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In-Flight Turbulence

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Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.



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It appears BXVI doesn't travel by plane very often, so perhaps he's to be excused for the need to clarify something said in the relative informality of a press conference (opportunity?) on an airplane.Given that one of his reasons for going to Brazil is to comment on the rise in the numbers of Catholics leaving the Church for Protestant denominations, especially Pentacostal and Evangelical denominations that have more charismatic liturgies than typically found in Catholic services, perhaps this a good time to mention the new survey from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life titled "Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion." Part of the survey deals with the impact of Latino liturgical practices on the Catholic Church in America. Here's an excerpt from the executive summary:"Renewalist Christianity, which places special emphasis on God's ongoing, day-to-day intervention in human affairs through the person of the Holy Spirit, is having a major impact on Hispanic Christianity. Among Latino Protestants, renewalism is more than twice as prevalent as among their non-Latino counterparts. A majority (54%) of Hispanic Catholics describe themselves as charismatic Christians, making them more than four times as likely as non-Latino Catholics to identify with renewalist Christianity. The implications of this are particularly important for the Catholic Church, given that the rapidly growing Latino flock is practicing a distinctive form of Catholicism."The entirety of the very interesting survey can be found at: I know there are some dotCommonweal posters who live in areas with large Hispanic/Latino Catholic populations, and I'll be interested to hear any thoughts they have about the infusion of charismatic liturgy that may be coming into the Church as a whole, and about any another reactions they have to the Pew Forum survey.

John Allen exegetes:"Carefully studying the various statements that are now on the record, perhaps the best summary of Benedict XVIs position can be phrased as follows."In the abstract, Benedict clearly seems to feel that a Catholic politician who knowingly and consistently supports legislation that expands access to abortion is in violation of church teaching, and thus should not receive "communion. Moreover, the pope seems prepared to support bishops who apply this principle to specific cases; that was the premise of his answer to this mornings question about the Mexican bishops. (Even though Cardinal Norberto Rivera has said he has no intention of excommunicating anyone.)"Whether Benedict is ready to impose this position on bishops convinced of the wisdom of a different pastoral course in other cases, however, is the $64,000 question. His July 9 letter to McCarrick, endorsing the stance of the U.S. bishops, indicates that at least so far, hes not ready to take that step."That may not be a fully satisfying position for anyone, but it seems the best summation of the popes thinking based on the available evidence."More here:

The Oakland (CA) diocese has a large number of different cultural groups with Asians of may stripes and Latinos predominating. Their liturgies are very interesting and infused with song, dance and general active participation.Let us now forget, friends, that there has been a long history of black Catholic parishes scattered throughout mainly urban areas that also have vibrant, joyful liturgies. Their numbers have been relatively small so the attention paid to them by the American church has been, at best, minimal, and, at worst, scandalous.

There are 3 dioceses in NM -the poorest is Gallup with many Native Americans to care for There are also many Latinos there (think of Tony Hillerman mysteries.) my perception is the Church strives to be very much one with the people,many of whom don't have much.To the south is the diocese of Las Cruces, headed by Bishop Ramirez, I consider him to be an outstanding leadert(see his Catholic Comon Ground Lecture.) He was one of the first to issue a pstoral on domestic violence. Again he seems to be close to the people and to speak out on important issues.Lastly there is the largest, Santa Fe, very complex and culturally diverse. Our own county is one of the wealthiest in the Country per capita - high paid scientists - and next to to one of the poorest and most drug ridden counties ( I think they led in heroin overdoses per capita) Rio Arriba. The Church faces a real struggle here bercause of the vast cultural disparities. This disparity question is particularly keen in the capital and diocesan seat, Santa Fe, with many expensive homes (in teritorial style of course) and many poor poor folks. The pastor of the Cathedral, Msgr. Jerome is outstanding in balancing the complex needs of his parish but there are many poor little Latino parishes and missions as well as a great center of Catholic intellectiual activity (reminds me of St. jsephs in the village in the old days) Santa Maria De La Paz.To add to the complexity, ecumenism is an issue, but is strongly encouraged.In general, the Church seems to be serving its Latno population well in the State, despite a shortage of priests, or, perhaps a greater problem, the cross cultural differences, long embedded, here,with the attendant prejudices often lying just beneath the surface..

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