WBEZ | Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/tags/catholic-church Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en At U.S. seminaries, a rise in millennials answering God's call http://www.wbez.org/news/us-seminaries-rise-millennials-answering-gods-call-113051 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/millennials answering God&#039;s call.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Seminarians attend a theology class at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/usml-promo_custom-538bff9194b6d1d6ad72ce1cb63b75f98039ea9e-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 600px;" title="Seminarians attend a theology class at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill. (Courtesy of Mundelein Seminary)" /></div><div><p>When Pope Francis meets with American bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, seminarian Stefan Megyery will participate in the midday prayer service.</p></div></div><p>He can hardly contain his excitement.</p><p>&quot;How often do you get the chance to meet the pope?&quot; Megyery says.</p><p>A few short years ago, the 34-year-old would have been about the same age as most of his classmates at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theologicalcollege.org/">Theological College</a>, the seminary of The Catholic University Of America, where he is studying to become a priest for the Archdiocese of Washington. But no longer.</p><p>&quot;The majority of our seminarians are in their mid- to late 20s, whereas when I started out they would have been in their early to mid-30s &mdash; and a number older, much older,&quot; says the Rev. Phillip Brown, rector of Theological College since 2011 who&#39;s also served on the faculty and staff of theological institutions for more than a decade.</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/seminary-20150921/child.html">&nbsp;</p><p>That trend is being reflected at Catholic seminaries across the U.S. Though the overall number of priests-in-training remains small, the declining age of seminarians is welcome news for a church whose population is rapidly aging in the U.S. and which faces a critical shortage of priests. Observers say it may signal the beginning of a period of renewal.</p><p><strong>The Faithful Amid A Sea Of Religious &#39;Nones&#39;</strong></p><p>Of the more than 3,000 men in seminary now, the percentage of those 34 or younger has risen to more than 75 percent, according to data from the&nbsp;<a href="http://cara.georgetown.edu/">Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate</a>&nbsp;at Georgetown University. From 2000 to 2005, that figure hovered around 65 percent. The greatest growth has been among 25- to 29-year-olds.</p><p>That&#39;s all the more notable because the general religious climate in the country wouldn&#39;t suggest it. Among fellow millennials &mdash; those born after 1980 &mdash; the number who identify as Catholic has dipped from 22 percent in 2007 to 16 percent last year, the<a href="http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/">Pew Research Center reported earlier this year</a>. During the same period, those who say they&#39;re religiously unaffiliated &mdash; known also as the religious &quot;nones&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/13/a-closer-look-at-americas-rapidly-growing-religious-nones/">rose 10 percentage points to 35 percent</a>.</p><p>But an overwhelmingly secular society and religious ambivalence among their peers may actually help bring clarity to those contemplating entering the priesthood.</p><p>&quot;When a society gets open, more liberal, more individualistic, it&#39;s harder maybe to make this decision, OK, I want to be a priest, because you have so many other choices and alternatives,&quot; says seminarian Megyery, who grew up in Berlin.</p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Seminarians greet each other outside Theological College, the national seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/cua-01_custom-55a38c98b091498f3cc07d374f71524d8394f52a-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 403px; width: 600px;" title="Seminarians greet each other outside Theological College, the national seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (Ed Pfueller/Courtesy of The Catholic University of America)" /></div><div><p>In the 1950s and &#39;60s, he says, entering religious life &mdash; as a priest or nun &mdash; was a viable and common profession for Catholics.</p></div></div><p>&quot;Nowadays it&#39;s much harder. ... You have to defend your decision in front of the world,&quot; he says. &quot;When you talk to your friends and they don&#39;t understand it, and you have to explain this, sometimes it can be hard. You must be very sure, you must be very steadfast and devout and trust in the Lord.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s particularly true given the still-raw wounds of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/10/413387725/vatican-establishes-tribunal-to-investigate-bishops-in-abuse-cases">clerical sex abuse scandal</a>&nbsp;and the more rigorous vetting process U.S. seminaries implemented in its wake, which includes criminal background checks, a battery of psychological and physical exams and extensive personal interviews.</p><p><strong>A Search For Meaning, Service To Others</strong></p><p>The Rev. Thomas Baima is vice rector for academic affairs at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., and dean of&nbsp;<a href="http://usml.edu/">the school&#39;s seminary</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the largest in the United States. In order to begin to understand the roots of the change, Baima says it&#39;s necessary to examine millennials&#39; culture and their traits as a generation.</p><p>&quot;It seems the millennials are very much interested in lives of meaning and purpose, they want to do things that have some significance,&quot; Baima says. &quot;So success for them is in some ways being redefined. ... That seems to translate into a set of career choices earlier in their 20s, which somehow relate to finding meaning and purpose. &quot;</p><p>Tom Lawrence, a first-year student of pre-theology at Theological College, says that yearning for meaning came for him as a desire to make his life a function of the lives of others.