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                                          Celebrating 20 Years!
                                                        June 2011 E-Newsletter    (Newsletter Archive)
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In This Issue
American Catholic Council proclaims rights, responsitbilities
An Open Letter to U.S. bishops
FutureChurch prominent in new exposé of financial scandals in Catholic Church
Honor St. Mary of Magdala, St. Prisca
US Anglican ordinariate forming
Beth Johnson responds to doctrine committee
'Temple police' responsible for Bishop Morris' ouster
Irish priests urge delay of 'sexist' missal
Catholic bishop supports LGBT rights
Parish closing and appeals news

 FutureChurch 21st Annual Benefit: An Evening with Jason Berry 

Jason Berry 

 Thursday, October 13, Cleveland Museum of Natural History    


    Info and Tickets Here 


Jason Berry achieved prominence for reporting on the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis in Lead Us Not Into Temptation (1992).


Sr. Joan Chittister had this to say about Berry's newest book:  " A captivating read, Render unto Rome is an astounding revelation of the church's financial system and required reading for those who donate to the church or are interested in the ongoing effot to restore the credibility of the church and its heirarchy" 

Order Render Unto Rome here


Check out:  

Jason Berry's website 

NPR interview on Vows of Silence 

 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. ($5.00)

Info and download here


View inspirational
Vatican II video by Fr. John O'Malley SJ
Video Pic

Organize to keep
arishes Open! SOPC image

Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet
Free Sample!  Women and the Word for Educators:  
Essays, prayer services and student work sheets about notable women such as Prisca, Phoebe, Dorothy Day and St. Mary of Magdala.

dinner dove 

email:  info@futurechurch.org

To  Purchase A celebrating Women Women Witnesses packet
click here

Spanish Resources here

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Magdala Market Online Store



Women and the Word education/advocacy kit
This free kit includes tools that encourage our parishes, small faith communities, schools and dioceses to make visible the rich tradition of women leaders in the Church. Sample educational programs on women in scripture and church history, articles by scholars and activists and sample postcard and background info about women deacons are also included. Download here.... 


            Upcoming FutureChurch Events 

Friday, July 22, 2011. International Celebrations  of the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala.  (over 275 planned as of 6/22). Download your FREE prayer service here.  


Wednesday, July 20, 2011 7:00 pm.  Cleveland Celebration of St. Mary of Magdala: Unheard Homilies: End the Silencing of Catholic Women. Independence Civic Center, 6363 Selig Drive, Independence, Ohio. Free will offering.  


Tuesday, August 2, 2011, 6:30 PM.  Minneapolis-St. Paul. Catholic Coalition for Church Reform: An Evening in the Park Fundraiser with Christine Schenk csj Park Pavilion at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve (South Shelter), Washington County Parks. More info, map and directions here  


Thursday, October 13, 2011. 6:00-9:00 pm An Evening with Jason Berry, FutureChurch's 21st Annual Benefit.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Info and tickets here. 


November 4-6, 2011. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Living the Gospel of Love: Call To Action National Conference. With Edwina Gateley, Anthony Ruff, Jamie Manson, Marcus Borg, Chris Schenk, Roy Bourgeois, Raul Al-Qaraz Ochoa, Barbara Fiand and MANY others. Register at www.cta-usa.org  


November 5, 2011 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Silencing of Catholic Women: Then and Now. Sr. Chris Schenkand Celebrating the Prophetic Witness of Women Religious Today prayer service with Emily Holtel-Hoag. Register at www.cta-usa.org  

Dear Friends:   We hope you enjoy our JUNE
Share it with others by

American Catholic Council proclaims Catholic rights and responsibilities 


Between 1800 and 2000 enthusiastic Catholics from the United States, Canada and Europe attended the American Catholic Council on Pentecost weekend despite misguided opposition from the Detroit Archdiocese. The assembly unanimously approved a Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, applauded dynamic keynote speakers and strategized action plans in breakout sessions covering a variety of topics. FutureChurch was one of the planning organizations and helped organize four breakout sessions. Sr. Chris Schenk and Cleveland liturgy experts also created the opening prayer service.  


Perhaps Oak Park, Il  reporter Ken Trainer said it best:  The lowerarchy represents the future of the Catholic Church - the empowered, emboldened, prophetic laity, just beginning to awaken. They can't be silenced, won't be driven underground, and their numbers will continue to grow as the corrupt, institutional structure continues its slow-motion implosion. The Catholics in Detroit on Pentecost weekend seem to be of the opinion that it's time for the laity to live up to its mission.


Or as Joan Chittister put it, "This isn't heresy. This is history."

If you couldn't attend, you can order CDs and videos here.


And here is a round-up of the best media coverage. 


