The final FREE Community Dinner of 2022 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Pocono Pines, was a huge success!  The parish hall was warm and inviting – decorated in the colors of autumn – and friendly conversation filled the room.  More than 86 guests enjoyed a delicious served meal of roast pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, a garden salad, dinner roll, and their choice of homemade dessert – pumpkin pie or apple cake.  The dinner also provided hot and cold beverages including apple cider, a definite taste of the season!

Each year, the Social Concerns Committee of St. Max hosts three Free Community dinners.  The dinners are gifts to the parish and community.  Funding for the meals, and all their charitable works, comes from the proceeds of the committee’s three annual Lenten Buffets.

Committee members are supported in their efforts by their fellow parishioners including Confirmation students.

Father Paschal Mbagwu is Parish Administrator.


As Catholics in a post-Roe world, we continue to respond to our call to build a culture of life that supports the dignity of every person at every stage. We call on our lawmakers to do the same. Encourage your members of Congress to pass legislation that advances the health, safety, and flourishing of women, children, and families. Passage of bills such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act and support for the Child Tax Credit, paid family leave, pregnancy resource centers, child care and pre-kindergarten programs, housing, nutrition, maternal and child health, adoption, healthy relationships, environmental protections, inclusion of immigrant families in social programs, and the end of marriage penalties will help build an authentically life-affirming society.

We encourage you to add your own personal story about why more policies that support women, children, and families are needed.

You can read a recent USCCB letter calling for the passage of life-affirming policies that prioritize families here.

Take Action Now!

This is the official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Originally scheduled for 2022, the synod will take place in October 2023 to allow for broader consultation at the diocesan, national and regional levels. (CNS photo/courtesy Synod of Bishops)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Around the world, listening sessions for the Synod of Bishops gave many participants a sense of finally being listened to, but they also raised questions about how to promote greater inclusion in the Catholic Church while staying true to church teaching.

Two of the issues raised most often in reports sent to the Vatican were the need to respect and value the contributions women make to the church and the need to face “the impact of a lack of trust and credibility resulting from the abuse crisis,” according to the working document for the synod’s continental stage.

Titled “Enlarge the Space of Your Tent” – the Lord’s command to the people of Israel in the Book of Isaiah – the document said, “This is how many reports envision the church: an expansive, but not homogeneous dwelling, capable of sheltering all, but open, letting in and out, and moving toward embracing the Father and all of humanity.”

The document released Oct. 27 is the result of a group reflection on the syntheses of synod discussions submitted by 112 of the world’s 114 bishops’ conference, all 15 Eastern churches, 17 of the 23 dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the men’s and women’s international unions of superiors general, dozens of Catholic associations and more than 1,000 individuals, it said.

The general secretariat of the synod chose an international group of laity, religious, priests and bishops to read the submissions, pray about them and then draft a document that would help participants in the next phase reflect on the faith, hopes and concerns witnessed to in the reports. The document was approved by the cardinals and bishops belonging to the synod’s general council.

What emerged from the reports, it said, “is a profound re-appropriation of the common dignity of all the baptized. This is the authentic pillar of a synodal church and the theological foundation of a unity which is capable of resisting the push toward homogenization. This enables us to continue to promote and make good use of the variety of charisms that the Spirit with unpredictable abundance pours out on the faithful.”

Those who most often feel unwelcome in the church or undervalued, it said, include: women, young people, people with disabilities, the poor, those who are divorced and civilly remarried, single parents, those in polygamous marriages and members of the LGBTQ communities.

Responding to experiences of exclusion and discrimination shared by Catholic with disabilities, the document said that “in spite of its own teachings, the church is in danger of imitating the way society casts them aside.”

Reflecting the central place of the Eucharist in the life of the church, it said most submissions included a call for greater participation by all Catholics in the liturgy, working to ensure that it is less “concentrated on the celebrant,” involves more young people and women, including in preaching, and is more reflective of local cultures.