</p><p>&quot;It means removing the focus of my life from myself to be the Other,&quot; explains Lawrence, of the Diocese of Richmond, Va.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s this desire, through creating obligations for myself, for doing this or that or the other, of focusing on how do I help others. It&#39;s not an active thought,&quot; he says. &quot;And this escalated: How can I spend more time doing something for someone else rather than doing something for myself? ... So that again kept chipping away.</p><p>&quot;The only way you can describe it, I think, is a peace,&quot; says Lawrence, who notes that at times he felt more involved in the church than connected to it, even as he was tasked with the religious education of others. &quot;Where instead of being anxious in a moment, or being concerned about, well, what&#39;s going to happen to me, or ... am I going to be embarrassed, or what will my family think, it becomes a question of I&#39;m justified in the sense that in this moment, I can benefit someone else instead of myself, and that&#39;s a more noble, or more useful, goal.&quot;</p><p><strong>A Yearning For Beauty And Ritual</strong></p><p>Baima, the vice rector at Mundelein, also argues that other aspects of contemporary society &mdash; its pace, the use of technology, the emphasis on visuals &mdash; may also play a role in explaining the demographic shift underway.</p><p>&quot;Perhaps a form of worship that stresses beauty and the majesty of God ... is filling a contemporary need that we might not be recognizing,&quot; he says. &quot;Is the fact that it&#39;s a more visual experience simply lining up with a generation with whom visual communication is far more important because of technology&#39;s changes?</p><p>&quot;Is it because more traditional worship provides more quiet and reflective experiences in an age when information just crashes over them like waves?&quot; Baima asks. &quot;These are only hypotheses, but it&#39;s a question.&quot;</p><div><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="New seminarians take part in their first Morning of Recollection at Theological College in August." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/cua-02_custom-18805471e4382efda7e1e9fabe51269a174b49e9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 431px; width: 600px;" title="New seminarians take part in their first Morning of Recollection at Theological College in August. (Courtesy of The Catholic University of America)" /></div><div><p>Exposure to the physical beauty of Catholic traditions was a powerful draw for Josh Gray, a third-year theologian at Mundelein. Home-schooled on his family&#39;s farm in the small town of Early, Texas, the 24-year-old attended daily Mass with his mother from the time he was a baby through high school.</p></div></div><p>&quot;With all this exposure to the Eucharist, to Mass, to Catholic teachings, I guess I couldn&#39;t help but say, &#39;Wow, I want to be a part of this, this amazing mystery, this beautiful, wonderful celebration,&quot; he recalls. &quot;So in this atmosphere of going to church, of learning more about the faith, I just felt drawn toward it.&quot;</p><p><strong>Strong Faith, Weak Religious Foundation</strong></p><p>But Baima says his observations suggest this is hardly the rule. In fact, he says that many of the millennials entering seminary now were brought up Catholic&nbsp;but did not have what he terms a &quot;densely&quot; Catholic experience.</p><p>That was the case with Nelson Cintra, a 29-year-old at Mundelein. Despite the fact that his mother was very pious and he attended Mass regularly with her, the second-year pre-theologian says he did not receive a strong Catholic formation growing up in Ohio.</p><p>&quot;I did learn about our Sunday obligation, and Our Father and Hail Mary. From first through seventh grade, I went to Catholic school, learned what you learn in religious education class,&quot; he says. &quot;I learned what (the Catholic faith) looked like on the outside, but I didn&#39;t learn what it meant to have a heart that was attached to the heart of Christ.&quot;</p><p>As a result, Cintra and many other men of his generation experienced their spiritual awakening as adults &mdash; for many, at college. To Baima, that makes sense.</p><p>&quot;If one is on a campus where moral relativism is holding sway, and they&#39;re looking at their college classmates, who they care about, getting hurt by a lack of an ethical clarity in their life, you can see where they would look for alternatives,&quot; says Baima, whose observations draw on 15 years working in various posts at the university.</p><p><strong>On Campuses, Spiritual Challenge And Community</strong></p><p>It was at college at Indiana University that Radley Alcantara first started feeling &quot;a tug on (his) heart from God.&quot; Until then, he says, his goals were to go into the business world and &quot;make a lot of money.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I was raised Catholic, I liked being Catholic, but I didn&#39;t have a deep understanding of what that meant, what that looked like,&quot; says Alcantara, who is 27 now and a third-year theologian at Mundelein. &quot;So entering college, I did the typical college stuff, you know, going to parties and drinking.&quot;</p><p>But even as Alcantara was &quot;partying hard,&quot; he&#39;d still go to Mass.</p><p>&quot;I always went to Mass, every weekend, whether I went to Mass first and then I went out, or I would go to parties and on Sunday I would go to Mass at some point,&quot; says Alcantara, who grew up in Portage, Ind., the son of immigrants from the Philippines.</p><p>For him, finding a community of other Christians on campus was vital.</p><p>&quot;Friends really challenged me: &#39;You say you&#39;re a Christian but you&#39;re not living a Christian lifestyle,&#39; &quot; he recalls. &quot;And I didn&#39;t really know what that meant. I started going to Bible studies with them, and realizing that I was living inconsistently with what I say that I believe in.&quot;</p><div><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Rev. Phillip Brown center, watches as Tom Lawrence right, a first-year pre-theologian at Theological College, signs the Book of Inscription during the school's opening Mass in August." