Bishops' Corner

September 21, 2015

Pope Francis and Annulments: The Reality of Marriage

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

Sweeping Reform! Dramatic change! Cumbersome, complicated procedure gone! Clearing away rules dating from 1741! Fast-track annulments in forty-five days! No charge, no fault annulments! These are some of the ways that the media has characterized and sensationalized the new rules that Pope Francis issued September 8, 2015 for granting annulments in the Catholic Church.   When the news of the Pope’s reform rules broke, a rush of commentators flooded the airwaves and journalists went to...

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September 16, 2015

Doctor-prescribed death is the wrong choice for California

By Archbishop José H. Gomez

Last week, the California legislature voted to allow doctors to help their patients kill themselves.   This decision is deeply disturbing — and so is the process that led to this vote.    Assembly and Senate leaders chose to push this bill (AB2X-15) through an “extraordinary” legislative session that Governor Brown had called to deal with health care financing for the poor.    This is no way for our government to make policy on a life and death issue that will...

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September 10, 2015

Gay Marriage and Civil Disobedience: The Place of Conscience

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

In the fifth century before Christ, the Greek playwright Sophocles wrote the tragedy entitled Antigone. The protagonist, Antigone, is one of theater’s most powerful women. Antigone faces a conflict that is profound and poignant. The newly crowned King of Thebes has forbidden a proper burial for her brother. Does she obey him or does she show the proper respect for her brother?  Antigone places conscience above human law. She refuses to obey a man-made law. Instead, she insists on...

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September 02, 2015

The 'Joy of the Gospel' and the Gospel of Life

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.

What do we hope Pope Francis will take away from his September visit to Philadelphia? I hope he realizes that American Catholics in general, and Philadelphia Catholics in a very special way, love and support him wholeheartedly. I hope he sees that there’s tremendous good in our country, and a lot of it began here in Philadelphia, where our nation was born. I hope he sees how deeply shaped we are – as a city and as a people – by the immigrant experience. I hope he sees that the Church...

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August 11, 2015

There is no equivalence

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.

Here’s a simple exercise in basic reasoning.  On a spectrum of bad things to do, theft is bad, assault is worse and murder is worst.  There’s a similar texture of ill will connecting all three crimes, but only a very confused conscience would equate thieving and homicide.  Both are serious matters.  But there is no equivalence.  The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act.  No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure...

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August 03, 2015

Planned Parenthood: The Unborn that Cry for Mercy

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

On July 1, 2015, American dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil, the African lion, a popular attraction in Zimbabwe. The killing of Cecil immediately sparked international rage. Politicians and celebrities raised their voices protesting this crime against animal life. Our government’s Fish and Wildlife Service not only expressed deep concern for the killing of Cecil, but also launched an investigation to see if any laws were broken. One Zimbabwe official has called for Palmer’s extradition to...

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July 02, 2015

Creation and the future of marriage

By Archbishop José H. Gomez

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to re-define the nation’s marriage laws to include same-sex couples is no surprise.   Obergefell v. Hodges is one more sign that we have entered into a “post-Christian,” even perhaps an “anti-Christian” moment in American public life.  But on a deeper level, the decision reflects the crisis in our society’s understanding of creation and the human person.  This crisis has been years in the making.  As far back as 1992, the Court wrote: “At...

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June 30, 2015

Keep these truths in mind when considering the gay marriage ruling

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

Editor's note: This post has been adapted from Bishop Arthus Serratelli's June 26 pastoral letter to the Diocese of Paterson. The recent Supreme Court decision “Obergefell et al. v. Hodges” has now redefined the legal definition of marriage in our country. Responding to the cultural trends of the last sixty years, the judges have made a decision that will affect not only those individuals who decide to enter same-sex unions, but every citizen and institution within the...

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June 23, 2015

'Laudato Si': The Pope and the Court of the Gentiles

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

Even before the June 18, 2015 publication of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment (Laudato Si’), the media delighted in reporting voices both approving and disapproving of his speaking on the subject.  No doubt the debate will continue.  But, this is a good thing.  In his 184-page letter, the Holy Father addressed his words to “every person on this planet,” hoping to stir up discussion on an issue that touches every living creature and the world itself. Any person with common...

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June 12, 2015

What 'renewing the Church' really requires

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap.

Editor's note: The Archbishop’s following remarks, published by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, are a condensed and adapted version of comments he shared on May 27 with his brother Philadelphia priests at their annual convocation. The following post originally appeared at catholicphilly.com and is used with permission. Joseph Greaton, an English convert and Jesuit, was Philadelphia’s first resident priest.  In 1732, eleven persons attended his first Mass at old St. Joseph’s.  In...

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