Media Watch

Orthodoxy Draws New Priests

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, Jan. 10 — What makes a man want to be a priest? Orthodox Catholic teaching, the news service reported.

Father David P. Talley, vocations director of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, said that in his 11 years with the archdiocese he saw the numbers of candidates for the priesthood jump from seven to 58. He attributed the rise to the archdiocese's orthodoxy.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., is equally known for drawing vocations and for what the wire service called his “traditionalism.”

In monastic life, strict orders like the Discalced Carmelite nuns and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are attracting more young women and men.

Homer, Marge and God

THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, Jan. 13 — Homer Simpson may not be the most devout character imaginable — but for network television, he's pretty good, the Atlanta daily reported.

A recent study of religion in “The Simpsons” surveyed 71 of the show's 248 episodes. The study found that more than two-thirds of the shows had at least one reference to religion, and more than 10% had significant religious content.

“Simpsons” episodes have featured Bart selling his soul (he gets it back after he prays) and Rev. Lovejoy, the Simpsons’ pastor, regaining his lost love of ministry. Although Homer sometimes belittles church attendance, or says his ideal religion would have “No hell, no kneeling,” “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening pointed out that the characters pray and attend church regularly.

Cop Cleared in Rainbow Ruckus

THE RECORD-EAGLE, Jan. 13 — Traverse City, Mich., has ended its investigation of a local police officer on charges that his opposition to homosexual activism violated the city's anti-discrimination laws, the city's daily newspaper reported.

Traverse City has also revoked its decision to post rainbow bumper stickers on all public vehicles. Many local residents saw the rainbow flag as a symbol of the homosexual movement.

After Officer David Leach spoke against the stickers to a local Christian radio host and to a reporter from the Detroit Free Press about his stance against the stickers, the Traverse City Human Rights Commission opened an investigation into his comments. The city's laws prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”

Seminaries Draw Few Black Students

MIAMI HERALD, Jan. 15 — Black priests and seminarians are rare in the United States, though some parishes are working hard to change that, the Miami daily reported.

Only about 350 of the country's 47,000 priests are black, and in South Florida's two seminaries, all 10 black students are Haitian-born. Black priests are often Haitian or African.

Hilbert Stanley, executive director of the National Black Catholic Congress, said that this trend would change only after parents begin talking to their children about religious vocations. He said that many black parents want grandchildren so much that they don't encourage children to explore religious life.

The Miami Archdiocese encourages black parishioners to become deacons, because a Church leadership role can help people learn if they are called to the priesthood. Predominantly black congregations often adapt practices of black Protestants, like tent revivals and gospel music. Father George Knab, of the largely black St. Francis Xavier parish, is holding a revival Feb. 5-8 to boost vocations.