At the same time, the document also noted that in several reports, including that from the United States, some participants in the local listening sessions “lamented” Pope Francis’ decision to limit celebrations of the Latin-rite Mass according to the rite used before the Second Vatican Council.

“The quality of homilies is almost unanimously reported as a problem,” it said.

But the document also highlighted a common desire to find solutions to various forms of “sacramental deprivation,” including for people in remote towns and villages without a priest, as well as for civilly remarried Catholics and those in polygamous marriages.

While the reports were not “against priests or the ministerial priesthood,” the document said, many of them cited “clericalism” as an obstacle to being a “synodal church,” one where all the baptized share responsibility for the life of the community and for its mission of spreading the Gospel.

“Clericalism is seen as a form of spiritual impoverishment, a deprivation of the true goods of ordained ministry, and a culture that isolates clergy and harms the laity,” it said. Clericalism produces “rigidity, attachment to legalistic power and an exercise of authority that is power rather than service.”

In synod listening sessions around the world, participants noted that women are the majority of Catholics regularly attending the liturgy and staffing most paid and volunteer parish activities, yet it is mostly men who make the decisions in the church.

“Many reports ask that the church continue its discernment in relation to a range of specific questions: the active role of women in the governing structures of church bodies, the possibility for women with adequate training to preach in parish settings, and a female diaconate,” the document said. “Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue.”

Between January and March, smaller groups of church representatives are to meet on a continental or regional level; organized by bishops’ conferences, the groups are to include bishops, priests, religious and laypeople to read the document, pray about it and discuss which issues raised it in are most important and urgent for Catholics in their region to address in order to increase participation, a sense of communion and a commitment to missionary outreach.

President Joe Biden and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori are seen in this composite photo. (CNS composite/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters; Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said President Joe Biden’s was “gravely wrong” in his recent comments pledging to make it a top priority to codify a national right to abortion.

The archbishop, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said the president’s remarks, given during an Oct. 18 speech hosted by the Democratic National Committee, demonstrated how he continues “to seek every possible avenue to facilitate abortion, instead of using his power to increase support and care to mothers in challenging situations.”

“This single-minded extremism must end,” Archbishop Lori said in an Oct. 25 statement, adding that the U.S. bishops “implore President Biden to recognize the humanity in preborn children and the genuine life-giving care needed by women in this country.”

He also said that as pastors, the bishops know that “abortion is a violent act which ends the life of preborn children and wounds untold numbers of women.”

The archbishop pointed out that Catholic Church leaders want to continue in their work with government leaders “to protect the right to life of every human being and to ensure that pregnant and parenting mothers are fully supported in the care of their children before and after birth.”

Biden, in his remarks, promised that if more Democratic senators are elected and his party keeps the House in the upcoming midterm elections, the first legislation he would send would preserve abortion rights protections.

He also said he would aim to sign the bill into law close to Jan. 22, 2023 – the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Pope Francis waves to people as he makes his way to hold his weekly general audience at the Vatican Oct. 26, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Feelings of desolation and sadness are not signs of trials that may discourage Christians, they can be indispensable signs that point to dangers along the path toward happiness, Pope Francis said.

Although many consider sadness “an ill to avoid at all costs,” Christians should see it as “an indispensable alarm bell for life, inviting us to explore richer and more fertile landscapes that transience and escapism do not permit,” the pope said Oct. 26 during his weekly general audience.

Sadness “is indispensable for our health,” he said. “It protects us from harming ourselves and others. It would be far more serious and dangerous if we did not feel this.”

The pope continued his series of audience talks on spiritual discernment, reflecting on desolation and the role it plays in Christian life.

Recalling the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Francis defined desolation as the “darkness of the soul” and the “unquiet of different agitations and temptations” that lead one to becoming “lazy, tepid, sad, as if separated from his or her creator and Lord.”

“No one wants to be desolate, sad,” he said. “We would all like a life that is always joyful, cheerful and fulfilled. Yet this, besides not being possible, would not be good for us either. Indeed, the change from a life oriented toward vice can start from a situation of sadness, of remorse for what one has done.”

