FC logo

                                                                                Celebrating 20 Years!

                                                                  January 2011 E-Newsletter

Find us on Facebook
Quick Links
Join Us On Facebook

Help us Celebrate!  Join the 2010 Club

Donate or Become a Member
In This Issue
Join Us February 23rd: Free Teleconference
Black History Month:Celebrate Henriette Delille
Parishioners in eight Allentown parishes win appeals..
Critcal priest shortage in Baltmore prompts lay leadership
Women religious speak out
Parish program on unsung women
Catholic Fundamentalism
Married Anglican priests enter Catholic Church
More parish closing and appeals news
Other Church News
Sponsor a Listening Session on the future of the Church



February 23rd Teleconference 

Biblical Women Missing From the Lectionary


 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm EST



Regina Boisclair, Ph.D.

Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Theology,

Alaska Pacific University

Author of  "Amnesia in the Catholic Sunday Lectionary"


FutureChurch staff and board  

Connect with others and discuss how to "Put women back in the biblical picture" in your parish and/or faith community. Special focus on Lent,  Holy Week and Easter


More info and register, email emily@futurechurch.org

Inspirational Videos on Vatican II by Fr. John O'Malley SJ
Video Pic

       FutureChurch        Preconference before
American Catholic Council

June 10, 2011

(early bird rates available)
Louise Akers
Keynote Sr. Louise Akers with panel of activists.

Daylong teach-in on
principles of community organizing, gospel non-violence and

FutureChurch's proven systemic change resources.

Info and Register here
Claim Your Catholic Rights!
(and Responsibilities)

American Catholic Council

Pentecost Weekend

June 10-12, 2011

Detroit Convention Center

Click for more info!

Register Now button
(Discounts for Early birds)

 Women Leaders in Early Christianity CD and Presenter's Guide
Includes 43 images of catacomb frescos and sarcophagi friezes of early women leaders and an extensively researched 16 page presenter's guide. Click here to order

So All Can Be at the Table
women deacon
Optional Celibacy
and Women Deacons

To send an electronic postcard asking to restore women deacons,
click here 

To send an electronic postcard asking to restore optional celibacy

click here

More info...

A Million Voices
A Million Voices: Gospel Nonviolence for the Life of the Church
Educates about Gospel nonviolence when a Catholic's right and responsibility to speak on a "matter concerning the good of the Church" (Canon 212.2) is violated. ($3.00) Info and download here

An important educational component is a CD audio recording of a 1999 debate at Georgetown University "Can a Woman Receive the Sacrament of Orders?" between Sr.Maureen Fiedler and Fr. Joseph Fessio.
Click here to order ($8).

Another  key resource  is Richard Taylor's wonderful book: "Love in Action: Gospel Nonviolence to Renew and Reform the Church" Click here to order  ($13)
Women and the Word for Educators: Free Sample!
Includes essays, prayer services and student work sheets about notable women such as Prisca, Phoebe, Dorothy Day and St. Mary of Magdala.

dinner dove

For a free sample packet to give to your favorite high school religion and Spanish teachers, email:

To  Purchase A celebrating Women Women Witnesses packet
click here

To send a post card to put women biblical leaders back in the lectionary
click here.
Spanish resources also available. click here

Organize to keep
arishes Open!
SOPC image

Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet

to become a local parish contact.
mag market header
Magdala Market Online Store

Upcoming FutureChurch Events

Cleveland, Feb 3, 2011 7:00-8:30 pm: Popes, Politics and Poggioli NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on 28 years of reporting from Europe and the Vatican. Cleveland State University Drinko Auditorium. Tickets and info...

