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      September  2012 E-Newsletter
  (Newsletter Archive)
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In This Issue
Notable and Quotable: Dr. Scott Appleby
Nun Canon Lawyer honored
Brazilian bishop wants poll on opening ordination
Bishop Wcela makes case for women deacons
Parish sends position paper on Women Deacons to Cardinal George
Cardinal Martini: "What can you do for the Church?"
A married Jesus?
Nuncio affirms lay input in Bishop selection
Bishop Albert Ottenweller, FutureChurch friend, RIP
German Bishops sanction church tax resisters
Speaking Truth to the Vatican
Parish closing and appeals news
Other Catholic news

Notable and Quotable: Responding to clericalism and sex abuse  

(By Dr. Scott Appleby) 


"Quick to perceive challenges to their authority in the exercise of theological exploration and spiritual newspapercreativity, especially among women, they [the bishops] have placed their own "class" of Catholics-the  ordained-above recrimination while seldom hesitating to "prune" the church of "dissenters" to their increasingly authoritarian rule. Jealous of their prerogatives as "elites," they have identified their own often narrow interests with the will of Christ and the good of the church." Read more..  


  Honor Your Parish Priest

   Pray to Open Ordination

   Priesthood Sunday

          Oct 28, 2012  


More Info here 

Free organizing kit here

FutureChurch 22nd Annual Benefit and Silent Auction
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Windows on the River
Cleveland, Ohio

Can't join us for the event?
 Purchase a Virtual Ticket
Your ticket will include an Audio CD of Sr. Carolyn Osiek's presentation, a signed copy of her book A Woman's Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity and recognition in our event program. ( $100.00 )

Dr. Carolyn Osiek RSCJ,ThD 

Connecting with our Sisters: The Life and Times of Phoebe, Priscilla and Perpetua


Sr. Carolyn is past president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the Society of Biblical Literature. 


Info and Tickets here    

Fr. Louis J. Trivison
Award, 2012

Dr. Kate Kuenstler, PHJC, JCD 

Sr. Kate has assisted parishioners

from dozens of U. S. parishes with canonical appeals to keep their churches open. 


      Info and Tickets here 

Upcoming  Events 

September 30th, 2012, Cleveland, OH FutureChurch 22nd Annual Benefit Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore Street, Cleveland, OH Info at www.futurechurch.org

October 7-11: Call To Action Upstate New York Thruway Tour with Christine Schenk CSJ Being American and Catholic: Supporting the Common Good. October 7-12 in Buffalo, Rochester Syracuse, Binghamton and Albany. Most programs begin at 7:00 pm. Visit  www.cta-nys.org or contact Steve Powers 518-370-1615  spowers7@nycap.rr.com


October 24: Cleveland, OH Cleveland Priesthood Sunday Celebration.  A Celebration of Priesthood. St. Colman Church 7:00 pm. Contact liz@futurechurch.org


October 28: National Priesthood Sunday Special FutureChurch prayer services honor your parish priest and pray for a married priesthood and women deacons. More info here.


November 10, Louisville, KY: Prayer Service:Celebrating the Women of Vatican II with FutureChurch program coordinator, Liz England. Call To Action National Conference. Info at  www.cta-usa.org 


November 9-11, 2012. Louisville, KY: Galt House Call To Action National Conference Justice Rising. Civil rights legend, Diane Nash; theologian and spiritual activist, Matthew Fox; inter-faith justice advocate, Imam Mohammed Abdul-Azeez; counselors and authors, Fran Ferder & John Heagle and many more!...Info at www.cta-usa.org


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   


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

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 

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... 

Organize to keep
arishes Open! SOPC image

Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet

 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

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Magdala Market Online Store

Women and the Word education/advocacy kit
(Free download)

This free kit includes tools that help parishes, small faith communities, schools and dioceses 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 also included.
Download here...


To donate to FutureChurch or renew your membership,  please click here

We now have a monthly giving option that 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 please send an endorsed and voided check to FutureChurch at 17307 Madison Avenue, Lakewood Ohio 44107).
Dear Friends: You can share our SEPTEMBER E-Newsletter with others by   

FutureChurch Honors Nun Canon Lawyer Who Catalyzed Vatican Policy Change in Church Closings Over the past five years, Sr. Kate Kuenstler PHJC, JCD succeeded in winning parish appeals at the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court in the Catholic Church. This led to a change in Vatican policy to one aiming to preserve churches as worship sites, making it less likely for bishops to close them solely because of the priest shortage or property values.  


