WBEZ | pope francis http://www.wbez.org/tags/pope-francis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Kentucky clerk Kim Davis had a secret meting with the Pope http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-had-secret-meting-pope-113128 <p><p>A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court&rsquo;s orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States.</p><p>The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn&rsquo;t deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome that he had no comment on the topic.</p><p>Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis on Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.</p><p>&ldquo;It was really very humbling to even think that he would want to meet me or know me,&rdquo; Davis said in an interview with ABC.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img a="" alt="" at="" award="" class="image-original_image" conference="" cost="" council="" d.c.="" duggan="" family="" in="" james="" last="" lawler="" of="" research="" reuters="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/KimDavis2.jpg" style="height: 352px; width: 540px;" title="Kentucky's Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis speaks after receiving the &quot;Cost of Discipleship&quot; award at a Family Research Council conference last week in Washington, D.C. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters /Landov)" week="" /></div><p>Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail earlier this month for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Staver would not say who initiated the meeting with the pope or how it came to be, though he did say that Vatican officials had inquired about Davis&rsquo; situation while she was in jail. He declined to name them.</p><p>&ldquo;He told me before he left, he said `stay strong.&rsquo; That was a great encouragement,&rdquo; Davis said of the pope during the ABC interview. &ldquo;Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we&rsquo;re doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/09/30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-pope" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now and The Associated Press</em></a></p></p> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-09-30/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-had-secret-meting-pope-113128 Pope Francis speaks to Congress http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-24/pope-francis-speaks-congress-113057 <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/Carolyn%20Kaster.jpg" title="(Photo: Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/225415452&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Examining Pope Francis&#39; message to Congress</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress this morning. He spoke about a range of issues - everything from the death penalty to income inequality and immigration. We&rsquo;ll talk about the speech and how it may have resonated with lawmakers, Catholics and the larger American public with Michael Murphy, director of Catholic Studies at Loyola University and Father Donald Senior, president emeritus and chancellor of the Catholic Theological Union.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><ul><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-19601d90-00fc-f88e-97d1-1f6c77322c90">Michael Murphy is director of Catholic Studies at <a href="http://twitter.com/loyolachicago">Loyola University.</a></span></em></li><li><em>Father Donald Senior is the president emeritus and chancellor of Catholic Theological Union.</em></li></ul></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/225417037&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global Activism: Revisiting His Wheels International</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Global Activist Alice Teisan of His Wheels International will update us on her work helping people with disabilities adjust to their challenges through bike technology. A former nurse at Rush Hospital, Alice was an avid cyclist before being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She then channeled her passion for bicycling into helping others. His Wheels International recycles old bicycles to send overseas. Alice will also tell us about the Chicago Unconventional Bike Expo (CUBE) on October 2-4, 2015. It&rsquo;s a show for &ldquo;recumbent tricycles, quadracycles, folding cycles, tandems, velomobiles, transporters, electrical bikes, special needs bikes, collectibles, cargo bikes, trailers, customized designs and accessories&quot;.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-19601d90-0101-d486-6d5b-ff228d0ab103">Alice Teisan is the founder and executive director of <a href="http://twitter.com/HisWheels">His Wheels International</a>. &nbsp;</span></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-24/pope-francis-speaks-congress-113057 The Pope addressed a Congress that's much more Christian than America http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-addressed-congress-thats-much-more-christian-america-113056 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Members of the House of Representatives bow their heads for a prayer as they gather for opening session of the 114th Congress in January..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res442953599" previewtitle="Members of the House of Representatives bow their heads for a prayer as they gather for opening session of the 114th Congress in January."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Members of the House of Representatives bow their heads for a prayer as they gather for opening session of the 114th Congress in January." