Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Two Interesting Pieces of Catholic News

English and Welsh Bishops Reintroduce Meatless Fridays
LONDON (CNS) -- Catholics in England and Wales will be obliged to abstain from meat every Friday under a new rule brought by the bishops.

The "act of common witness" will take effect Sept. 16, the first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain.

The rule, announced at a news conference in London in mid-May, reverses a relaxation of the Friday penance regulations introduced in England and Wales in 1984. This allowed Catholics to choose their own form of Friday penance -- such as offering additional prayers, attending Mass or abstaining from alcohol.
The whole story is here. Via A Momentary Taste of Being who calls this a welcome restoration, with which I agree. Though at our house this would be more of "business as usual" as when I read about the requirement for Friday penance many years ago, I had to agree with the comment (in the Catechism maybe?) that giving up meat was one of the easiest to remember to do. And, certainly, it is one that makes one think throughout the day as we realize how much meat there is in our every day diets.

Independent Study Shows That Homosexuality, Celibacy Didn't Cause Abuse Scandal
WASHINGTON — Researchers commissioned by Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. to analyze the pattern of clergy sex abuse have concluded that homosexuality, celibacy and an all-male priesthood did not cause the scandal.

The study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York instead said that the problem was largely the result of poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for men ordained in the 1940s and 1950s, who were not able to withstand the social upheaval they confronted as pastors in the 1960s. Crime and other deviant behavior increased overall in the United States during this period, when the rate of abuse by priests was climbing.

"The rise in abuse cases in the 1960s and 1970s was influenced by social factors in society generally," the report's authors said. "Factors that were invariant during the time period addressed, such as celibacy, were not responsible for the increase or decline in abuse cases over this time."
Read the entire story here. This by no means excuses such behavior or more especially the behavior of many bishops who protected the guilty at the expense of the innocent. However, it is interesting and I like the fact that it was an independent study.

Update: Whispers in the Loggia has links to the full report pdf and more.


  1. Fish tacos...I could eat them everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

  2. In regards to the study on sexual abuse by clergy: About a year ago a friend of mine of 60 some years confided in me that he was abused by his parish priest as a young altar boy. I was devastated and on talking to my parish priest I was informed that I too was a victim because of my friends confidence in me..Where do we put the blame, those who commited the crime, yes but also to those biships who continued to transfer the priests from parish to parish and ignored the victim. What about their crime? God have mercy on their souls.

  3. Exactly. In so many ways the bishops' crime is the greater because they could see more clearly and still betrayed the innocent by protecting the guilty. We must pray for them all ...

  4. Eating fish is not a sacrifice. If they really want people to think about what they are eating or at least feel a sense of deprivation that reminds us that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert without food or water and we can darn sure go 24 hours without one thing, perhaps they should make Fridays caffeine free or cheese free or sugar free.

    wv: sucki. Really!

  5. There actually is theological and scriptural meaning necessary for the full understanding of why giving up "flesh" versus eating fish is important. And, dang it, I can't remember where I read about it at the moment. I will keep my eyes open for that. It is not the eating fish that is the sacrifice, but the giving up of "flesh" and that word is used deliberately. Yet another thing that has been lost through poor catechesis. More on that later if I can find the explanation.

    In the meantime, I trust the Church and do what she says. Which is part of the point of obedience as well. :-)

  6. Julie, I will be interested in that. I know part of the reason fish on Fridays was originally promulgated was to promote the cod industry. (At least, that's what a book about cod claimed.)