The Church’s Crisis

first_imgSince sexual abuse scandals within the Catholic Church were brought to the public eye, it has been more difficult for Fr. Kevin Russeau, director of Old College, to go out in public.“Most places I go I’m dressed in a robe and collar. People know I’m a priest,” Russeau said. “You kind of have a sense that people are watching you differently.“You get this sense that maybe you’re doing something wrong even if you are just buying a gallon of milk for dinner.”The scandal exploded in the United States between 2001-2003, largely propelled by The Boston Globe, whose reporting on the subject earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize.Lawrence Cunningham, a theology professor and former head of the department, said the “big story” was that Church officials hid signs of abuse for years.“Bishops would hear about these situations and remove the priest from the parish, send them off a Monastery to do penance or psychotherapy, and then reassign them to a parish,” Cunningham said.Now, as controversy surrounds Pope Benedict XVI and his role as bishop of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in the early 1980s when a priest was accused of sexual abuse, some Notre Dame students and faculty say they are disturbed by the stories of abuse scandals.Yet others defend the Church despite news reports of clerical abuse.“I’ve been edified by a lot of the students who have written to me saying we need to pray for the Pope, we need to pray for our priests,” Russeau said. “For some people this has been kind of a rallying point to say hey, let’s try to be supportive.“I’ve actually experienced more of that here on campus.”University President Fr. John Jenkins said Notre Dame’s role as a leading Catholic institution is to look forward toward preventing further abuse.“We cannot change the past, but we in the Church must do everything we can to prevent such abuse from happening in the future,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “Notre Dame must do all it can to make sure it holds itself to the highest standards and toward this end, we have put policies and procedures in place.”Jenkins also said the University affirms support for victims and prays for their healing. “Our thoughts are with victims who have been so damaged psychologically and spiritually by sexual abuse by clergy and religious,” Jenkins said. “Faith and prayer are particularly needed that we do not succumb to negative emotions, but seek healing, hope and constructive reform.”Theology professor Fr. Richard McBrien said he is concerned about the abuse scandals that have continually surfaced in the news in recent months — especially those regarding the Pope.“He should be completely open and truthful about what happened in Munich when he served as its archbishop, and what happened during his time as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which also had responsibility for sexual abuse cases involving priests,” McBrien said.“Most people would be understanding and forgiving if he admitted some mistakes in judgment. What people resent is being lied to,” he said. “This controversy will not go away unless and until the pope himself speaks out.  His allies have not helped him thus far.”Cunningham said he believes some of the “finger-pointing” at Pope Benedict for allegedly not removing a priest accused of sexual abuse from contact with children is unfair.“I think in a way he’s getting a bad rap for it,” Cunningham said. “I think he was in fact someone trying to do something for the situation.”He said many of the cases surfacing in the news are decades old.“Today there are very clear procedures set up,” he said. “I think the widespread plague of child abuse generally is a symptom of something that is really wrong with society as a whole.”Senior Lee Marsh has contemplated going into the priesthood, and said the possible stigma of clerical sex abuse has disturbed him.“That is one thing my mom always brought up when I would talk to her about the priesthood ministry,” he said.Although he is unsure about pursuing priesthood, Marsh said he wants to devote his life to Catholic ministry in some way, and he is undeterred by the Church’s scandals.“It’s like a doctor and malpractice. It’s always there but shouldn’t stop you from exercising your ability to help people,” he said.But Marsh said he still has a lot of trust and faith in the Church.“I think when we look at the bishops who have made poor decisions, we are looking at a small part of the human portion of the Church,” he said. “It’s much bigger than that.”Fr. Paulinus Odozor, a theology professor, also recognized the positive contributions the Church has made in the world.“Do you know how many hospitals the Church is running?” he said. “Do you know the millions of pupils enrolled in Catholic school today being taught by Catholic men and women?“I don’t want this to sound triumphonistic. I am simply saying we must put these things in balance.”While sexual abuse by priests is a “serious problem,” the Church is “not the monster roaming the streets trying to get people,” Odozor said.Russeau said there are steps the Church can take to prevent such abuse from happening again and that the focus should be on keeping children safe.“We redesigned the reconciliation room [at my former parish] so there is a mostly see-through glass door,” he said.“We tried to take a way some of the privacy … just to be more transparent in that way.”Russeau also said the process for admitting priests into the seminary is very specific.“We have a psychological battery of tests that every candidate takes. They have a lot of interviews with psychologists, priests, with the layperson,” he said.“We try to be very careful about who we let into the seminary.”Odozor said he believes the Church has already begun to take action to address the problem.“One of the gains from this situation, if you can call it that, is the fact that [the Church] has put in place better rules for oversight. To be able to catch these things and take adequate and appropriate action,” Odozor said.Despite the negative media attention, Odozor said Catholic parishioners have still been receptive to him as a priest.“Catholics generally reach out to you,” he said. “They are not expecting you to keep away from people.”“In fact, sometime ago after Mass, a kid came to me to hug me and the mom was standing there,” Odozor said.Odozor initially hesitated, but the mother encouraged him to embrace her daughter.“She said, ‘Father, please give her a hug.’“They realize that the bulk of priests have the intention of serving the Church,” he said. Odozor, who has been a priest for 26 years, said despite its current difficulties, priesthood is “a happy profession.”“In spite of everything, I wouldn’t be anything else.”last_img read more

