|BRIEFS: USA & WORLD|
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 Universitys 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 womens 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 ones 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 governments continuing to ignore its international responsibilities regarding nuclear weapons undermines the stability of the region.
Lebanese bishops fear division
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Lebanons 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. Thats 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.
Lebanons parliament announced Nov. 11 that the presidential election would be postponed, for a third time, until Nov. 21. Lebanons Constitution reserves the presidential post for a Maronite Catholic.
Bishop pragmatic on brothels
LONDON -- The Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, England, insisting its 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 Womens 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 theres a need to make sure its as well-regulated as possible for the health of people involved -- and for the safety of the ladies themselves.
Thats 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.
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National Catholic Reporter, November 23, 2007
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