“Sometimes sadness is a traffic light: ‘Stop. Stop. It’s red. Stop,'” the pope said.

However, for men and women who seek to do good, desolation also can be an obstacle “with which the tempter (the devil) tries to discourage us” and can lead to abandoning “work, study, prayer” or other commitments.

“Unfortunately, some people decide to abandon the life of prayer, or the choice they have made — marriage or religious life — driven by desolation, without first pausing to consider this state of mind, and especially without the help of a guide,” he said.

But a “wise rule” of discernment, he said, is “do not make changes where you are in desolation,” but wait until the acute sadness has passed.

While moments of sadness are “an experience common to spiritual life,” the pope said the path of goodness “is narrow and uphill” and encouraged Christians, especially those who “want to serve the Lord, not to be led astray by desolation.”

“If we know how to traverse loneliness and desolation with openness and awareness, we can emerge strengthened in human and spiritual terms,” Pope Francis said. “No trial is beyond our reach.”

Pope Francis listens to Korean Cardinal Lazarus You Heung-sik, prefect of the Dicastery for Clergy, at the beginning of a meeting with hundreds of seminarians and priests studying in Rome, in the Vatican audience hall, Oct. 24, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After telling a funny story about receiving a cellphone decades ago that was “as big as a shoe,” Pope Francis went on to encourage young priests and seminarians to use technology and social media, but to avoid pornography at all costs.

Responding Oct. 24 to questions from priests and seminarians studying in Rome, Pope Francis said he wanted to speak plainly about a danger technology has put in everyone’s reach: digital pornography.

“I am not going to say, ‘Raise your hand if you have had at least one experience of this,'” the pope said. But “it is a vice that so many people have, so many laymen, so many laywomen, and even priests and nuns. The devil enters from there.”

Pope Francis said he was not talking only about “criminal” forms of porn like child pornography, but of “the somewhat ‘normal’ pornography. Dear brothers, be careful of this. The pure heart, the heart that receives Jesus every day, cannot receive this pornographic information.”

According to a transcript released Oct. 26 by the Vatican press office, the pope told the priests and seminarians that if their phones and computers would allow them to block all access to porn, they should set that up, and if not, they should be on guard.

“I tell you, it weakens the soul. It weakens the soul,” the pope said. “The devil enters from there: It weakens the priestly heart.”

At the beginning of the audience, Pope Francis said the students had submitted 205 questions and that he would try to get to 10 of them, which he did. The questions ranged from advice about finding a spiritual director to a Ukrainian priest asking what the role of the church should be in a time of war.

“The holy mother church is a mother, a mother of all peoples,” the pope responded. And the church suffers when there is war because “wars bring the destruction of her children.”

The church must pray for peace, he said, and be close to and assist all those who are suffering the effects of the fighting.

And while it is difficult to see how the church can have a role in negotiating peace between Russia and Ukraine, the pope said, it does have a role to play in educating Catholics to pray for their enemies.

“You suffer so much, your people, I know, I am close,” the pope told the Ukrainian priest. “But pray for the attackers, because they are victims like you. You can’t see the wounds in their souls, but pray, pray that the Lord will convert them and give them the desire for peace to come. This is important.”

On the question of spiritual directors, Pope Francis said they should follow the advice of St. Ignatius of Loyola and have a priest as confessor and another person as their spiritual guide.

While the sacrament of reconciliation requires a priest, he told them, their spiritual directors could be a priest, a religious woman or a layperson. “Spiritual direction is not a clerical charism, it’s a baptismal charism. Priests who do spiritual direction do not have the charism because they are priests, but because they are baptized.”

Another young man asked Pope Francis how the priests and seminarians studying in Rome can keep “the smell of the sheep” when they are so far from home and from their regular ministry.

“Whether you who are studying or working in the Curia or have some other commitment, it is not a good thing for your spiritual health not to have contact, priestly contact, with God’s holy people,” the pope responded. Without regular contact, a priest could be a good theologian or philosopher or curial official, but all of that would be only theoretical.

