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.
By its nature, a
—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.
are also likely to have experts in theology and other reli-
gious fields on their faculty.
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.
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.