WBEZ | Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/tags/catholic-church Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: New Catholic Church documents may include lay opinions http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-07-01/morning-shift-new-catholic-church-documents-may <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Catholic Church (England and Wales).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss the new documents that could bring changes within the Catholic Church. And, we talk more World Cup as fans flock to Soldier Field to check out the USA/Belgium match. And, we hear the sounds of the Indian Veena from Chicago&#39;s Surabhi band.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-54" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New Catholic Church documents may include lay opinions " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-07-01/morning-shift-new-catholic-church-documents-may Chicago archdiocese hid decades of child sex abuse http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-archdiocese-hid-decades-child-sex-abuse-109550 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP341903637932_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After a 13-year-old boy reported in 1979 that a priest raped him and threatened him at gunpoint to keep quiet, the Archdiocese of Chicago assured the boy&#39;s parents that although the cleric avoided prosecution, he would receive treatment and have no further contact with minors.</p><p>But the Rev. William Cloutier, who already had been accused of molesting other children, was returned to ministry a year later and was accused of more abuse before he resigned in 1993, two years after the boy&#39;s parents filed a lawsuit. Officials took no action against Cloutier over his earliest transgressions because he &quot;sounded repentant,&quot; according to internal archdiocese documents released Tuesday that show how the archdiocese tried to contain a mounting scandal over child sexual abuse.</p><p>For decades, those at the highest levels of the nation&#39;s third-largest archdiocese moved accused priests from parish to parish while hiding the clerics&#39; histories from the public. The documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, describe how the late Cardinals John Cody and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin often approved the reassignments. The archdiocese removed some priests from ministry, but often years or decades after the clergy were known to have molested children.</p><p>While disturbing stories of clergy sexual abuse have wrenched the Roman Catholic Church across the globe, the newly released documents offer the broadest look yet into how one of its largest and most prominent American dioceses responded to the scandal.</p><p>The documents, posted online Tuesday, cover only 30 of the at least 65 clergy for whom the archdiocese says it has substantiated claims of child abuse. Vatican documents related to the 30 cases were not included, under the negotiated terms of the disclosure.</p><p>The records also didn&#39;t include the files of former priest Daniel McCormack, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children and whose case prompted an apology from Cardinal Francis George and an internal investigation of how the archdiocese responds to abuse claims.</p><p>But the more than 6,000 pages include internal communications between church officials, disturbing testimony about specific abuses, meeting schedules where allegations were discussed, and letters from anguished parishioners. The names of victims, and details considered private under mental health laws were redacted.</p><p>In a letter distributed to parishes last week, Cardinal George apologized to victims and Catholics, and said the archdiocese agreed to turn over the records in an attempt to help the victims heal.</p><p>The archdiocese released a statement Tuesday saying it knows it &quot;made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify&quot; and that society has evolved in how it deals with abuse.</p><p>&quot;The Church and its leaders have acknowledged repeatedly that they wished they had done more and done it sooner, but now are working hard to regain trust, to reach out to victims and their families, and to make certain that all children and youth are protected,&quot; the statement read.</p><p>Officials in the archdiocese said most of the abuse detailed in the files released Tuesday occurred before 1988, none after 1996, and that all these cases ultimately were reported to authorities.</p><p>But victims&#39; lawyers argue many of the allegations surfaced after George assumed control of the archdiocese in 1997, and some of the documents relate to how the church handled the cases more recently.</p><p>&quot;The issue is not when the abuse happened; the issue is what they did once it was reported,&quot; said Chicago attorney Marc Pearlman, who has represented about 200 victims of clergy abuse in the Chicago area.</p><p>When a young woman reported in 1970 that she&#39;d been abused as a teen, for example, Cody assured the priest that the &quot;whole matter has been forgotten&quot; because &quot;no good can come of trying to prove or disprove the allegations.