Monday, July 11, 2016

Mary Jo Tully Resigns as chancellor.

Longtime chancellor moving on

Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland for 27 years, is moving on.

Mary Jo Tully, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland for 27 years, will be relocating to pursue other pastoral opportunities.

The first lay woman to serve as chancellor of a U.S. archdiocese, Tully has led many initiatives, including ecumenical and interfaith relations, service to religious communities, Catholic health care policy, propagation of the faith and missions support.

Archbishop Alexander Sample made the announcement July 11, saying he had  “a heavy but grateful heart.”
The archbishop explained that Tully has offered “tremendous gifts” to the local church.

“All of us owe Mary Jo our sincere and deep gratitude for all that she has done in serving Christ and His people,” the archbishop said, wishing Tully blessings.

Tully, who holds advanced degrees in religious education and theology, formerly worked as head of faith formation in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

She became a friend to Vietnamese Catholics of Oregon and Jews in the area. Both groups hold her in high esteem.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fulton Sheen:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

From Our Friend Austin Ruse of C-Fam at the U.N. :Homosexual Marriage Not a Right Says European Human Rights Court


By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | June 16, 2016 
NEW YORK, June 17 (C-Fam) A unanimous decision of the European Court of Human Rights has once again said that homosexual marriage is not a human right under European law.

Almost one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergfell v. Hodges case, which imposed homosexual marriage on the entire United States, the European Court opted with caution, declining to impose homosexual marriage on the 47 nations that make up the Council of Europe.

The Chapin and Charpentier v. France decision is the latest in a succession of cases out of Finland, Italy, Austria, and France, where the Court shut the door to a Europe-wide human right to homosexual marriage, but perhaps not completely.

The European Court opted for a de-centralized approach. The issue of homosexual marriage is “subject to the national laws of the Contracting States,” the Court said, once again stating that there was no “European consensus” to overrule the plain meaning of the European Convention on human rights.

Article 12 of the Convention, which pertains to the right to marry and found a family, “cannot be interpreted as imposing an obligation on governments of the Contracting States to grant homosexual couples access to marriage,” the Court said, because it only “sanctions the traditional concept of marriage, that is the result of the union of a man and a woman.”

As in past decisions, the Court was less categorical and less deferential to European nations in its interpretation of the right to privacy and family life in Article 8 of the Convention.

The Court recognized that “States are still free (…) to restrict access to marriage to different-sex couples,” but it also reiterated that they must allow some form of “civil union” for homosexuals.
While it again recognized the margin of appreciation of states in designing homosexual civil union regimes, it alluded to the possibility that some countries might “go beyond its margin of appreciation in the choice of rights and obligations it established through civil unions.”

The Court let it be known that it would have been willing to flesh out what protections are required by article 8 for homosexual civil unions if any “indication” had been present that French civil union laws were not adequate.

This dictum leaves the door open to the creation of a de facto right to homosexual marriage through a European right to civil unions.

Even so, the ruling comes as a disappointment to homosexual activists, who have brought homosexual marriage cases to the European Court in recent years in the hope that the Court might overturn itself. This time round, after the Irish referendum last May, and on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June, the unanimous ruling against a European right to homosexual marriage appeared like a particularly harsh denial, and a discouraging one.

The U.S. and European courts on occasion, and especially in decisions involving contentious issues involving homosexual relations, have tended to march in lockstep.

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ sodomy statute in the case of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, Justice Kennedy cited, among other sources of law, a decision of the European Court. But the European Court did not reciprocate the favor this time round, and declined to follow the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Loretto sisters summoned to Rome, raising questions on closure of apostolic visitation.

VOCAL: In 2008 we had and Apostolic Visitation by Mother Clare explained in this older post. Lent 2009 - Goodbye Father Cihak/Hello Mother Clare/40 Days of Prayer for Life and ACTION. 

You might notice the name Sr. Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministries who lead astray Catholics in the homosexual lifestyle.  In 2010, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated that the New Ways Ministry for homosexual Catholics does not present an authentic view of Catholic teaching. Rather, it confuses the faithful about the Church’s efforts to defend traditional marriage and to minister to homosexual persons.  

These Sisters of Loretto tend to spred falsehood and confusion. Oregon has confused women who consider themselves "woman-priests".  We have an Order of Sisters that are not approved by the Vatican.  We have a lot of work to do.  Come Holy Spirit.  Have Mercy.

Loretto sisters summoned to Rome, raising questions on closure of apostolic visitation.

