catholic church

ACLU Michigan

A woman involved in a controversial fight with a mid-Michigan hospital has given birth to a baby girl.

Jessica Mann suffers from a brain tumor. Her doctors advised her that she should undergo a tubal ligation after delivering her baby. 

Michigan Attorney General's office

A former priest, teacher and wrestling coach at a Michigan Catholic school has been charged with sexually assaulting several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says 75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Schuette says the investigation started in 2013, when two men came forward with allegations of past abuse.

Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School at the time. He was told to leave in 1987, following allegations a student was molested.

Rapp was sentenced to prison in 1999 for sexually abusing teenage boys in Oklahoma.

He was jailed Thursday pending a June 26 preliminary examination. He’s being held on a $1 million bond.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea is calling on Catholics in the mid-Michigan diocese to help the poor. Specifically, he wants them to focus on poor people living in Flint. 

Flint is part of the 10-county diocese. But Boyea feels too many Catholics ignore Flint and its needs.

Decades of economic decline and population flight has left Flint with a poverty rate well above the state average. 

Ann Arbor church pulls plug on concealed carry class

Apr 21, 2015
Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor has canceled the concealed pistol license class it was offering for parishioners. 

The decision comes after Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea issued a statement saying the classes were "inappropriate for church property."

National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak
Corey Seeman / Creative Commons

The National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church in Royal Oak will mark its designation as a minor basilica this week with a Mass of thanksgiving.

The Vatican granted the title last January, making the parish Michigan’s second to be named a minor basilica.

1968 was a very tense and pivotal year in Detroit's history. The city was putting itself back together again after the riots in July of '67.

That was the year 38-year-old priest Thomas Gumbleton became a Catholic bishop, and set about working to unite black and white parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Today, after a lifetime of fighting for peace, justice and equality, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is 85. And his life is now a film. American Prophet written, produced and directed by his parishioner Jasmine Rivera.

User VanZandt / Flickr

Before you roll your eyes and grumble about what society is coming to, just hear these churches out for a second. 

"It was painful to hear that so many people weren't getting ashes until the evening," says Reverend June Marshall-Smith of Novi United Methodist.

She says growing up, she always got ashes in the morning, "to remind me all day how my faith is guiding me during the Lenten season."  

"[But now] churches had gone to only evening services and no longer morning services. So I was providing a morning service, but people who were not members of my congregation were not coming to that.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) - The pope has elevated a historic church in suburban Detroit to the status of minor basilica.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says that Pope Francis awarded the honor to the National Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak.

Hello Aerial / YouTube

The team at Hello Aerial, a drone cinematography group based out of Detroit, explored the images of Detroit's historical churches from a very different angle: the sky. 

The video, below, shows the Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church and the St. Joseph's Catholic Church from the air. They even flew the drone inside the church to get a closer look at some historic detailing. 

Oklahoma Dept of Corrections

James Francis Rapp spent six years as a teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson during the 1980’s. 

It was during that time that prosecutors allege the former Catholic priest sexually assaulted several young boys. 

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.


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.

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