catholic church

You may have seen a flash mob on YouTube, or even experienced the phenomenon in real life: A group of people converge on a public space, seemingly out of the blue, for a recreation of, say Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Or Verdi’s Requiem – it could be anything. Now in Detroit, a group of Catholics has created a variation on that. The Mass Mob is a crowd sourced effort to revive urban churches … which have a lot of empty pews these days.

SM Giovanni and SM Angela with Edmund Cardinal Szoka.
Felician Sisters of North America / Flickr

DETROIT - Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the former governor of Vatican City and the head of the Detroit archdiocese, has died. He was 86.

The Archdiocese of Detroit says Szoka died of natural causes Wednesday night at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan.

Pope John Paul II made Szoka a cardinal in 1988. Not long after, he became the Vatican's point man for finance. By 1998, he was running the Vatican City, one of the world's smallest countries.

Since his retirement from active ministry in 2006, Szoka had been living in the Detroit suburb of Northville.

Ryan Basilio / Creative Commons

Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo are warning parishioners not to take part in an ordination ceremony this weekend, because the person being ordained is a woman.

In a weekly newsletter, Bishop Paul Bradley reminded parishioners who take part that they will be kicked out of the church. Those who witness what he called the “simulation” ceremony must confess before receiving sacraments of the church. The Diocese did not return requests for comment on this story.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Catholics trying to support Detroit's oldest churches are encouraging people to fill the empty pews.

The latest effort comes Sunday at the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Charles Borromeo church on Detroit's east side. The group has a Facebook page called the Detroit Catholic Mass Mob.

Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

St. Henry’s in Lincoln Park held its first Mass on June 3, 1923 and its last Mass on March 2, 2014.

At the end of the church’s final Mass, parish members took the most important objects and walked them out the door.

The holy oils were carried by five members of the Olive family. Jackie and Bill Balmes carried out the marriage registry (they’ve been married for 65 years). Four men, including Jim Bomia and his two grandsons, lifted the crucifix off the wall (it weighed several hundred pounds), and walked it down the aisle and out the door.

Moshe Reuveni / Flickr

The ACLU is suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a Michigan woman. At the heart of the issue is whether women can get appropriate medical care at a Catholic hospital.

This is becoming more important because more secular hospitals are merging with Catholic-affiliated health care providers. By our count, of the 187 hospitals in Michigan, 26 of them are Catholic. That's 14%.

*Listen to our interview above.

Christus Vincit / Flickr

It has been seven months since the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

He took the name Francis. And since then, the Argentinean pontiff has caught the world's attention, ruffling more than a few conservative feathers with his words on abortion and gay rights, attempts to reform the way the Vatican runs, and how the Catholic Church connects with the people.

We wondered how much impact Pope Francis is having on Catholics in Michigan, and how he’s seen by members of other religions.

We began the conversation with Dave Willey, the Rome correspondent for the BBC.

Then, we hear from Jesuit priest Father Karl Kiser, and Baptist minister Ural Hill.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Michigan Court of Appeals ruling this week is being criticized by a national group that campaigns against sexual abuse by priests. The court ruled that a west Michigan minister could not be charged for failing to report suspected child abuse.

In 2009, a woman asked the minister’s advice because she suspected her husband of abusing her daughters. But it wasn’t until another incident in 2011 that the minister convinced her to report the suspected abuse.   The pastor's attorney says no initial report was made because the allegations were sketchy.

Panoramio

DETROIT (AP) - Thieves struck a Detroit church and swiped a brass bell that's more than 100 years old.

The bell belongs to Sweetest Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church. Officials believe a lock was cut on a fence that surrounds the church grounds Thursday night or early Friday morning.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A group representing gay Catholics celebrated Mass at Marygrove College in the face of appeals from a conservative Christian group that the Archdiocese of Detroit block the plans.

Dignity Detroit held Mass on Sunday at the Roman Catholic-sponsored school.

Members of Dignity Detroit were met by roughly 30 protesters. A smaller group held signs in support of Dignity Detroit members.

American Family Association Michigan President Gary Glenn said Thursday that he has asked Archbishop Allen Vigneron to enforce Vatican policies on homosexuality and intervene.

The 1.3 million-member archdiocese has said church institutions are subject to Catholic beliefs.

Dignity Detroit, which regularly meets at Marygrove College, celebrated its 39th anniversary on Sunday. It has held previous Masses in the school chapel.

Saginaw’s Catholic Diocese consolidating parishes

Jan 21, 2013
Chris Pham / Courtesy: Diocese of Saginaw

Because of diminishing membership, Saginaw’s Catholic Diocese is beginning a three-year process to consolidate parishes.

The diocese includes 105 parishes spread across almost 7,000 square miles in 11 counties around Saginaw, Bay City and Midland.

DETROIT (AP) - Cardinal Adam Maida and Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron joined hundreds of mourners at the funeral Mass for retired auxiliary Bishop Moses B. Anderson, the first black bishop to serve in the post.

The 84-year-old died last Tuesday of cardiac arrest. His funeral was Monday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Anderson was eulogized as someone who overcame the dual prejudices of race and religion in his southern birthplace.