University remembers 9/11 attack

first_imgSaturday marks the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the University community will remember the tragedy that claimed nearly 3,000 lives in a variety of ways throughout the weekend. Former United States Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will be on campus today to deliver a lecture titled “A Conversation with Tom Ridge.” Edward Conlon, professor and associate dean in the Mendoza College of Business, said that one of the College’s advisory board members, who is also a friend of Ridge, approached Conlon and the other deans about having the former secretary speak during this nationally significant weekend. “He indicated that he may be able to convince the secretary to come to Notre Dame for the weekend of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and wanted to know if the Mendoza College would be interested in hosting him,” Conlon said. “Obviously, we were.” Conlon said Ridge plans to discuss his observations on how the United States has responded to the terrorist threat since 9/11. Conlon also expects Ridge will give his opinion about how he thinks the future of the United States and terrorism will unfold. “We have asked Secretary Ridge to comment on how the threat of terrorism has impacted the economic institutions of the world, including markets and businesses,” Conlon said. There will be a question and answer session after Ridge speaks, Conlon said. “It is truly a great opportunity for the Notre Dame community to hear Secretary Ridge’s thoughts on the past, present and future of homeland security,” he said. “As the first director of Homeland Security, he has a unique and well-honed perspective on the challenges we will all face in minimizing the effect that terrorism has on the way we all live our lives.” Ridge will also be recognized at the football game against Michigan Saturday. “Secretary Ridge will stand with [University President Fr. Jenkins], be introduced to the crowd and hand our national colors to the individuals involved in the flag presentation ceremony,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said. Additionally, the Notre Dame football team will remember the anniversary of the terrorist attacks by wearing shirts with a red, white and blue interlocking ND during their early warm-ups, Brown said. “The Army Black Daggers parachute team will bring the American flag and the game ball into the stadium in a pre-game ceremony,” Brown said. “We will also observe a moment of silence to be followed by a prayer by Fr. Jenkins.” Many students do not need a special ceremony to remember the tragic events that shook the country nine years ago. “I’m from New York and knew lots who lost loved ones on 9/11,” student body president Catherine Soler said.  “It’s definitely something that still hits home for me.”last_img read more