&quot;</p><p>Accused priests often were quietly sent away for a time for treatment or training programs, the documents show. When the accused clerics returned, officials often assigned them to new parishes and asked other priests to monitor them around children.</p><p>In one 1989 letter to Bernardin, the vicar for priests worries about parishioners discovering the record of the Rev. Vincent E. McCaffrey, who was moved four times because of abuse allegations.</p><p>&quot;Unfortunately, one of the key parishioners ... received an anonymous phone call which made reference by name to Vince and alleged misconduct on his part with young boys,&quot; wrote vicar for priests, the Rev. Raymond Goedert. &quot;We all agreed that the best thing would be for Vince to move. We don&#39;t know if the anonymous caller will strike again.&quot;</p><p>When the archdiocese tried to force accused clergy into treatment or isolate them at church retreats, some of the priests refused, or ignored orders by church administrators to stay away from children.</p><p>Church officials worried about losing parishioners and &quot;potential priests&quot; over abuse scandals. &quot;This question I believe is going to get stickier and stickier,&quot; Patrick O&#39;Malley, then-vicar for priests, wrote in a 1992 letter.</p><p>Then, in 2002, a national scandal about dioceses&#39; failures to stop abusers consumed the American church. U.S. bishops nationwide adopted a toughened disciplinary policy and pledged to remove all guilty priests from church jobs in their dioceses.</p><p>But for many victims, it was too little and too late.</p><p>&quot;Where was the church for the victims of this sick, demented, twisted pedophile?&quot; one man wrote in a 2002 letter to George about abuse at the hands of the Rev. Norbert Maday, who was imprisoned in Wisconsin after a 1994 conviction for molesting two boys. &quot;Why wasn&#39;t the church looking out for us? We were children, for God&#39;s sake.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 11:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-archdiocese-hid-decades-child-sex-abuse-109550 Local Indian Catholics allege discrimination within their own church http://www.wbez.org/local-indian-catholics-allege-discrimination-within-their-own-church-108652 <p><p>A small group of Indian Catholics is petitioning the Vatican to stop what they claim are discriminatory practices in their U.S. churches. The Knanaya, a small sect estimated at 400,000 worldwide, have concentrated in the Chicago area over the last five decades. Now a rift over whether they should continue their ancient observance of endogamy, where members only marry within their ethnic group, has spilled into public view.</p><p>&ldquo;The Knanaya are essentially a 1700-year old Christian caste,&rdquo; explained Ligy Pullappally, an attorney and Knanite who lives in suburban Chicago. &ldquo;You cannot marry into a Knanaya community and become a Knanaya, you cannot convert to it, because it is a biological-based tradition.&rdquo;</p><p>Pullappally is one of a small, but growing, group of American Knanites who have filed a canonical lawsuit within the Catholic Church&rsquo;s legal system. She and the others have married outside the Knanaya church, an act that they claim has led to discriminatory treatment. In Pullappally&rsquo;s case, her husband is Protestant, and so she says her family is being denied certain rights.</p><p>&ldquo;[T]he right to conduct your wedding at that church, the right to baptize your child at that church,&rdquo; said Pullappally.</p><p>A fellow complainant, Lukose Paret, produced several letters he attempted to send to a priest at one of the two Chicago-area churches, along with receipts showing they were declined and sent back unopened. He and others say they are barred from joining church committees, their homes are shunned during Christmas caroling events, and their children are not welcome to participate in youth activities.</p><p>&ldquo;Basically the Knanaya church is walking a tightrope between maintenance of these age-old endogamous traditions, and knowledge that America is a new land where inclusivity is the rule,&rdquo; said Pullappally.</p><p>The disagreement within the church spilled onto the streets in March, however, when several hundred Knanaya rallied outside their bishop&rsquo;s house in Elmhurst. The protest was in response to a letter issued by Bishop Jacob Angadiath, who oversees the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago. Angadiath had ordered churches in the diocese to be more inclusive of mixed-Knanaya families, or families where only one spouse is a full-blooded Knanaya. Angadiath did not respond to multiple requests for interview.</p><p>&ldquo;It is totally against our principle,&rdquo; said Tomy Myalkarapuram, president of the Knanaya Catholic Congress of North America, a laypeople organization that claims 20,000 members. &ldquo;We have every right to remain as (an) ethnic group and as (an) endogamous group,&rdquo; he added.