Archdiocese of Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Retired auxiliary Bishop Moses B. Anderson has died. The first black bishop to serve in the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit was 84.

The archdiocese says Anderson died Tuesday of cardiac arrest.

Anderson was born in Selma, Ala., and attended Edmundite College of St. Michael's in Winooski, Vt., and St. Edmund Seminary in Burlington, Vt. He was ordained a priest in 1958.

In 1983, Detroit Cardinal Edmund Szoka ordained Anderson an auxiliary bishop.

The leader of another Michigan business is suing the federal government over provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

John Kennedy, CEO of Kentwood-based Autocam Automotive, filed a complaint in a federal court in Grand Rapids Monday. In it, he says his company shouldn’t have to provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception coverage he considers “intrinsically wrong and gravely sinful”.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Catholic legal group says parts of President Obama’s health care law violate their clients’ religious freedom.

Representatives for the Thomas More Law Center made their arguments on behalf of business owners in a Detroit federal court Friday.

The groups charge that they shouldn’t have to provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception coverage—the so-called “HHS mandate”-- in violation of their first amendment rights.

Nunsonthebus.com

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney isn’t the only one with a bus tour passing through Michigan this week.

A group of Catholic nuns will be touring the state to criticize Republican plans to cut federal spending.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Several hundred people gathered at the state capitol today to protest the Obama Administration’s push to make all employer-provided health care plans carry contraception coverage.    Similar rallies took place in Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor and other Michigan cities.

The Catholic Church is a main opponent of the contraception mandate. Church leaders held rallies across the country today.

Flickr user/jemasmith

The Roman Catholic church says a newly formed prayer caucus in the Michigan Legislature that specifically endorses Judeo-Christian tradition should open itself to officials of "any faith." About 30 lawmakers and Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley sang "God Bless America" and prayed at Wednesday's launch.

The caucus says in its founding statement that it's "a bipartisan body of believers of Scriptural Truth, adhering to established Judeo-Christian principles."

The statement has drawn criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations based on what the group's state director Dawud Walid says is its "exclusionary language."

 The Michigan Catholic Conference has weighed in as well, saying it hopes that "elected officials of any faith are made to feel welcome." Caucus co-founder Rep. Ken Kurtz says anyone may join.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids has released plans to merge and close some of its churches. The diocese includes 99 churches in 11 West Michigan counties.

“Every Parish is in one way or the other affected," said Bishop Walter Hurley. He approved the restructuring plan that's been three years in the making. It’s supposed to help the diocese face future challenges, like changing populations, a growing Hispanic community, and fewer clergy.

“Right now we’re not at a crisis point but what we do need to know as we look to the future, now what happens if we don’t have a pastor assigned to this Parrish or this Parrish," Hurley said. 

Hurley says a few churches in more rural areas up north have already closed. Another handful will close as priests retire. Others will merge together. Hurley says the plan is a living document and subject to change. The Diocese of Grand Rapids isn’t the only one grappling with fewer priests.

There's no set timeline for when many changes will take place, but they're expected over several years.

You can find the full approved "Our Faith, Our Future" plan here. 

Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are neck-and-neck in the polls in the run-up to the Michigan Republican primary on Tuesday.

One group that Romney appears to have an advantage with is Roman Catholic voters despite the fact that he is Mormon and Santorum Catholic.

The disconnect between faith and politics highlights differences among Catholics and shows that some religious voters are focusing more on other issues.

Declaring Faith

user anna / Flickr

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Michigan and six other states are asking a federal judge to block an Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated organizations.

The lawsuit filed at a U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska alleges that the new rule violates the First Amendment rights of groups such as the Roman Catholic church that object to the use of contraceptives.

The rule announced as part of the federal health care law has come under fire not only from Catholic bishops but also the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. In response to this criticism, Obama administration officials have said they will shift the requirement from the employers to health insurers themselves.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says the proposed change still fails to address their concerns.

Joining the lawsuit are Nebraska, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina.

Archdiocese of Detroit

The Detroit Archdiocese has officially released streamlining plans reduce the number of parishes, in order to accommodate what its leaders call “demographic changes.”

This second phase of the “Together in Faith” plan is years in the making.

Over the next four years, Archdiocese will close, merge, or cluster dozens of its 267 current parishes over the next four years.

 

·        2 parishes will close.

·        8 parishes will merge into 4 by the end of 2012.

·        30 parishes will merge into 14 by 2016.

Archbishop says he'll discuss parish closing plan

The leader of 1.3 million Roman Catholics in southeastern Michigan says he's releasing the results of a review of a proposal to merge or close dozens of parishes in the face of population shifts within the Archdiocese of Detroit.     

The archdiocese says that Archbishop Allen Vigneron will talk at 4 p.m. today about the plans for the realignment of the 267 parishes. 

On Dec. 1, Vigneron said the archdiocese would review a plan to close nine parishes and merge 60 others into 21. A committee of lay leaders helped draft that plan. The archdiocese says Vigneron  completed the plan earlier this month, and its results were mailed out this week to priests and lay members.