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/cua-03_custom-9a2ae849ce500c5e3bd817a876251377eba5b7bf-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 192px; width: 300px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The Rev. Phillip Brown, center, watches as Tom Lawrence, right, a first-year pre-theologian at Theological College, signs the Book of Inscription during the school's opening Mass in August. (Courtesy of The Catholic University of America)" /></div><div><p>Many collegiate Catholics find a spiritual home at the 2,000 Newman Centers at schools across the country. In the past two decades, many of them have also opened up actual homes &mdash; dorm-like residences &mdash; to accommodate Catholic students. Mundelein&#39;s Baima says in his experience, the centers on secular campuses at big state universities are often the most vibrant.</p></div></div><p>&quot;We used to joke that the Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was our best college seminary, because so many young men came out of there and looked to go onto graduate seminary,&quot; he says.</p><p>Among recent applicants Baima has interviewed, living at one of these residential centers was an important aspect of &quot;their coming to an adult possession in their faith.&quot;</p><p>&quot;They were able to get into an environment that was supportive for those who had a faith life,&quot; Baima says.</p><p><strong>A Call To &#39;Go Out To The People&#39;</strong></p><p>For all the optimism about the uptick in younger men entering seminary, Brown, the rector at Theological College, offers a caveat.</p><p>&quot;We see a lot of young people ... who have experienced what they have perceived or experienced as chaos in the life around them and society around them,&quot; he says. &quot;Many of them have been looking for a more orderly or safe kind of life that they see that the tradition of the church represents.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s not inherently a bad thing, Brown says.</p><p>&quot;But to the extent that it might represent a kind of retrenchment and unwillingness to engage the world, rather to see yourself as against the world around you, that&#39;s not a good thing,&quot; he says. &quot;That&#39;s not what the Gospel is about, that&#39;s not what the Christian faith is about, that&#39;s not what the church is about.&quot;</p><p>And that&#39;s not the approach Pope Francis has taken so far during this papacy.</p><p>&quot;He radiates a kind of joy and a love for people, compassion, concern, and also of being in touch with the world around him,&quot; says Brown.</p><p>That, in turn, inspires seminarians like Megyery, a first-year theologian.</p><p>&quot;I read about Francis when he was the bishop of Buenos Aires. He traveled on the metro with the people, he had contact with the people,&quot; he says. &quot;I would like to be a priest in this way. Not to hide in my rectory, but to go out to the people and to really embrace them, and maybe not only the parish, but all people, because we have good news for everybody, not only for Catholics.&quot;</p><p>&quot;What Pope Francis does, especially with his emphasis on the poor people, those people who are a little abandoned and live on the outskirts, are neglected by society,&quot; Megyery says, &quot;that&#39;s where we have to go, he&#39;s just following Jesus&#39; example this way.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/442243849/at-u-s-seminaries-a-rise-in-millennials-answering-gods-call"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 24 Sep 2015 10:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-seminaries-rise-millennials-answering-gods-call-113051 Pope Francis inspires black Catholics, despite complicated church history on race http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-race-113040 <p><div id="res442518676"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Pope Francis talks with a group of children in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, in El Cobre, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/ap_900392557123-fca892f9ced92ed3068ee67f6db824e9a4c0ecfc-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 600px;" title="Pope Francis talks with a group of children in the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, in El Cobre, Cuba, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (Tony Gentile/AP)" /></div><div><p>Every time Pope Francis washes the feet of prisoners, embraces an orphan, speaks of social justice and &quot;the least of these,&quot; it reflects the Catholic Church as I would like it to be, the church of the Scriptures. Pope Francis has not altered doctrine or dogma; yet words and deeds have their own kind of power. His U.S. itinerary includes stops at a Harlem school and a Philadelphia correctional facility. It&#39;s a visit that may bring me closer to a faith that has not always been so welcoming to black Catholics like me.</p></div></div><p>&quot;I think Pope Francis&#39; message is a challenging one for the kinds of Catholics we have here in America, who have bought into a kind of Evangelicalism which isn&#39;t Catholicism,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sas.upenn.edu/religious_studies/faculty/butler">Anthea Butler,</a>&nbsp;Associate Professor of Religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. &quot;I think it rings true for black Catholics because of his focus on justice, poverty, and liberation.&quot;</p><p>It certainly rings true for someone like me who sees being Catholic as an essential part of being myself. When you are baptized with the name your late grandmother carried, Mary Cecelia, Catholic is with you before you learn the rosary or make your first Communion. But being&nbsp;black&nbsp;and Catholic &mdash; something I never thought much about in my early years &mdash; means inheriting a complicated legacy.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/8675971548_7872e01a16_z.jpg" style="height: 445px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Exterior of the Holy Angel Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side. It is the city's largest black Catholic church. There are more than 2,000 church members. The Church also had the largest black Catholic school in the nation, with over 1,300 students. (U.S. National Archives/John H.White)" /></p><p>In my home state of Maryland, which was colonized as a refuge for persecuted Catholics, the faith was locked in for many enslaved African-Americans, beginning in the 17th&nbsp;century, a custom that extended to other parts of the young country. &quot;Many enslaved Africans became Catholic if imported through New Orleans under French rule &#39;code noir,&#39;&quot; Butler explains, &quot;which required slaves purchased to be baptized in the Catholic Church within seven days of purchase.