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         February 2012 E-Newsletter
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In This Issue
Prominent priests predicts end of mandatory celibacy
New Nuncio cleaned up Vatican finances
Canon Lawyers offer assistance with Johnson impasse
Jesuit university hosts discussion of homosexuality
Parish closing and appeals news
Other Catholic News
Put Women Back in the Biblical Picture during Holy Week and Easter


Women and the Word:
Concrete ways to restore biblical women to our sacred liturgical celebrations.

  More info and order  click here

Back by Popular Demand!




Journey Of Discovery:   

Rome & Ostia


A Pilgrimage to Archaeological Sites of

Women Leaders in the Early Church


March 14 - 21, 2013


Discover  frescos, mosaics and artifacts of early Christian women who were leaders of important Christian communities in Rome.  

Dr. Carolyn Osiek RSCJ, Educational Director


Sr. Christine Schenk CSJ, Spiritual Director  


$2,949 ALL INCLUSIVE! from New York


Complete info and flyer at   


Upcoming  Events 


March 15-17 Baltimore, MD. From Water to Wine: Lesbian/Gay Catholics and Relationships. New Ways Ministry Symposium with Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Luke Timothy Johnson, Patricia Beattie Jung, Richard Rodriguez, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Register at www.newwaysministry.org/

June 22-24. Dallas, TX. And the Young Shall Dream Dreams CORPUS National Conference. Watch the Corpus website for details. http://www.corpus.org


October 2012. Cleveland, OH (Date and Place TBA) FutureChurch annual benefit with Dr. Carolyn Osiek RSCJ speaking on Women Leaders in Early Christianity.  


November 9-11, 2012. Louisville, KY    Call To Action National Conference. Info at www.cta-usa.org  

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

To sign Open Letter to US Bishops

click here


More info... 


 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

Organize to keep
arishes Open! SOPC image

Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet
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Magdala Market Online Store


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



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...


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.

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email:  info@futurechurch.org

To  Purchase A celebrating Women Women Witnesses packet
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Spanish Resources here

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Fr. Anthony Ruff speaks on Roman Missal  On January 10th over 220 people were wowed at a Cleveland presentation by Fr. Anthony Ruff OSB on the New Roman Missal: The Rest of the Story.  Fr. Ruff was knowledgeable, humorous, pastoral and "in this for the long haul."  FutureChurch made a PODCAST of Fr. Ruff's presentation that includes a free download of his handout. Click here to listen or download the PODCAST  



The new misguided missal website has an array of resources for letting your bishop and pastor know your views on the new missal. 


If possible, please give feedback to church leaders beginning on February 26 , the First Sunday of Lent by taking one or more of the following actions:


MY TWO CENTS COMMENT CARD (download and put in collection basket during Lent)


WRITE YOUR BISHOP AND THE U.S. NUNCIO (sample letters to download)  






Compare translations


Download 1998 Missal (free)

Hundreds seek ad limina Bishop dialogue over priest shortage FutureChurch is supporting individuals and groups from at least seventy dioceses who have committed to engage their bishop in dialogue either via meetings or by letter on or around the time they go to Rome for their ad limina visit. Catholics want issues raised by FutureChurch's Open Letter to U.S. Bishops brought up in Rome. U.S. visits are projected to extend from November 2011 through May 2012, and during that time, bishops visit various Vatican offices and meet with the Pope.  


To date, faithful Catholics have succeeded in obtaining meetings with their bishop in eight dioceses in the Midwest and along the Eastern seaboard, with still more in the planning stages. FutureChurch staff is reaching out to activists in all 14 regions.


The Open Letter  has already garnered over 6200 signatures. It addresses the priest shortage crisis and calls on U.S. bishops "to open dialogue about restoring our early traditions recognizing married and celibate priests and women deacons." It was published in the November 7 issue of America.




Sign the Open Letter From the People of God to U.S. Bishops    


Download paper copy of letter to circulate 


Download free Open Letter organizing kit  


Email chris@futurechurch.org if you wish to organize meeting with your bishop. (Please name diocese)


Send Electronic Postcards to Rome:

About Optional Celibacy 

About Women Deacons  

Archbishop Dolan says ad limina visits address parish closings, new directives from Vatican being developed According to a November article in Catholic News Service,  the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy is preparing a document that  will offer "crisper and cleaner and more consistent" guidelines on parish closings and mergers. The Vatican recently upheld a number of parishioner appeals. Archbishop Dolan said, "Sometimes people's perception of the Holy See is that its job is to protect the power structure of the church and to protect the bishops and clergy. Well, they also are very sensitive to the rights of God's people," he said. Read more...    