GREAT VIDEO   The American Catholic Council holds special Mass 

Seeking a better Catholic Church   (Ken Trainer, Oak Park.com) 

2,000 meet to call for reform in Detroit (National Catholic Reporter)   

Liberal Catholics to discuss future of church (CNN)  

Hans Kung urges peaceful revolution against Roman absolutism (NCR) 

Baptism, not bishops or pope, unites the church  (NCR)  

Liberal Catholics pushing changes in the church to gather in Detroit (Detroit Free Press) 

Despite warnings from Catholic leaders, liberal conference draws large crowd (Detroit Free Press)  


An Open Letter From the People of God to U.S. Bishops Did you know? According to a 2008 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study, in just eight

years, we will have only 13,500 active diocesan priests to serve 18,000 parishes, presuming ordinations remain constant as they have for the past decade.      

In early June, FutureChurch launched an Open Letter from the People of God to United States Bishops asking for dialogue about the impending crisis in priest availability.  Leaders of priest groups in four dioceses and eleven national Church renewal groups pledged support. We will publish the open letter in one or several national Catholic publications in late 2011 and 2012.


READ and SIGN the Open Letter 

Download paper copy to circulate  


Download free Open Letter organizing kit with ideas to inspire dialogue around optional celibacy.




FutureChurch prominent in new exposť of  

financial scandals in Church.

On June 7, a new book Render Unto Rome, the Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church was published by a highly respected investigative journalist, Jason Berry.                                    Render Unto Rome
Berry exposes a shocking misuse of charitable donations by people who administer the finances of the Catholic Church. From the local parish to the Vatican, Berry's meticulous documentation reveals archaic financial practices deeply rooted in a secretive clerical culture.
Financial scandals in the Vatican as well as in Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and New Orleans are explored in depth.
FutureChurch and Executive Director Sr. Chris Schenk are also covered in considerable depth, owing to the Cleveland location of the FutureChurch national offices, and the organization's work with parishioners appealing parish closings across the U.S.

Read FutureChurch Statement and TAKE ACTION for financial accountability in the Church.
Read Excerpt of Render Unto Rome.
Order the book.
Email Peter's Pence, asking for annual accounting.


Related Articles:

Prosecutors release $33m seized from Vatican Bank  

NY priest admits taking money from suburban parish


During the month of July

         Honor St. Mary of Magdala and St. Prisca! 


This month, thousands of people across the world will celebrate the July 22nd Feast Day of  St. Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles.  

Not to be forgotten is the July 8th Feast Day of  St. Prisca who, with her husband Aquila, founded and directed house churches in three of the most important early Christian centers: Corinth, Ephesus and Rome. With Paul, Prisca can  be called an "Apostle to the Gentiles."

                           Prisca and Aquila 

Honor St. Prisca instantly download an essay and prayer service  (cost: $1.00) 


Honor  St. Mary of Magdala  instantly download a FREE essay and prayer service  


Photos and stories of past years' celebrations of St. Mary of Magdala    


Order the Celebrating Women Witnesses &  

More! Celebrating Women Witnesses resource  

packets here. 


In U.S. Anglican priests, laity form ordinariate

BELLEVUE, Wash. (CNS) -- As many as 100 U.S. Anglican priests and 2,000 laypeople could be the first members of a U.S. personal ordinariate for former Anglicans who want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington reported to his fellow bishops June 15.  Read more...  

 Sacramento married man to become a Catholic priest "What about the lifelong Catholic men who had to leave? It's painful for some of them to see married priests being accepted when they had to leave simply because they fell in love," said Sister Chris Schenk, executive director of FutureChurch..,  "There are many married Catholic men, good men, who would be willing to serve again," she said.  Read more...

All-male, celibate Catholic priesthood is embarrassing relic "As I see it, the central problem behind the ongoing clerical abuse scandal is the all-male, celibate priesthood. It is an embarrassing holdover from the Middle Ages....Da Vinci Code aside, real historical evidence shows that women's roles in the Catholic Church were increasingly restricted as the early church became established. At the same time, the view of all sexuality as evil crept into the church. The origins of this sex-denying ethic were cultural, not scriptural.  Read more...

Related Articles 

Foreign clergy are "gift of faith" as American churches face priest shortage.


With a thousand Anglican converts, ordinariate gets going


Take Action!

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

Download a free So All Can Be at the Table education-advocacy resource.    

Sign New Open Letter to U.S. Bishops  


Sr. Beth Johnson responds to Bishops' Committee on Doctrine Fordham University systematic theology professor Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson has submitted a 38 page defense of  her 2007 book, Quest for the Living God, after it was harshly criticized by the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine.  Johnson named explicit problems: Ideas are taken out of context and twisted to mean what they patently do not mean. Sentences are run to a conclusion far from what I think or the text says. False dilemmas are composed. Numerous omissions, distortions, and outright misstatements of fact riddle the reading. As a work of theology, Quest for the Living God was thoroughly misunderstood and consistently misrepresented in the committee's statement.  Read more  


Full text of Johnson letter to U.S. Bishops' Doctrine Committee

Theologians' meeting sets tone of reconciliation (Vote 147-1 to support Johnson)  


Conservative 'temple police' responsible for ousting of Austrailia's Bishop William Morris  Father Hal Ranger, an associate pastor at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Toowoomba, said most of his diocese was still hurt by the loss of their bishop, William Morris - whose early retirement was blamed on the often-anonymous upholders of orthodoxy. ''It's pretty much what the Scribes and Pharisees were doing to Jesus,'' he said. ''They were saying 'here is the law book ... you have just cured a person on the Sabbath day, and the book says you shouldn't'."  Read more  