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%209.26.42%20AM.png" style="height: 224px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish in Maywood, IL, is one of two Knanaya churches in the greater Chicago area. The Knanaya Catholic church in the U.S. has recently reached new levels of conflict over whether to preserve their ancient tradition of endogamy." /></div><p>Myalkarapuram said endogamy is the essence of the Knanaya community, and that the larger Catholic Church should not ask the Knanaya to sacrifice a defining characteristic of their identity. In fact, since the Knanaya church was folded into the Catholic Church several centuries ago, the concept of endogamy has never sat well with Rome.</p><p>&ldquo;It sounds as if you are excluding people from the church if you have your own separate endogamous church,&rdquo; said Richard Swiderski, an anthropologist who studied Knanaya endogamy in India.</p><p>Swiderski said the Catholic Church held its nose and allowed the Knanaya in India to continue the practice, but that it did not intend for the tradition to be carried over to other countries. However, he noted that any forced change would run afoul of long-held beliefs.</p><p>&ldquo;The practice of endogamy is this very idea that (the Knanaya) represent the pure doctrine, (that) they are hereditary representatives of the pure doctrine,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The only way they could maintain that was to continue marrying only among themselves.&rdquo;</p><p>Swiderski said the Knanaya believe they descended from Middle Easterners who settled in southern India in 345 AD., making them racially distinct from other Indians. He said ever since then, they have tried to preserve their spiritual distinction, a belief that they represent a version of Christianity untainted by outside cultures, through endogamy.</p><p>The controversy may ultimately be resolved by people within the community: a younger generation of Knanites who debate whether endogamy makes sense in an American context.</p><p>In the meantime, Pullappally says the church has already lost one of its youngest members -- her son. Days before he was baptized, she explained her decision not to have it done in a Knanaya church.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s going to be baptized in a Roman Catholic Church, but not the Knanaya church,&rdquo; said Pullappally.&nbsp; &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want the occasion of something joyful, like a baptism, to be marred by hostility.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 09:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/local-indian-catholics-allege-discrimination-within-their-own-church-108652 Lost Chicago landmark: the old Old St. Mary's http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/lost-landmark-old-old-st-marys-106901 <p><p>The Archdiocese has delayed demolition of St. James Church. That calls to mind a historic church that wasn&#39;t saved: the old Old St. Mary&rsquo;s.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-01--Old St. Mary's (1955).jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 390px; float: right;" title="The old Old St. Mary's, 1955 (author's collection)" /></div><p>St. Mary of the Assumption was the city&rsquo;s first Catholic church, built in 1833 on Lake Street west of State Street. Three years later the building was moved to Michigan Avenue and Madison Street. In 1843, when Chicago was established as a diocese, a new St. Mary&rsquo;s Cathedral was constructed at the southwest corner of Madison Street and Wabash Avenue.</p><p>The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed St. Mary&rsquo;s Cathedral. Afterward the Catholic bishop decided to rebuild his cathedral in Holy Name parish. He also purchased the five-year-old Plymouth Congregational Church at 9th and Wabash, rededicating it as St. Mary&rsquo;s Catholic Church. The parish was placed under the direction of the Paulist Fathers order of priests.</p><p>The decades passed, and the South Loop went into a long decline. Anyone with money moved out. By the 1930s the area was mostly commercial&mdash;and what wasn&rsquo;t commercial was slum. Aging gracefully while&nbsp;the neighborhood&nbsp;deteriorated, the church remained one rock of stability. People began calling it Old St. Mary&rsquo;s.</p><p>As early as 1904 the Paulists organized a male choir. However, the Paulist Choristers really came into their own after Father Eugene O&rsquo;Malley took over in 1928. At its peak the choir had 65 singers and was internationally famous. When Bing Crosby played a &ldquo;singing priest&rdquo; in the movie <em>Going My Way</em>, his character was named&mdash;not coincidentally&mdash;Father O&rsquo;Malley.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/O%27Malley%2C%20Fr.%20Eugene.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 375px; float: left;" title="Father Eugene O'Malley (author's collection)" /></div><p>The church was distinctive in other ways.