With the appointment of the Bishop of Dallas, the Most Reverend Kevin Farrell, as the new head of the Vatican’s newly merged dicastery for laity, family and life, Pope Francis has done two things at once.
The public service of elected officials and their Catholic faith have once again come into the public eye. With both vice-presidential candidates being baptized Catholics, it was only a matter of time before our attention turned again to the faith of Vice President Joseph Biden, also a Catholic.
In our day, we have seen the art of political commentary reduced to 140 characters a tweet on Twitter. The purpose of this editorial is not to bemoan what has come to be true – important events and news are no longer exclusively announced on the pages of a newspaper.
In 1993, Saint John Paul II came to Denver, Colorado, for World Youth Day. It was covered by the media, both Catholic and secular, and by all accounts, it was a peaceful, joyful, inspirational experience.
The comments of Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, given at a liturgical conference in London on July 5, concerning the direction in which the priest faces during Mass has caused quite a stir. Even Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, had to weigh in on the subject after the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had a private meeting with Cardinal Sarah.
So many dramatic events have occurred around the world in the past few weeks that it’s sobering to attempt to find a common thread. Perhaps, it is that we are standing at a pivotal time when either the rule of order will dominate or chaos will become the day-to-day continuum.
The coldblooded murders of police officers in Dallas during a peaceful demonstration on July 7 have shaken our nation to the core. Following a week in which we have seen two black men, one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota, killed in incidents with the police, these unspeakable tragedies are horrible examples of the effects of our fallen human nature, the presence of sin in the world, and the real effects of what occurs when we forget who and what we are and what we are created to be.
Once again, Pope Francis’ in-flight press conferences grab the attention of the entire world, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. After a unique apostolic voyage to Armenia, having strengthened ties with the Orthodox Church, the pope was asked to weigh in on a number of questions. As usual, our Holy Father answered with supreme honesty and pastoral care.
With the expressed will of his oldest living relative, the body of the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, will eventually be moved from New York to his home diocese of Peoria in Illinois. This comes after many years of dialogue between the Archdiocese of New York, who had Sheen’s remains interred in the crypt of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Diocese of Peoria, who wishes to place Sheen in the crypt of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, where he received his First Communion and where he was ordained a priest. His parents are buried nearby Saint Mary’s and his remaining relatives still are in the area.
The attempt to suspend the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse died without a whimper in the State House in Albany where it was being championed by Queens Assemblywoman Marge Markey and a concerted campaign by the New York Daily News. The proposal was bad law and was made even worse by the effects it would have had on the mission of the Church.