Review – “On Hope” by Pope Francis (Loyola Press)

“On Hope” by Pope Francis, published by Loyola Press (Photo: Loyola Press)

On Hope
by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, 2018)

As we begin another new year, words of hope could be used by all of us to enliven our spirits and rejoice in good news. Enter On Hope, the sixth book by Pope Francis published by Loyola Press. In their words, “in On Hope [the pope] shares with readers the hope-filled faith in God and humanity that can inspire them in their daily lives.”

This short book (112 pages) includes 14 edited essays. The content is adapted from a series of general audiences held by the pontiff in Rome from December 2016 to March 2017. However, the book’s short size does not hinder its power, and in many ways the brief essays help make Pope Francis’s words accessible to even those chronically short for time.

For more information via Loyola Press, click here.

Bishop Knestout Installed as Thirteenth Bishop of Richmond

Bishop Barry C. Knestout portrait (Photo: Diocese of Richmond)

RICHMOND – On January 12, Bishop Barry Knestout, former auxiliary bishop of Washington, was installed as the 13th Bishop of Richmond.

The apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, read Pope Francis’s mandate appointing Bishop Knestout as the Bishop of Richmond.

Over 200 priests and more than a dozen bishops (including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington) celebrated the Mass.

At least 1,200 people attended the Mass in the city’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, including Bishop Knestout‘s mother.

The bishop told his “brother priests” that he looks forward to “a very long collaboration with them.”

For the full story in the Catholic Standard (Archdiocese of Washington), click here.

For Bishop Knestout‘s biography via the Diocese of Richmond, click here.

Father Martin Linebach named vicar general of Louisville

Fr. Martin Linebach, the new Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Louisville (Photo: St. James Catholic Church, Elizabethtown, KY)

LOUISVILLE – On January 18, The Record (Louisville’s Catholic newspaper) reported that Father Martin A. Linebach, 61, will assume the position of Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Louisville effective February 1, 2018.

Father Linebach is the pastor of St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and he will continue as pastor while serving the archdiocese.

Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said, “I look forward to working with Father Martin, who has great qualifications to serve in this role. He has benefitted from a variety of pastoral experiences, pursued advanced education in management and administration as well as liturgical studies and demonstrates a deep love of Christ and His Church.”

For his part, Father Linebach pointed to the appointment as a sign of the archbishop’s confidence in the parish of St. James. “The archbishop wouldn’t have asked me if he didn’t have confidence in the parish, as well,” Linebach told his parishioners.

For the full story in The Record, click here.

Proud to be Catholic? A groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the church

(Photo: Pixabay)

NEW YORK – America Media (the publishers behind America, the American Jesuits’ publication), and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), in partnership with survey firm GfK, have published a major survey into American Catholic women.

America calls the survey, “the most comprehensive survey of American Catholic women ever conducted.” Fully titled “Catholic Women in the United States: Beliefs, Practices, Experiences, and Attitudes,” the survey was conducted by CARA’s Mark Gray and Mary Gautier between August 3 and August 24, 2017. A total of 1,508 self-identified Catholic women participated in the study in either English or Spanish. CARA estimates the margin of error for the study at plus
or minus 2.5%, and further believes that at the time of the survey there were
28.8 million Catholic female adults in the United States.

[Note: The NFPC has worked extensively with CARA, including most recently on our 2017 National Diocesan Survey]

The study broadly examined Catholic women on issues such as women deacons, personal belief, and political leanings. While the responses of the women surveyed in this sample population are not definitive, the overall study fills a noticeable gap in the understanding of modern American Catholic life.

Some of the findings of the survey include:

  • 31% of Catholic women attend Mass every week or almost every week, while 26% attend rarely or never
  • 52% of Catholic women identifying as Democrats viewed helping the poor as “very much” important to being a Catholic, compared to 34% of Republican Catholic women
  • The more frequently respondents attended Mass, the more likely they are to say their priests did a good job of including women in parish life
  • 82% said they had never considered leaving the Catholic faith, and 68% strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that they were proud to be Catholic

For more information in America, click here.