</p><p>&quot;Old St. Mary&rsquo;s runs along without the Holy Name society, the Altar &amp; Rosary society, and the young people&rsquo;s sodalities that help the pastor in most parishes,&quot; a 1955 article reported. &quot;It has no parishioners except a few permanent residents&nbsp;of the big Michigan Avenue hotels. Yet Old St. Mary&rsquo;s is filled every Sunday.&quot;</p><p>The church was filled even&nbsp;at 3 a.m, for its night-owl Mass. In those days Catholics were expected to attend weekly Mass on Sunday itself, and not on &quot;anticipated&quot; Saturday evening. I made it to a number of those services in my college days, and always ran into someone I knew.</p><p>The old Old St. Mary&rsquo;s was torn down in 1971. The official explanation was that the building had become too expensive to repair. The gossip was that Standard Oil wanted the land for its new headquarters, and Cardinal Cody sold the property for a nice price.</p><p>Standard Oil eventually built on another site. From 1971 until 2002 the parish operated out of a church at Wabash and Van Buren. The newest Old St. Mary&rsquo;s is located at 1500 South Michigan Ave.</p></p> Thu, 02 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/lost-landmark-old-old-st-marys-106901 List: Reasons why I'd make a pretty good pope http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/list-reasons-why-id-make-pretty-good-pope-105457 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8448374_a261fbc944.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Flickr/bayat" /><span id="internal-source-marker_0.8878438304891015">I&rsquo;d bring new fresh ideas to the Church like putting all the nuns in charge and re-instating the fun-to-say &ldquo;It is right to give Him thanks and praise&rdquo; and maybe swapping out the &ldquo;Peace be with you&rdquo; handshake for a more hygienic long-distance high-five. </span><br /><br />&nbsp;</div><p>I tweet a lot.<br /><br />There might be a slightly different attitude towards abuse of small children if a former altar server and parent of a small child were in charge.<br /><br />I like both bread and wine.<br /><br />Every day of Lent would be Fat Tuesday until Easter.<br /><br />When pop culture makes fun of Catholicism, instead of embarrassing us by getting all outraged I&rsquo;ll say something more along the lines of &ldquo;Okay, you got us, that was pretty good.&rdquo;<br /><br />I used to take Italian and Latin.<br /><br />The Church would be much more inclusive because then when parishes have church parties we could maybe rent out a club instead of having to use the old church rectory basement again.<br /><br />I look good in hats and dresses.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s time for another Polish pope.<br /><br />I got my flu shot so I&rsquo;m good to go.</p></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 09:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-02/list-reasons-why-id-make-pretty-good-pope-105457 Pope Benedict XVI to resign http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/pope-resign-feb-28-says-hes-too-infirm-105454 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7001_AP618392761081(2)-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated: 1:30 p.m.</em></p><p>Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign on Feb. 28 because he was simply too old and too infirm to carry on &mdash; the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years.</p><p>The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March.</p><p>The 85-year-old pope announced his decision in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals on Monday morning. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized in his announcement that carrying out the duties of being pope &mdash; the leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide &mdash; requires &quot;both strength of mind and body.&quot;</p><p>&quot;After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,&quot; he told the cardinals. &quot;I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.</p><p>&quot;However, in today&#39;s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary &mdash; strengths which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.&quot;</p><p>The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants.</p><p>Benedict called his choice &quot;a decision of great importance for the life of the church.&quot;</p><p>Cardinal Francis George said in a statement that Pope Benedict XVI&#39;s decision to resign at the end of the month shows &quot;great courage,&quot; adding that the pope has always &quot;placed the will of God for the good of the Church before every other consideration.&quot;</p><p>Cardinal George, 76, is the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, which serves more than 2 million Roman Catholics. George may play a role in electing the next pope since all cardinals under age 80 are allowed to vote in a secret meeting held at the Sistine Chapel.</p><p>The bishop of Joliet, R. Daniel Conlon, also issued a statement Monday stating the pope&#39;s announcement &quot;comes as a surprise to all of us,&quot; yet is consistent with the pope&#39;s &quot;humble disposition.