Sr. Kate will be honored Sunday September 30 with FutureChurch's Rev. Louis J. Trivison Award. The Trivison Award is given in recognition of outstanding leadership in advancing the FutureChurch mission and vision. It is named for FutureChurch cofounder, the late Rev. Louis J. Trivison.


Writing in her special Commentary on Vatican Decrees Upholding Cleveland Parishioner Appeals: Sr. Kate explains: "Both the Congregation for Clergy and the Apostolic Signatura now make a clear distinction between the legitimate reasons to merge parishes and legitimate reasons to close a church." No longer considered legitimate reasons for closing a church are the following:

The shortage of priests

The church is in close proximity to another church.

The church is no longer considered necessary for worship when a parish is suppressed or merged. 

The maintenance for a building no longer needed as a church for Divine worship is a financial burden to the parish.



Parish Initiative Catalyzes Change in Vatican Policy 


Leading Catholic nuns to address FutureChurch event


Download Canonical commentary on Cleveland decrees by Sr. Kate Kuenstler here


FutureChurch Save Our Parish Community Resources here 


Sign open letter to US Bishops here    


Brazilian prelate calls for worldwide poll of bishops about ordination. In early June, Bishop Erwin Krautler, bishop of Xingu, Brazil's largest diocese by land mass, called for a poll of the world's Catholic bishops on the question of who may be ordained.  Krautler's diocese has 30 priests for 900 parishes, with 600,000 people distributed in an area 4 times the size of Austria. Krautler said lay leaders hold weekly liturgies of the Word but parishes have Mass only 3-4 times a year, raising the question about their right to have Mass every Sunday:  "I say they have [the right], and the Church in the spirit of the council must think of something.  I suggest a survey of all the world's bishops. Talk to the priests the religious, the laity.  Then a body would be formed, with and under the Pope, to deal with this pulse of the worldwide Church"  (The Tablet 6/16/12, p. 26).




Pray to Open Ordination 



More info

Download free organizing kit


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


Send Electronic Postcards to Rome:

About Optional Celibacy 

About Women Deacons   


Download "So All Can Be At the Table" Organizing Kit     


Bishop Wcela makes case for women deacons In the October 1 issue of the Jesuit weekly, America, retired auxiliaryb Bishop Emil Wcela writes: "In contrast to the women of ancient times, women today play a very

women deacon

important part in public life, holding high offices in government, business, the professions and education. Cultural reasons to exclude women from the diaconate, at least in the West, no longer apply." (America) Read More... 

Listen to Bishop Wcela on Podcast


Church's stance on female deacons is mystifying (op ed by Dr. Phyllis Zagano)  


Send an Electronic Postcard to Rome  here!


Circulate paper postcards  Download a template or order free postcards.



Chicago Parish Position Paper on Women Deacons to Cardinal George Catholics at St. Nicholas Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago are going all out supporting a women deacon candidate from their parish. They published  resources on their website, including a position paper sent to Cardinal George that says in part:  "In conclusion, we believe that expanding the permanent diaconate to women is possible within the current teaching of the Church, is consistent with our Tradition and is supported by the historical record and most importantly, our Scripture. We ask that you bring this possibility to your fellow bishops with the intention of expanding the diaconate here in this, your and our, diocese."  Read complete paper 


Also on the St. Nick's website: 

Women Deacons in the Catholic Church: A Parish Conversation about an Open Question St. Nicholas Parish - Evanston, Illinois  


Pamphlet # 1: Women Deacons in the Catholic Church: An Open Question  


Talk to your Bishop!  Download Women Deacons: Why Not Now? resource   FutureChurch's newest education and advocacy resource is designed to help Catholics learn the rich history of female deacons, discover why the Church should restore the female diaconate, and implement a discernment process to surface women candidates to present to your bishop.

Read more about women deacon effort   and  order a packet  


Cardinal Martini, biblical scholar, progressive advocate, dies. Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a liberal within the conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless considered a papal contender in the last conclave, died August 31 at age 85. During a special Synod of Bishops for Europe in 1999, he made waves when he proposed a new churchwide council or assembly to unravel "doctrinal and disciplinary knots" such as the shortage of priests, the role of women, the role of laity and the discipline of marriage. He also believed  the church would benefit from a wider exercise of collegiality. Read more...


