Weekly roundup: 'Catholic spring,' contraception, and Father Andrew Greeley

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Another week, another roundup! Let's see what we missed this week, shall we?

A bishop in Australia says that it's time for a 'Catholic spring.' Retired Sydney bishop Geoffrey Robinson designed the response to clergy sex abuse in Australia, and he thinks that it is time for another round of reforms, saying that "Vatican III" must include as many lay people as clergy in order to "address the hard questions." But hold onto your rosaries, folks, because Cardinal Pell says that he won't be recommending Vatican III, saying, "Look at the turmoil which has followed Vatican II – none of it intended by Vatican II. But we are still assimilating the teaching of the Council into Catholic life. I think there is a lot of work to be done on that before we branch out into another council.”

A Gallup survey announced on Wednesday that Americans are "losing their religion." The poll was designed to measure how Americans felt about religion's influence in the country. Seventy-seven percent of the polled population claimed that they thought religion was losing influence on American life.

But don't tell the U.S. bishops, who are gearing up for their second round of Fortnight for Freedom. From June 23-July 4, the bishops, from their tax-exempt pulpits, will call for prayer and fasting to call to attention the "many challenges to religious freedom." (See Scott Alessi's comments on the Fortnight for Freedom: Round 2 here.)

Of course, Cardinal Dolan, who is leading the charge against the HHS mandate, claiming that it is unprecedented and intolerable, has admitted that the New York Archdiocese has been paying for health care coverage for some of its employees that includes contraception coverage, albeit reluctantly.

On the Vatican front, Pope Francis' remarks about atheists caused quite a stir last week. So much of a stir, in fact, that a spokesman from the Vatican felt compelled to correct the Holy Father. So, those keeping score at home: the pontiff likes atheists, but the Vatican does not.

Neither do the Boy Scouts of America.

A Catholic school in Dayton, Ohio, fired a pregnant woman, and now she's suing the school. Kathleen Quinlan was an unmarried first grade teacher who and pregnant through artificial insemination. She was fired on the day that she told her principal that she was pregnant.

It is a summer of sequels as the Nuns on a Bus tour kicked off for its second trip across the country. This time, the nuns are pushing (or driving, we hope) for comprehensive immigration reform that will set an example of the biblical principle to "welcome the stranger." The nuns are expected to travel a total of 6,500 miles over the next three weeks.

They are not going to Venezuela, but if they were, they could bring some wine. Because the church in Venezuela is running out of wine to use at Mass.

Catholic orders are being ordered to disclose thousands of pages of secret files concerning priests who molested children to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The files will shed light on how high-ranking officials at the orders and leaders of the L.A. archdiocese dealt with allegations of abuse by priests who were assigned to work in Los Angeles.

Finally, Father Andrew Greeley died on Thursday morning at the age of 85. He was a long-time contributor and friend of U.S. Catholic. We will miss his honesty and candor. Read our tribute to Father Greeley here.