&quot;</p><p>For centuries, not only did the Catholic Church bless slaveholders, in some cases, it joined their ranks.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.udayton.edu/directory/artssciences/religiousstudies/moore_cecilia.php">Cecilia Moore</a>&nbsp;is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, a Catholic research university in Ohio. Moore, herself an African-American Catholic, has researched black Catholic history and has taught at Xavier University of Louisiana&#39;s Institute for Black Catholic Studies. She notes that religious orders like the Jesuits ignored church law on slavery, and held slaves themselves, who worked as servants and on the community&#39;s farms.</p><div id="res442554435"><div data-crop-type="">Despite&nbsp;<a href="http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/publications/in-supremo-apostolatus-apostolic-letter-condemning-the-slave-trade">Pope Gregory&#39;s 1839 condemnation of the slave trade,</a>&nbsp;Catholic loyalties in the Civil War often split along regional lines, with the archbishop of New York John Hughes supporting the Union and consulting with President Abraham Lincoln, while the Charleston, S.C., bishop Patrick Neeson Lynch, was sent by Jefferson Davis to meet with Pope Pius IX in a failed attempt to get him to recognize the Confederacy.</div><div data-crop-type="">&nbsp;</div><div data-crop-type="">To be sure, the church could also be a force for equality in America, from the work of Mother Katharine Drexel (now a saint) in funding and founding black Catholic schools and parishes in the late 19th&nbsp;and early 20th&nbsp;centuries, to the actions of North Carolina Bishop Vincent Waters to integrate schools and churches in 1953, a year before the Supreme Court&#39;s Brown v. Board of Education decision.</div><div data-crop-type="">&nbsp;</div><div data-crop-type="">That spirit of inclusion was not something the larger church always embraced, even on Sunday mornings. &quot;Segregation in the Catholic church was prevalent, especially during the Jim Crow era,&quot; says Butler. African-Americans were often forced to sit in separate sections of churches and barred from altar service or taking communion. &quot;We still have people who have living memory of the ways in which they were segregated in worship,&quot; says Moore. Still, many black religious and lay leaders never lost their faith or activism, with black church organizations offering support throughout the church&#39;s history in America.</div></div><p>Religion and politics, while never separate, became as tangled as they could be in Baltimore in the 1960s and 1970s &ndash; a time of turmoil and tension to spare. This is when the Church&#39;s complicated history with race became part of my own story. I remember the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1984/08/27/obituaries/lawrence-cardinal-shehan-dies-retired-archbishop-of-baltimore.html">heroism of Lawrence Cardinal Shehan</a>, Archbishop of Baltimore &ndash; soft spoken and small in stature &ndash; who demonstrated at the March on Washington, ordered desegregation of schools in the archdiocese in the 1960s, and was jeered when he testified in favor of open housing legislation.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_6409180103.jpg" style="float: left; height: 252px; width: 340px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="In his photo released by the Vatican, Pope Paul VI poses at the Vatican with American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during a private audience, Sept. 18, 1964. With the pontiff and King are Msgr. Paolo Marcinkus of Chicago, who acted as interpreter, and with King is his aide, Dr. Ralph Abernathy, right. (AP Photo/Vatican Photo)" /></p><p>But I also remember how segregation marred Catholic schools, and what that meant to my family in the 1950s and 1960s. My oldest brother passed rigorous entrance exams for Catholic high schools in Baltimore with flying colors. But he never got to attend; priests and school administrators explained that had my brother been white and non-Catholic, he would&#39;ve been accepted. With the persistence of my devout and active Catholic mother, who persevered through her hurt, he was accepted to a Catholic high school in Wilmington, Del., which was integrating. That meant a daily early train commute from Baltimore to Wilmington, about an hour one way; he never missed a day and graduated with high honors, second in the class.</p><div id="res442550096"><aside><blockquote><div><p><strong><em>&quot;We still have people who have living memory of the ways in which they were segregated in worship.&quot; -Cecilia Moore, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton</em></strong></p></div></blockquote></aside></div><p>Just a few years later, things had changed...somewhat. When I graduated from an all-black grade school, taught by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oblatesisters.com/history.html">Oblate Sisters of Providence</a>, a black order of nuns founded in Baltimore in 1829 to teach children who looked like me, I passed those tests, just as my brother had, and was allowed to enter an all-girls Catholic high school where I was in a definite minority.</p><p>I developed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/we-are-the-girls-from-seton-high">lasting friendships&nbsp;</a>and survived occasional clashes with white girls from other parts of the city as we worked through petty kid stuff as well as more serious racial resentments that threatened to trump carefully learned lessons of Catholic charity. I found refuge with the other newspaper geeks and Sister Mary Augustine who welcomed anyone willing to write or edit a story. In my senior year, I shared editor duties with a white classmate who is still a friend.</p><p><img alt="Writer Mary C. Curtis in her fourth grade school picture from St. Pius V school in Baltimore, Md." