The New Jersey state senate has voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, prompting a promise from gay-rights advocates to take their campaign to the courts. The final tally on January 7 was 20–14 with three abstentions. It reflected a dramatic shift in the state’s political landscape since gay-marriage supporter Gov.
Four Irish Catholic bishops have resigned within the first 30 days after a government-ordered investigation announced that over decades the Dublin archdiocese had shielded from the law more than 170 Catholic priests accused of sexual child abuse.
Two Dublin bishops—Eamonn Walsh and Ray Field—resigned on December 25 as they apologized to abuse victims during Christmas mass.
Observers of American Catholicism can be alternately impressed and puzzled by its polyphony of public voices. Some, in the name of tradition, call for pulling back from change; others, under the banner of Vatican II, push against the boundaries of doctrine.
Jerome Baggett wanted to know how Catholics live their faith, how they interact in their worship community and how they relate to the larger church and their civic community. So he visited six Catholic parishes in the San Francisco Bay area and interviewed or reviewed questionnaires filled out by 300 parishioners.
The ecumenical path has always been narrow, but recent events cast a new light on the limited and shifting range of ecumenical possibilities. With the exception of the success of the rapprochement of Luth eran, Reformed and United churches in Europe, intra-Protestant ecumenism seems to be dead in the water.
Speaking in Vatican City a month after the Vatican unveiled plans to facilitate the conversion of conservative Anglicans to Catholicism, Arch bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams offered a moderately hopeful assessment of ecumenical relations between the two churches.
Pope Benedict’s invitation to Anglican bodies to join the Roman Catholic Church was seen by some observers as historically momentous and by others as insignificant (after all, a provision has always been there for Anglicans to convert). Which is it?