Painful Chapter Closes for Mount St. Mary’s Warren of Troubles

03/02/2016 Comment

Bradley Hall at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md.

– Greenhonda/Wikimedia

The three-week drama over academic freedom and Catholic governance that gripped Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, the second oldest Catholic university and seminary, has finally concluded: its president, Simon Newman, has resigned.

On Tuesday, the Mount announced that Newman had resigned effective immediately. The board had met to decide the fate of Newman, who had stubbornly hung on despite a Feb. 11 faculty vote of no-confidence in his leadership that followed a catastrophic week in which Newman fired professors, including one with tenure and then waited far too long to defend his actions or the Mount’s administration in the ensuing national media. (Read the Register’s original...READ MORE

Filed under academic freedom, catholic governance, catholic identity, catholic principles, mount st. mary's, mount st. mary's university, peter jesserer smith, the mount

Watch History, Liturgical Splendor Unfold at Consecration Mass for First Anglican Ordinariate Bishop

02/02/2016 Comment

Bishop-elect Steven Lopes will be the first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and the first bishop of any of the Ordinariates Benedict XVI established for Catholics of Anglican patrimony.


This Candlemas (Feb. 2), Catholics have a wonderful, not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience the beauty and splendor of the Roman Rite united with Anglican patrimony, and see Church history in the making.

EWTN is broadcasting live the consecration of Bishop-elect Steven Lopes as the first bishop of one of the three ordinariates (non-territorial dioceses) established for Catholics of the Anglican patrimony.

The Ordination Mass commences Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, and is also being livestreamed by EWTN.

The Mass itself will be celebrated according to Divine Worship: the Missal, which is the [Anglican] Ordinariate Use of the Roman Rite. This past advent, Divine Worship became one of...READ MORE

Filed under anglican, anglican ordinariate, anglicanorum coetibus, bishop steven lopes, cdf, ordinariate, personal ordinariate, personal ordinariate of the chair of st. peter, prayer book english, prayer of humble access

Speaker John Boehner Resigns After Pope’s Historic Address to Congress

09/25/2015 Comments (2)
Official portrait photo.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, revealed a day after Pope Francis's historic speech to Congress that he is resigning his office.

– Official portrait photo.

A day after Pope Francis’s historic address to a joint meeting of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation from Congress.

The Catholic lawmaker told Republican leaders Friday morning he was giving up his Speaker’s gavel and his elected office representing Ohio’s 8th congressional district October 30, according to sources to the New York Times.

Boehner was elected to Congress in 1990, and took over leadership of the House Republican caucus as minority leader in 2007. He became Speaker of the House of Representatives in Jan. 2011, after Republicans took majority control of the chamber following the Nov. 2010 elections that were largely seen as a repudiation of...READ MORE

Filed under congress, house of representatives, house speaker john boehner, joint meeting of congress, pope francis, republicans

#PopeInDC: Five Firsts for Francis

09/22/2015 Comment
Marianne Medlin/CNA

– Marianne Medlin/CNA

When Pope Francis comes to Washington, D.C. for his visit to the United States, he will be making a number of historic and personal “firsts.” Here are five first time events that Americans will see from Pope Francis in the nation’s capital.


1)  Pope Francis’s visit to Washington will be the first time he offers the Mass in the United States.

Unlike his predecessors St. John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, Pope Francis had never visited the U.S. before his election where he became the 265th successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome.

St. John Paul II twice visited the U.S. before becoming Pope in 1978. The first time was in 1969, when Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was visiting with Polish-American...READ MORE

Filed under francis, hispanic pope, joint meeting of congress, junipero serra, pope francis, pope in dc

Video: Planned Parenthood Exec Talks Compensation for Aborted Baby Parts

07/21/2015 Comments (5)

A new undercover video shows a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing with an undercover investigator (posing as a representative of a fetal tissue procurement company) about the appropriate compensation her facility should expect for procuring tissue from aborted infants.

The edited eight minute video primarily features Dr. Mary Gatter, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Director’s Council. It is the second video in a series of undercover videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress, which posed as Biomax Procurement Services. The National Catholic Register has already reported on the first video: Is Planned Parenthood’s Fetal-Parts Trade Legal?


Filed under center for medical progress, fetal tissue, planned parenthood, selling tissue

Catholics Respond to Brave New Roe: One Nation, Divided Over Marriage

06/26/2015 Comment

Welcome to the new Roe v. Wade for marriage: the Supreme Court has handed down its wide-reaching declaration that “same-sex marriage” is a constitutional right and states must recognize same-sex unions contracted as marriages in other states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, authored the 5-4 decision, in which he was joined by Catholic justice Sonia Sotomayor. In contrast, all four of the dissenting justices were Catholic.

The decision by the high court to once again try to end the debate on a contentious national issue has provoked strong responses on either side, between expressions of triumph and tragedy.

Here are some excerpts of reactions to today’s decision: 

Bishops Decry...READ MORE

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Carolyn Woo of CRS Previews Pope Francis's New Encyclical

06/17/2015 Comment

Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services. All photos below are courtesy of Catholic Relief Services. Photos show areas of the Philippines hit by some of the strongest typhoons on record, or drought stricken parts of Ethiopia due to changing weather patterns.

ROME — As one of the encyclical presenters for the Vatican, Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the international development and relief agency of the U.S. Catholic bishops, knows what’s coming with Laudato Si: On the Care of Our Common Home. What she sees is a game-changer in the discussion on climate change and man’s impact on the environment.

The Vatican’s press office announced Monday that Woo will be one of four presenters when the Pope Francis’s encyclical is rolled out on June 18.

Speaking with the Register by phone from Rome, Woo speaks about the role private enterprise and individuals can play in addressing climate change, where multiple man-made factors may be at play...READ MORE

Filed under carolyn woo, catholic, catholic relief services, climate change, crs, environment, environmental encyclical, global cooling, global warming, laudato si

Bishop Consecrates Virgin This Sunday — Pittsburgh Makes History

05/29/2015 Comment

Bishop David Zubik.


PITTSBURGH — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is witnessing history on Sunday, when Bishop David Zubik for the first time — and for the first time in local church’s history — consecrates a woman to perpetual virginity with an ancient rite restored in 1970.

Sheila Ryan will be specially consecrated to Jesus Christ at St. Richard’s parish in Richland Township during the 8 a.m. Mass on May 31, when Bishop Zubik will celebrate the Rite of Consecration of Virgins Living in the World. When the rite is celebrated, Ryan will be dressed like a bride, and Bishop Zubik will give her a veil, a ring, and a book of the Liturgy of the Hours — all symbols of her new life committed to Christ.

This rite...READ MORE

Filed under bishop zubik, consecrated life, consecrated virgin, consecrated vocation, david zubik, diocese of pittsburgh, perpetual virginity, pittsburgh, public witness, secular vocation

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About Peter Jesserer Smith

Peter Jesserer Smith
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Peter Jesserer Smith is the Washington correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He helped cover Pope Francis's historic visit to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 2014. Later that same year, he covered the Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis by traveling to Jordan and Lebanon, representing the Register through Catholic Relief Services's Egan Fellowship. Before coming on board the Register in 2013, he was a freelance writer, reporting for Catholic media outlets as the Register and Our Sunday Visitor. He is a graduate of the National Journalism Center and earned a B.A. in Philosophy at Christendom College, where he co-founded the student newspaper, The Rambler, and served as its editor. He comes originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York State.