Sign Letter to Pope Benedict Supporting Bishop Morris  here

Related articles:   

Morale falters in Australian Church  

Ordination ban not infallibly taught


Irish priests urge delay of 'sexist' new missal  In early June Irish priests revolted against a decision by the bishops to introduce the Roman missal, unanimously supporting a recommendation that "priests and people avoid using the sexist language that pervades the new missal."  A meeting of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests requested "time and space for priests who have conscientious or pastoral objections to the use of some of the new texts." They expressed themselves "baffled" that, "while generous provision has been made for the Latin Mass, no provision is being made to accommodate the far greater number of people who will have difficulty for different reasons with the new missal." Read more...   


Roman Missal changes cost Irish $1.4 million Catholic churches in Ireland face a bill of at least €1million ($1.415 million U.S.) to update altar missals and Mass books for forthcoming changes to the liturgy. Cardinal Sean Brady has announced the controversial changes to the English liturgy will begin at all Masses on September 11. Criticisms of the changes by the Association of Catholic Priests have been rejected by the bishops. Read more...   

Related articles

Irish priests and lay groups reflect on new Missal


Catholic Bishop supports LGBT rights  Bishop Joseph Sullivan, a retired auxiliary bishop from New York City recently had this to say in an online opinion piece he wrote for The Buffalo News:    

What you would probably be surprised to learn is that Catholics are among those who increasingly are reaching out pastorally to the LGBT community. A recent study released by the Public Religion Research Institute found that a majority of Catholics believe that job discrimination against gay and lesbian people should be outlawed. By almost 2 to 1, Catholics believe that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children. Catholic teachings compel us to work toward the elimination of unjust structures and to treat people with dignity, regardless of their state in life or their beliefs.  Read more...


Parish Closing and Appeals News  

St. Mary Jamesville, NY Wins Signatura Appeal After a precedent-setting ruling by the Vatican's highest court saying that St. Mary Church "must be maintained as a Catholic worship site," Jamesville, NY parishioners are awaiting its reopening. Most experts agree the future rests in the hands of Bishop Robert J. Cunningham. Nicholas Cafardi, a canon law expert and lawyer, said: "The bishop has a lot of discretion on the pastoral issue." The court ruling doesn't re-establish the parish; it just says the church has to be available for worship. Still, the decision is significant because few appeals have been considered by the Vatican, and it's highly unusual to have a ruling that goes against the bishop, according to Matthew Loveland, an assistant professor of sociology at Le Moyne College. Also, what happens next could be precedent-setting, he said. Read more...


Boston Archdiocese may radically regroup parishes The Boston Archdiocese is considering a radical reshuffling that would unite its 291 parishes into 80 to 120 groups so that each cluster could share resources and clergy, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.  ... The number of available priests will plummet from 316 today to 178 in a decade; only 17 percent of local Catholics now attend Mass. Read more... 


Peoria Parishioners Undaunted The Congregation of Clergy in Rome upheld Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky's decree to merge the Streator, IL parishes. However, the issue is far from settled, according to Sean Peters, spokesman for Save the Catholic Parishes. "We expected the Congregation of Clergy to uphold this decision regarding the parishes," Peters said. "However, a church and a parish are not the same thing...We are awaiting a decree from the bishop regarding a possible relegation of profane use for the churches." A relegation could usher another round of appeals from parishioners, according to Peters. He said many of the churches reopened along the East coast have come from appealing a bishop's relegation Read more...


Wilkes Barre parishioners prepare three more appeals   About 25 members of the Sacred Heart Wilkes-Barre Foundation, a group of church members fighting to keep their church open, rallied on the steps of the church before 4 p.m. Mass on May 22. Their most recent appeal in Rome was rejected. Noreen Foti said the foundation is now preparing three appeals: one to the Apostolic Signatura, the highest Roman Catholic judicial authority apart from the pope; one to current Bishop Joseph Bambera and an additional emergency filing to the Vatican high court. Tony Foti said the Diocese based its decision to close the church on a survey of the building's facade, which did not examine the building's supports but suggested there may be damage to its structural integrity. Tony Foti, a licensed public engineer, said he "examined the church from the top of the steeple to the foundations" and "can state unequivocally there is no damage to the structural integrity of this church." Read more...

Mn-St. Paul: It's closing time for St. Philip St. Philip in north Minneapolis is among 21 congregations forced to close down and merge. Comforting each other with hugs as they wiped away tears, parishioners celebrated their final mass Sunday. June 5. While the archdiocese has grown to nearly 800,000 members in the past decade, officials say a number of parishes and school buildings are grouped in areas where the population can no longer sustain more than one parish or school. The archdiocese also expects to have fewer priests eligible to serve by 2020.  Read more...  

Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here 

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet

To donate to FutureChurch or renew your membership,  pleaseclick here 

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