- Sep 19, 2020
Catholic bishops may have a lot of bureaucratic duties to perform, but that doesn’t mean bishops believe the solution to the Church’s problems is always bureaucratic. Pressed for an example of evangelical creativity, for instance, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, points to a lawyer who sets up tables at Husker football games every weekend, handing out rosaries and answering questions about Catholicism.
“National parishes” were common before 1920. They served the specific needs of ethnic Catholics, whether German, Polish, Portuguese, etc. Should the Church in the United States return to the model of “personal parishes” to better serve the specialized needs of the 21st century?
Given the mushrooming presence of undocumented immigrants in Colorado, one might think church leaders risk extra blowback when they speak out on immigrant rights. Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, however, says there’s precious little, in part because Catholics see these immigrants in their parishes and know they’re almost all “really good people.”
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City-Kansas candidly admits that sometimes Pope Francis makes him a little bit nervous, but also says it’s not necessarily the pope’s job to make his life easier. He also says that underlying the rise of the ‘nones’ and defections from the Church is failure to foster a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Sean Callahan, CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas humanitarian and development assistance arm of the U.S. bishops, has a potentially surprising card to play in defense of federal spending on helping other countries: Do it, he said, and you’ll find that keeping undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. becomes a whole lot easier … don’t do it, and it won’t really matter what walls you try to put up.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who served as president of the U.S. bishops during the white-hot period of the American abuse scandals in 2002-2003, says Pope Francis “gets it,” but cannot have the same understanding of the repercussions as someone from a culture where it’s been as intense as here. Gregory also called for deescalating rhetoric on immigration, and for defusing the bomb before it goes off with regard to racial tensions in America.