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/23/ap_19918068793_wide-fa90c639dc729bb378c2ce4ca1a1c5dec3b55590-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 337px; width: 600px;" title="Members of the House of Representatives bow their heads for a prayer as they gather for opening session of the 114th Congress in January. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)" /></div><div><p>When Pope Francis addressed Congress on Thursday, he faced a body that is more Christian than the U.S. public as a whole &mdash; and also more Catholic.</p></div></div><p>First the numbers: Whereas nearly a quarter of the U.S. population says they have no religious affiliation, it&#39;s less than 1 percent in Congress.</p><div id="res442951752" previewtitle="More than nine in 10 members of Congress identify as Christian, including 31 percent who are Catholic. That's higher than the share of Americans who identify as Christian or Catholic."><div data-crop-type="">Congress is &quot;disproportionately religiously affiliated,&quot; said Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at the Pew Research Center. &quot;That is, the share of members of Congress who say they have a religion is considerably higher than the share of all American adults.&quot;</div></div><p><img alt="Nearly a quarter of American adults are religiously unaffiliated or responded &quot;don't know/other.&quot;" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/23/ameradults_custom-d9927724f3559251eb2c999859c3ff1c6044e73a-s400-c85.png" style="text-align: center; height: 323px; width: 300px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Nearly a quarter of American adults are religiously unaffiliated or responded &quot;don't know/other.&quot; (Pew Research Center)" /></p><p>In the halls of Congress, the question of why this might be was greeted with puzzlement and some theories:</p><p>&quot;Maybe it&#39;s because we need the solid grounding and good guidance that we get from above,&quot; said Shelley Moore Capito, a senator from West Virginia.</p><div id="res442955177" previewtitle="Nearly a quarter of American adults are religiously unaffiliated or responded &quot;don't know/other.&quot;"><p>&quot;Maybe it has something to do with the magnitude of issues we deal with up here and people realize that you can&#39;t do that without a degree of reliance on spiritual need,&quot; said Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.</p><p>Surveys show that the public overwhelmingly wants their presidents to have religion in their lives. So it makes sense that it would carry over to congressional elections, too. Sen. Gary Peters from Michigan is Episcopalian, and he said his spirituality is important to him and &quot;gives me comfort in rough times.&quot;</p></div><p>He figures, at least for some voters, knowing that he has a religious grounding helps them trust him.</p><blockquote><p><strong><em>&quot;Maybe it&#39;s because we need the solid grounding and good guidance that we get from above.&quot; -</em></strong><strong><em>Sen. Shelley Moore Capito</em></strong></p></blockquote><p>&quot;They want to look you in the eye,&quot; he said. &quot;They want to get a sense of what sort of man or woman that you are. ... I think it&#39;s that intangible quality ... you have to just be who you are and if your spiritual soul is part of that, then that&#39;s ultimately how they&#39;re going to make decisions as to who they support.&quot;</p><p><img alt="More than nine in 10 members of Congress identify as Christian, including 31 percent who are Catholic. That's higher than the share of Americans who identify as Christian or Catholic." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/23/index1_custom-9e0587a0d637babb8ff8787d2fd1e5758adccfeb-s400-c85.png" style="text-align: center; height: 296px; width: 300px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="More than nine in 10 members of Congress identify as Christian, including 31 percent who are Catholic. That's higher than the share of Americans who identify as Christian or Catholic. (Pew Research Center)" /></p><p>Another possible reason &mdash; members of Congress are often asked to state their religion. Chris Murphy, a senator from Connecticut, checks the box &quot;unspecified/other Protestant.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I grew up in a congregational church,&quot; he said. &quot;I&#39;m not a regular churchgoer these days, in part, because of kids. In part because of a busy schedule.&quot;</p><p>Pew found members of Congress are more religiously affiliated, but it doesn&#39;t say anything about whether they are actually more religious than the rest of America. The Senate&#39;s longtime chaplain, Barry Black, thinks they are, based at least on the popularity of his weekly interfaith prayer breakfasts.</p><div id="res442953175" previewtitle="&quot;So I think there is something about affliction — and, trust me, going through the legislative process can be an experience of affliction — that probably helps people to be more spiritual,&quot; Senate Chaplain Barry Black said."><div data-crop-type="">&quot;Now I don&#39;t think you&#39;d get a similar percentage from normal churchgoers if you were having an hour prayer breakfast each week during the workweek,&quot; he said.</div><div data-crop-type="">&nbsp;</div></div><p><img alt="&quot;So I think there is something about affliction — and, trust me, going through the legislative process can be an experience of affliction — that probably helps people to be more spiritual,&quot; Senate Chaplain Barry Black said." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/23/ap_100709126195_wide-39b9d83d7787f20abd7bf73cae8252a1197395e7-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 168px; width: 300px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Senate Chaplain Barry Black. (Drew Angerer/AP)" /></p><p>Black cites the Psalm 119: Before I was afflicted, I went astray but now I obey your word.