“It is important — I would say necessary, in fact, mandatory — for each of you to have a weekly pastoral experience, at least,” the pope said.

Another seminarian, who mentioned trying to find “balance” between knowing he was a sinner shown mercy by God and striving to be holy, set the pope off on a speech about how it is best to leave finding balance in life to tightrope walkers in the circus.

“Life is a constant imbalance, because life is journeying and finding — finding difficulties, finding good things that take you forward, and these unbalance you, always,” the pope said. “The Christian life is a continuous walking, falling down and getting up.”

Pope Francis is set to be the first pope to visit Bahrain Nov. 3-6, 2022. (CNS graphic/Todd Habiger, The Leaven)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis is set to make a four-day visit to Bahrain, a journey that will make him the first pope to visit the Arab kingdom just off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.

The visit Nov. 3-6 has two main goals: to speak at the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence and to encourage the predominantly expatriate Catholic and Christian communities who live and work in the Muslim-majority region.

Underlining the theme of the visit, “Peace on Earth to people of goodwill,” the pope is expected to be a “messenger of peace,” appealing to all people and nations to come together, free from prejudice and open to seeing each other as brothers and sisters.

It will be the 13th Muslim-majority nation he has visited in his almost 10 years as pope.

Pope Francis is going to Bahrain to further promote interfaith cooperation because “there is a common interest among the monotheistic religions,” Bishop Paul Hinder, administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, told reporters by video call from Abu Dhabi Oct. 24.

The common desire is to help “care for creation … knowing that if there is a conflict between Christian- and Muslim-majority nations, it is a problem for the whole world, not just for one or two countries,” said the 80-year-old Swiss bishop, who was first appointed auxiliary bishop of Arabia in 2003, and now oversees Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and, formally, Saudi Arabia.

The intention of the pope, he said, is “to make us understand that it is absolutely necessary” to find a place where there can be strong mutual respect and cooperation.

The pope will have a chance to underline the role governments, diplomats and members of civil society need to play when he meets with them Nov. 3 at Sakhir Palace. The pope also will meet with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who invited the pope and is sponsoring the Forum for Dialogue event.

Bahrain, a prosperous archipelago nation of about 30 islands, is the smallest country in the Middle East, with about 1.5 million people, about half of whom are foreign workers. About 74% of the residents are Muslim and 9% are Christian. People of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish faiths are among the other communities present.

Bishop Hinder said there are no official statistics for the number of Christians, but the church estimates there are about 80,000 Catholics in Bahrain, about 1,000 of whom are citizens of the kingdom.

Catholics in Bahrain hail mainly from the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. South Americans, Europeans and Arabs from the Levant region account for the rest of the island’s Christian population.

Bishop Hinder said Catholics are overjoyed that the pope is coming to encourage them in the faith.

They are “a small flock with little or practically no power,” he said. The papal visit makes them “feel recognized. ‘We exist!'” and it will boost their morale.

The expatriate workers do not have an easy life, he said, not because they live in a Muslim country, but because it is a life filled with uncertainty as many try to figure out their next move: to stay, return home or seek employment in the West.

Freedom of religion is generally well-respected in Bahrain, “even if it isn’t completely ideal,” the bishop said. For example, there are no official legal obstacles to religious conversion, he said, but there can be huge pressure from society and especially from one’s family against conversion.

Bahrain was the first country in the Persian Gulf to build a Catholic church — the Sacred Heart Church, which was inaugurated in 1939 on Christmas Eve. On his last day in Bahrain, the pope will hold a prayer meeting there with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and pastoral workers.

The country is now also home to the largest cathedral in the Persian Gulf region; Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral was consecrated in December in Awali, which is 16 miles south of the capital Manama. It was built to better serve the growing Catholic population — estimated at 2.5 million — throughout the Gulf region.

