Apr 15, 2000

In the News . . .

Online Edition –

Vol. VI, No. 2: April 2000

In the News . . .

Protestors desecrate Montreal cathedral |  Liturgist becomes chaplain of US House of Reprentatives | San Antonio cathedral slated for renovation | Vosko lectures at Notre Dame | Letter to Hebrews fragment found | Bible publisher’s Ramsey book raises eyebrows | Creed change: What’s in a word? | Liturgical music conference at Christendom College

Protestors desecrate Montreal cathedral

"Where’s the outrage?" asked one Canadian paper after an incident in which feminist "protestors" disrupted a church service at Montreal’s Mary Queen of the Universe Cathedral, spray-painting graffiti on the altar, yelling anti-religious slogans, throwing condoms and sanitary napkins onto pictures and walls, and overturning flowerpots.

Seven people were arrested for unlawful assembly: three women in their twenties, a teenage girl and three men in their twenties. None were named by police. Two will be charged with assault against a police officer, and another with obstruction.

A March 15, 2000 editorial in the

National Post

questioned why they were not charged with hate crimes or civil rights violations.


Ian Hamilton

wrote, "Anti-Christianity is one of the last acceptable bigotries in Canada. It is observable not only in the bigots and thugs who attacked the cathedral, but also in the federal bureaucrats who instructed mourners at the Swissair crash site to make no mention of Jesus Christ, and in the Ottawa tax department’s decertification of Christian charities while secular charities retained their tax-free status".



Liturgist becomes chaplain of US House of Reprentatives

After months of political jockeying, the

Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin

was appointed chaplain by

Representative Dennis Haster

t, Speaker of the House of Representatives. The appointment was announced March 23, 2000. Father Coughlin, of Chicago, is the first Catholic to hold the position.

Father Coughlin was Director of Chicago’s Office of Divine Worship from 1969 to 1984, and served as head of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions from 1972-76. Since 1995 he has been Vicar for Priests of the archdiocese. He was reportedly recommended for the job by

Cardinal Francis George.

Earlier, the

Reverend Tim O’Brien

had been passed over in favor of a Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Charles Wright. The issue simmered as Democrats charged Republican House leadership with anti-Catholic bigotry. Finally, the Reverend Wright withdrew from the $108,000-a-year position.

In the statement announcing Father Coughlin’s appointment, Representative Hastert lamented what he called an "unseemly political game" over the issue.



San Antonio cathedral slated for renovation

The San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio will undergo extensive renovations, according to the

San Antonio Express-News

("Polishing a Jewel,"

San Antonio Express-News

, Friday, February 11, 2000.) A $15 million capital campaign to pay for the renovations is planned.

San Fernando became a parish in 1738, and parts of the sanctuary from that time still remain. It was made a cathedral in 1874.

Father David Garcia

, rector of the cathedral, was quoted in the


as saying, "This is a church for the whole city, and we want people to feel welcome here. It’s mainly a Catholic cathedral, but it’s also a community building." He said that the church needs "updating for liturgical purposes".

"The Second Vatican Council had an emphasis on greater participation of the laity in the liturgy", he said, "but it’s been very difficult to do that here because of the columns and the length of the church." He also told the


that "the altar likely will be moved several feet towards the center".

A rendering of the proposed renovations displayed at a meeting February 15, 2000 reveals the replacement of pews with movable chairs, the movement of the altar into the nave of the church, and the creation of an "antiphonal" seating arrangement (people facing each other across the altar). The plans also call for a large baptismal pool at the entrance to the nave.



Vosko lectures at Notre Dame

Father Richard Vosko, regarded as the "Doctor Death" of church renovation by many Catholics whose parishes have undergone radical surgery as a result of his activities, lectured on "A House for the Church: Structures for Public Worship in a New Millennium" at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Center for International Studies on March 30, 2000.

Father Vosko addressed "some of the issues surrounding the renovation and building of new worship spaces in Catholic parishes throughout the United States", according to


magazine (March 2000, p. 183).

The lecture was sponsored by the Notre Dame Center for Pastoral Liturgy, directed by former priest

Nathan Mitchell.

Ironically, the Notre Dame School of Architecture, under the direction of

Professors Thomas Gordon Smith


Duncan Stroik

, has recently become a major center for a new approach to church architecture not bound by the strictures of modernism. (Essays by both Smith and Stroik have appeared in


, and can be found on our web site; see

Church Architecture



Letter to Hebrews fragment found

An early papyrus fragment of the Letter to the Hebrews has been found in the Austrian National Library in Vienna,

The Tablet

reported January 18, 2000.

The tiny piece of papyrus, twice the size of a postage stamp, has Greek writing on both sides. Verses 9-11 of Chapter 1 and verses 3-6 of Chapter 3 are clearly visible, and the wording agrees exactly with that of the official Bible.

Professor Hermann Harrauer, director of the papyrus collection at the National Library, says that this shows how conscientiously the early texts were transcribed. He estimates that the manuscript is from Egypt and dates from before 500 AD, making it the oldest known papyrus fragment of this text. Of the 180,000 papyri in the collection of the Austrian National Library — the world’s largest — only 15,000 have so far been edited.

(The longer


manuscript of Hebrews dates from the 4th Century.)



Bible publisher’s Ramsey book raises eyebrows

An "insult to people of faith". That’s what online magazine


called the forthcoming publication of a new book by John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of the murdered JonBenét, arguing their innocence.

Why? Because the publisher is Thomas Nelson, one of the most prestigious Protestant religious publishers in the US. Thomas Nelson holds the copyright for the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the inclusive-language version used in the Catholic Youth Bible, (


Dec/Jan, p. 9), as well as for the classic Revised Standard Version it replaced.



Creed change: What’s in a word?



of London reported February 15, 2000 that after two years of efforts to update the 1662 translation of the Creed in the Book of Common Prayer, bishops in the Church of England have decided to change the wording of one key section because the traditional translation, they say, makes Mary too "passive".

The 1662 Prayer Book translated the Greek word "


" (literally, out of; related to Latin


), as "by" in the phrase: "by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary" — the wording used by most Christian denominations.

The Anglican bishops, however, concluded that this wording "is undesirable both in terms of an adequate Christian anthropology and because it may demean the place of women in the economy of creation and of redemption."

The new Anglican version of the Creed would read "and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary".



Liturgical music conference at Christendom College

The tenth annual Summer Music Colloquium will be held at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, June 20-25, 2000 and is sponsored by Christendom and the Church Music Association of America.

The conference will include lecture sessions on basic Gregorian chant, pastoral liturgy, theology of worship and music, Latin and English polyphony, and a Gregorian



There will be sung liturgies in both English and Latin, choral clinics, plus special sessions for priests on chanting/singing the Mass.

For further information, contact Summer Music Colloquium, 134 Christendom Drive, Front Royal, VA 22630, or call Father Robert Skeris at (920) 452-8584.

The Canadian online newspaper the

National Post

reported the incident, which took place on International Women’s Day (March 9). The "protestors" spray-painted the words "Neither God nor master" in foot-high letters on the altar and the words "Religion — A Trap for Fools" on a pillar outside the church.



The Editors