Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Religion Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Religion Briefs

Article excerpt

CHICAGO

Cardinal Bernardin Details His Hopes

Cardinal Joseph Bernardin hopes the Catholic Common Ground Project, designed to promote discussion of issues facing the church, can help overcome an air of acrimony in the church. Bernardin, who is dying of cancer, recently passed the chairmanship of the project's 24-man committee to Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb of Mobile, Ala. The committee includes priests, church women and laymen, among them John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey. "He has left us quite a task," Lipscomb said of Bernandin. "I have confidence the initiative and the appeals he has made will, in time, succeed. It will not be swift, nor will it be easy." Bernardin, the nation's senior active Roman Catholic cardinal, announced in August the creation of the project to explore the changing roles of women in the church, religious education, the dwindling numbers of priests and other issues. He said he hoped that the resulting dialogue would help end polarization. In a speech following the recent meeting, the cardinal said his call for a dialogue had been misunderstood, that some believed he aimed to solve all of the Catholic Church's major conflicts in the United States. He said others thought he wanted to hammer out a consensus on contentious i ssues in the church. Bernardin, who is regarded as a liberal-minded consensus builder in the church, said the misunderstandings reflected the church's state of nervous anxiety. AP ATLANTA Presbytery OKs Transsexual As Minister A transsexual who was ordained as a Presbyterian minister before undergoing a sex change has been allowed to retain her ordination. The Rev. Erin Swenson, 48, formerly known as Eric Swenson, closed her eyes in relief after the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta voted 186-161 in her favor recently. Several people applauded after the vote at Shallowford Presbyterian Church. "I'm really looking forward to getting on with my life and counseling," said Swenson, a marriage therapist. "This has caused some division. I would like for us to get this behind us and heal." Swenson was ordained in 1973, when church members knew her as Eric. …

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