</p><div><p>&quot;So I think there is something about affliction &mdash; and, trust me, going through the legislative process can be an experience of affliction &mdash; that helps people to probably be more spiritual,&quot; he said.</p><p>What he seems to be saying is you&#39;d be more religious, too, if you had to serve in Congress.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/24/442946219/the-pope-will-address-a-congress-thats-much-more-christian-than-america?ft=nprml&amp;f=442946219" target="_blank"> via NPR&#39;s </a></em><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/24/442946219/the-pope-will-address-a-congress-thats-much-more-christian-than-america?ft=nprml&amp;f=442946219" target="_blank">It&#39;s</a></em><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/09/24/442946219/the-pope-will-address-a-congress-thats-much-more-christian-than-america?ft=nprml&amp;f=442946219" target="_blank"> All Politics</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 24 Sep 2015 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pope-addressed-congress-thats-much-more-christian-america-113056 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 Pope Francis' message on climate change http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-22/pope-francis-message-climate-change-113030 <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/Ismael%20Francisco1.jpg" title="(Photo: Associated Press/Ismael Francisco)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/225088315&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">The Pope&#39;s science team</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Pope Francis arrives in the United States later today. One of the issues he&rsquo;s expected to discuss during his first U.S. visit will be the environment. The Pope caused a stir in June when he released his Papal encyclical on the environment titled, Laudato Si&rsquo; (Praise Be to You). He set up his arguments to combat climate change by asking the questions, &ldquo;What is the purpose of our life in this world?...What need does the earth have of us?...Unless we struggle with these deeper issues...I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results.&rdquo; We&rsquo;ll talk with Peter Raven, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. They help advise the Pope on scientific matters.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-9874d2bf-f690-1f66-6dae-70ba2d6a1846">Peter Raven has been a member of</span> the Pontifical Academy of Sciences for 25 years. He is also president emeritus of Missouri Botanical Garden.</em></p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/225088963&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">NGO takes on global conservation organizations</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Survival International is an NGO dedicated to protecting the lives and lands of indigenous people around the globe. One of their latest campaigns directly accuses popular conservation organizations, like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), of what it calls &ldquo;Green Militarism.&rdquo; We&rsquo;ll talk with Survival International Director, Stephen Corry. He says, &ldquo;Indigenous tribes have long been thought of by some conservationists as &lsquo;in the way&rsquo; of the environment. They&rsquo;re termed &lsquo;poachers&rsquo; and abused accordingly&rdquo;.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-8fa200e4-f692-2499-3ac8-fad55e15b16c">Stephen Corry</span> is thedirector of <a href="http://twitter.com/survival">Survival International</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/225089304&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Protecting women&#39;s rights in conflict zones</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>In hot conflict zones like South Sudan, Iraq and Syria, there are escalating reports of sexual violence and slavery of women and girls. We&rsquo;ll talk about these crises with Samer Muscati, emergencies senior researcher for the Women&#39;s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. A Canadian, Muscati also reports on the decades-long disappearances of indigenous women and girls in British Columbia, Canada. They vanish from Highway 16, a stretch of road metaphorically known as the &ldquo;Highway of Tears&quot;.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-9874d2bf-f694-50f9-4553-98da115cbeaf"><a href="http://twitter.com/SamerHRW">Samer Muscati</a> is the emergencies senior researcher for the Women&#39;s Rights Division of <a href="http://twitter.com/HRW">Human Rights Watch.</a></span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 14:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-09-22/pope-francis-message-climate-change-113030 Latino Chicago parishioners hold high hopes for Pope's visit http://www.wbez.org/news/latino-chicago-parishioners-hold-high-hopes-popes-visit-113021 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rosary.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><strong>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST</strong>:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Washington is normally pretty blase about visiting leaders, but the pope&#39;s visit this coming week appears to be different. People are coming to town. Hotels are already filling up. Traffic is already jammed. Father Manuel Dorantes says the pope&#39;s visit will have special meaning for his parish, the Church of the Immaculate Conception on 44th in southwest Chicago. The Mexican-born priest told me most of his parishioners are, like Francis, from Latin America. Most of them are undocumented. Many are poor. I asked him what the people in his pews are hoping to hear from Francis.