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Covering the Local Church



majority boards. Their faculty, especially those in theology or religious studies

departments, may be an important news resource not only on church issues but

also on broader community issues with a moral or religious dimension, from

medical ethics to prison reform, from immigration to capital punishment.

Catholic Seminaries

By its nature, a

theological seminary

—which offers a four-year postgradu-

ate program in theology for future priests—will have on its faculty experts in

Scripture, systematic theology, moral theology and ethics, historical theology,

liturgy, sacramental theology, church history and a range of related disciplines.

College seminaries

are also likely to have experts in theology and other reli-

gious fields on their faculty.

Catholic Hospitals

Catholic health care institutions are bound by a code of ethical and religious

directives established by the U.S. bishops. Doctors and other health care staff

familiar with those directives and their application in complex situations can

be a source of insight and expertise about church teachings on human life and

dignity in areas where life and dignity face some of the greatest challenges.

Religious Orders

Every diocese has communities of men and women religious: monasteries,

convents, priories or other religious houses. Many of those priests, brothers

and nuns have academic and experiential backgrounds and areas of expertise

that would surprise an outsider unfamiliar with the emphasis that religious

orders have placed on education for their members.

Eastern Catholic Churches

Parishes of Eastern Catholic churches are spread throughout the United States,

although most of them are in more urban areas. In many of these parishes the

pastor or some of the parishioners may have extensive knowledge of their

country of origin and expertise on the religious, political and cultural situ-

ation there. For example, in Detroit there is a large community of Chaldean

Catholics, whose roots are in Iraq. Many Ukrainian and Ruthenian Catholics

immigrated to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio, but there are Ukrainian

and Ruthenian parishes scattered elsewhere across the country as well. It’s

worthwhile to find out what Eastern rite Catholic churches have a presence in

your community and how they might serve as news resources.