The Church of Vatican II

By Father Neil McCaulley for the Association of Pittsburgh Priests

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. -Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, December 7, 1965.

We have a sense of indebtedness to the bishops and popes of Vatican II and, of course, the Holy Spirit! A quick glance at the Catholic Church today shows us some of the fruits of the Council. The Constitution on Divine Revelation and also the Constitution on the Liturgy have given us an enormous increase in our exposure to the Holy Scripture as well as an emphasis on Biblical Spirituality. The Constitution on the Church gave us the name, The People of God along with the universal call to holiness. We are reminded that we are all equal in Baptism and that the laity have their own call to ministry. We have seen the ancient order of the Permanent Deaconate be reestablished and thrive. Likewise, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

A more democratic church was called for, with the enormously important teaching on collegiality; the bishops of the world form a college that share with the pope as successors to the apostles (the servant leadership of the Church.) This counciliar model has spread to National Conferences and dioceses and parishes. The people of God are called to share in the leadership of the Church. The religious orders were called to rediscover their original charism. They did it with great dedication and set a model for the entire church.

Pittsburgh priests to bishop: Listen to laity on contraception

National Catholic Reporter - Apr. 05, 2012

Several priests of the Pittsburgh diocese have met with Bishop David Zubik -- the prelate who said in January that the Obama administration's mandate regarding coverage of contraceptives in health care plans told Catholics, "To Hell with you" -- telling him his stance on the issue was alienating women and creating "a lot of anger" among laypeople.

See the full article in the National Catholic Reporter.

Beneath The Conflict: Joan & John Houk

The contraception -- freedom of conscience conflict set new records for speed of bishops’ reaction and administration accommodation. Never before have our bishops responded in a matter of hours to anything. Years of collective discernment has been the norm. Never before has any administration reacted in a bureaucratic flash to any critique by anyone. One may guess that both bishops and administration saw this conflict coming a long time ago. In that sense alone, it was (past tense) a manufactured conflict.

The U.S. Bishops know they lost the war on contraception years ago so it wasn’t about contraception unless you are an exceedingly dense bishop. It wasn’t really about freedom of conscience either. No one was being required to use contraceptives, and the bishops had already accepted alternative policies in various states. So what is left? There is good reason to suspect an orchestrated attempt by our bishops to discredit President Obama and his administration, and at least for some bishops, it may be a case of “scarlet fever,” i.e., how does this look at promotion time.

There may be something to be gained by continuing to dissect this make-believe conflict, which is to remember an often forgotten teaching from Jesus himself. Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, but you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. (Luke 11:46) It is not right to lay burdens of the law on people that because of your wealth, position, gender or race you yourself do not have to carry.

Our bishops never need to make a decision of conscience regarding the personal use of contraceptives. Then by what Christian judgment do they lay their anti-contraception burden of law on others? We can turn this dust-up into an opportunity to remember how Jesus taught us to live together. We can make people’s lives better from the bottom up by avoiding laying on heavy burdens, especially those that we ourselves don’t have to carry.

Joan and John Houk

Open letter to Bishop Wuerl and the faithful from Womanpriest candidate Joan Houk

Dear Bishop Wuerl,

A letter to be shared with the faithful

My name is Joan Clark Houk, the woman from the Diocese of Pittsburgh who is to be ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in Pittsburgh on July 31, 2006. I want you to know who I am and why I prayerfully follow this path.

Letter from Mary Traupman per "The Politics of Reaction"

Mary A. Traupman

Attorney at Law

Three Gateway Center

401 Liberty Avenue Suite 1460

Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1004

To:    All interested parties

From:    Mary Traupman, CDP

Date:    May 8, 2006

Re:     “The Politics of Reaction,” by E.J. Dionne (P-G 5-5-06)

This op-ed, subtitled “Rick Santorum wants to be an un-Republican” contains the quote: “if you want me to be honest, I’m a Catholic.” He added: “How
many times did the nuns beat into your brains: the poor, the poor, the
poor, the poor?”

I encourage all to call or write or email or fax the office of Senator Santorum and express outrage at his insulting characterization of women religious (“beat?”) and demand that he apologize for his insensitivity. This is the Rick Santorum who, in January, 2005, at St. Paul Seminary stated, “Catholic schools are not Catholic.” The same Rick Santorum who publicly criticized the work of Catholic Charities. His latest remark is an affront to all women religious, to all Catholics, to all decent people.

Bush administration spying on "pacifists"

The Thomas Merton Center and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released documents obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showing that the Bush administration has been spying on peace activists since before the Iraq war began. These documents are explosive in that they conclusively show that peace advocates are being spied on primarily because of their political opposition to warfare. The FBI memo points out that the Merton Center “is a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism.”

Read more here at the ACLU web site.

In Good Conscience

The Pittsburgh Call To Action would like to
have a showing of the movie "In Good Conscience"
here in Pittsburgh in early fall. The film is based on the strong commitment
by Sr. Jaennine Gramick to her
ministry to the Gay and Lesbian
community which put her at odds
with the institutional church

To make this possible we
would need co-sponsors to help
defray some of the costs. If you
know any individual or group who would
like to help have them get in touch with Harry Orlando at
412-281-9030w, 412-486-9036h, or