Student body presidential candidates: Dominic Alberigi and Jennifer Cha

first_imgZachary Llorens | The Observer Who they are: Dominic Alberigi, the presidential candidate, is a junior from the San Francisco Bay Area, currently living in Alumni Hall. Majoring in finance and Chinese, Alberigi tutors ESL students in South Bend and is a member of the Notre Dame men’s rugby club.Jennifer Cha hails from Elkhart, Indiana, and resides in Welsh Family Hall. The junior is a Balfour-Hesburgh Scholar, majoring in English and American Studies with a minor in Africana Studies. Cha currently serves as the vice president of PrismND, an advising fellow with MatriculateND and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Undergraduate Research.Top priority: Creating a mental health app for studentsFocusing their platform around mental health, the two plan to launch a mental health smartphone application. According to Alberigi, the University provides many mental health resources that students do not realize are available to them — by creating an app, these resources would be put at students’ fingertips. The application would include links to external resources and appointment schedules for the University Counseling Center (UCC) and would also incorporate the existing Warmline chat service, a program through which students are able to contact professionals in a non-crisis situation to via a messaging system.Best idea: Dining hall reformMany campaigns, both past and present, have proposed an overhaul of the current dining hall system. However, the system proposed by Alberigi and Cha is well researched and appears feasible to implement. The plan would allow students to purchase a certain number of “points” every semester, with each meal costing a certain amount of points. Students would be able to enter the dining halls as often as they wish, as long as they had the points to purchase the meal. Alberigi said he had discussed the ticket’s plan with Food Services, and it has been implemented at various other universities across the country, providing the University with a clear-cut model. The plan, if put into action, would benefit the majority of students in providing flexibility with dining hall hours and thus is the ticket’s best idea.Worst idea: Encouraging freshmen UCC visitsWhile advocating for more students to visit the UCC is an admirable goal, having students visit the UCC regardless of need is unnecessary. The UCC already has difficulty accommodating the needs of students without bogging down the system with needless visits. Alberigi and Cha believe creating demand for a larger counseling center will result in changes, but in the interim, the system would be made sluggish and unable to meet the needs of students. The thought behind the plan is commendable, but the plan itself is unsustainable.Most feasible: Providing one-credit courses in life skillsThe ticket proposed expanding the current system of one-credit courses to include more relevant courses encompassing life skills. Due to the fact the system is already in place, the idea would be easy and fairly inexpensive to implement. Including South Bend professionals in the program is also an innovative way to strengthen the bond between the University and the city.Least feasible: 24/7 animal therapy roomsAs mental health is the center of their platform, Alberigi and Cha focused on expanding the services available at the UCC. One of the ways in which they plan to do this includes opening animal therapy rooms that operate around the clock in the Counseling Center. The rooms — one for puppies and one for kittens — would theoretically be staffed by volunteers who are participating in a one-credit Animal Therapy course, with walks and grooming provided by volunteers. However, the costs, labor and effort involved do not justify the benefits this plan would bring.Bottom lineThe Alberigi-Cha ticket offers aspirational ideas and lofty goals. The candidates’ focus on mental health is commendable but their plan is not practical — many of their ideas are costly and cannot be implemented in a one-year term.Tags: Dominic Alberigi, Jennifer Cha, Student government electionslast_img read more

Notre Dame hosts high school Model UN conference

first_imgMore than 170 students from nine Midwestern high schools traveled to campus this weekend to participate in the Notre Dame Model U.N.’s (NDMUN) inaugural high-school conference.“It’s been really a dream of the club for, really, as long as the club has been around,” senior secretary-general Zachary Mastrovich said. “September of 2015 was really when we decided to make that dream become reality. “At that point, we were looking for venues, started talking to all the legal offices, spoke to some website and registration programmers and did everything we could to prepare — we gathered about 40 Notre Dame students to help out, trained them if they needed it.” High school student committees were allowed to sign up according to three levels of difficulty, depending on their experience: beginner, intermediate or advanced. “We are a beginner conference, but we knew some of the schools we were inviting had some really advanced delegates, so we wanted to make sure we had committees right for them,” Mastrovich said. “So we broke down our committees into three levels … with the advanced committees being crisis-based.”The advanced committees were constantly in contact with a “crisis committee,” who would constantly change the scenario to test the students. “The crisis committee will say, ‘A bomb is about to go off in a major city,’ and so you would go back to the crisis committee with your plan and they would say ‘OK, you did this, but here’s what’s going on now,’ and it’s a continually changing process. So we had two committees like that the crisis staff focused on.”The beginner and intermediate committees were more focused on the delegates forming resolutions and groups, although Mastrovich said that was still a part of the advanced committee’s challenge.  Mastrovich said the NDMUN conference was a success and the club was already planning on meeting next week to plan next year’s. “It was an incredible experience,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be the secretary general and watch everything come to life. We met there a couple hours early to make sure everything was set up right and schools started arriving and it was like, ‘Wow, this is a real thing, it’s actually happening.’ It was cool. I found it very rewarding.” As part of the planning process for next year, Mastrovich said the club would like to invite more schools to make the conference more diverse than it was this year, which had schools from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. “We’re always looking for more help,” he said. “We want to continually grow this conference so if anyone has any experience they can reach out. Kylie [Ruscheinski] is running it next year. If anyone wants to get involved, please reach out and we’ll help get you involved.” Tags: conference, crisis committee, high school, Model UNlast_img read more

