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News Digest

Issue of November 22 – December 5, 2009The following items are condensed. For the complete articles, please read the print edition of The Catholic New World. To subscribe, call (312) 534-7777.

News Update

Common Ground moving to CTU

The Catholic Common Ground Initiative, founded by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1996, moved to the Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union, 5416 S Cornell Ave., on Nov. 14. The date marks the 13th anniversary of Cardinal Bernardin's death.

Cardinal George described the initiative, formerly housed by the National Pastoral Life Center in New York, as "coming home to Chicago," the late cardinal's archdiocese.

"The initiative is not a forum for negotiating Catholic doctrine," Cardinal George said, "but a means to review the challenges to understanding and living our faith in constantly changing circumstances."

Through lectures, conferences, and programs in Catholic parishes, schools, and organizations, The Catholic Common Ground Initiative promotes dialogue within the church on various issues, from the changing roles of women to U.S. immigration. Over the next few years, the initiative will continue to focus on bringing Catholics of diverse views together, provide resources within the church and engage younger Catholics.

LUMA opens crèche art expo

A new Chicago holiday tradition begins this December when Loyola University Museum of Art opens the "Art and Faith of the Crèche" exhibit. The show, made possible by a major gift from the James and Emilia Govan Crčche Collection, consists of more than 500 nativity scenes from around the world, assembled over a period of 30 years. It will include crčches from more than 100 countries and cultures, including works by Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Taoist artists.

The exhibit runs Dec. 5 through Jan. 17 and will become an annual event at LUMA during the holiday season.

Artist/teacher Jean Unsworth, whose work is part of the exhibit, will walk visitors through the show at 6 p.m. Dec. 8. Visitors can also "meet the collector" at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 12. James Govan will discuss his favorite pieces and stories behind them. He began collecting the works with his late wife in the 1970s. Both events are free, with museum admission, which is $6, or $5 for seniors. Tuesdays are free for everyone.

The museum plans to rotate the collection yearly and include examples of crčches from other local collections. LUMA is located at 820 N. Michigan Ave., in Lewis Towers, on Loyola University Chicago's Water Tower Campus. For more information, call (312) 915-7600, or visit

News Digest

Married priests? For Vatican, an exception to the rule

The question of priestly celibacy is one that keeps bubbling to the surface at the Vatican, most often in the theoretical discussions of synods of bishops but more concretely in a new papal document on Anglicans coming into the Catholic Church.

The fact that married former Anglican priests may be ordained as Catholic priests under the new arrangement - albeit on a caseby- case basis - has given rise to widespread speculation that this represents a step toward jettisoning the general rule of celibacy.

New CD featuring pope's voice previewed in Rome

Under the gilded ceiling of a Roman basilica, a choir performed while the taped voice of Pope Benedict XVI sang the Marian hymn "Regina Coeli" ("Queen of Heaven"). The performance marked the press launch of "Alma Mater," a CD featuring the recording of the pope leading the "Regina Coeli" prayer in St. Peter's Square on May 1, 2005, the first time he had led the hymn as pope.

Bishops' meeting opens

During the first two days of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops fall general assembly in Baltimore, conference president Cardinal George contemplated a scenario of what the church would look like without priests. (See Cardinal's Column, Page 3).

On their first day of the Nov. 16-19 meeting, the bishops also heard a report on health care reform and reaffirmed as a body the statement that Cardinal George had made soon after the House approved its version of reform legislation Nov. 7, expressing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' commitment to keep health reform legislation in the Senate abortion-neutral.