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>MANUEL DORANTES:</strong> I think what my community hopes to hear is a message of embrace, an embrace of their reality, specifically the issue of immigration, the issue of violence that is affecting our city, the issue of families being segregated because of the immigration issue and racism, to be honest with you. It&#39;s a constant battle for my community.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>:<strong> </strong>You said families are segregated - separated, you mean? Like some of them are back home in whatever country they left?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: Yes, on one end, it&#39;s people who have left their home countries and the family members that are still back home. And also, people who have been separated through our deportation system.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>: The Holy Father will preside at a mass of canonization when he&#39;s in Washington for Father Junipero Serra. Do you think your parishioners will take notice of that? Will they care about it?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: Definitely. To them, it&#39;s a point of pride in recognizing that this man, who is now going to be recognized as a saint of the church, was a missionary, and he went out of his own experience in Spain to come to the new world. And it&#39;s very much a similar type of experience for them. That&#39;s the experience of many of my parishioners - coming from their own country, leaving their country behind and coming into a new reality.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And so the fact that he is becoming a saint, the fact that the Pope is canonizing him and the very fact that Junipero Serra, the very first time that he brought the gospel to the United States - at least to the Southwest part of the United States - he did it in Spanish, in the language of my community. It&#39;s an immense point of pride and joy in knowing that one of our own will become a saint in this nation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>: The first American-Hispanic saint.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: Yeah.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>: But it&#39;s also true that there are some native communities that are concerned because they think that a lot of people died - a lot of native-born people died when the Europeans came to the United States. Is that concerning?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: You know, from our experiences, these Latino immigrants - did this constantly, right, going back to the colonization. You know, it&#39;s literally the Franciscans were baptizing - my forefathers, my foremothers were baptizing them. And soldiers were basically pointing swords towards them. That&#39;s part in parcel of the way we have received the faith.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now, it&#39;s important to recognize that one thing that often happens is that we begin to see a reality of the 16th century with eyes and with the knowledge that we have in 2015. On the other hand, though, there are things that are defensible, and there are things that are not defensible. And the mistreatment of a human being is not acceptable. And the church claims in her teaching that a saint is not perfect. And often, I think, that&#39;s when we get into the struggle. We assume that because the person is being canonized that they were doing everything right. That&#39;s not what the church really understands.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>: Are you excited about the fact that Pope Francis is going to be traveling around the United States, meeting with all sorts of people, Catholics and others as well?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: I am. I think our young people and my community is looking for him to build bridges. Not just to come and just reaffirm Catholics or to confirm Latino Catholics and their faith. To bring people who are maybe very different, who may think differently, who may have different ideologies, different political agendas, and to provide an encounter between them. Our country is completely divided, where we have proponents who claim that what we need is walls - walls of separation. And you can, you know, apply this to either the economy or to social issues.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And so at a point where our country is so divided, I hope and I&#39;m so excited - I really can&#39;t wait to hear, you know, many of his speeches. But the one of, really, a lot of significance, for me at least through symbolism, is going to be when he makes that address at Independence Mall, where he&#39;ll be using the podium that President Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address. And I feel that we&#39;re in a different time today, but yet the situation is very similar to what President Lincoln had to deal with back in his day - a country that was divided.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And through that speech, at least historians claim that, that speech really turned things, turned the wave, you know, for the North and the South to be united again and for brothers to recognize that they were killing their own brothers. The pope is going to be using the same podium. And my hope is that as we are so divided politically, ethnically, racially - you name it, the division exists and it&#39;s very tangible - that he will be able to build bridges among us. And that&#39;s why I&#39;m so excited.