The pope will hold an ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace in the cathedral Nov. 4, right after he meets with Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque and university, and with members of the Muslim Council of Elders — an international group of Islamic scholars and experts — at the mosque of Sakhir Palace.

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Bahrain National Stadium in Awali Nov. 5, and Bishop Hinder said organizers have set aside reserved seating for Catholics from nearby nations, especially from Saudi Arabia, which does not allow Christians to practice their faith openly.

The pope’s visit will send “a strong signal” to Saudi Arabia, which will surely be watching, but is moving more slowly than some other nations in the region when it comes to greater respect for religious freedom and the dignity of all people, Bishop Hinder said.

“I am confident that going to a small state that does not have a lot of power in the game of Middle East politics” is perhaps “a good place for sending a signal” to the surrounding region, the bishop said.

While there have been some political reforms, Human Rights Watch has flagged several concerns, especially with the work visa sponsorship system, which gives employers excessive power over their foreign employees, and with the use of the death penalty and long prison sentences for pro-democracy activists.

Bishop Hinder said he would not expect the pope to raise those concerns publicly because, in his experience, more can be done “behind the scenes.”

Countries in the West are used to being able to openly criticize others, he said. Bahrain, however, has an “affirmative culture,” which emphasizes praise and encouragement, and discourages open criticism, which would be considered disrespectful.

What has been more effective in his discussions with leaders, he said, is to confide honestly and privately in a way that “opens the mind” to what the problems are.

“I expect some problematic things will also be on the agenda,” he said, but handled in a more discreet manner, out of the limelight.

Such “symbolic visits by a pope will have effects that we may not be able to foresee today,” he said. “I think his courageous steps will open doors. We don’t know where, but I hope they will also contribute to solutions for the conflicts in the area and perhaps also globally.”

Pope Francis caresses the cheek of a child during an audience Oct. 24, 2022, with students and staff of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and Family in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The importance of the family for the Catholic Church and for society means that theological reflection on family life and pastoral responses to the joys and problems of families must focus on more than the relationship between a husband and wife, Pope Francis said.

“Theology itself is called to elaborate a Christian vision of parenthood, filiality, fraternity – therefore, not only of the conjugal bond – that corresponds to the family experience within the horizon of the entire human community,” the pope told staff and students of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for the Sciences of Marriage and Family.

The audience Oct. 24 marked the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ refoundation of the institute established by St. John Paul II in 1982 after the 1980 Synod of Bishops on the family called for the creation of centers devoted to the study of the church’s teaching on marriage and family life.

The expansion of the institute’s focus was criticized by some groups as lessening a focus on traditional Catholic teaching about the sacrament of marriage and marital relations.

Pope Francis acknowledged those criticisms at the audience but said, “it would be gravely mistaken” for anyone to read the institute’s expanded focus “in terms of opposition to the mission it received with its original institution.”

“In reality,” he said, “the seed is growing and generating flowers and fruit. If a seed does not grow, it stays there like a piece in the museum, but it does not grow.”

As a pontifical institute, he said, the center is called to help the whole church look “without naïveté” at the transformations taking place in people’s understanding about “the relationships between man and woman, between love and generation, between family and community.”

“The mission of the church today urgently calls for the integration of the theology of the marital bond with a more concrete theology of the condition of the family,” he said. “The unprecedented turbulence, which is testing all family bonds at this time, calls for careful discernment to note the signs of God’s wisdom and mercy.”

“We are not prophets of doom, but of hope,” Pope Francis insisted. So, even when looking at crises impacting families, the church also must see and share “the consoling, often moving signs of the capacities family ties continue to show on behalf of the faith community, civil society and human coexistence. We have all seen how valuable, in times of vulnerability and duress, the tenacity, the resilience and the cooperation of family ties are.”

No one benefits from an attitude that says the church will encourage and care for the vocations only of perfect families, the pope said, because “marriage and family life will always have imperfections until we are in heaven.”

Pope Francis warned the students and staff to “be careful of ideologies that meddle to explain the family from an ideological point of view. The family is not an ideology, it is a reality.”