Santorum to speak at Kent County Republican dinner 

Rick Santorum is scheduled to bring his presidential campaign to West Michigan on Monday with a speech to Kent County Republicans. Santorum's staff said Sunday that the ex-Pennsylvania U.S. senator will address the Kent County Lincoln Day Dinner. It's set for 7 p.m. at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. 

Santorum has been surging in the Republican presidential polls nationwide and in Michigan, which holds its primary Feb. 28. A Feb. 11-13 poll of 500 likely Michigan GOP primary voters found 34 percent backing Santorum and 30 percent backing Michigan native and ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mott Romney. The 4 percentage point difference is within the 4.4 point margin of sampling error. Glengariff Group Inc. did the polling for The Detroit News, WDIV-TV and WZZM-TV.

Snyder to sign Michigan road commission bills

Legislation that will allow county boards of commissioners to take over duties of county road commissions is expected to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder is scheduled to sign the legislation Tuesday at the state
Capitol. 

The bills were approved by the Michigan Legislature earlier this month. Supporters say the measures would save money by eliminating duplicative administrative costs. Appointed county road commissions could be dissolved by a majority vote of a county's board of commissioners.

Voters would have the final decision on whether to dissolve road commissions in counties where road commissioners are elected. Some critics say a vote of the people should be required in all counties because each road commission was created by such a vote,
not just those with elected commissioners.

Last week, the Detroit Archdiocese said it will likely close nine churches and consolidate dozens more starting next year.

The six-county Detroit Archdiocese, like many across the country, is dealing with a priest shortage and declining membership in many churches.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says it has placed a 66-year-old priest on leave after finding "sufficient substance" behind a complaint that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor early in his ministry.

The 1.3 million-member archdiocese announced Sunday that the Rev. Gary Schulte went on administrative leave Friday from St. Sylvester Parish in Warren. The Associated Press left a phone message Sunday for Schulte.

The archdiocese says its victim assistance coordinator received a complaint in September. The archdiocese says it "found the complaint to be of sufficient substance" to require restrictions on Schulte's work as a priest, including barring him from celebrating Mass.

Schulte was ordained in 1972 and also has worked at parishes in the Detroit suburbs of Clawson, Beverly Hills, Royal Oak and Madison Heights.

Angela Anderson-Cobb / flickr

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has launched a campaign to raise $135 million in five years.

The bulk of the money will go directly to the parishes to address their needs, says archdiocese spokesman Bill Blaul:

"Those priorities may range from fixing a roof or repaving a parking lot, or doing some painting, you know maintenance and construction-type work, or it may be adding ministries, it may be adding some outreach programs, maybe adding food pantries."

user brother o'mara / Flickr

Subpoena's for Detroit International bridge hearings?

State Senate hearings are scheduled to being this week over the controversial Detroit River international crossing. It's a bridge Governor Snyder and many others want built, but there have been many charges and counter-charges over the costs and the need for a second bridge crossing into Canada.

State Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake Township) is the chair of the Economic Development Committee.

Kowall says he will ask the state Senate for subpoena power, if he suspects anyone is not being truthful during the hearings.

From the Detroit Free Press:

If approved, Kowall would be empowered to compel sworn testimony -- meaning someone who lied could be charged with perjury -- about the various and contradictory claims being made about the proposed bridge and the Ambassador Bridge.

Kowall counts himself as a skeptic of the need for a second bridge crossing, but promises fair hearings.

Catholic Church to review liberal Sunday Mass for "liturgical abuses"

A retired Catholic priest presided over a mass held yesterday in Cobo Center for around 1,500 to 2,000 progressive people who are seeking to reform the church (attendees want to give women and married men the ability to be ordained as priests, among other reforms).

From the Detroit News:

The Archdiocese of Detroit is seeking a review of a Sunday Mass at a progressive Catholics' group's conference to determine if there were "serious liturgical abuses," church officials said Sunday.

"Those abuses, along with several other concerns, will now be — and must be — reviewed by the Detroit archdiocese and, potentially, by the Vatican," spokesman Ned McGrath said.

The Rev. Robert Wurm, who presided over the Mass on Sunday at the American Catholic Conference at Cobo Center, had said he didn't believe the archdiocese would take action against him.

"I felt good about this," said Wurm, 78, who conducted the nearly two-hour service.

Anuzis won't run for U.S. Senate

Former state Republican Party chair Saul Anuzis is the latest potential Republican challenger to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) to announce they will not run for the seat in 2012. Former U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra and former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land both declined to run.

Anuzis announced his decision on his blog That's Saul Folks:

After talking to hundreds if not over a thousand donors, activists and friends around the state I have decided NOT to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012...

Mine was a more personal decision. Unfortunately I have to work for a living:) I do not have the financial wherewithal to take a year off from working and run an aggressive, fulltime campaign.

Anuzis said he's confident a strong Republican contender will step forward, saying he has "personally encourage [sic] Frank Beckmann, Clark Durant and John McCulloch to run."