Cincinnati: March 12, 10 am - 3 pm: Women Leaders in Early Christianity: Evidence from Archaeology and Women Deleted from the Lectionary. Christine Schenk, CSJ $20.00 includes lunch. Please RSVP to 513.381.6400 St. Monica-St. George Parish Newman Center 328 W. McMillan Street Cincinnati, OH 45219 More info

Waterloo, Ontario: May 26-28: Canadian Forum on Theology and Education. Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church. Sr. Chris Schenk and Dr. Paul Lakeland at the University of Waterloo, Thursday at 7:30pm to Saturday May 28th at 12 noon. More info 

Detroit, Cobo Hall: June 10, 2011. Hanging Tough: Keeping Your Integrity and Changing the (institutional) Church. FutureChurch preconference before the American Catholic Council. Keynote Sr. Louise Akers. A panel of activists will anchor this workshop teaching principles of community organizing, gospel nonviolence, support and training in how to use FutureChurch's proven systemic change resources. Early bird (before May 20th) $40. After May 20th, $50. More info and register
Dear Friends:   Here is our January E-Newsletter. Share it with others by

During Black History Month...

                 Celebrate  Henriette Delille !


"I believe in God.  I hope in God. I love [God].  I want to live and die in God."  

                                 Henriette delille          

A beautiful New Orleans quadroon, Henriette refused to follow the rest of her family and register as white in the 1830 census. Instead she founded a community of black sisters dedicated to serving the slaves. By recruiting her early followers "from among the quadroons slated for concubinage, Henriette made a bold frontal attack on the sexual prerogatives and privileges of white male society, transforming their sassy sirens into sacred sisters. Against palpable historical odds, Henriette founded and nurtured her religious foundation." (Onita Estes Hickes)


Instantly download an essay, prayer service and worksheet about Henriette Delille for only $1 from the Magdala Market (link).


Click here to order the complete Celebrating Women Witnesses and More Celebrating Women Witnesses resource packets  

Learn more about our  Celebrating Women Witnesses and More Celebrating Women Witnesses project highlighting women who resisted  the unjust structures of their day because of belief in Jesus.

Parishioners in eight Allentown parishes win appeals. At press time, the FutureChurch office has information that the Congregation for the Clergy has ruled on some 14 appeals from Allentown parishioners.  In at least eight of them, the Congregation upheld parishioner appeals that the bishop not "reduce the church to profane use."  In essence this means that the Bishop cannot sell the church and its properties and the Church must remain open for religious services.  For these same parishes however, the Vatican upheld the bishop's action of suppressing each of the parishes as a juridic entitity. 

  Allentown bishop is now in the position of being unable to sell the building and property of the eight churches, though, in typical Vatican diplomacy, his right to juridically suppress the parish was upheld.  Most observers believe he will appeal the decision. However if the Vatican continues to uphold similar parishioner appeals, bishops may be less likely to suppress vibrant, solvent parishes if they cannot sell the buildings and land that may now be subject to property taxes.

Related Articles

Parishioners hopeful churches may be reopened

Mahanoy City church not closed? Parishioners ponder further appeal

 Faced with critical shortage of priests,  Baltimore asks laity for help. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is setting up training programs to prepare the laity to perform some ministries formerly done by priests, such as leading prayer services, conducting bible studies andgreater  involvement in worship, Catholic schools, outreach and youth ministry. Parishioners are also being asked to consolodate mass schedules. Nearly half of the archdiocese's 153 active priests will retire within the next 15 years and there have been only two ordinations in two years. Read more... 

Rural Catholics choose married pastor after diocese closes churchAfter losing a 5 ˝ year struggle to save their vibrant rural parish, about 50 members of the former St. James Catholic Church in Kansas, Ohio formed a nonprofit group and met every Sunday for prayer. Recently they began celebrating Sunday Mass with a married priest. The Rev. Randal LaFond is a member of CITI Ministries Inc., a Brunswick, Maine, group promoting the availability of resigned Roman Catholic priests, who remain priests according to Canon law.   Read more..

Send New E-Postcards  asking to open discussion of mandatory celibacy and women deacons.

Recent update on campaign.. 