Martini on Pontifical Biblical Commission that affirmed possibility of womens' ordination. Cardinal Martini was an outstanding biblical scholar and a member of the 1976 Pontifical Commission. The Commission voted unanimously (17-0) "that the New Testament does not settle in a clear way and once and for all whether women can be ordained priests," A substantial majority (12-5) voted in favor of the view that "scriptural grounds alone are not enough to exclude the possibility of ordaining women" and that "Christ's plan would not be transgressed by permitting the ordination of women." Read more..   


Cardinal Martini's last interview: What do you do personally? "The Church is two hundred years behind. Why is it not being stirred? Are we afraid? Afraid instead of being courageous?... Only love conquers weariness. God is Love. I have a question for you: "What can you do for the Church?" (Commonweal) Read more... 



Cardinal Martini, liberal papal contender, dies

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini publishes his last work, "The Bishop" (Vatican Insider)  


A married Jesus?  A 4th century papyrus has been found with a reference to Jesus' "wife." Harvard professor, Dr. Karen King, who researched the fragment, has this to say: "This new gospel doesn't prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage," King said in a press release. "From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus' death before they began appealing to Jesus' marital status to support their positions."


Biblical scholar Ben Witherington III had these comments: "Jesus was an early Jew. I don't think Jesus had any qualms about marriage," said "But [Jesus] also thinks it was perfectly viable for an able-bodied man to become single for the sake of [God's] kingdom." Read more...


In depth [Smithsonian]: The Inside Story of a Controversial New Text About Jesus"The question the discovery raises, King said, is "Why is it that only the literature that said he was celibate survived? And all of the texts that showed he had an intimate relationship with Magdalene or is married didn't survive? Is that 100 percent happenstance? Or is it because of the fact that celibacy becomes the ideal for Christianity?"Read more:



Papyrus fragment with reference to Jesus' 'wife' stirs debate (Catholic News Service)


US Nuncio affirms Chicago VOTF effort inviting input on Cardinal George's Successor Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, has affirmed intentions of Chicago members of Voice of the Faithful who have set up two websites to solicit input about what kind of prelate is needed to succeed Cardinal Francis George. Though Vigano had opposed some particulars of the original proposal,  he wrote: "The apostolic nuncio would willingly receive any expression of a lay Catholic in regard to his or her own concerns in regard to a new bishop or recommendations that he or she might propose... Members of the Voice of the Faithful are, therefore, free to encourage such communication to be addressed to the apostolic nuncio as a part of this process." Read more... 


FutureChurch friend, Bishop Albert Ottenweller enters eternal life Bishop Albert Ottenweller, retired bishop of Steubenville and longtime friend of FutureChurch died on September 23 at age 96. Ottenweller was once banned from doing a FutureChurch program at a Cleveland Catholic High School after ultra conservative Catholics protested to school officials. 

  Bishop Albert with Fr. Dan Divis, Sr. Nancy and Marla Loehr (March, 2004)

As a result, a standing room only crowd of nearly 400 heard  Bishop Albert speak at the Cleveland CSJ Motherhouse. After he retired, the Bishop teamed up with his long-time friend, Sister Nancy Westmeyer, to form the Servant Leadership Center. "He really had a passion for seeing the church as the people of God and recognizing that in the circle we are all equal," said Sister Nancy, of the Tiffin Franciscan order. Read more...  


German Bishops sanction Catholics who opt out of Church tax Roman Catholics in Germany who decline to pay the country's church tax will be denied communion, confession and a religious burial under moves signed by the Pope that, in effect, excommunicate them. The decree, issued by Germany's bishops and approved by Benedict XVI, seeks to end a long-running dispute over the implications for Germany's 24.6 million Catholics of opting out from a church tax. Read more...


Legal case at root of German Bishops' ruling. Some commentators suggested the German bishops issued their decree sanctioning Catholics, in order to sidestep a looming legal case by a retired theology professor challenging the right of the Catholic church to excommunicate those who opt out of the tax. .. A ruling in his favor could throw into doubt Germany's whole church tax system, which was introduced in the 19th century. Read more...


