said Habib Malik, associate professor of history at the Lebanese American University, Byblos campus.

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The Three Musketeers

October 24th, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags:


Catholic imagery abounds in “The Three Musketeers” (Summit), the latest remake of Alexandre Dumas’ durable costume epic of 17th-century swordsmanship, French patriotism and political treachery.

A quick inventory: Aramis (Luke Evans), a former priest, blesses himself and carries a rosary. D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) has a climactic swordfight with the Englishman Rochefort (Mads Mikkelsen) on the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris — a sequence so overblown, one half-expects Quasimodo to pop out of his bell tower.

As always, there’s also the problematic Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), who was, of course, the real-life prime minister to King Louis XIII and a practitioner of political intrigue with England and other powers.

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‘The Mighty Macs’ is ‘Rocky’ with basketballs

October 20th, 2011 Posted in Movies Tags:


By Joseph McAleer

“The Mighty Macs” is the fact-based story of a women’s basketball team from a Catholic college who, through the grit and determination of their rookie coach, got a shot at the national title.

This old-fashioned, family-friendly film is “Sister Act” without the singing, “Rocky” with basketballs, and “The Trouble with Angels” with Ellen Bursytn in the Rosalind Russell role of the mother superior.

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Missouri bishop plans ‘vigorous defense’


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bishop Robert W. Finn and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, which he heads, entered pleas of not guilty to misdemeanor charges of failure to report child abuse.

The charges, brought by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker in relation to the diocese’s handling of the case of Father Shawn Ratigan, were acknowledged in an Oct. 14 statement on the diocesan website.

“Bishop Finn denies any criminal wrongdoing and has cooperated at all stages with law enforcement, the grand jury, the prosecutor’s office” and the independent commission appointed by the diocese to study the matter, said Gerald Handley, the bishop’s attorney. “We will continue our efforts to resolve this matter.”

Bishop Finn said in a statement after diocesan attorneys entered the pleas in court that he “will meet these announcements with a steady resolve and a vigorous defense.”

The charge against Bishop Finn carries a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail. The diocese faces a fine of up to $5,000.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, had no comment on the indictment. The diocese had no further comment.

Father Ratigan was arrested in May on state charges of possessing child pornography. In August, federal prosecutors charged him with producing child pornography. The priest, a former pastor, also is facing accusations made against him in two separate lawsuits filed this summer.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Bishop Finn also have been named in the civil suits, which accuse both of failing to keep Father Ratigan away from children apparently after learning disturbing images were found on the priest’s computer and being warned of the priest’s inappropriate behavior around children.

In early September, an independent report commissioned by the diocese to examine its policies and procedures on assessing child sexual abuse allegations found “shortcomings, inaction and confusing procedures.”

The report also said that “diocesan leaders failed to follow their own policies and procedures for responding to reports” relating to abuse claims.

After the priest’s arrest, Bishop Finn pledged to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and Baker credited him for that during a news conference announcing the indictments. The grand jury handed down the indictments Oct. 6, but they were not made public because Bishop Finn was traveling outside of the country and did not return until late on Oct. 13, Baker said.

Bishop Finn testified before the grand jury Sept. 16. Afterward, he told reporters, “We’re doing the best we can to cooperate with law enforcement.”

Several other diocesan leaders, including diocesan spokeswoman Rebecca Summers, also testified before the grand jury, the Kansas City Star daily newspaper reported.

In the diocesan statement, Bishop Finn said that once the situation with Father Ratigan arose, the diocese began to “address the issues that led to this crisis.” He pointed to steps to reinforce and expand diocesan procedures regarding the reporting of child sex abuse. He also appointed an ombudsman charged with having “the responsibility and authority to receive and investigate reports of suspicious, inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct by clergy, employees or program volunteers.”

A separate vicar for clergy, Father Jerome Powers, also was appointed. The role previously had been part of the vicar general’s responsibilities.

Bishop Finn also asked for prayers for himself and the diocese as well as for the “unity of our priests, our people, the parishes, and the Catholic institutions.”

“With deep faith, we will weather this storm and never cease to fulfill our mission, even in moments of adversity,” he said.

Suspicions about Father Ratigan first arose in mid-December 2010, when a laptop belonging to the priest, then pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, was turned in to diocesan officials; a computer technician found disturbing photos on the hard drive. The photos included pictures of female children at parish events, including one of a naked female child who was not identifiable.

In May, a search of his family’s home turned up a disk and hard drive with 18 different images of child pornography, Father Ratigan was charged with three counts of possession of child pornography in Clay County, followed later by the federal charges.

In a message read in parishes at Masses in early June, Bishop Finn expressed regret for the way the diocese handled information it received about Father Ratigan’s activities.

“As bishop, I take full responsibility for these failures and sincerely apologize to you for them. Clearly, we have to do more. Please know that we have — and will continue to cooperate with all local authorities regarding these matters,” he said.

Contributing to this report was John Thavis in Rome. The full statement from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is available at www.diocese-kcsj.org/news/viewNews.php?nid=168.

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