 View FutureChurch Optional Celibacy Videos 


Download a free  So All Can Be at the Table  education-advocacy resource. 
 FutureChurch Optional Celibacy Survey (2010) Read Survey results

Women Religious hopeful, speak out about "nunquisition." The heart of the issue is not about nuns," said Sister Diana Culbertson, a retired professor of literature and Scripture at Kent State University. "It's about the interpretation of Vatican II. The current hierarchy of the church does not have the same interpretation of Vatican II as we do." Culbertson, who refers to the investigation as the "nunquisition," said: ".. Rome has a picture of American nuns that doesn't correspond to the picture we have of ourselves. They want us in our place. But we don't make vows to the hierarchy. We make our vows to God."  



New Vatican official: Wants to 'learn from, walk with' U.S. women religious .In his first interview for the American media since being named as the Vatican's new top official for religious life, Brazilian Archbishop Joăo Bráz de Aviz has signaled that he's open to dialogue with women religious in the United States about the on-going Apostolic Visitation, saying he recognizes that whenever higher authority in the church intervenes, there's always a "problem of trust."' Read more...


Related Articles

New Vatican head of religious life comes without agenda 

The apostolic visitation of women religious, 780 days later

Parish Program: "Women, The Unsung Heroes of the Church"  Last May  two energetic Catholic women sponsored a parish prayer service and educational program about early women leaders known to us only from archaeology:  "Hear about Sophia, a deacon, Veneranda, Petronella and Bitalia, teachers in the manner of Saints Peter and Paul, and others."Powerpoint slides of early frescoes and mosaics as well as music guided meditation enhanced the experience for a group of twenty five who also gave suggestions for Church leaders.  Read more... 


Give a program in your parish! : Women Leaders in Early Christianity Presenter's Guide and CD (with powerpoint images) Info and to purchase


New! FC E-Postcard for women deacons Just before

last Christmas, Pope Benedict made changes in canon law that according to female diaconate expert, Dr. Phyllis Zagano, "may have ended the controversy over whether women can be ordained deacons." FutureChurch has added an electronic postcard asking to open the permanent diaconate to women to our international our So All Can Be At the Table initiative. Read more and send a postcard

Related Articles Is the Vatican Opening the Way For Women Deacons?

Eight Reasons to Restore Women Deacons

Fundamentalism in the Catholic Church. (by Gerald Arbuckle) "In relating to fundamentalist Catholics we need to avoid hostile or heated arguments. Membership of fundamentalist groups is not a question of logic, but generally of a sincere, but misguided, search for meaning and belonging. ...Our best witness to the truths of our Catholic beliefs will be our inner peace built on faith, charity and concern for justice, especially among the most marginalised."  Read more..

Married Anglican bishops and priests received into Roman Catholic Church Three former Anglican bishops as well as priests and worshippers from about 20 Church of England parishes converted to Catholicism on January 1st at Westminster Cathedral. Thousands of traditionalist Anglican worshippers and about 50 married Anglican clergy are expected to convert soon, most because they disagree with a Church of England's decision to consecrate female bishops. The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, expressed regretbut noted  the conversions involve "a small group of people"..Read more...


Related Articles

Pope sets up structure for former Anglicans; three ordained priests (Catholic News Service)

Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches(Telegraph-UK)

Seven Anglican priests and 300 parishioners join Catholic church (Telegraph-UK)

Info and E-Postcard for optional celibacy here

Info and E-Postcard for women deacons here


Cardinal Piacenza now focus of Optional Celibacy E-Postcard. In November, the Vatican announced that it  accepted Cardinal Claudio Hummes' resignation as Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, upon reaching the age limit (75). The new prefect, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza,  worked at the Congregation for over 20 years. Since Cardinal Hummes was the original recipient of FutureChurch's optional celibacy electronic and paper postcards, the addressee has been changed.  But its fine to send another postcard to Cardinal Piacenza if you wish.