To understand and assist “a family that has this grace of a man and a woman who love each other and create, and to understand the family, we always must go to the concrete, not ideologies. Ideologies ruin, ideologies meddle to make a path of destruction. Be careful of ideologies!”

Brandon Vaidyanathan, associate professor and chair in the department of sociology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, speaks at the university Oct. 19, 2022, during a presentation on the findings of a national study of Catholic priests. At right is Stephen White, executive director of The Catholic Project at the university. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – A study of U.S. priests released Oct. 19 details clerics’ “crisis of trust” toward their bishops as well as fear that if they were falsely accused of abuse, prelates would immediately throw them “under the bus” and not help them clear their name.

The study “Well-being, Trust and Policy in a Time of Crisis” by The Catholic Project, written by Brandon Vaidyanathan, Christopher Jacobi and Chelsea Rae Kelly, of The Catholic University of America, paints a portrait of a majority of priests who feel abandoned by the men they are supposed to trust at the helm of their dioceses.

And while the study says priests overwhelmingly support measures to combat sex abuse and enhance child safety, the majority, 82%, also said they regularly fear being falsely accused. Were that to happen, they feel they would face a “de facto policy” of guilty until proven innocent.

The study, unveiled at The Catholic University of America in Washington, documents the environment between priests and their bishops in light of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” instituted in 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Commonly referred to as the Dallas Charter, it sets in place policy about how to proceed when allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy or church personnel come to light.

“Indeed, many priests feel that the policies introduced since the Dallas Charter have depersonalized their relationship with their bishops; they see bishops more as CEOs, bureaucrats, and legalistic guardians of diocesan finances than as fathers and brothers,” the study points out and quotes a diocesan priest saying: “Our archbishop is a remote figure. Not at all personable. Not approachable. He appears to be a busy CEO and religious functionary.”

The document reveals that 40% of the priests who responded said they see the zero-tolerance policy as “too harsh” or “harsher than necessary,” adding that it’s too easy to lodge false claims of abuse against them. They feel bishops would not support a priest in the period necessary to prove his innocence.

“There’s this sense … that the bishops are against a priest who’s been accused, rather than doing what the bishop must do but still supporting the priest,” said one of the 100 priests that researchers interviewed in-depth.

“Most priests agree with the church’s response to the abuse crisis, but also fear that their bishops wouldn’t have their backs if they were falsely accused,” said Vaidyanathan, one of the study’s authors.

Of the 10,000 diocesan and religious priests surveyed, just 24% said they had confidence in U.S. bishops in general. Instead, priests in the study said they predominantly see the prelates as social climbers, careerists and administrators who barely know priests in their diocese by name.

“I don’t really trust most of the bishops, to be honest with you. I’ll show them all a great amount of respect. And if I was in their diocese, I would really serve them and try,” a priest told researchers. “But just looking across the United States and looking across a lot of bishops … I would say I have an overall negative opinion of bishops in the United States.

“They’re really not leaders or they’re just kind of chameleons … looking to climb up the ladder.”

The study says 131 bishops also participated in the study, which analyzed attitudes about priests’ well-being, trust and the policy related to the sex abuse crisis.

In response to the study, the USCCB’s Public Affairs Office released a statement by Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, New Jersey, chairman of the organization’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

“I am grateful for the insight provided by this study which will assist the bishops in our ministry to our priests. While not surprised, I am heartened that the results report priests have such a high level of vocational fulfilment and that they remain positive about their priestly ministry,” Bishop Checchio said in the Oct. 19 statement.

The bishop referred to a figure in the document that showed that 77% of the priests in the study could be categorized as “flourishing” — saying they felt fulfilled and had a sense of meaning and purpose — and 4% reporting that they were thinking of leaving the priesthood.