Bishops could ordain women as permanent deacons now  According to a preeminent U.S. expert on women deacons, a bishop could ordain a woman to the permanent diaconate by petitioning Rome for special  permission. Dr. Phyllis Zagano comments: "All a bishop has to do is ask for derogation from canon law, as recommended in a 1995 document of the Canon Law Society of America... I think that bishops could ask for a regional permission ... or even a sub-regional permission. Zagano knows of several women who are already in discussion with their bishops. Read more



Despite what opponents say, women deacons are for ministry 


Women deacons? Phyllis Zagano responds to her online critics


Read about FutureChurch's work for women deacons  


Download NEW sample educational program: The case for women deacons 


Send an electronic postcard to Rome 


Priest Nobel nominee predicts the end of celibacy in the Catholic Church A leading missionary priest has claimed that celibacy will soon be a thing of the past - and described it as a 'business arrangement' for the Catholic Church. Fr. Shay Cullen has earned three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for his work saving hundreds of children from sexual abuse in the Philippines. Speaking to Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne on state television, Fr. Cullen said: "Celibacy is only a practice mostly to keep property out of the hands of married couples, it's more sort of a business type of arrangement." Read more...

Flemish priests, laity urge lay preaching, leadership of parishes and other reforms. Over 6,000 Belgian Catholics including at least 211 priests recently signed a petition asking for trained lay men and women to be permitted to lead parishes, preach and lead communion services in parishes without available priests. They also called for married men and women to be admitted to the priesthood and for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion. Petition signers included hundreds of educators, academics and prominent Catholics. "These are not 'protest people,' they are people of faith said Fr. John Dekimpe, one of four priests who launched the petition.  Read more  



New U.S. Nuncio cleaned up Vatican finances  Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigaṇ, named by Pope Benedict XVI in October as the new nuncio  to the United States, seriously rocked the boat in his brief term as the No. 2 official in the government of the Vatican city-state from 2009 to 2011. As it turns out, the pope's new man in Washington is something of a whistle-blower. American Catholics actually ought to feel pretty good. [W]e've got a nuncio in Vigaṇ who's a no-nonsense guy when it comes to financial integrity and who's not afraid to fight some internal battles to make his principles stick. (excerpted from longer commentary by John Allen at NCR) Read more... 



Corruption Scandal Rocks Vatican, Whistle Blower Archbishop Vigano Was Transfered Against His Will (Huffington Post)

Vatican official warns pope of corruption (Associated Press)

Cardinal's profit mission and an FBI investigation into sale of church property The Irish Times newspaper reports on investigative journalist, Jason Berry's exposure of ties between the former Vatican Secretary of State, cardinal Angelo Sodano and a discredited real estate investment firm whose vice president is now in jail.  Berry says Sodano installed an under-secretary at the Vatican who fed information on closing U.S. churches to a New York company, the Follieri Group. Its vice-president was Andrea Sodano, a building engineer in Italy and a nephew of the cardinal.  Berry believes "Pope Benedict should empanel constitutional scholars to create a court system for criminal issues and church property. But first, he should ask Cardinal Sodano to resign from his position as Dean of the College of Cardinals.  The Dean will oversee the election of the next Pope. Read more.. 

Married Roman Catholic Priests (from Episcopal Churches) on the way On New Year's Day, the Vatican announced the formation of a nationwide ordinariate - kind of a diocese without borders - for Episcopal priests and their congregations who want to move together into Roman Catholicism. The big news is not that some Episcopalians will have a zippier express lane into Catholicism, but that there will soon be even more married Catholic priests in America. And married priests raise provocative questions for the Catholic Church, whose shortage of clergymen is worsening by the day. Read more...

Send Electronic Postcards to Rome:

About Optional Celibacy 

About Women Deacons    


Canon Law Association offers Bishops' assistance over Johnson impasse  At its October 2011 meeting the 1,300 member Canon Law Society of America passed a resolution that "offers the services of the Society to the USCCB to assist in formulating appropriate procedures for the conduct of investigations into the work of theologians in the United States." The resolution was written in response to criticism of the process the bishops' Committee on Doctrine used to evaluate and subsequently condemn a book by St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God. Read more..  

Read Canon Law resolution 


Homosexuality among church leaders discussed at Jesuit university event  For the 100 or so theologians, members of the clergy, women religious, students and others who braved the heavy snow last Oct. 29 to attend "The Care of Souls: Sexual Diversity, Celibacy, and Ministry" conference at Jesuit-run Fairfield University, the day was packed densely with history, stories and plenty of questions. It was the final event of a four-part series of talks titled "More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church. Read more...