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>WERTHEIMER</strong>: Father Manuel Dorantes, he&#39;s the pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Chicago. Thank you very much.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>DORANTES</strong>: Thank you.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/20/441936817/latino-chicago-parishioners-hold-high-hopes-for-the-popes-visit" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></div></p> Tue, 22 Sep 2015 10:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/latino-chicago-parishioners-hold-high-hopes-popes-visit-113021 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 Pope Francis announces a year of 'mercy' — and gives ordinary priests the power to forgive the sin of abortion http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-09-02/pope-francis-announces-year-mercy-%E2%80%94-and-gives-ordinary-priests-power <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pope.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy &mdash; a special year for Catholics to receive blessings and pardons from God &mdash; which begins on December 8. Every 25 or 50 years since the year 1300 the Catholic church has evoked a jubilee year, as&nbsp;<a href="http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-announces-new-global-jubilee-holy-year-mercy" target="_blank">the National Catholic Reporter explains</a>.</p><p>In a&nbsp;<a href="http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/09/01/0637/01386.html#ing" target="_blank">letter</a>&nbsp;published today, Francis said he understands that some people approach abortions with &quot;superficial awareness.&quot; He writes:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Though the news has been welcomed by some, Rev.&nbsp;James Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, says the pope&rsquo;s announcement does not mark a doctrinal shift in the Church&#39;s teachings on abortion.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a big deal, but I don&rsquo;t think it should be misunderstood,&rdquo; Bretzke says. &ldquo;He is not saying that abortion is no longer a sin. What he&rsquo;s saying is this is a real sin and we need to give the power to deal with that real sin to as many priests as possible so that everyone who needs to have this reconciliation can obtain it easily, and in a sense of mercy and forgiveness.&rdquo;</p><p>Historically under church law, only bishops and certain priests had the power to absolve the sin of abortion. But Francis is extending that ability to every priest worldwide.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s use a business analogy: If you wanted to open a checking account, maybe you had to go to the bank&rsquo;s main office,&rdquo; Bretzke says. &ldquo;Now, [Francis] is saying you can go to any ATM or any store &mdash; any place where there is a representative of the business. That&rsquo;s really what he&rsquo;s doing &mdash; he&rsquo;s given this power not just to the branch office or the main office, but to every priest, wherever that priest is.&rdquo;</p><p>Pope Francis has the ability to permanently delegate this power to all Catholic priests, though it&rsquo;s still unclear if he will do so. And many Catholics in the United States are split on the issue.</p><p>According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/19/majority-of-u-s-catholics-opinions-run-counter-to-church-on-contraception-homosexuality/" target="_blank">2013 Pew Research Center poll</a>, 53 percent of white American Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 41 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Among Hispanic Catholics in the United States, 43 percent say it should be legal in all or most cases, while 52 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.</p><p>Since he assumed his role in March 2013, Pope Francis has consistently shaken things up in the Catholic Church. He has criticized the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-francis-criticizes-tyranny-unchecked-capitalism/" target="_blank">tyranny</a>&rdquo; of unfettered capitalism; he has tackled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-francis-call-climate-change-action-vatican-conference/" target="_blank">climate change</a>&nbsp;and called on Catholics to be stewards of the Earth; he has sought to address clergy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/judging-pope-francis-vaticans-handling-sexual-abuse-church/" target="_blank">sexual abuse</a>, and he&rsquo;s touched on issues of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/will-pope-change-his-mind-divorce-and-remarriage/" target="_blank">divorce</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/catholic-bishops-signal-potential-shifts-divorce-homosexuality/" target="_blank">homosexuality</a>.</p><p>In the United States, Pope Francis&rsquo;s more liberal stances on all of the aforementioned issues have caused a stir&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/popes-pronouncements-making-trouble-for-gop-catholics-118234" target="_blank">among conservative Republicans</a>. And though this new announcement may complicate his trip to Congress later this September, Bretzke says that Catholic lawmakers must stand with the pope.</p><p>&ldquo;If they&rsquo;re good Catholics, they have to follow pope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ on forgiveness of sins,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;This pope is putting the accent on forgiveness and mercy. Certain bishops and priests, regrettably, have put the accent in the past on punishment and excommunication. I think the pope is trying to say that we need a different approach.