The Wanderer Forum Foundation, an unofficial ultraconservative Roman Catholic group, is soliciting like-minded Catholics to join in a letter-writing campaign to urge Pope John Paul II to reverse liberal trends in the church in next month's extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome.
The Wisconsin-based foundation has invited support for its four-page "Declaration Pro Council," which calls on bishops at the worldwide synod to uphold "the true teaching and implementation of the promises of the Second Vatican Council," which the group says have been distorted over the past two decades.
The declaration criticizes changes in the liturgy from Latin to the vernacular, the way priests are trained, and the "dangerous environments for the faith of youth today" in Catholic colleges.
It alleges, among other things, that there is "widespread . . . priestly rejection of Catholic teaching," that religious orders of women today "live less for Christ and more for themselves" and that American bishops have lost spiritual and moral leadership because "they have followed the willful lead of their own bureaucrats."
Bishops are also faulted for "making social, economic, political and other practical judgments in their pastoral letters and official pronouncements" on "purely secular matters."
The federal district court here heard arguments this week on a challenge to the use of public funds to print in book form each year the prayers of the Senate chaplain.
The suit, filed by Paul Kurtz, editor of Free Inquiry magazine, charges that the $20,000 to $30,000 which is spent annually for this purpose has the effect of advancing religion, in violation of the First Amendment.
A second suit, also brought by Kurtz, asked that the chaplain be restricted from using language on the Senate floor that disparages the beliefs of nontheists. Kurtz also asked the court to grant him and other nontheists the opportunity to make ethical statements in lieu of prayers at the beginning of daily sessions.
The new president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has resolved a racism-sexism controversy which has shadowed his office since his election in August by withdrawing the nomination of a 32-year-old black clergywoman as a top aide.
According to an agreement made in 1970, when black and white conventions of Disciples merged, the appointive post of assistant general minister of the denomination was to be filled by a black.
The Rev. John O. Humbert, elected in August as president and general minister of the 1.1 million-member denomination, nominated the Rev. Cynthia Hale, of Golynco, Ga., a chaplain-instructor in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The move, he said, reflected his intention to get more women into top leadership posts.
But a black caucus in the church charged that Humbert bypassed a black advisory panel in nominating Hale, who they said lacked experience for the job.
Humbert said he withdrew the nomination "because there was so much opposition" to Hale.
Pastor James Londis has resigned as senior pastor of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, one of the largest congregations in the area. He will become director of the Washington Institute, a community oriented educational foundation which he helped to found while still at Sligo.
The Rev. David R. Harper of New Zealand will be the new rector of the Episcopal Church of the Apostles in Fairfax. The Anglican clergyman has been director of Christian Advance Ministries, an interdenominational organization involved with renewal.
The Rev. Sydney Wilde-Nugent was installed last week as minister of the Davies Memorial Unitarian Church in Camp Springs, Md. She was formerly associate pastor of Cedar Lane Unitarian Church.
Auxiliary Bishop Eugene A. Marino of the Archdiocese of Washington received the first annual Geno Baroni Award from Catholic Charities. The organization also honored the Rev. Marvin A. Mottet, who has been director of the Campaign for Human Development, a self-help and community empowerment program of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Roz Rutstein, who is an assistant professor in the humanities department of Hagerstown Junior College, is the new director of the Jewish Study Center, an adult education program with a variety of classes in Northwest Washington.