 The Vatican's congregation for religious life has summoned to Rome the superior of one of the major orders of U.S. Catholic sisters, asking her to "report on some areas of concern" following the controversial six-year investigation of the country's communities of women religious.

The head of the Sisters of Loretto, a Kentucky-based community founded in the early 19th century to educate pioneer children but now known for strong stands on social justice issues, has been asked to explain alleged "ambiguity" in the order's adherence to church teaching and its way of living religious life.

While the summons from the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is directed specifically at the Sisters of Loretto, it may raise questions for other U.S. women religious communities of apostolic life, who were subject to an unprecedented Vatican inquiry, known as an apostolic visitation, starting in 2008.

Although the congregation formally closed that visitation in December 2014 with the release of a report on the state of religious life in the U.S., it has in at least this instance used material gathered in the investigation to inquire into the life of the order.

Loretto President Sr. Pearl McGivney announced her summoning to Rome in a short June 1 letter to her order's members. In her letter, a copy of which was obtained by GSR, McGivney says she has been asked to visit the Vatican Oct. 18 to report on five so-called "areas of concern."

Among the areas McGivney identifies, quoting from the Vatican congregation's original letter:

• "Your way of promoting the spiritual and community life of the congregation, in light of the Church's definition of apostolic religious life;

• "A certain ambiguity regarding the congregation's adherence to some areas of Church doctrine and morality;

• "Your Congregation's policy regarding members of the community who are known to hold positions of dissent from the Church's moral teaching or approved liturgical practice."

In a statement to GSR Thursday, McGivney said her community "engaged wholeheartedly in the Apostolic Visitation process, and through it, affirmed our Loretto charism and our lives together."

McGivney said her order was one of about 90 nationwide that were personally visited in 2010 as part of the investigation and that during that visit, four members of other congregations interviewed about 90 Loretto sisters.

"The visitors seemed warm and genuinely interested in our lives," stated the president. "They did not inquire about these 'areas of concern' with our elected leadership during this visitation, and we had no expectation that six years later we would find ourselves being asked to come to Rome to address any outstanding issues."

Yet, McGivney added: "We are glad to accept this opportunity for conversation."

"Loretto's constitutions express the manner in which the mission of Loretto is incorporated into the universal mission of the church," she continued. "As our constitutions state, 'Their approval by the Holy See unites the Loretto congregation and its individual members in responsible fidelity to papal authority.'"

"We are confident that our dialogue with the Vatican will be fruitful and bear this out," she stated.
It is unclear from McGivney's letter to her order what information the Vatican congregation may have received to trigger the follow up on the visitation. McGivney does not mention specific allegations against individual members of the order nor cite specific concerns about its way of life.

One of the order's members has however drawn the Vatican's interest several times in the past.
Sr. Jeannine Gramick  who was a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame before joining the Loretto community in 2001  was first criticized by the Vatican's religious congregation in 1984 for cofounding New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group that advocates for LGBT Catholics.
New Ways Ministry
In 1999, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a public notification about Gramick's work.

According to McGivney's letter, the religious congregation did cite two specific concerns about the Loretto order's organization structure: its system of allowing laypeople to join the community as "co-members" and a recent revision of some of the articles of incorporation of the order's diverse institutions.

The congregation, according to the letter, raised a concern about "the identity and role of co-members, assuring the distinction between vowed religious life and laity, in particular but not limited to the participation of the co-members in governance structures and decision-making."

Like many U.S. religious orders, the Sisters of Loretto have sought to incorporate laypeople more deeply into their work as the community has experienced a drop in vowed membership following an historically anomalous period of high membership in the early 20th century.

The Sisters of Loretto's website describes their co-members as "women and men of many faith traditions who live the spirit and mission of Loretto through individual mutual commitment."

While the co-members do not take final vows like women religious, they "commit themselves to participation in the life and work of the Loretto Community and share their time, talent and treasure in support of Loretto and its mission."

McGivney says that the order's executive committee, a group of five elected leaders including herself, met at the end of May to discuss her summons and "discern next steps." The president says the order will arrange for regional meetings in coming months to discuss the matter and undertake communal discernment.

In her statement to GSR, the president said the letter from the religious congregation was dated Jan. 1 and signed by the congregation's prefect, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz. McGivney said she received the letter on April 15.

The wider apostolic visitation of U.S. women religious was launched by the Vatican's religious congregation in 2008 under the approval of Pope Benedict XVI. Likely the largest such investigation in church history, it involved inquiry into 341 female religious institutes in the U.S. that include some 50,000 women.

