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Online Edition - Vol. V, No. 7: October 1999

In the News

Sweeney Among the Nightingales? -- Father Nugent Resumes Old Ways -- Liturgical Movements in France -- Equal access?

Sweeney Among the Nightingales?

The Archdiocese of Detroit Communications Department issued a statement on September 4 saying that the attendance of Vice President Al Gore and John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, at a Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit "does not necessarily imply support or silence from the Archdiocese of Detroit regarding their public record on moral issues".

Gore's pro-abortion policies contradict Church teaching, the statement said. However, it also said, "John Sweeney, on the other hand, is well known and welcome in the Catholic community for his leadership and collaboration on labor and justice issues. His efforts are consistent with the Church's long-held teachings on the value of work and the rights of workers".

Many pro-life Catholics were dismayed by the implied endorsement of Sweeney, whose campaign for president of the AFL-CIO in 1995 so "nuanced" his stand on abortion as to allow the nation's largest labor organization to remain pro-abortion.

Sweeney serves on the USCC Domestic Policy Committee, and was a plenary speaker at the Catholic Social Justice Gathering for the Jubilee Justice celebration held in Los Angeles this summer.

The labor leader also keynoted a breakfast sponsored by the Committee for Worker Justice held concurrently with the Jubilee Justice conference. At the breakfast, Sweeney shared the mike with abortion-rights activist Dolores Huerta, who is honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America. In 1996, Sweeney was appointed a member of the Common Ground Initiative steering committee by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

***

Father Nugent Resumes Old Ways

Salvatoran Father Robert Nugent has resumed speaking out on homosexual issues, according to a New York Times report September 5.

Father Nugent, co-founder with Sister Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry, a homosexual advocacy organization, and later of Catholic Parents Network, had been ordered by the Vatican on July 13 to cease his three-decades-long "ministry" to homosexuals. Both were also prohibited from holding any office in their respective religious orders.

Father Nugent maintains he can continue to speak publicly on homosexual issues without violating the Vatican order. He told the Times that he and his religious superiors had concluded that the order did not bar him from speaking publicly on the subject, "as long as it's not associated with a pastoral setting". He gave a talk for a public forum on homosexuals and religion at Northeastern University in Boston, sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice, an interfaith organization.

In forbidding the pair to engage in further work with homosexuals and parents of homosexuals, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that Father Nugent and Sister Gramick did not sufficiently present church teaching about homosexual acts in their counseling.

Although he later said he was only a consultant, Father Nugent reportedly claimed to have written "Always Our Children", the controversial 1997 "pastoral statement" addressed to parents of homosexuals approved by the NCCB Administrative Committee. 

***

Liturgical Movements in France

Two groups actively concerned with liturgical reform issues are now active in France.

The Association Pro Liturgia publishes a regular newsletter in support of wider celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin, and has received a letter of support from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Association Pro Liturgia
79 Rue de General De Gaulle
F-67560 Rosheim, France

The Centre International d'Etudes Liturgiques (CIEL, "heaven"), is a traditionalist group whose meeting last March was addressed by Cardinal Augustin Mayer, who recently headed the Ecclesia Dei office in Rome.

CIEL's 5th colloquium, "The Historical and Theological Aspects of the Classical Roman Missal", will take place November 11-13.

Centre International d'Etudes Liturgiques
84 Avenue Aristide Briand
92120 Montrouge, France

***

Equal access?

One of our correspondents just returned from ten days in the Pacific Northwest. He sent the following note:

"In Bandon, Oregon, on the southern Oregon coast, we went to Mass in a small, modern church. Just to the left of the altar are two doors with prominent, matching signs. One reads "Confessional" and the other "Restrooms".

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