Lakewood JCPenney Store Dodges Latest Round Of Closings

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN Image.LAKEWOOD — JCPenney added 13 more stores to its permanent closing list, but the Chautauqua Mall store is not on the newest list.Last month the store chain filed for bankruptcy and expects to close as many as 250 stores across the nation.As many as 200 stores will be closed by the end of summer and an additional 50 stores are expected to close by next summer, officials said.The 13 additional stores, with seven in Michigan and two in New York, are expected to liquidate on or about July 3. last_img read more

NY’s Plastic Bag Ban Survives Lawsuit, But Not Unscathed

first_imgStock Image.ALBANY — New York’s never-enforced ban on single-use plastic bags has survived a lawsuit lodged by a plastic bag manufacturer and convenience store owners, but a state judge ruled Thursday that state regulators went too far by allowing stores to hand out thicker plastic bags.A state law effective March 1 bans many types of businesses from distributing the thin plastic bags that have been clogging up landfills, getting tangled in trees and accumulating in lakes and seas. Single-use paper bags are still allowed, but counties have the option of imposing a 5 cent fee.But the Department of Environmental Conservation agreed to delay enforcement of the law as the state fought to get a court to toss the lawsuit. And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some retailers have prohibited customers from bringing in reusable bags that New York lawmakers hope to promote.State Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly ordered New York in a decision released Thursday to strike a part of the plastic bag ban regulations that some environmental activists worried would allow retailers to eventually hand out a bag several times thicker than the kind provided at Macy’s and shopping malls. The law itself says stores can still provide customers certain kinds of plastic bags, including produce bags or “bags prepackaged for sale to a customer.” But only the rules drawn up by state regulators specified that retailers can provide a customer a reusable bag made with plastic that’s at least 10 mils thick — as thick as about ten pieces of paper.Now, Justice Connolly says the state can’t enforce that part of the regulations.State environmental officials are reviewing the justice’s decision and plan to soon notify stores and businesses about when and how New York will start enforcing the law.For now, it’s unclear how exactly New York will enforce its single-use plastic bag ban. Justice Connolly said it’s “clear” the state’s plastic bag ban law would override New York’s existing recycling law that requires large retailers to make reusable bags available for purchase.State environmental conservation commissioner Basil Seggos has defended the regulations as making sense of the two laws. And his agency has said the plastic industry probably lacks the machinery to produce thicker plastic bags that could meet New York’s proposed standard and still be cost-effective.“The court’s decision is a victory and a vindication of New York state’s efforts to end the scourge of single-use plastic bags and a direct rebuke to the plastic bag manufacturers who tried to stop our law,” Seggos said in a statement.Justice Connolly said New York’s law “enacts a far broader ban of plastic bags” than first proposed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s original proposal to ban single-use plastic bags.The justice said that state regulators’ exemption for certain reusable plastic bags was in “plain contradiction” of the state law.“It remains, of course, within the province of the Legislature to enact legislation to the extent it seeks to expand the list of ‘exempt bags,’” he wrote.Justice Connolly said opponents failed in their arguments to strike down New York’s plastic bag ban in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.Plastic bag manufacturers and convenience store owners had argued New York’s plastic bag ban would bankrupt their industries. And they argued the court should discard the entire ban because state regulators needed legislative permission for their exemption for thicker plastic bags.Zachary Taylor, director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, said New York’s law is still “unworkable” and warned that small retailers will struggle to get paper bags amid the pandemic.The advocacy group, which represents the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing industry, has reported spending $145,000 on lobbying New York lawmakers who pushed for single-use bag regulations over the last two years, according to state lobbying records.“Unfortunately, we are back where we started, and New York’s bag ban is still broken,” Taylor said.Supporters of New York’s ban who had criticized the exemption for thicker bags said New York’s plastic bag ban is now a model for other states.“Once fully implemented, New Yorkers will see the benefits of this law almost immediately with less plastic bag litter in neighborhoods, parks and rivers,” Judith Enck, president of advocacy group Beyond Plastics and former EPA Regional Administrator, said. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Falconer Man Charged With DWI Following Crash

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image.ELLICOTT – A 40-year-old Falconer man is facing driving while intoxicated charges after allegedly crashing his car late last week.Town of Ellicott Police say Brock Zampogna crashed his car on Gerry-Levant Road just after 10 p.m. on Friday night.Through investigation, officers charged Zampogna with driving while intoxicated, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and moved from lane unsafely.Zampogna was issued appearance tickets and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Ellicott court at a later date. last_img read more

