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Monday, December 10, 2007

"There will be no wholesale closure of churches."

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Of course not!

Thirty four parishes in Devon will be cut to 23 and 15 parishes in Cornwall will become nine.

It will mean some parishes will lose their church, while in others a parish priest will serve more than one church.

The church says the closures will not be "wholesale" and money from the sales will be put into other aspects of church activities.

Plymouth Diocese spokesman Michael Fay said: "Some churches will be closed but some parish priests will serve more than one church.

Acting in the Person of the Priest

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Newly elected Parish Council in Austria, standing where they should not.

Conservatory Mass

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in Austria

Beginning of the end of the Church in Austria

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Austrian Church changes enter their final act. Cathcon translation of Kirchenrücken geht ins Finale

Mergers-Thousands discuss mergers of parishes and deaneries. At the grass roots, there is open criticism of the system.

The parishes will come together. Freely St. Pölten's Chief Shepherd Klaus Küng denounces “the evaporation of faith ". His prescribed renewal process for the Diocesan structures after month long and restricted discussions now takes its first forms. As an overture to structural reform, the church districts will be cut by this trained surgeon. The 25 deaneries will shrink to 20.

How to take away administrative obesity has not exactly been decided. Certainly, a merger is likely of Heidenreichstein and Weitra with Gmünd, and also in Mostviertel there are ideas. Next year a more serious change: mergers within the 424 parishes, one third of whom are without their own priest.

Under discussion are two models: Tight merger or loose parish associations where the team work on joint service provision. A hybrid is possible across the area of the Diocese.

Wide-ranging discussions with all the priests and lay officials have been launched, even with a lay personal consultant as a "facilitator".
(Cathcon- prepare ye the way of the management consultant)

No illusion
Criticism is not enough. "The fact that the leadership at all levels permits so broad debate, is a positive thing" admits Father Udo Fischer, parish priest of 2500 souls in Paudorf. "But let us have no illusion: What emerges in the end, is long established."

(Cathcon- the same Udo Fischer, who conducted a vendetta over years with is Bishop, Kurt Krenn. One can only be sad that God’s Providence did not allow to flourish in this Pontificate) Specifically? "The priest shortage and exodus of the faithful means that the hierarchy has unfortunately has no better solution than to close or combine parishes." The idea is wrong, "that a priest can give personal care to 10,000 people or more." The trend is completely down: "In 25 years, we will have no people and no more money."

Father Udo and the former Viennese Vicar General Helmut Schüller

(Cathcon note- Schüller gave the Cardinal Archbishop such nightmares that he sacked him by pushing a letter under his door- which says something about them both).
argue against the scalpal strategy with their "Parish Initiative" (300 members across Austria). Their approach: Challenging celibacy and suggesting lay ordination. "The bishops have to be united and have a serious word with Rome." (Cathcon note-the Austrian Bishops Conference are unique in the world-arguing publicly during an ad-Limina to Rome).

By autumn 2008, the new structures "will be put in place."

The Big Prize goes to the Catholic

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in the Worst Chasuble Competition.

The Anglican did not have a hope. Trounced despite a late surge.

Full results here.

The Priestesses in the Temple

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Cardinal- let them build mosques

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Cathcon translation of article, Dürfen Muslime in Deutschland Moscheen bauen? by Cardinal Sterzinsky.

Can Muslims build mosques in Germany?

Religious freedom also applies to Muslims. It is a two-way street. A guest commentary by Georg Cardinal Sterzinsky

The answer is a clear: Yes, of course, Muslims in Germany should build mosques. This arises from the right to religious practice, guaranteed by the Constitution. But regardless of the Constitution, the Catholic Church recognizes the right to religious freedom, so that the Muslims who live permanently in Germany have the right to build appropriate and dignified mosques, cannot be take away.

In recent months, there have been continual arguments about the plans for the construction of particular mosques, for example, in Cologne, but also in Berlin. Here people are protesting about currently planned mosques, specifically in Pankow-Heinersdorf and in Charlottenburg. In Heinersdorf, a citizens' initiative is being organised against a construction project of the Ahmadiyya group and they have justified their opposition by saying that the group is an unpredictable sect, none of whom live in the immediate area. The Inssan Foundation wants to build a mosque and cultural complex near the Mierendorffplatz in Charlottenburg. As the Tagesspiegel reported, the land alone costs 2.9 million euro. The forty members of the Foundation wanted the largest part of the cost to be financed by donations from Arab countries.

The project in Charlottenburg shows what questions should be asked when large mosques are planned. Such as: Do such large complexes with facilities that are not directly engaged in the exercise of religion, really serve the objective of integration? Or will they tend towards isolated and parallel societies? What interpretation of Islam is shared by the builders of the mosque? Is it compatible with the Basic Law? What are the sources of money? And what goals do the donors have? I believe that both the residents and the state have a legitimate interest in transparency and answers to such questions. The allegations that Inssan has links to Islamists must be taken seriously, and the accuracy of these must be examined.

It is imperative to properly examine the buildings of mosques in Germany. It is true that given the permanent presence of Muslims in Germany and Europe as well as the projected growth of these communities followed the path away from ad-hoc meeting places toward recognizable mosques. The truth, however, is that the right balance should be maintained. Mosques should be dignified. But a mosque must be sized so that at least the impression of a demonstration of power is avoided? Should mosques be named, as often happens in Germany, after the Conqueror of Constantinople- as the Fatih Mosque in that city is named, which can easily be perceived as a provocation.

If intellectuals like Ralph Giordano, the social scientist Necla Kelek, the writers Dieter Wellershoff Hoff and Guenter Wallraff, the historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler, or the artist Klaus Staeck have some sharp words against the construction of large mosques, one should listen attentively. The underlying concerns should be taken seriously.

By conviction, the Catholic Church supports the religious freedom of Muslims in Germany. Naturally, we are also for the religious freedom of Christians in Islamic countries. In such countries, Christians are often exposed to discrimination and deprivation. It is, in practice, only possible to construct small churches, but certainly desirable is the possibility of practising one's own religion without fear of persecution. Our behavior is not dependent on decisions and bans in other countries. I think, however, the acceptance of Muslims in Germany would develop if they also clearly spoke out for religious freedom of Christians in their home countries.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph

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I give you my heart.

Ecumenical Horror Story Mass

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From Brussels, broadcast on Dutch TV.

Hat tip to Breviarium.

The no-so-stealthy pseudo-deacon priestess is the Anglican deputy chaplain in Antwerp. She makes comments offensive to Catholic ears about the advantages of the iconography of an empty Cross.

The priest does not genuflect at the consecration, doubtless because he thinks Christ is rather more present in his pseudo-co-celebrants or perhaps even himself.