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South Park – North Park – Golden Hill

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The hardships of being in prison during a global pandemic

Why the Vatican is restricting private Masses in St. Peter's Basilica

A new instruction from the Vatican's Secretariat of State has banned the practice of individual Masses inside St. Peter's Basilica and places strict limits on the use of the Latin Rite. 

A March 12 letter outlining the new measures has sent shockwaves through traditionalist Catholic communities who have described the suppression of individual Masses as "forcing uniformity," while delighting reformists who see it as a long overdue prioritization of the communal nature of the Mass.  

Some 3,000 bishops, priests and theologians filled St. Peter's Basilica during the years of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and among its groundbreaking reforms was to adapt the liturgy "more suitably to the needs of our own times."

Now, nearly 60 years later, those championing Vatican II's reforms, say that the very physical location where those words were penned and approved can now become an example to the rest of the church. 

You can read more of the story here.


My prison cell view of the COVID-19 pandemic

In a commentary written from his prison cell, Patrick O'Neill writes about the hardships of being in prison during a global pandemic.

At Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Ohio, where O'Neill is serving a 14-month sentence for participating in the 2018 anti-nuclear-weapons protest at Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia, the prison has been under lockdown for more than a year.

"What that means for the incarcerated is that we are confined to crowded cellblocks of 64 cinder block cubicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week amid noisy, overcrowded conditions and without privacy," O'Neill writes.

"In my case, my block includes a range of 110-120 men living in a room with bodies always in constant motion as men move about looking to pass time in meaningful ways," he continues. "Most shuffle around in slapping flip flops. Many guys speak too loudly and there's a public address system where guards make shrieking, sometimes shocking, announcements throughout the day. The sensory overload is relentless, something akin to low-level torture."

You can read more of his commentary here.

More background:


More headlines

  • A Vatican decree saying priests can't bless same-sex unions is another tricky move in Pope Francis' tightrope walk of upholding church teaching while also trying to extend a warmer welcome to LGBTQ persons.
     
  • At EarthBeat, people from a number of Native American nations came to support the Apache people in their fight to save Oak Flat, a sacred site that's at risk of being turned over to an Australian mining venture.
     
  • At Global Sisters Report, read a Q&A with Sr. Sophie de J├ęsus about the challenges throughout the formation of Association Compassion Asian Youth, an organization she founded years ago in the Philippines to help teens and young adults better themselves.

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