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/22/catholicschoolgirlpix_vert-142a1b95059a03d9c2bffd204ae226bc972319b0-s400-c85.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 300px; width: 225px;" title="Writer Mary C. Curtis in her fourth-grade school picture from St. Pius V school in Baltimore, Md. (Courtesy of Mary Curtis)" /></p><p>The teachers were often the bigger problem. The day I registered for classes, the nun in charge looked at my face, and pulled my mom and me aside halfway through the process. It never occurred to her that the Mary Cecelia whose test scores put her in honors courses could look like me. She explained that while I qualified for gifted classes, I might want to start in a lower group until I could handle more advanced work. After exchanging looks, my mother and I assured her I would be fine. That nun, who later would become my honors algebra teacher, remained bewildered by my success. &quot;Are other people in your family smart?&quot; she&#39;d ask me.</p><p>The Church has come a long way since my childhood, even before Pope Francis. In 2010, when the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/08/17/for-black-catholic-women-gathering-is-like-cpr-for-the-spirit/">National Gathering for Black Catholic Women</a>&nbsp;met in Charlotte, N.C, where I now live, hundreds of women traveled from across the country for fellowship dedicated to &quot;remaining Catholic while remaining authentically black,&quot; as one attendee put it. My sister &ndash; following my mother&#39;s example &mdash; was one of them. She worships at a predominantly black parish in Baltimore that was all-white in my childhood and changed with the neighborhood. Now, with a black pastor, the vibrant services incorporate soulful music and praise dance.</p><p>Worldwide, the black Catholic Church is changing, too. According to the&nbsp;<a href="http://nbccongress.org/black-catholics/worldwide-count-black-catholics-01.asp">National Black Catholic Congress</a>, Catholics of African descent represent almost 25 percent of the one billion Roman Catholics throughout the world in more than 59 countries.</p><p>At Cecilia Moore&#39;s predominantly black parish in Dayton, many of the younger parishioners are from Ghana, with others from Nigeria and Rwanda. &quot;We&#39;re getting older, and the young people of African descent tend to be immigrants and the children of immigrants,&quot; she says, noting that the number of white American Catholics has long been in decline. &quot;When we take a picture of the U.S. Catholic Church, it&#39;s going to be very black and brown,&quot; Moore explains, adding that the U.S. church is increasingly dependent on foreign-born priests &mdash; maybe from Africa, India, the Philippines or Ireland. &quot;America is kind of a mission again.&quot;</p><p>So, you could say Pope Francis is doing missionary work, recognizing that the church needs to embrace members of color to survive. Or maybe he&#39;s just getting back to basics. &quot;He has the common touch, that is the ability to relate to people, to be with people to enjoy their company, to listen to them,&quot; says Moore. &quot;It feels so relatable and relational; every time he does that he reminds all of us that the church is so much wider than what we think we know it is. ... He surprises us.&quot;</p><p>Pope Francis&#39; message has surprised me. He looks to the future of the church by sharing a message that harkens back to the small and inclusive world that once made me feel very much at home in church. Even from a distance, I will be listening.</p><p><em>Mary C. Curtis is a journalist in Charlotte, N.C. She has worked at the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Charlotte Observer, as a national correspondent for Politics Daily and was a contributor to The Washington Post. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/mcurtisnc3">Twitter</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/09/22/442509427/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-on-race?ft=nprml&amp;f=442509427"><em> via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Wed, 23 Sep 2015 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-francis-inspires-black-catholics-despite-complicated-church-history-race-113040 Built by immigrants, U.S. Catholic churches bolstered by them once again http://www.wbez.org/news/built-immigrants-us-catholic-churches-bolstered-them-once-again-112872 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_339034943479_custom-88fa6e209f7d3726802037806f2d129e3c4464bb-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Nearly a century ago, immigrants from Germany and Ireland founded St. Helena Church in a working-class neighborhood in north Philadelphia.</p><p>Immigrants, and their children, still fill the pews at St. Helena&#39;s &mdash; but the vast majority of them are now from Vietnam, Latin America, the Philippines and Africa. Weekly masses are conducted in Spanish and Vietnamese as well as English. The senior priest, the Rev. Joseph Trinh, is himself a Vietnamese refugee. One of his associate priests is from Haiti, and another is from Ecuador.</p><p>&quot;I tell people here that we didn&#39;t have the opportunity to build this beautiful church, but now it is our turn to upkeep it and pass it on to the next generation,&quot; Trinh says. &quot;We were welcomed here, and now we have to welcome other groups that come in.&quot;</p><div id="res437270630"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="The Rev. Joseph Trinh, the senior priest at St. Helena, meets with the liturgy and decorations committee planning a Mass for Vietnamese Catholics during Pope Francis' visits to the city later this month." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/catholicimmigrants_2113594-7-_slide-28d0f20c7a79e0ccf1838872cc54412e896eb271-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 359px; width: 540px;" title="The Rev. Joseph Trinh, the senior priest at St. Helena, meets with the liturgy and decorations committee planning a Mass for Vietnamese Catholics during Pope Francis' visits to the city later this month. (Tom Gjelten/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Immigrants may be unpopular in some corners of American society, but not with the U.S. Catholic Church, which depends on immigrant members to replenish its ranks. More than a quarter of today&#39;s U.S. Catholics were born outside the country, and another 15 percent are the children of immigrants. Hispanics account for the largest proportion of the immigrant influx, but Asians are moving up fast.</p></div></div></div><div id="con437600101"><div id="responsive-embed-catholic-immigrant-20150904">Not surprisingly, immigrants will get a lot of attention from Pope Francis on his upcoming U.S. visit. In New York, he&#39;ll go to a school that serves immigrant students, and he&#39;s expected to follow that with a personal meeting with immigrant families. He will meet again with foreign-born Catholics in Philadelphia, and he is likely to speak out on immigration issues in his address to the World Meeting of Families.</div></div><p>&quot;We&#39;re in the twilight of the white ethnic European Catholic Church,&quot; says William D&#39;Antonio, a sociologist who has been studying U.S. Catholics for nearly 60 years. &quot;We are in a new era. Within 40 years, this will be a colorful church.&quot;</p><p>The shift is already evident in many urban parishes. Across the northeast United States, for instance, many of the Catholic parishes established decades ago by European immigrants have closed due to declining membership. For a while, it appeared St. Helena might join them.</p><p><img alt="Sister Marie Albert, 84, received her Catholic primary education at St. Helena, when it was an all-white immigrant community." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/sister_albert_slide-11a75730a2ce0f1354e1fc35a84262b08c176c86-s700-c85.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 200px; width: 300px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Sister Marie Albert, 84, received her Catholic primary education at St. Helena, when it was an all-white immigrant community. (Marisa Penaloza/NPR)" /></p><p>&quot;I remember sitting in church one day and feeling the void,&quot; says 66-year-old Mary Black, a St. Helena member for more than 40 years. &quot;People were moving out, and it was that scary feeling of transition, of &#39;What&#39;s going to happen?&#39; But then they came. I really think this church would be shuttered if it wasn&#39;t for the Vietnamese community and other immigrants.&quot;</p><div id="res437264930"><div><div><p>Membership in the U.S. Catholic Church as a whole is dropping, according to the Pew Research Center, but the trend would be far sharper if not for the foreign-born.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Immigrants are a large and important part of the church in the United States,&quot; says Greg Smith, Pew&#39;s associate research director, &quot;and their importance to the Catholic faithful will only grow, because they&#39;re much younger than the Catholic population as a whole.&quot;</p><p>With the church depending so heavily on immigrant members, Catholic leaders are outspoken supporters of immigration reform. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput have both criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant rhetoric. In remarks delivered at a recent immigration panel discussion, Chaput also singled out the Obama administration over its deportation policy, which he said was &quot;brutally&quot; affecting immigrant families.</p><div id="res437589550"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Rocio Cruz (facing camera), 7, sits with her father, Jose Carlos Cruz, during a Spanish Mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Church last month in Alexandria, Va. Hispanics account for 34 percent of American Catholics." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/04/virginia-catholic-getty_custom-6d36d8153f1dc232e77bda729f614db9c140014e-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 353px; width: 540px;" title="Rocio Cruz (facing camera), 7, sits with her father, Jose Carlos Cruz, during a Spanish Mass at Good Shepherd Catholic Church last month in Alexandria, Va. Hispanics account for 34 percent of American Catholics. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>Hispanic immigrants have borne the greatest burden of those policies. About four out of five foreign-born Catholics come from countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to Pew data. Many immigrants from Mexico have settled in the southern and western parts of the United States, and the share of U.S. Catholics living in that region is growing.</p></div></div><p>At St. Patrick&#39;s Catholic Church in Oakland, Calif., Spanish-language Masses are far more popular than English-language Masses.</p><p>&quot;[When] I say English Mass on Saturday nights, [the pews] are practically empty,&quot; says Monsignor Antonio Valdivia. &quot;Then I say a Spanish Mass, be it Saturday night or Sunday morning, and they&#39;re filled to bursting, and you see complete families.&quot;</p><div id="res437580630"><div id="responsive-embed-catholic-race-20150903" style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="387px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/catholic-race-20150903/child.html?initialWidth=675&amp;childId=responsive-embed-catholic-race-20150903&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2015%2F09%2F09%2F437219447%2Fbuilt-by-immigrants-u-s-catholic-churches-bolstered-by-them-once-again%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D437219447" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="90%"></iframe></div></div><p>The shift in the geographic center of Catholicism from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West is presenting a challenge to the church, says Smith of the Pew Research Center.</p><p>&quot;This has real repercussions, in terms of trying to find a match between where the resources are, where the parishes are, where the priests are, where the schools are, and where the people are,&quot; he says.</p><p>If that problem can be solved, however, immigrants can revitalize Catholic congregations. St. Helena in Philadelphia, for instance, counts about 200 Vietnamese families among its congregation. Longtime parishioners there say that as they get to know the immigrant newcomers, they appreciate what they bring to the community.</p><p>&quot;The warmth of the Spanish people to me is so heartfelt,&quot; says Mary Black, the longtime parishioner. &quot;The devoutness of the Vietnamese always inspires me. The folks that come from Africa with their dress, Indians who come in saris &mdash; it&#39;s an amazing experience.