&quot;</p><p>The head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests was more critical. SNAP President Barbara Blaine called Pope Benedict&rsquo;s handling of priest sex abuse cases &ldquo;dismal.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It sure would be nice if the pope would use his last two weeks in office to really make a difference and take some decisive action that would really protect children,&rdquo; Blaine said.</p><p>SNAP is calling on Pope Benedict to use his final weeks in office to take a stance on priest sex abuse.</p><p>When it comes to selecting a new pope, SNAP says the church should pick someone committed to transparency who will insist that church officials cooperate with law enforcement.</p><p>The Vatican will hold a conclave by mid-March to decide who will become the next pope.</p><p>There are several papal contenders in the wings, but no obvious front-runner &mdash; the same situation when Benedict was elected pontiff in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II.</p><p>When Benedict was elected pope at age 78 &mdash; already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years &mdash; he had been already planning to retire as the Vatican&#39;s chief orthodoxy watchdog to spend his final years writing in the &quot;peace and quiet&quot; of his native Bavaria.</p><p>Contenders to be his successor include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican&#39;s office for bishops.</p><p>Longshots include Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Although Dolan is popular and backs the pope&#39;s conservative line, the general thinking is that the Catholic Church doesn&#39;t need a pope from a &quot;superpower.&quot;</p><p>All cardinals under age 80 are allowed to vote in the conclave, the secret meeting held in the Sistine Chapel where cardinals cast ballots to elect a new pope. As per tradition, the ballots are burned after each voting round; black smoke that snakes out of the chimney means no pope has been chosen, while white smoke means a pope has been elected.</p><p>Popes are allowed to resign; church law specifies only that the resignation be &quot;freely made and properly manifested.&quot;</p><p>Only a handful have done so, however and there&#39;s good reason why it hasn&#39;t become commonplace: Might the existence of two popes &mdash; even when one has stepped down &mdash; lead to divisions and instability in the church? Might a new resignation precedent lead to pressures on future popes to quit at the slightest hint of infirmity?</p><p>Benedict himself raised the possibility of resigning if he were simply too old or sick to continue on in 2010, when he was interviewed for the book Light of the World.</p><p>&quot;If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign,&quot; Benedict said.</p><p>The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had an intimate view as Pope John Paul II, with whom he had worked closely for nearly a quarter-century, suffered through the debilitating end of his papacy.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Rebecca Kruth contributed to this report.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 06:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/pope-resign-feb-28-says-hes-too-infirm-105454 In Cicero, a Roman Catholic church founded by Polish immigrants welcomes the undocumented http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cicero-roman-catholic-church-founded-polish-immigrants-welcomes-undocumented-104980 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/8386978341_0f0d5ca5a8.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cicero is known for its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cicero-election-board-allows-dominick-ballot-104967" target="_blank">political turmoil</a>.</p><p>In the early 1960s, Cicero&rsquo;s residents violently chased civil rights marchers out of town, effectively putting a cap on Martin Luther King, Jr.&rsquo;s efforts in the area. And in the early 2000s, long-time Cicero Mayor Betty Loren-Maltese was arrested on corruption charges and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/betty-loren-maltese-out-prison" target="_blank">landed in federal prison for nearly seven years</a>.</p><p>But another story has been unfolding a little more gradually in the sizeable suburb just west of Chicago.</p><p>That story can be summed up with a statistic: In 1960, Cicero was 99.9 percent white. Now it&rsquo;s 87 percent Latino.</p><p>A 120-year-old Polish Catholic church just across the border with Chicago is adapting to the changes - and it&rsquo;s welcoming a group of immigrants from federal detention into their former convent.</p><p>St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish has been in Cicero since 1895, when this was a boomtown filled with first-generation Europeans. The parish is named for the biggest pilgrimage site in Poland, Czestochowa, the location of a mystical Black Madonna, or dark-skinned image of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose roots go deep into medieval European Catholicism.</p><p>Inside St. Mary of Czestochowa&rsquo;s towering neo-Gothic church, images of the Black Madonna with child are everywhere.