This week's stories | Home Page
Issue Date:  November 23, 2007


Smaller dioceses have priests

WASHINGTON -- Urban Catholic archdioceses ordain more priests, but smaller dioceses in the Midwest and Southeast are ordaining more priests per Catholic, according to a recent study.

For example, the Chicago archdiocese ordained 61 priests from 2003 to 2006 and the Alexandria, La., diocese ordained 12 in that time, according to a review by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. That means Chicago produced one priest for every 38,393 Catholics, while Alexandria ordained one per 4,004. The Georgetown center has reviewed the clergy data four times since 1993.

Fargo, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb., have landed in the top five of new-priest-per-Catholic ratios in every review. Atlanta, Bismarck, N.D., Omaha, Neb., Peoria, Ill., and Wichita, Kan., have placed in the top five three times.

Between 2003 and 2006, six dioceses with a total of 450,000 Catholics had no ordinations, and another eight dioceses with almost 1.4 million Catholics had only one each, according to the review.

Rounding out the total ordinations top five from 2003 to 2006: Newark, N.J., with 52, Washington 34, St. Paul-Minneapolis 33, and New York 29.

Natural family planning OKed

ST. LOUIS -- In what some claim is a gain in legitimacy, the medical coding system used by the government, insurance companies, medical clinics and health care providers now includes two codes specifically for natural family planning.

Having codes for natural family procedures will make it easier to get the procedures covered by insurance and will enhance statistics gathering, according to Diane Daly of the American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals, which promotes natural family planning and women’s health and infertility issues while upholding Catholic teaching.

Daly, also director of the Office of Natural Family Planning for the St. Louis archdiocese, headed the academy committee that has worked for the new codes since 2004.

Guidelines for reporting and coding of medical procedures and diagnoses are made by two federal government agencies -- the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Bishop urges no action on Iran

WASHINGTON -- Although “the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons is unacceptable,” the U.S. government must exhaust every option before considering military action to resolve the situation, the chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on International Policy told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“The use of force must always be a last resort,” Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., said in a letter to Rice made public Nov. 9. “In addition, the failure to be transparent about one’s nuclear energy program is not grounds for military intervention, nor is the possession of nuclear weapons or the issuing of bellicose statements,” he added.

But Wenski noted that the Iranian government’s continuing “to ignore its international responsibilities” regarding nuclear weapons “undermines the stability of the region.”

-- Marilyn Humphries Photography

The cost of deportation
People rallied in Boston in April to support the families of the 360 workers arrested at a New Bedford, Mass., textile factory during a raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. About two-thirds were deported as illegal immigrants. The National Council of La Raza and the Urban Institute recently released a report, “Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children,” which found that for every two adults detained in immigration raids, a child is left behind. Two-thirds of these children are U.S. citizens, more than a third are under 6 years old, and nearly two-thirds are under 11. This year alone, more than 4,000 people have been detained in immigration raids, according to Randy Capps, demographer for the Urban Institute and co-author of the report. “All these kids are at risk because raids are becoming a more common and important tool in the federal government’s arsenal” to implement immigration laws, Capps said.


Lebanese bishops fear division

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Lebanon’s Catholic bishops warned that rival politicians’ failure to agree on a consensus candidate for the presidency will lead the country to unprecedented disruption. The prelates admonished pro-government and opposition leaders and insisted that elections take place “on time and in line with the constitution.”

“The Lebanese wait … with anxiety because of the strong tension between the pro-government [forces] and the opposition,” the Maronite bishops said following their Nov. 7 meeting. “That’s why we reiterate with insistence our appeal for unity,” they said. The Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir, told reporters the current crisis was worse than when a 15-year civil war broke out in Lebanon in 1975.

Lebanon’s parliament announced Nov. 11 that the presidential election would be postponed, for a third time, until Nov. 21. Lebanon’s Constitution reserves the presidential post for a Maronite Catholic.

Bishop ‘pragmatic’ on brothels

LONDON -- The Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, England, insisting it’s time to “be realistic,” has thrown his support behind a campaign to legalize brothels even as he insists he is not condoning prostitution itself.

Bishop Crispian Hollis added his support to a unanimous but controversial vote by more than 200 chapters of the highly respected Women’s Institute organization in favor of getting brothels licensed by local governments to protect prostitutes.

“If you are going to take a pragmatic view and say prostitution happens,” Hollis explained to journalists, “I think there’s a need to make sure it’s as well-regulated as possible for the health of people involved -- and for the safety of the ladies themselves.”

“That’s not to say I approve of prostitution in any way,” he insisted.

National Catholic Reporter uses the following news services: AsiaNews, Catholic News Service, Latinamerica Press, New America Media, Religion News Service, and UCA News.

On the Web
Read more U.S. and world news every day on Look for the "Daily News Feed."

National Catholic Reporter, November 23, 2007

This Week's Stories | Home Page | Top of Page
Copyright  © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO   64111
All rights reserved.
TEL:  816-531-0538     FAX:  1-816-968-2280   Send comments about this Web site to: