Convicted Philly Priest Dies in Prison

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt walks from the Criminal Justice Center, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Philadelphia. Engelhardt was charged with sexual assaulting an altar boy in northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt walks from the Criminal Justice Center, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Philadelphia. Engelhardt was charged with sexual assaulting an altar boy in northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, convicted last year of molesting a young boy during the 1990s, has died in prison. He was appealing the conviction at the time of his death.
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Vatican Confirms: Pope Will Visit Philly

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

The Vatican made it official today: Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families next year. The announcement had been long expected — even mentioned by Pope Francis himself — but today’s announcement puts the visit firmly on the schedule.

NBC10:

“We look forward to Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia next September and we will welcome him joyfully with open arms and prayerful hearts,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput, the leader of Philadelphia’s Archdiocese.

The Pope made the announcement in Rome during his opening remarks at the Humanum Colloquium. The Humanum Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars, including Chaput, of various religions around the world focused on marriage and family life.

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Archdiocese: Chaput Didn’t Criticize the Pope

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Remember last week’s report that Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput had criticized the recent summit of cardinals and bishops that had considered offering a friendlier face to gays and lesbians? The archdiocese now says those reports weren’t quite right.

Coverage of Chaput’s speech to an audience of Catholic conservatives ” made it sound like the Archbishop was critical of the Vatican and the Holy Father and that’s just not the case,” said Kenneth Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
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Archbishop Chaput Speaks Out Against Church Liberalization

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

While liberal Catholics greeted signs of growing openness to gays at a recent summit of cardinals and bishops at the Vatican, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput — a noted conservative — found much to criticize. He expressed his unhappiness in a Monday night speech that is getting wide play across the country.

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Shuttered Parish Takes Appeal to Vatican

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Archbishop Charles Chaput. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Parishoners at the now-shuttered St. Ann church in Bristol have hired Italian lawyers to challenge Archbishop Charles Chaput’s decision to close their church. St. Ann was one of five Bucks County churches closed in June, amid another round of budget cutting by the the archdiocese.

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Chaput: Pope Francis to Philly in 2015

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

[Update 11:50 a.m.] Well, maybe not.

6ABC reports:

A Vatican spokesperson told Action News that, despite reports of Pope Francis coming to Philadelphia in 2015, there has been no confirmation of his travel plans.

The Philadelphia Archdiocese also told Action News there has been no confirmation of the Pope’s visit. In a statement, a spokesperson said:

“There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican or The Holy See of Pope Francis’ attendance at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. We still expect that any official confirmation will come approximately six months prior to the event.

There’s more to the statement, suggesting that Chaput was speaking out of an abundance of confidence instead of any official confirmation. Ugh. Way to get our hopes up, guys.

[Original] Pope Francis has confirmed he will come to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in 2015, Catholic Philly reports.

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Philly’s Archdiocese Needs to Rip Off the Band-Aid

Cathedral Basillica of Saints Peter and Paul. Photo Beyond My Ken

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Photo Beyond My Ken.

Every morning, I pass the entrance of St. Laurentius elementary school on Berks Street in Fishtown. “Have a great day, hon!” shouts the principal, who stands outside with two teachers every morning — including every single day of the Polar Vortex — to safely usher her students into the building. Even on the rainiest, grayest days, this part of my commute always makes me smile.

Seeing the plaid-wearing students — their backpacks bigger than their little backs and their stretched-out knee socks flapping around their ankles — run into their elementary school resonates with me deeply. Though I no longer identify as a member of the Church, I know that my 12 years of religious education and worship shaped the way Iive my life now — and not just in my deep appreciation for punctuality and knee-length skirts. I believe in the community that can come from being a member of a parish and how a church — and especially, a school — can anchor a neighborhood and help it weather tough times.

Those of us who grew up in the culture of Philadelphia parochial schools, are bound by them even now. When I chat with childhood friends, we don’t refer to neighborhoods, we refer to parishes. “She went to Cecilia’s,”  we’ll say. Or “He moved from St. William’s to St. Al’s,” we’ll explain with a knowing look. (This helps us avoid saying what we really mean: that relocating from Lawncrest to Huntingdon Valley means someone is movin’ on up in the world.)

There was a time when the Archdiocese was brimming with so many devout Catholics that a community, like my current one in Fishtown, could support two churches and schools within three blocks of each other. If I walk out my door and turn left, I am at St. Laurentius Church. If I turn right, I am at Holy Name of Jesus. At one point, both of these churches and schools were full and functional. This is not the reality of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia anymore.

Now, St. Laurentius has a school but no church and Holy Name has a church but no school.

This week, when word came down from the almighty Archdiocese that 16 parishes are closing their doors, I understood exactly the kind of heartbreak the parishioners of those churches were feeling. Read more »

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