‘Origins’ on homosexual ministry, G-8, parish leadership, Brazil trip, and more

At Catholic News Service, we’ve always said that Origins, the CNS Documentary Service, is more than just a publication — it’s an ongoing, ever-accumulating resource. Even though many documents in Origins can be found at no charge on the Internet, no other publication — oops, I mean resource — is as easy to use and as complete for anyone doing research on church issues, whether it’s a homilist trying to develop a theme that ties into the day’s readings or a journalist trying to understand the nuances of church teaching on a particular topic.

This week’s edition (sorry, that link only works for subscribers) is another perfect example. Sure, some of these texts are already on the Internet, but why go there when you can have these and thousands of related items at your fingertips through an online subscription?

Here’s the rundown on the latest Origins edition:

  • What is the place of homosexuals in the Catholic Church? Tucson’s Bishop Gerald Kicanas looks at what the church can offer people with same-sex orientation. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Cardinal Sean O’Malley explains that despite the sale of much of its remaining property to Boston College, St. John’s Seminary remains an essential element of the Boston Archdiocese’s future. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Presidents of seven Catholic bishops’ conferences urge the heads of seven of the world’s wealthiest nations to take bold steps on global poverty, health care, climate change, and peace and security during the G-8 summit. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Bishop Stephen Blaire exhorts newly ordained priests in Stockton, Calif., to “look forward in hope with the eyes of faith” lest a misguided nostalgia turn them into pillars of salt instead of “salt of the earth.” (Subscribers: click here)
  • Archbishop Andre Gaumond, president of Canada’s bishops’ conference, reviews the 40-year history and continuing relevance of the Canadian church’s international development agency. “The social challenges of justice and peace can never be kept at arm’s length from one’s life as a Christian,” he says. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Pope Benedict XVI continues his discussion, begun during his recent visit to Brazil, of Christianity’s impact on the peoples and cultures of the Americas. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Father Robert Duggan describes to a “better practices” conference the leadership-development model his former parish designed. (Subscribers: click here)
  • Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone expresses condolences on the pope’s behalf to the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Iraq on the murder of a priest and three subdeacons. (Subscribers: click here)

Maryland bishops write pastoral letter on care of sick and dying

The nine active Catholic bishops serving Maryland have issued moral guidance on questions relating to medical care and treatment, nutrition and hydration, pain-relieving medication, pregnancy and imminent death from terminal illness. The Catholic Review in Baltimore has the details and also has a separate story on the thinking behind the document and the hope that many Catholics will read it.

Bishop’s podcast discusses church’s ‘neophytes’

The Intermountain Catholic in Salt Lake City has posted another podcast from Bishop John C. Wester, this time on the “neophytes,” those who entered the church at Easter and are now beginning their lives as Catholics.

Pope’s critics seek to deny freedom of religion

In a column in The Beacon of Paterson, N.J., Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli addresses the issue of Catholic politicians and abortion, saying critics in Congress of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent comments about abortion and excommunication ultimately want to deny him freedom of speech and deny the church freedom of religion.

Ordination season

Ordinations to the priesthood often take place in late May or early June, bringing numerous feature stories on the reasons the new ordinands felt called to their vocations. One of the better stories this year is in the Tennessee Register in Nashville about a 53-year-old who wrestled with his calling for decades before finally deciding to take the leap of faith into priestly life.

Also there’s this story in the Catholic Explorer of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., with the irresistible headline, “God delivers mail carrier to the priesthood.”

More links …

Lowlife vermin? Immigration debate reaches archbishop’s mailbox

It’s not often that an archbishop gives you a glimpse into his mailbox, but Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver does just that in a column in the Denver Catholic Register urging support for an immigration-reform compromise that he calls imperfect but a sensible first step.

“When you get an email that says, ‘Goddamn your soul to hell for protecting those lowlife filthy (illegal immigrant) vermin’ — as I did just last week — it gets your attention for its sheer mental illness,” writes Archbishop Chaput.

There are legitimate differences on immigration reform, he says. “But if we conduct that debate in a stupid and vindictive way — these are exactly the right adjectives for it — we demean ourselves. If we behave like bigots, we eventually become bigots.”