For the full study via CARA, click here.

With new U.S. administration, USCCB enters policy debates more often in 2017

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON – If you think that Catholic bishops were more involved in politics and policy this year, by at least one measure you would be correct.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an estimated 115 public statements and letters on public policy affairs from January 1, 2017 through to December 12, 2017. In 2016, they issued “approximately 47.”

Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida added his name to many of the statements.

Bishop Dewane told Catholic News Service that he and his fellow bishops didn’t go out looking “to make a lot of statements,” but that it became necessary to bring a Catholic perspective to policy stances being addressed by the White House and in Congress.

According to Bishop Dewane, the bishops as a whole wanted to make their voices clear on immigration related policy and on the overhaul of the tax code. The USCCB – in some form – commented on immigration more than 24 times in 2017, compared to six occasions in 2016.

Still, Bishop Dewane noted that when the need arises, the bishops will have to comment, saying “We’ve got to speak up.”

For this Catholic News Service story via The Georgia Bulletin (Archdiocese of Atlanta), click here.

Francis tells Chile’s clergy to seek pardon for abuse and betrayed trust

SANTIAGO, CHILE – On January 16, Pope Francis asked Chile’s clergy to “call reality by its name” and seek forgiveness from those who were abused by priests.

(Photo: Pixabay)

However, the pope acknowledged the discomfort from priests not involved in the scandal and admitted the difficulty of innocent priests facing suspicion.

“I know that at times you have been insulted in the metro or walking on the street, and that by going around in clerical attire in many places you pay a heavy price,” the pope told the assembled crowd.

The pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by clergy, the second time he has done so on a trip abroad.

The pope’s trip faced notable protests from groups concerned about the sexual abuse crisis in Chile and the 2015 decision by Francis to appoint Bishop Juan Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile despite accusations that the bishop had covered up accusations against Father Fernando Karadima in the 1980s and ‘90s. These protests were met with further criticism of the trip’s overall cost and tension with Chile’s indigenous peoples.

Several churches were firebombed and vandalized in incidents related to the trip, raising tensions and risks during the visit.

The pope also met with the Chile’s 50 bishops on January 16, and visited with about 500 prisoners at a women’s prison.

On January 17, he visited the city of Temuco and met with some of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people.

For the full article in the National Catholic Reporter, click here.

NFPC This Week, #743 – 1/14/2018-1/20/2018

Here is your NFPC This Week for January 14 to January 20, 2018:

Priests in the News

Bishop Knestout Installed as Thirteenth Bishop of Richmond

Missile alert prompts Bishop of Honolulu to give general absolution to deacon group

Father Martin Linebach named vicar general of Louisville

News Highlights

Proud to be Catholic? A groundbreaking America survey asks women about their lives in the church

With new U.S. administration, USCCB enters policy debates more often in 2017

Francis tells Chile’s clergy to seek pardon for abuse and betrayed trust

Book Review

“On Hope” by Pope Francis (Loyola Press)

Missile alert prompts Bishop of Honolulu to give general absolution to deacon group

Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo: Pexels)

HONOLULU – In the midst of what seemed to be an imminent missile attack on the State of Hawaii, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu gave general absolution to around 45 people on January 13.

The absolution of sins given to a group of people at one time is allowed only in dire circumstances, such as the threat of imminent death, allowing soldiers to be absolved of their sins before battle when individual confession would be impossible, for example.

On January 16, Bishop Silva told the Hawaii Catholic Herald “I am not in favor of general absolution in general,” and went on to say “but that was an appropriate use.”

“If there ever was an occasion that was it,” he said. “It was scary.”

The bishop was at the St. Stephen Diocesan Center in Kaneohe at 8:07 AM when the alert was issued, and went to the chapel where Mass was being celebrated for nine deacon candidates, their wives, and their formation team. The presiding priest was shown the alert during Communion, but finished the Mass without announcing it.