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-allow-priests-forgive-abortion/" target="_blank">The Takeaway</a></em></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 08:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-09-02/pope-francis-announces-year-mercy-%E2%80%94-and-gives-ordinary-priests-power Vatican signals new tone on US nuns http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vatican-signals-new-tone-us-nuns-111243 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP475133071654.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An unprecedented Vatican investigation of U.S. women&#39;s religious orders that alarmed Roman Catholic sisters when the inquiry began years ago ended Tuesday with a report signaling a softer approach under Pope Francis.</p><p>The report praised sisters for their selfless work caring for the poor and promised to value their &quot;feminine genius&quot; more, while gently suggesting ways to serve the church faithfully and survive amid a steep drop in their numbers. There was no direct critique of the nuns, nor any demand for them to change &mdash; only requests that they ensure their ministries remain &quot;in harmony with Catholic teaching.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There is an encouraging and realistic tone in this report,&quot; said Sister Sharon Holland, head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organization for most U.S. religious orders. &quot;Challenges are understood, but it is not a document of blame, or of simplistic solutions. One can read the text and feel appreciated and trusted to carry on.&quot;</p><p>The laudatory language contrasted sharply with the atmosphere in which the review started under Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Franc Rode, who in 2008 initiated the nationwide study when he led the Vatican office that oversees religious orders, said there was concern about &quot;a certain secular mentality that has spread in these religious families and, perhaps, also a certain &#39;feminist&#39; spirit.&quot;</p><p>Rode left the post while the review was still under way, and his successors had said they wanted a friendlier relationship with the sisters.</p><p>Still, many nuns remained concerned about the outcome of the investigation under Francis&#39; still-young pontificate. Some nuns had taken legal steps during the inquiry to shield the financial assets of their religious orders in case of a Vatican takeover.</p><p>The report expressed hope that sisters would take &quot;this present moment as an opportunity to transform uncertainty and hesitancy into collaborative trust&quot; with the church hierarchy. Many sisters have complained that their work often went unrecognized by priests and requested improved dialogue with bishops to clarify their role in the church and give them greater voice in decisions, according to the report.</p><p>Before the news conference releasing the report in Rome, leaders for the sisters and the nun who oversaw the review, Mother Mary Clare Millea, attended the pope&#39;s daily Mass in the Vatican hotel where he lives and spoke with him briefly, where he offered his blessing.</p><p>Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, based in Maryland, said in a statement the document signaled &quot;a hope for future dialogue and communion among and between women religious and church leaders.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The report is clearly focused on cooperation. It&#39;s clearly focused on dialogue, which I think is not necessarily what people expected back in 2008 when this issue came up,&quot; said Jana Bennett, a specialist in Catholic theology and ethics at the University of Dayton, Ohio.</p><p>Still, American nuns are dealing with the fallout from a separate investigation from a different Vatican office. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2012 ordered an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of U.S. sisters. The doctrine office said the organization strayed from church teaching and promoted &quot;radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.&quot; Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain was appointed to oversee the Leadership Conference, potentially through 2017.</p><p>Holland said she was &quot;working hard and working well&quot; with Sartain and other Vatican-appointed delegates, and the process might end sooner than originally expected.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re moving toward resolution of that,&quot; she said.</p><p>Both investigations prompted an outpouring of support from many rank-and-file American Catholics who viewed the inquiries as a crackdown by the all-male Vatican hierarchy against the underpaid, underappreciated women who do the lion&#39;s share of work running Catholic hospitals, schools and services for the poor.</p><p>Theological conservatives have long complained that after the modernizing reforms of the 1960s Second Vatican Council, women&#39;s religious orders in the U.S. became secular and political while abandoning traditional prayer life and faith.</p><p>The nuns insisted prayer and Christ were central to their work.</p><p>Along with praise, the report offered a sobering assessment of the difficult state of American religious orders. The current number of 50,000 U.S. sisters represents a fraction of the 125,000 in the mid-1960s, although that was an atypical spike in U.S. church history.</p><p>Financial resources to care for sisters are dwindling as they age, and the orders have struggled to attract new members. The report asked the sisters to make sure their training programs reflect church teaching and their members pray and focus on Christ.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vatican-signals-new-tone-us-nuns-111243