Parish Closing and Appeals News  


More U.S. Catholics take complaints to Vatican court..and some win!  FutureChurch's canonical resources were featured in a recent Associated Press article. "In recent years, clergy and lay people in the United States have increasingly turned to the church's internal legal system to challenge a bishop's or pastor's decision about even the most workaday issues in Catholic life, according to canon lawyers in academia, dioceses and in private practice. Sometimes, the challengers even win... Regarding bishops' often contentious decisions to close parishes, the liberal reform group FutureChurch posts a guide on its website called "Canonical Appeals for Dummies" on seeking Vatican intervention to stay open." Read more...  


Metro Detroit Catholics blast plans to close 48 Parishes Retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton recently criticized a proposal from the Archdiocese of Detroit to close at least four dozen parishes. "To me, it looks like a disaster in a way," Gumbleton said. "The institutional presence of the Catholic Church is going to be gone from the city of Detroit ..." Sister Jolene Van Handel, a parish minister at Nativity, said her parish sustains itself, has 200 families and is in a historic building that should be preserved. "I think if they allowed lay leadership, we could manage to keep our parishes going," she said. (Detroit Free Press11/30/11).


Related article  Facing priest shortage, Detroit Catholic panel recommends closing 9 parishes, consolidating 60


Boston to reorganize 290 parishes The Archdiocese of Boston recently announced plans to reorganize the management of its 290 parishes by creating about 125 "pastoral service teams'' to oversee multiple parishes under a single pastor.  Read more.... 


Closed New Orleans parish reopens as charismatic center Nearly three years after former Archbishop Alfred Hughes called in the New Orleans police to evict distraught parishioners from our Lady of Good Council Church, the 117-year-old church is being reopened. In mid-December, the new Archbishop, Gregory Aymond, announced that a center for charismatic Catholics will move to Good Counsel from their current home  Read more...


New Miami archbishop reopens three churches Two years ago, the Archdiocese of Miami closed two of the three predominantly African-American churches in Miami-Dade County. But now, thanks to parishioners, one of them is reopening along with two others closed in June 2009 by the previous Archbishop, Joseph Favalora. The reversal was made by the new Archbishop Thomas Wenski (The Miami Herald 10/3/11)Read more...   


Vatican rules no reason to close thriving NY church For the second time, the Vatican has decreed there was no valid reason to close St. Mary's Church in Jamesville, NY. In mid-December, advocates for parishioners of St. Mary's Church in Jamesville filed an emergency motion with the Vatican demanding that Bishop Robert J. Cunningham reopen it. (The Wall Street Journal 12/19/11). Read more... 


Vatican High Court to hear Wilkes-Barre parish appeal After years of recurring defeats in its quest to save Sacred Heart Church, the highest religious tribunal in the Roman Catholic Church has agreed to hear the case. "It's amazing," Noreen Foti said with a smile, noting very few appeals ever get past the first screening to reach the Apostolic Signatura Tribunal in Rome. Foti and her husband have spearheaded efforts to save the church for nearly a decade ( Scranton Times Leader 10/20/11). Read more... 


Boston Archdiocese loses effort to make Cabrini property tax exempt The town of Scituate will maintain its taxable hold on the St. Francis X. Cabrini Church properties, after the Appellate Tax Board ruled the land was not tax exempt.  Read more...  


Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here.

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet

Other Catholic Church News


Out of Step With the Flock: Bishops Far Behind on Birth Control Issues (Opinion) In November, the Vatican issued a clarion call to all people of conscience. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace stepped forward to question the morality of a global economic system that relentlessly enriches a privileged few while the rest of humanity struggles to keep their heads above water. With millions of Americans looking for jobs and struggling in this economy, you might expect the nation's Catholic bishops to join the Vatican's quest to level the economic playing field. However, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have other priorities. They are consumed just now with the subject of birth control. (The AtlanticRead more..    


Philly Archdiocese plans to sell city mansion Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has decided to sell the 16-room stone mansion that has been home to Roman Catholic cardinals in Philadelphia for 76 years.  A person with knowledge of the announcement said Chaput, who was installed as archbishop in September, did not want parishioners to endure closings while he lived in a baronial home. Read more...


Philadelphia Catholic schools can appeal closings Philadelphia Catholic schools will have a chance to appeal recently-announced closing and merging decisions affecting nearly 50 schools, the archdiocese said on Jan. 10.  As head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for only three months, Archbishop Chaput had requested permission from the priest's council to delay the large number of Catholic school closings. "They told me, 'Don't postpone. We have to do this now.' Read more.. 


 Related (op ed by VOTF, Philly)


Guest column: Archdiocese hit for secret balance sheet

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