County Warns Public Of Rise In COVID Cases, Announces New Testing Clinics

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MAYVILLE – Leaders in Chautauqua County say they are seeing more cases of COVID-19 than ever before and are now warning the public to take action so that the healthcare system will not become overwhelmed.Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the easiest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands and cleaning surfaces.“Would you know what to do if you were in close contact, within 6 feet for 10 minutes or longer, with someone who found out they have COVID-19? As the number of new cases climbs and we continue to move through the holiday season, it’s likely that more people will find themselves in this situation,” said Schuyler.“If you are aware that you have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, take action immediately. Do not wait for a call from the Health Department. Quarantine at home, even if you do not feel sick,” she furthered. She says the virus can take up to two weeks after you are infected to make you feel sick.“We also know that you can be infected but never feel sick at all,” furthered Schuyler. “In those cases, you could still spread the virus through close contact with others.”She says it is critical to quarantine if you:Have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of someone who has COVID-19 for 10 minutes or longer;Have cared for someone who is sick with COVID-19;Have had direct physical contact with someone who has COVID-19. (This includes hugging or kissing them, sharing cups or silverware, or getting their respiratory droplets on you in another way — like getting coughed on);Are visiting a state with quarantine requirements.When you are quarantining, Schuyler says watch for a fever, cough, shortness of breath or other COVID-19 symptoms.If you develop symptoms, she says reach out to a healthcare provider who can help you determine next steps for getting testing or care.Additionally, the Health Department announced several new COVID-19 rapid testing events.The first round of testing will take place on Tuesday, December 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Murphy Training Center on Brigham Road in Dunkirk.The next will take place on Thursday, December 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Taylor Training Center on Harrison Street in Jamestown.Additional testing will happen on Tuesday, December 15 and Thursday, December 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Murphy Training Center and Taylor Training Center, respectively.Those interested in getting tested will need to register for an appointment online.The county previously recorded 90 new cases of the virus on Friday afternoon.last_img read more

In It to Win It! David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu Extends Before Opening at Pershing Square Signature Center

first_img Kung Fu Related Shows Directed by Leigh Silverman, Kung Fu tells the story of international icon Bruce Lee’s journey from troubled Hong Kong youth to martial arts legend. The new play blends dance, Chinese opera, martial arts and drama into a new theatrical form. The production follows Lee in America as he struggles to prove himself as a fighter, a husband, a father and a man. View Comments In addition to Horibe, the cast of Kung Fu features Phoebe Strole, Jon Rua, Emmanuel Brown, Clifton Duncan, Bradley Fong, Francis Jue, Peter Kim, Ari Loeb, Reed Luplau, Kristen Faith Oei and Christopher Vo. You’ll really be kicking yourself if you miss this! The world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu is prolonging the fight at off-Broadway’s Pershing Square Signature Center, and the production has been extended for an additional two weeks. Initially slated to run through March 16, Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee, will now play a limited engagement through March 30 at the Irene Diamond Stage. Show Closed This production ended its run on April 6, 2014last_img read more

Jennifer Westfeld Joins Too Much Sun; Tickets Available

first_img Star Files Too Much Sun Too Much Sun tells the story of Audrey Langham (Lavin), a celebrated actress who unravels completely while preparing for a new production of Medea. With nowhere else to go, she descends upon her married daughter for a summer by the sea. She is not, however, greeted with confetti and champagne. Her arrival sets off a chain of events alternately hilarious and harrowing. Tony nominee Jennifer Westfeldt will join the previously announced Linda Lavin in the cast for the world premiere of Nicky Silver’s Too Much Sun off-Broadway. Directed by Mark Brokaw, the play will begin performances on May 1 at the Vineyard Theatre prior to an official opening on May 18. Tickets are now available for the production. Too Much Fun will feature scenic design by Donyale Werle, lighting design by David Lander, costume design by Michael Krass and sound design by David Van Tieghem. Linda Lavincenter_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on June 22, 2014 Joining Lavin and Westfeldt (Wonderful Town) in the cast are Richard Bekins (Tartuffe), Matt Dellapina, Ken Barnett (Wonderful Town) and Matt Dickson (War Horse). View Commentslast_img read more