&quot;</p><div id="res437266878"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="In this photo from April 3, Good Friday, a Vietnamese-American woman at St. Helena Church in Philadelphia sings while holding a program printed in Vietnamese." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/pope_002_slide-3c8f9db71695c5f025009307ccbdfdbe7973d111-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 359px; width: 540px;" title="In this photo from April 3, Good Friday, a Vietnamese-American woman at St. Helena Church in Philadelphia sings while holding a program printed in Vietnamese. (Matt Rourke/AP)" /></div><div><p>Her friend Anita Repsch, a St. Helena member for 58 years, says she often attends Mass with her immigrant friends.</p></div></div><p>&quot;We go to Mass that&#39;s Spanish or Vietnamese, and because our Mass is so structured, we can follow it and know what&#39;s happening. It doesn&#39;t have to be in our language,&quot; 71-year-old Repsch says. &quot;Basically we can pray together, no matter what language we use.&quot;</p><p>As the first prelate from Latin America, Pope Francis is promoting such cross-cultural tolerance, and 84-year-old sociologist William D&#39;Antonio, himself a practicing Catholic, says he&#39;s encouraged by the changes in his church.</p><p>&quot;We could be a model for the world of how Catholics from all over know how to live together,&quot; he says.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>With additional reporting by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/people/2100569/richard-gonzales">Richard Gonzales.</a></em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/09/437219447/built-by-immigrants-u-s-catholic-churches-bolstered-by-them-once-again?ft=nprml&amp;f=437219447" target="_blank"> via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/built-immigrants-us-catholic-churches-bolstered-them-once-again-112872 Portage Park church mourns 'favorite son' Cardinal George http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/portage-park-church-mourns-favorite-son-cardinal-george-111906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cardinal francis george as altar boy_picmonkeyed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Parishioners at Cardinal Francis George&rsquo;s boyhood church are mourning the late Roman Catholic leader.</p><p>George grew up in the Portage Park neighborhood on Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest Side at St. Pascal Church. He went to Catholic school here and was ordained here. He&rsquo;s described on the church website as their &ldquo;Favorite Son.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/remembering-chicagos-cardinal-francis-george-111900" target="_blank">George died Friday</a> after a long fight with cancer.</p><p>Photos lining the back of St. Pascal&rsquo;s show George at every stage of his life: as a baby, an altar boy, graduating from school here, and years later, greeting the Pope.</p><p>Parishioners gathered around the photos and shared memories before mass started Sunday.</p><p>&ldquo;No matter where he came to visit, he came back with a smile and hope,&rdquo; Danny Klbecka, a longtime parishioner recalled. &ldquo;He was a great man, and we&rsquo;re sorry he&rsquo;s gone. We&rsquo;re going to miss him, we&rsquo;ll all miss him.&rdquo;</p><p>The cardinal often returned to visit the church and to see childhood friends.</p><p>&ldquo;He was our great success story,&rdquo; said St. Pascal&rsquo;s Pastor Paul Seaman. &ldquo;He was symbolic of what St. Pascal and the Catholic church is all about. He was a man of faith, he was a man of service, he cared about people, and he was very genuine in the life he lived.&rdquo;</p><p>The pastor and parishioners alike described George as a kind man who was devout in his faith, and they offered insight into the longtime spiritual leader.</p><p>In his sermon, Father Seaman said George talked about his bouts with cancer. At one point, the cardinal felt he was sure he was dying. He said he felt cold inside and out. But a nurse held his hand and told him to fight.</p><p>George said he learned the only thing we take into eternity is our relationships. And although his most important relationship was with God, Seaman said, during a meeting with priests the cardinal said he regretted not becoming friends with more of them. He always wanted to be fair and didn&rsquo;t want anyone to feel they were &ldquo;in&rdquo; or &ldquo;out,&rdquo; Seaman said, adding that such an attempt at fairness came at a high personal cost.</p><p>The cardinal had a strict interpretation of church teachings and was often described as rigid or rule-driven by some.</p><p>Rev. Seaman said George believed that if we learned merely from our experience, our range of knowledge would be too narrow. He saw the history and teachings of the church as a broader and wiser teacher.</p><p>Seaman said the point wasn&rsquo;t the rules, but a relationship with God. Without that relationship, the cardinal said, religion was just a set of burdensome rules.</p><p>St. Pascal isn&rsquo;t the only parish remembering the cardinal. Churches across the region said prayers for him over the weekend, and tributes came pouring in from religious and political leaders.</p><p>Muslim and Jewish leaders here offered sympathy. Leaders of the Muslim Community Center said George made arrangements for Muslims to pray within Chicago churches, denounced injustice and collaborated on public policy issues.</p><p>&ldquo;The Muslim Community Center along with the world will miss this truly committed person of interfaith understanding,&rdquo; leaders said in a statement.</p><p>&ldquo;Leaders of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago join with the entire Jewish community in remembering with joy, respect and gratitude the faithful friendship of Cardinal George,&rdquo; a statement said, adding George &ldquo;continued the path of his predecessors, Cardinal Cody and Cardinal Bernardin, in building a relationship built on foundations of mutual respect.