When the Mass ended, Bishop Silva – wearing a t-shirt – offered general absolution for the group.

It took 38 minutes for a definitive all-clear message to follow the false alert.

For the full story in the Hawaii Catholic Herald, click here.

Fr. Don Wolf

Father Don Wolf
Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Cousin of Blessed Stanley Rother

Special Presentation on Blessed Stanley Rother

Biography: Father Don Wolf

Fr. Don Wolf is a native of Wheatland, Oklahoma. He graduated from Western Heights High School in 1973 and attended Oklahoma State University. In 1975, he entered St. Meinrad Seminary. He earned a BA in Philosophy in 1977 and an MDiv in Theology in 1980. In 1981, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City by Archbishop Charles Salatka.

His parish assignments have included St. Peter’s in Guymon and St. Francis Xavier in Enid as associate pastor. He has also been pastor at Sacred Heart in Mangum, Prince of Peace and missions in Altus, Holy Angels and Sacred Heart parishes in Oklahoma City, Assumption Parish and missions in Duncan, St. Benedict Parish and missions in Shawnee, and now at St. Eugene in Oklahoma City. Fr. Wolf was a National Board Member of the NFPC from 1988 to 1997. He was elected president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils and served in the national office in Chicago from 1997 to 2000.

During the years of his priesthood, Fr. Wolf has served in a variety of archdiocesan roles including many terms as a member of and Chairman of the Priests’ Council, fourteen years on the Vocations’ Board, as a member of the Board of Catholic Charities, three years as President of the Board, the Spiritual Moderator of the Cursillo Movement and as a founding member and Chairman of the Commission for Justice and Human Development. He served eight years on the Board of St. Gregory’s University, seven years as Chairman. He was named Director of Hispanic Ministry from 1992 to 1997. For seven years he hosted and produced a weekly radio program La Voz Católica. Fr. Wolf earned a Doctorate in Preaching in 2003 from Seabury-Western School of Theology at Northwestern University. He was also a member of the Princeton Center of Theological Reflection Pastor-Theologian Project from 2005 to 2007.

Currently Fr. Wolf serves on the Priests’ Continuing Education Committee and produces and hosts a weekly program on Catholic Radio, Living Catholic.

Sister Katarina Schuth, O.S.F., Ph.D.

 Sister Katarina Schuth

Presentation: “Looking Forward: Ministry Preparation for Priests
in the Church of the 21st Century”

Ministry in the life of the Church during the past half century has evolved and developed according to the conditions of the people being served and the culture in which it exists. Since Vatican II, awareness of the close connection between Church and society has called forth creative response from priests and others serving the needs of the faithful. This talk examines the requirements of preparation for priests who will serve the Church as it exists in reality these days and also take into account the impact of secular culture on the Church today.  Among the questions to be explored are: What are the realities of the present day and what changes are ongoing or likely to affect ministry in the future?   What is happening to the strength of Catholic identity and church attendance in recent years? On the whole, is polarization a factor among parishioners, priests, and lay ministers? What shifts in parish life have taken place recently?

Biography: Sister Katarina Schuth, O.S.F., Ph.D.

Sr. Katarina Schuth has been a member of the Sisters of St. Francis, Rochester, MN, from 1960 to the present. Her career as a faculty member in higher education spans four decades. Since 1991 she held an Endowed Professorship for the Social Scientific Study of Religion at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. In 2017 she retired from teaching, but continues to do research, write, and give presentations. Along with numerous articles, she has written six books on and well over 100 articles and book chapters. Her most recent book, Seminary Formation: Recent History, Current Circumstances, and New Directions, published in 2016 by Liturgical Press, covers the last thirty years of education and formation for ministry. She also authored Priestly Ministry in Multiple Parishes, published by the same press in 2006, for which she surveyed and interviewed a 1000 priests who are pastoring more than one parish.