“Our priests are generous and committed,” Bishop Checchio continued. “While acknowledging that circumstances will vary from diocese to diocese, the findings of this study are overall valuable in that they remind us of the importance of being always attentive to the care of our priests with the ever-growing stressors they experience in ministry, while we strive to address any issues that have damaged the unique relationship we enjoy.”

The study says that the “erosion of trust between a priest and his bishop” affects the level of well-being of a priest, and those with more trust fare better than others.

It also points out a great disparity of perception between the two groups, with bishops overwhelmingly seeing their role as more supportive of clerics. The majority of bishops surveyed said that they felt their role was akin to a brother, a father, a shepherd, a co-worker, when it came to dealing with priests.

Priests said strengthening relationships with bishops, having more social interaction with them, have the prelates know their names, communication, transparency about processes, as well accountability on prelates’ part would help alleviate the existing erosion of trust.

“The hope is that if we were to do the same survey five years from now, things would look different,” Stephen White, of The Catholic Project, said in a statement released before the presentation.

“Priests are happy in their vocations, but we also want them to feel less anxious and more supported. I know the bishops want that too. Hopefully this data can help in that regard,” he said.

Priests in the study also said they felt like cogs in the wheel, seen by bishops as liabilities. Some of the attitudes varied between diocesan priests and those who belong to a religious community, with those who were part of a religious order reporting more support.

The study also said that “at least some” of the mistrust comes from the way priests see “the application of policies created in the wake of the abuse crisis,” even as some bishops helped cover up abuses or were accused of being abusers themselves.

“Perhaps some bishops see themselves through rose-colored glasses,” a summary of the study said. “Or perhaps priests, in a beleaguered and prolonged state of stress and uncertainty, unfairly characterize their bishops through a lens of cynicism and fear. Or perhaps there is some truth to both perspectives.”


The Scranton Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) will be hosting Formation Day on November 12, 2022 at the Holy Family Spiritual Renewal Center, 151 Old Newport St., Nanticoke, PA.

What is a Formation Day? It’s a peaceful day of learning and growing in faith. Faith formation responds to the desire to know about Christ, His life and the content of His message by the action of the Holy Spirit…just as Jesus formed His disciples by making Himself known to them.

The day will be led by Deacon Darrell Wentworth, an ordained permanent deacon for the Diocese of Richmond. Deacon Darrell was ordained as a specialty deacon in 2003 and has served as his bishop’s liaison for Charismatic Renewal and as the bishop’s liaison to Charismatic and Pentecostal traditions. He has also served as moderator, vice president, liaison, and consultant for many other Catholic and Catholic charismatic groups. He is currently assigned to St. Gregory the Great Parish in Virginia Beach and also serves the National and International Charismatic Renewal as vice
Chairman of the Association of Diocesan Liaisons, North America.

Registration and continental breakfast begin at 8 AM with the program starting at 9 AM. Cost is $30 per person (breakfast and lunch included).

For more information about CCR and to register for the Formation Day, visit:; via Facebook, call 570-344-2214, or EMAIL

Formation Day Schedule – November 12, 2022

8:00 – 9:00 Registration with Refreshments

9:00 – 9:30 Opening Song – Welcoming remarks – Praise and Worship

9:30 – 10:00 Karen McClain – Explanation of Day’s Presentation and Timeline

10:00 – 10:45 Understanding Our Identity IN Christ – An Overview of a three-part talk

10:45 – 11:15 Personal Meditation: Internalizing the message – how do we implement?

11:15 – 12:00 13 goals of CHARIS: How our Identity as Charismatic Catholics in Scranton fit into
the goals the Vatican has established.

12:00 – 12:45 Working Lunch – Breaking into small groups. Discuss our meditation items. How they
can implement CHARIS’ goals.

12:45 – 1:00 Break

1:00 – 1:15 Praise & Worship

1:15 – 2:00 Restoring the Church: The Family IS the program; ongoing conversion is the process

2:00 – 2:30 Question & answer and group discussion

2:30 – 2:55 How CMAX and ADC can serve and fund Scranton Renewal 2:55 – 3:00 Closing
remarks and prayer