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Pope Francis sent this telegram from the Vatican:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;To the Most Reverend Blase Cupich<br />Archbishop of Chicago</p><p><br />Saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal Francis E. George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal George&rsquo;s witness of consecrated life as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, his service to the Church&rsquo;s educational apostolate and his years of episcopal ministry in the Churches of Yakima, Portland and Chicago, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Details: <a href="http://www.archchicago.org/passing-of-francis-cardinal-george/schedule" target="_blank">Funeral services</a> for Cardinal George.</p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes covers religion for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/lynettekalsnes" target="_blank">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/portage-park-church-mourns-favorite-son-cardinal-george-111906 Pedophilia and the Catholic Church http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-15/pedophilia-and-catholic-church-110664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP607723356423.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Pope Francis said in July that about two percent of Catholic clergymen are pedophiles. But how exactly does one research and arrive at such numbesr? We&#39;ll find out from the BBC.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-pedophilia-and-the-catholic-church/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-pedophilia-and-the-catholic-church.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-pedophilia-and-the-catholic-church" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Pedophilia and the Catholic Church" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-15/pedophilia-and-catholic-church-110664 Survivor of sexual abuse inspires others to speak up http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 140801 Sheila Murphy Barbara Blaine_bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Barbara Blaine was in eighth grade when she was sexually abused by a priest at her Catholic grammar school in Ohio. She felt responsible, that she had caused a good, holy priest to sin.</p><p>Last week, Blaine sat down with her friend and mentor, retired Judge Sheila Murphy in the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the trauma that led her to create a network of survivors of sexual abuse by priests.</p><p>Blaine asked church leaders to ensure that the priest who abused her would be monitored, and would not come into contact with children. To her surprise, he began working at a hospital where kids sometimes went unsupervised.</p><p>Around that same time, Blaine&rsquo;s father had a stroke and wound up in the same hospital where the priest worked. When she asked the head of pastoral care to make sure the priest didn&rsquo;t come by her father&rsquo;s room, she discovered that he was not being monitored, and &ldquo;It was like a knife going in my stomach,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I felt so betrayed. I immediately started wondering: If they lied about this, what else did they lie about? I learned much later that he had actually continued to abuse many more girls over the years. And it&rsquo;s heartbreaking because I feel somewhat responsible.&rdquo;</p><p>In the years that followed, Blaine spoke up about the abuse she suffered, and encouraged others to do the same. As some people spoke up, others came forward. Each year, Blaine says, the victims&rsquo; group got stronger, despite denial and minimization on the part of church leaders. &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t even have cellphones or the internet back then,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But we found each other, and we wrote letters and called.&rdquo;</p><p>Thus began<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/"> SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests</a>. The group will hold its<a href="http://www.snapnetwork.org/2014_conference_schedule"> annual conference in Chicago</a> this weekend (August 1-3, 2014) with special guest speakers, including Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke and historian Garry Wills. StoryCorps will be on hand to record survivors&rsquo; tales.</p><p>Over its twenty-five year history, SNAP leaders have proven adept at getting their story to the public. In 2011,<a href="http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/current-cases/survivors-network-of-those-abused-priests-v.-joseph-ratzinger,-et-al"> SNAP leaders, working with the Center for Constitutional Rights</a>, asked the International Criminal Court to charge Pope Benedict and other high-ranking Catholic clergy with Crimes Against Humanity for their alleged role in the cover-up of sexual abuse in the church. The International Criminal Court chose not to charge them at that time, Blaine says, but said they would take notice, should SNAP or CCR desire to bring additional evidence. The United Nations&rsquo; Committee Against Torture and Committee on the Rights of the Child both issued scathing reports, Blaine says, saying some church leaders care more about the reputation of predatory priests than the protection of children. On Pope Francis, Blaine said, &ldquo;He&rsquo;s set up a committee about sexual abuse. He&rsquo;s held a meeting. He&rsquo;s met with some victims. But we don&rsquo;t see him doing simple things like turning over all the records he has about sex crimes. Turn over those records to police.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Most survivors want to remain anonymous,&rdquo; Blaine said. &ldquo;And they have every right to their privacy. But sometimes, keeping things private makes it a little more difficult to do fundraising or hold public meetings. And the other thing is people frequently perceive us as being anti-Catholic. And to be honest, I think someday when history looks back on our movement, people will say those survivors speaking up made the Church safer.&rdquo;</p><p>Children remain at risk in many countries, she says, including the United States. But the goal of SNAP is to make sure that risk lessens with each passing year. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the hope,&rdquo; Blaine said, &ldquo;that our efforts will protect another generation of children.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/survivor-sexual-abuse-inspires-others-speak-110590 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