The visitation included a process of written questioning of religious superiors along with on-site visits. The inquiry was one of two investigations of U.S. women religious launched by different Vatican offices in recent years.

The other investigation was a doctrinal assessment of an umbrella group of the elected leaders of U.S. sisters known as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which was led by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That investigation was concluded in April 2015.
The Sisters of Loretto were founded by three women in 1812 as the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross. They currently have communities in more than 30 U.S. states and several other countries, with their newest mission being founded in Pakistan in 2009.

They also maintain a non-governmental organization, the Loretto Community, which has consultative status with the United Nations in New York.

The order's website describes the landmark 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, widely known as Vatican II, as influencing the community's sense of its mission.

"Through the teachings and insights of Vatican II, we gained a new understanding of our vocation," it states. "Just as frontier living shaped the lives of our early sisters, so a global society shapes ours."
"Like our early sisters who called themselves Friends of Mary, we too stand at the Foot of the Cross as we strive to bring the healing spirit of God into our world and commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity," it continues.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

FYI: A Pro-Life Friend to the North. Another Oregon Right to Life Success

It is amazing how Jesus Christ has worked in the life of  Esther Hurni-Ripplinger.  Esther's trust in the Lord and her strong convictions as she is living out her Catholic faith will do Washington proud and save many souls.


Dan and I are delighted to introduce Esther Hurni-Ripplinger to be designated as Executive Director of Human Life of Washington effective August 1, 2016.

Esther has the broad skill-set required for this position, legislative, media, and business acumen. She also has extensive pro-life experience including five years at Oregon Right to Life, between 2002-2007.
Hurni-Ripplinger recently served two legislative sessions as support staff for pro-life champion, Senator Mike Padden, Chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee in Olympia.

As Session Aide, Esther Hurni-Ripplinger seamlessly coordinated several special projects. In addition, for one election cycle she performed a short-term contract for the Family Policy Institute of Washington.

In the interim, she maintained several clients as an independent business development consultant. Esther not only drew from her experience as a lighting store owner with her husband, and previously as a manufacturer’s representative, but also from her Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing.

Before a move to the Oregon Right to Life Education Foundation, Ripplinger assisted the political director at Oregon Right to Life. She coordinated numerous events, including a workshop to prepare candidates for how to respond to the media regarding the life issue.
In her free time, she perceived the need for a pro-life broadcast, and responded by getting certified to produce and host a syndicated pro-life talk show, which featured interviews with expert guests. Specials included a live-studio audience with a gubernatorial candidate, entirely in Spanish and a teen-led edition. (She is fluent in both Spanish and French, and is now learning German.) It ran weekly for four years under her direction, and another six under her successor.

Ripplinger launched an unprecedented effort in Oregon to gather women who sought healing from the trauma of their abortions.  Many of whom felt called to share their testimonies, which organically formed a speaker’s bureau. Ripplinger coordinated speaking tours to state affiliates of Oregon Right to Life, and developed the church liaison project, which increased mobilization.
 She was a frequent presenter at National Right to Life conventions, and represented Oregon for its American Victims of Abortion (AVA) division. She collaborated with a mental health care professional and team, for the development of an ecumenical program to equip pastors to confidently address the life issue.

Esther knows first-hand the trauma of abortion and the difficult road to post-abortion healing. Her personal testimony of the trauma of abortion is on record in Oregon’s House Judiciary Committee advocating a Women’s Right to Know bill, and it is also included in an Amicus Brief in a winning case at the U.S. Supreme Court. 
She also has fought to protect the end-of-life. Both she and her son had been pressured by the medical community to “pull the plug” on her severely ill husband, who has since recovered. Her personal testimony involving end-of-life matters was featured on the Life Talk NW program, on Sacred Heart Radio heard throughout Washington State.
“It is a profound honor to represent those who cannot speak for themselves, to continue the good work of Human Life of Washington, and to work with those across this great state who are working hard to build a culture of life. I would be remiss without mentioning my personal experience with the trauma of abortion for which I found healing. Additionally,  I defied medical suggestions to "pull the plug" on my severely ill husband who has now recovered. As a cancer survivor too, my intimate grasp of "patient care" in the midst of a culture of death compels me to advocate for LIFE, our first right. I ask for your help and look forward to working with all people of goodwill for the dignity and care everyone deserves” said Ripplinger.

For those who would like to welcome Esther, you can email her at