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One of the city’s great Catholic church buildings, St. Stans, on Dubois Street,  is 100 years old and can be classified as a fixer-upper. It needs considerable repair. The real estate listing says the church has 22,000 square feet, with a sanctuary that seats 900, a choir stand, balcony and baptismal pool. Designed by Harry J. Rill, a Detroit architect, St. Stans has a Baroque exterior and an interior done in an opulent Beaux-Arts style, typical in elaborate Polish Catholic churches. St. Stans opened in 1913, during the frenzy of the early auto age, when the neighborhood was home to an increasing number of immigrants, especially Poles. Nearby churches include St. Albertus, St. Josaphat and Sweetest Heart of Mary. Suburban flight after World War II robbed the parish of many families, then the city cut the parish in two with the Ford Freeway, which runs a block north of the church, which is easily visible to motorists on I-94, just east of the Chrysler Freeway. In the early 1980s, the destruction of the neighborhood continued, with the construction of General Motors’ Poletown plant. // See a picture of the church here… Sounds like a deal to me… although the current owner bought the church for just $2,500 in a foreclosure sale.  🙂
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He’s a Latin Grammy nominated Christian music singer, and Brazil’s most popular Catholic priest. The church seats 20,000 people and has been under construction for 6 years. Here’s more: One of Brazil’s most famous priests has inaugurated a massive new Roman Catholic church that will hold about 20,000 worshippers when complete. A mass was celebrated Friday in Sao Paulo to inaugurate the Mother of God sanctuary. It’s been in construction for more than six years, and it will take several more to finish. Father Marcelo Rossi is the driving force behind the project. He’s a Latin Grammy-nominated Christian music singer and author of best-selling books in Brazil. He tells the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper the church isn’t meant as an answer to the rapid spread of evangelical churches in Brazil. Instead, the diocese served by the church badly needed a bigger structure. Read more here.
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Current Events
The Vatican announced Sunday an arrangement to allow disaffected Episcopalian congregations in the United States to join the Roman Catholic church. The arrangement will allow an exemption to priestly celibacy for former Episcopal priests who are married. Interesting development.  But it opens a can of worms for celibate Catholic priests who won’t be grandfathered in, but will want the right to marry if others can.  Don’t you think? I know this is a little outside our normal evangelical circle discussion, but any thoughts? Read more here…
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Controversy
According to the San Francisco Chronicle: Most Holy Redeemer Church, a Catholic parish in the middle of the Castro, is in trouble again with church leaders over how best to minister to its heavily gay and lesbian congregation. In the latest incident, Archbishop George Niederauer had the church’s pastor, the Rev. Steve Meriwether, rescind invitations to a trio of gay-friendly clergy scheduled to speak at a series of pre-Christmas evening services. “The archbishop felt the speakers were inappropriate for the season of Advent, which should be a time to reflect on the coming of Christ,” said George Wesolek, a spokesman for the archdiocese. There was no comment from the parish, where a church secretary said Meriwether was out on medical leave. The action disappointed, but did not surprise the Rev. Roland Stringfellow, a minister for the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Church, who had been scheduled to speak Wednesday. “It’s ironic and hypocritical that the Catholic Church has a ‘Come home’ ad campaign going on right now,” he said. “Clearly, not everyone is welcome within the Catholic Church.” The program’s first intended speaker, retired Episcopal Bishop Otis Charles, echoed those concerns. The decision to bar him and the others from speaking is another indication that the Catholic Church hierarchy’s position is that “those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual are less than OK.” Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/22/BAH81MFU18.DTL#ixzz1hgg4CdQz // Really?  Seriously?  I think the quote at the end is a little over the top: “those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual are less than OK.” Maybe a better, more accurate quote would have been “those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual are less than OK to be a spokesman and speaker at our church which does not condone their lifestyle.” Yeah… that sounds a little better. I’m telling you… the homosexual issue is THE issue for the Christian church to contend and deal with in the next decade. How will YOUR church respond?  Especially when you’re confronted with lambasting comments like these? Todd
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Trends
Hmmm… an interesting research report today suggests that the real winners in the Catholic sexual abuse scandal over the past few years were… wait for it… BAPTISTS!