Send New E-Postcards  asking to open discussion of mandatory celibacy and women deacons.
           More Parish Closing and Appeals News

Vatican high court accepts St. Mary's appeal. Parishioners from St. Mary's parish in Jamesville, NY have been granted a court hearing Feb. 12 at the Vatican in Rome, when their formal appeal will be heard.. "This is highly significant because it's the first and only case to my knowledge from an American parish group that's made it all the way to be granted a full court hearing," said Peter Borre, chairman of the American Council of Parishes, a Boston-based advocacy group which helps parishes with their appeals. St. Mary's, with 350 families in the parish at the time of the Diocese's announcement, is the only Catholic church in the Jamesville area.


Judge denies Diocesan suit over historic  landmark status of Springfield, MA  parish. After Springfield city council voted to establish an historic district that included recently closed Our Lady of Hope parish, the diocese accused it of "religious gerrymandering" and sued.  But On January 4  U. S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor  dismissed the diocese's suit in a 56 page ruling in the city's favor. .

Read more...  
Read full ruling...

Despite papal refusal, Boston parishioners work to reverse closings  After Pope Benedict rejected 11th inning appeals from nine Boston Churches, parishioners from seven of them have filed new appeals o prevent Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley from officially declaring their churches available for nonreligious use, a procedure that under church law is supposed to precede the sale of churches to non-Catholic entities. (see successful Allentown appeal above).  Read more...


Related articles

Pope rejects appeal from closed Mass. parishes 

St. James Parishioners Intend to Hang On


Camden parishioners begin vigil in shuttered church On January 4, a small band of parishioners sat huddled in the unheated sanctuary Camden, St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church,  praying a defiant rosary on the first full day of a vigil they hope will keep their tiny Gloucester County parish open.They say they will not leave until Bishop Joseph Galante reverses his decision to dissolve their 88-year-old parish. "If it takes six years, we'll stay six years," said parishioner Leah Vassallo, who spent the night praying in the sanctuaryRead more...

Bishop warns pastor of  Cleveland St. Peter. On Wednesday, January 19, Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon threatened the Rev. Robert Marrone with punishment unless he resigned as pastor of a Catholic congregation worshipping in a rented commercial building after Lennon closed their parish, St. Peter's near downtown Cleveland. In a letter, Lennon accused the priest of   "scandal" and "corruption" for saying Masses in a space not sanctioned by the diocese. The following Sunday,  Marrone read his response to at Mass: "It is my decision to remain in my present position with the Community of St. Peter." The community of about 300 stood and applauded with many shouts of "Bravo!" Read more...

Download a free Crisis Kit,
or "Canonical Appeals for Dummies"
Or purchase Save Our Parish Community Resource
                  OTHER CHURCH NEWS


1997 Vatican Letter Discouraged Irish Bishops' Policy Reporting Abuse (New York Times) A newly disclosed t document reveals that Vatican  officials told the bishops of Ireland in 1997 that they had serious reservations about the bishops' policy of mandatory reporting of priests suspected of child abuse to the police or civil authorities. The document appears to contradict Vatican claims that church leaders in Rome never sought to control the actions of local bishops in abuse cases, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not impede criminal investigations of child abuse suspects  Read more...


Related Articles

Is Vatican letter on abuse a 'smoking gun'? (John Allen, NCR)

Vatican did not tell bishops to cover up abuse cases, spokesman says  (Catholic News Service) 

Vatican edict in 1997 rejected calls to report priests who abused (Irish Times) 


"Santo not so Subito." Objections to Pope Benedict's decision to beatify Pope John Paul II in May have arisen from diverse parts of the Church. The conservative National Catholic Register printed an opinion piece by Pat Archbold who question the apparant haste to canonize: "Saints should be like a fine wine made at some remote monastery, made with one part fruit, one part yeast, five parts prayer, and fifty parts time...So my advice to the Church, as if they need it, is slow down." Read more....


