✣ Highlights from the week online
In an article for his diocesan newsletter entitled “Some personal thoughts on the months ahead”, Archbishop Charles Chaput admitted that he is stumped on how to vote in the US presidential election.
Archbishop Chaput criticised the vice-presidential nominations – who both proclaim to be Catholic – for “publicly ignoring or inventing the content of their Catholic faith as they go along”.
The archbishop said that both Trump and Clinton had “astonishing flaws”. Pointing to their overwhelming wealth, he said: “Neither major candidate lives anywhere near the solar system where most Americans live, work and raise families. Nonetheless, we’re asked to trust them.”
He criticised Trump’s “buffoonery” and suggested Clinton should be “under criminal indictment”.
The archbishop advised Catholics to pray and think carefully and not simply vote on “autopilot”.
At Crux, Austen Ivereigh suggested that the next synod is likely to focus on the ordination of married men.
Ivereigh pointed out that “more than half” of Catholic communities do not have a resident priest because of a global fall in numbers.
The Diocese of Xingú in the Brazilian region of Pará, for instance, has 800 parishes but only 27 priests. This means that two thirds of the region get to participate in Sunday Mass just “two or three times a year”.
Retired Bishop Fritz Lobinger has come up with a temporary solution to the problem, Ivereigh said. He believes that dioceses such as Xingú should ordain dedicated lay people to administer sacraments as “locally ordained ministers”.
As Brazilian Church leaders discuss the issue, Ivereigh suggested: “If they conclude that ordaining local elders is not just a solution for a shortage of priests but a sign that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the Church, Francis would be highly likely to call a synod to deliberate on the question.”
Also at Crux, Deacon Steven Greydanus has suggested that Hollywood has a “religion problem”. Greydanus noted that the villain in The Legend of Tarzan is “never without a rosary in his hand … a weaponised token” with which he immobilises and strangles victims.
The controversy over the portrayal of religious characters is “largely muted” compared with disputes over racist or sexist representations, Greydanus argued.
He said: “Religion-themed violence and villainy in Hollywood films are sometimes juxtaposed with religious vocations.”
Greydanus includes The Da Vinci Code, V for Vendetta and Elizabeth: The Golden Age in his list of films that seem to be egregiously anti-Catholic.
Sean Bean has been cast as a priest in a new BBC drama.
The six-part series is being written and produced by Cracker creator Jimmy McGovern. The BBC has said that the series, set in Liverpool, will follow Bean’s character as he helps his congregation reconcile their beliefs with “the hypocrisies demanded by contemporary Britain”.
The actor, known for his parts in the TV series Sharpe and Game of Thrones along with the Lord of the Rings films, worked with McGovern on the 2013 drama Accused, for which he received an Emmy. Bean told the BBC: “McGovern’s scripts are raw and real and he creates fantastic and interesting characters that resonate with society today.”
✣ Sister Doris Engelhard – nun and master brewer – has been interviewed by The Atlantic.
Sister Doris, 65, claims to brew 80,000 gallons of beer annually at Mallersdorf Abbey in Germany.
The abbey has been a brewery since 1881 and Sister Doris – who has been refining her craft for 45 years – is thought to be the last beer-making nun in Europe.
She told the magazine: “I love the smell when I’m making beer. And I love working with living things – with yeast, barley, and with the people who enjoy the beer.”
✣ The week in quotations
None of us can afford to live on autopilot
Archbishop Chaput of Chicago on voting
Column for archdiocesan newsletter
To defile the Mass is not a religious expression but an act of hatred
Campaigner John Ritchie on a ‘Black Mass’ in Oklahoma
[The Church]does not need bureaucrats… but passionate missionaries
Address to pilgrims at Vatican
It is time to stop creating excuses
Knights of Columbus leader Carl Anderson says Catholics shouldn’t back pro-abortion politicians
Catholic News Service
✣ Statistic of the week
The number of soldiers and police at Lourdes on Assumption
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