</p><p>But among the church&rsquo;s nine Virgin Mary images, the Virgin of Guadalupe also has a prominent place.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish, once a go-to place for the region&rsquo;s Polish Catholics, is now over 60 percent Latino.</p><p>And the space behind the church, once a convent, is being renovated to host asylum seekers and others without papers who need temporary housing while they wait for hearings.</p><p>&ldquo;Cicero is basically kind of an immigrant community,&rdquo; said Mary Warchol, who&rsquo;s helping set up the former convent for the newcomers. &ldquo;I think that people have to see, well, they were immigrants when they came here. So what about the people here?&rdquo;</p><p>Warchol is a retired schoolteacher who was baptized in the parish, and now lives two doors down. As she and her cousin walked the empty halls of the convent taking pictures, she said the changes over the years are just a part of life in Cicero. The city has long been a stepping stone between Chicago and the suburbs, and a hotspot for immigrants and first-time home buyers.</p><p>With the support of the parish, a Chicago group called the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) plans to rent out the old convent starting in February.</p><p>Father Waldemar, a Polish priest who came from Bolivia to head the Cicero parish, said welcoming immigrants is part of what keeps the parish alive.</p><p>&ldquo;We have many groups in our parish who are very dedicated to work in this parish...they feel here like it&rsquo;s home,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>ICDI was started by two <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-filmmaker-explores-new-roles-us-nuns-102408" target="_blank">prominent Chicago nuns</a> to help people who are released from federal detention. The group takes calls and drives to local jails to pick up people who have been released and need help.</p><p>&ldquo;People are being released and they&rsquo;re being released to the streets,&rdquo; said Brother Michael Gosch, a teacher who&rsquo;s leading the House of Hospitality effort for ICDI.</p><p>In many cases, asylum seekers have to wait years in limbo before a hearing; others who have been caught without papers may have to wait for documentation from their home countries before they can be deported.</p><p>No matter the case, people coming out of detention are released to the streets and often find themselves with nowhere to go. They may be in Chicago from as far away as Kentucky, because the regional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) headquarters is here. Or they may have arrived at O&rsquo;Hare airport as refugees and been taken to jail.</p><p>&ldquo;Our whole goal with this House of Hospitality on the one hand is to provide accompaniment and hospitality for people who have nowhere to go,&rdquo; said Brother Michael. &ldquo;But on the other hand, it&rsquo;s also about systemic change. Putting them in jail facilities, manacling them when you transport them, it&rsquo;s not humane and it&rsquo;s not just.&rdquo;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/a-day-in-cicero.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/a-day-in-cicero" target="_blank">View the story "A day in Cicero" on Storify</a>]<h1>A day in Cicero</h1><h2>WBEZ sent Lewis Wallace and Andrew Gill to visit Cicero and find a story. Here are the results of their trip.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Wed, Jan 16 2013 20:12:47</p><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>In an effort to get to know Chicago's suburbs better, WBEZ sent us to visit Cicero this week. The idea was to follow our curiosity and find a story. <br><br>We started our day at St. Mary of&nbsp;Częstochowa, a traditionally Polish parish founded in 1895.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>The church has a special emphasis on the Polish "Black Madonna," one of few in the area.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>We asked the priest to explain a little about Our Lady of&nbsp;Częstochowa.</div><div>Learning about the Black Madonna in Cicero by WBEZ's Afternoon ShiftListen to Learning about the Black Madonna in Cicero by WBEZ's Afternoon Shift | Explore the largest community of artists, bands, podcast...</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>The priest told us that the parish isn't actually majority Polish anymore. The changing demographics of Cicero have led to 60% of the congregation being Latino.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>Services are now conducted in English, Polish and Spanish.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>As we were leaving, the priest introduced us to a parishioner who was stopping by to work on an interesting project. Mary Warchol was joining her cousin to photograph the old convent building before renting it to a group that houses immigrants awaiting their legal status.&nbsp;</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>We thought this sounded like a great story, so we asked to tag along with Mary. Here are some photos of the convent building.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>As the ladies took their photos, they told us a lot about the history of Cicero.</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div><div>A day in Cicerochicagopublicmedia</div></noscript></p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 22:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/cicero-roman-catholic-church-founded-polish-immigrants-welcomes-undocumented-104980 Chicago Cardinal urges opposition to gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-cardinal-urges-opposition-gay-marriage-104642 <p><p>Chicago&#39;s Cardinal Francis George is urging parishioners to let state lawmakers know they oppose gay marriage.</p><p>George&#39;s letter to priests in the Roman Catholic archdiocese comes as Illinois legislators are poised to consider a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. State Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Greg Harris could introduce the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to legalize same-sex marriage as early as this week.</p><p>George wrote that allowing gay couples to marry would be &quot;acting against the common good of society.&quot;</p><p>Previously, some clergy members sent a letter pushing for gay marriage and some of Illinois&#39; top companies and executives have also voiced their support for the legislation after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked CEO&#39;s to sign such a letter.</p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 08:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/chicago-cardinal-urges-opposition-gay-marriage-104642 Doctors say Chicago's Cardinal George appears cancer free http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/doctors-say-chicagos-cardinal-george-appears-cancer-free-104337 <p><p>Cardinal Francis George says he appears to be cancer free after he started chemotherapy in September for cancer cells on his liver and kidney.</p><p>The head of Chicago&#39;s Catholic archdiocese tells the <a href="http://trib.in/X8Hy3P" target="_blank">Chicago Tribune</a> doctors were encouraged because &quot;they couldn&#39;t find any evidence of cancer where they found it before.&quot; This has been George&#39;s second bout with cancer. Six years ago, surgeons removed his bladder, prostate and part of his right ureter following the discovery that he had bladder cancer.</p><p>The 75-year-old George is the spiritual leader of the Chicago archdiocese, which serves more than 2 million Roman Catholics. George says a weakened immune system means he will miss his Christmas outings this year. George won&#39;t celebrate Mass at Cook County jail or visit patients at Lurie Children&#39;s Hospital.</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/doctors-say-chicagos-cardinal-george-appears-cancer-free-104337 Lost Landmark: St. Basil's Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/lost-landmark-st-basils-catholic-church-98845 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-16--St.%20Basil%27s.JPG" title="St. Basil's Catholic Church, 1840 W. Garfield Blvd." /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Bulldozers recently claimed the historic Anshe Kenesseth Israel Temple on Douglas Boulevard. As I followed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-03-19/after-shepherds-demise-whats-next-citys-other-sacred-ruins-97450">the story on Lee Bey&rsquo;s blog</a>, I was reminded of another lost house of worship on one of our boulevards &mdash; St. Basil&rsquo;s Catholic Church.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The parish was founded in 1904 to serve Irish and German Catholics in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood. Masses were celebrated first in an abandoned blacksmith shop, and later in a combination church-school building. The permanent church was not completed until 1926.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">It was worth the wait. The parish&rsquo;s patron saint had been a bishop in Asia Minor. The new St. Basil&rsquo;s at 1840 West Garfield Boulevard was built in the Byzantine style, along the lines of the famous Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">St. Basil&rsquo;s Church was not very large, with seating for about 1,200 people. What made it impressive was the décor. Granite columns rose from granite steps on the portico, and the interior contained frescoes and mosaics in bright colors. Topping it off, 100 feet up from the floor, was a 61-foot-wide dome.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As time passed, the original families moved out of the parish, and were replaced by Poles and other Eastern Europeans. Later St. Basil&rsquo;s added a significant Hispanic population.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">During the 1980s the neighborhood around the church became predominantly African-American. The Catholic population shrank. St. Basil&rsquo;s closed in 1990, and the parish was consolidated with Visitation parish. Shortly afterward, the Byzantine landmark on Garfield Boulevard was demolished.</div></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/lost-landmark-st-basils-catholic-church-98845