This paper considers substituting one charitable activity for another in the context of religious practice. I examine the impact of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal on both Catholic and non-Catholic religiosity. I find that the scandal led to a 2-million-member fall in the Catholic population that was compensated by an increase in non-Catholic participation and by an increase in non-affiliation. Back-of the- envelope calculations suggest the scandal generated over 3 billion dollars in donations to non-Catholic faiths. Those substituting out of Catholicism frequently chose highly dissimilar alternatives; for example, Baptist churches gained significantly from the scandal while the Episcopal Church did not. These results challenge several theories of religious participation and suggest that regulatory policies or other shocks specific to one religious group could have important spillover effects on other religious groups.
via Freakonomics Any thoughts? Todd
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Current Events
The Catholic Diocese of Orange said Wednesday it is looking into the possibility of trying to acquire the Crystal Cathedral complex in southern California. The diocese said in a statement on its Web site Bishop Tod D. Brown has authorized a law firm and other lay advisers to explore whether the church should try to purchase the expansive property in Garden Grove, which is tied up in federal bankruptcy court. The diocese said in its statement the bishop has followed the bankruptcy proceedings and is concerned about the future of the landmark facilities. It also noted the diocese does not have a cathedral to meet the needs of the 1.2 million Catholics in the county, the 11th largest diocese in the nation. “While we continue to develop plans for a cathedral in Santa Ana, it is prudent to evaluate the opportunity to engage in the pending auction of this property and to mitigate the chance that it cease to function as a place of worship, if acquired by others,” Brown said. via Crystal Cathedral draws Catholic interest – UPI.com.
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Controversy
The Catholic Church isn’t talking nice about one of their own:  Andrew Cuomo.  According to a report in the New York Times:
His relationship with Sandra Lee, his live-in girlfriend, is sacrilegious and should be punished by denying Cuomo communion, writes Vatican court consultant Edward Peters. It’s official: “Public concubinage” is officially the dirtiest-sounding church term we’ve ever heard.
via Church Leader: Andrew Cuomo Is Living in ‘Public Concubinage’ — Daily Intel. I agree.  I think we should take an offering to Edward Peters.  He deserves some kind of a prize for coining a new term. I don’t know about you, but I plan on working the whole ‘public concubinage’ comment into my vocabulary.  Daily. QUESTION:  When someone asks you why it was OK for Solomon to have a thousand concubines and we can’t today… what do you tell them? What’s your quick answer?
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Current Events
A semi-official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has declared that Homer and Bart Simpson are, in deed, catholic: “‘Not many people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it. But it’s true, Homer J. Simpson is Catholic.”  This, even though, as any casual Simpsons observer can tell you, the Simpsons attend a Protestant church. Here’s a little more from an article in the HeraldSun: In that article Fr Orchetta said, ”The Simpsons are one of the few TV programs for children left in which Christian faith, religion and questions about God are recurring themes. ”The family say a prayer before their meals and, in their way, believe in the afterlife.” The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean, speaking to Entertainment Weekly, expressed “shock and awe” at Fr Orchetta’s appraisal. “I guess it makes up for me not going to church for 20 years,” he joked. He pointed out that The Simpsons attend a Protestant church on the show. “We’ve pretty clearly shown that Homer is not Catholic,” he said.  “I really don’t think he could go without eating meat on Fridays – for even an hour.” Mr Orchetta  focused on a 2005 episode in which Bart attends Catholic school after being expelled from Springfield Elementary, which leads Homer to convert to Catholicism, ANSA reported. Religion is a common theme on the show – usually through support characters such as Reverend Lovejoy or Ned Flanders. But Homer has regular grapples with God – including the early episode when he decides to stay home from church and has the best. day. ever, until his house catches on fire. Then again, Homer also sold his soul to the Devil (Flanders) for a doughnut. Hmmm… just for fun:  what denomination do you think these cartoon characters would be?  Let’s open up nominations: 1.  Family Guy 2.  Yosemite Sam 3.  Beevis 4.  Butthead 5.  Sponge Bob 6.  Patrick 7.  Squidward Todd
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