Meanwhile USA Today published news that the liberal international group We Are Church issued a release objecting to the beatification saying John Paul II was a "spiritual authoritarian" who failed to confront the clergy sex abuse scandal, squashed the Liberation Theology movement, shut off discussion on gender equality and  did not recognize, as Pope Benedict XVI did recently, that use of condoms can be a moral choice for preventing the transmission of of HIV/AIDS. Read more...


Quotable Quote: " Maciel was undoubtedly John Paul's worst personnel mistake, but it was not his only one. The characteristics he treasured - blind loyalty and correct ideology over pastoral acumen or creative leadership - were evident in many of the bishops he appointed, and more than a few of those appointments turned round to haunt him and the wider church." Truth and a call to renewal From National Catholic Reporter

Facing financial scandals, pope creates new Vatican watchdog (John Allen, NCR) On December 30,, the Vatican announced that Benedict has created a new department called the "Authority of Financial Information," with the power to supervise all Vatican transactions, including those of both the Vatican Bank and Propaganda Fide. The move came on the heels of two Vatican financial scandals both being investigated by Italian civil authorities. Read more...   


Related Articles


"Transparency, honesty and responsibility" (Chiesa espresso)

The "Motu proprio" by Benedict XVI for the prevention of and fight against illegal activities in the financial and monetary sector


Trenton Bishop's Move from City Prompts Protest

Bishop David M. O' Connell's plan to move from the heart of a needy neighborhood in the city to a large house on 5.8 acres near Princeton has prompted an outcry from his flock. In a letter to the editor David L. Ziegler said the move " sends a terrible message to the people of Trenton, who need visible signs of church support, not retreat from the city."  Trenton Catholics are circulating a petition asking the bishop to change his mind.  Read more...


Experience of St. Catherine of Genoa shows purgatory is a process, not a place, pope says

In a weekly audience focused on medieval women mystic, St. Catherine of Genot, the Pope noted that purgatory is more like a purifying fire burning inside a person prompted by regret for one's sins than an actual physical place. Said the Pope: "With her life St Catherine teaches us that the more we love God and enter into intimacy with him in prayer the more he makes himself known to us, setting our hearts on fire with his love." Read more...

Full text of Pope's remarks   


Saying bishops 'scared,' panelists urge laity to take lead. (From National Catholic Reporter)  At a December 5 Woodstock forum held in Philadelphia three senior fellows of the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington DC said it's up to the laity to take responsibility for where the church is going. During a question and answer session, Fr. Thomas J. Reese, Ms. Dolores Leckey and Fr. Raymond Kemp stressed the need for lay initiatve. When asked how laity can dialogue with bishops, Leckey said bishops do not trust in the laity as they did before:"Our bishops are scared," she said. "You don't act defensively like that unless you're scared to death. Their defenses are high. They weren't high in the days right after the council." Read more...

Sponsor a Listening Session On the Future of the Church  The American Catholic Council is a new coalition of organizations, communities and individuals organizing "discussion at every level of the Catholic Church in the United States to consider the state and future of our Church." The coalition will convene a nationwide conference on Pentecost 2011 (June 10-12) at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.

But first it hopes to encourage local and regional listening sessions to be held over the next 5 months.

Read about the April 21, 2010 Cleveland Listening Session

Download a free toolkit for sessions in your home, parish or small faith community.

More info on the American Catholic Council,
To donate to FutureChurch or renew your membership,  please click here:

We now have a monthly giving option, which provides an easy way to manage your donation and saves on administrative costs for FutureChurch. You can participate in the monthly giving program using your credit card or checking account
(if using your checking account must send an endorsed and voided check to
FutureChurch at 17307 Madison Avenue, Lakewood Ohio 44107)

Mag image

17307 Madison Avenue Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Phone: 216.228.0869  E-mail: info@futurechurch.org
Copyright © 2001-2010   FutureChurch all rights reserved