German group slams Catholic 'pay to pray' decree (Associated Press)



Speaking Truth to the Vatican (New York Times Editorial Supporting US Nuns) "Much of the Roman Catholic laity has registered outrage that the church would make a show of investigating nuns when it should be focused on the priesthood's pedophilia scandal. Working in hospitals, slums, schools and prisons, nuns serve as a powerful antidote to the church's tattered reputation." Read more...   

"Holy Rollers"  "The sisters have become the most visible part of what some call a "civil-rights movement" within American Catholicism-an expanding coalition of activists bent on reforming the church from within and changing the public's perception of it as a solely conservative force on social issues." (The American Prospect) Read more...


Nun Justice Coalition to support LCWR as process unfolds.  At an early September meeting of the Nun Justice Coalition, members agreed to keep the website intact, prepare a timeline of everything that has been accomplished to date, and begin provisional planning to support LCWR as needed pending future scenarios with Vatican officials.  Stay tuned.


Catholics pledge Over $100,000 to Nuns As of September 25, 1,164 Catholics have pledged to direct or redirect $100,528  to US sisters.  Pledge to support the Sisters 


View photos of hundred of national vigils here 


Read FutureChurch Statement on mandate here 


NCR to track stories on LCWR crackdown. Follow at Sisters Under Scrutiny     



Parish Closing and Appeals News  


Questions hang over Cleveland parish's status The Cleveland diocese's website lists St. Margaret Mary Parish of South Euclid, Ohio, as having merged with St. Gregory the Great Parish to become Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. But another page of the site lists St. Margaret Mary as one of the parish closings that is "under appeal to the Vatican." (National Catholic Reporter) Read more... 


Cleveland St. Peter Church reopens but Community stays in rented space. "On Sunday September 9, St. Peter's in downtown Cleveland became number 10 in a parade of 11 

Catholic churches reopening their doors after they were ordered closed by Bishop Richard Lennon more than two years ago.  But the reopening of the historic church on the corner of Superior Avenue and East 17th Street raises a big question:How will it survive its rebirth when the bulk of its congregation -- after it closed in April 2010 -- set up its own church that continues to flourish today outside the reach and authority of Lennon and the diocese?" (Cleveland Plain Dealer) Read more...  


Plan to revamp Boston archdiocese reaches cardinal, Associated PressA plan to revive the Boston Archdiocese by organizing its 288 parishes into 135 clusters that share staffing and resources has reached Cardinal Sean O'Malley for final approval. Read more... 


Merged Pittsburgh Catholic parishes here thriving 20 years later  "Brody Hale, 27, a law student at Boston College who volunteers his time to help Catholics nationwide file appeals with the Vatican, believes mergers do more harm than good. That's not the experience of Mr. Uzar's pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who cites 100 funerals a year and the flood of 2004 as reasons that membership dropped from 6,500 in 1992 to 4,100 today."  Read more...  


Download Free Canonical Appeal Resources here.

Order the Save Our Parish Community packet

Other Catholic Church News

Pope names record number of women to Synod on Evangelization  The Oct. 7-28 gathering of the Synod on Evangelization will include the largest bloc of women -- 10 experts and 19 observers -- ever to participate in a world Synod of Bishops. FutureChurch first raised the issue of women delegates at the 2008 Synod on the Word. That Synod invited a  record number of women for the first time.  Since then female representation has steadily increased. Read more...


Philadelphia Archdiocese sells Cardinals' mansion for $10M  St. Joseph's University announced in early September that it would acquire the cardinal's residence on City Avenue from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for $10 million.  The Archdiocese faces a $17.5 million operating debt, and is recovering from heavy legal fees from clergy sex abuse trials. Read more... 

Vatican hires finance crime expert to aid compliance with global norms VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to comply more fully with international standards against financial criminal activity, the Vatican has hired an outside expert in combating money laundering and financing terrorism. Read more...  


Butler Accuses 20 Whistleblowers At Heart Of 'VatiLeaks' Scandal The man reportedly behind the "VatiLeaks" scandal of hundreds of leaked Catholic documents, has claimed that more than 20 whistleblowers were involved in the operation which attempted to prove corruption, power struggles and incompetence at the highest levels at the Holy See. Read more...

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