- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2007

Watchdog panel gets five new members

The National Review Board, the lay watchdog panel that the U.S. bishops created to monitor the church’s child-protection efforts, has a new leader and four new members.

Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced Tuesday that he has named Judge Michael Merz of Dayton, Ohio, to succeed chairwoman Patricia O’Donnell Ewers.

Judge Merz, who earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard, has been a trial judge for 30 years. He has served for six years on the pastoral council for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and has volunteered for the United Way and on Dayton Public Library boards.

The four new board members are:

• Dr. Emmet M. Kenney, an adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Prairie St. John’s, a Catholic health care organization offering psychiatric and chemical dependency services in Fargo, N.D.;

• Diane Knight, who recently retired as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee;

• Judge Robert C. Kohm, a New York state trial court judge;

• Susan Steibe-Pasalich, a psychologist and director of the University Counseling Center at the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of the lay review board for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.

Presbyterians make cuts ahead of shortfall

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Presbyterian Church (USA) is facing more financial troubles.

Anticipating a 5 percent budget shortfall next year, the Office of the General Assembly, the top policy-making body for the church, is reorganizing and cutting seven jobs, according to a May 23 announcement.

The changes are the latest in a series of job cuts by the Presbyterians. Another Presbyterian agency last year cut 75 positions at the denomination’s Louisville headquarters.

Like other mainline Protestant groups, membership in the 3-million-member denomination has been shrinking. At the same time, Presbyterians are divided over whether homosexual relationships are prohibited by Scripture. Some theologically conservative congregations have been taking steps toward a permanent split.

Boston Archdiocese to move to suburbs

BOSTON — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has completed a $65 million deal to sell its administrative headquarters in the Brighton neighborhood to Boston College. The archdiocese is planning to move to the suburbs to save money.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino has protested the move, saying that leaving the city will hinder the church’s charitable mission. The chancery has been the archdiocese’s headquarters since the 1920s.

“The people most in need of charitable services provided by the church and archdiocese are here in our urban neighborhoods,” Mr. Menino said. “To move the Archdiocese of Boston out of Boston raises serious concerns about the future mission and role of the church in serving this community.”

Church officials deny the move will hinder its charitable work.

The sale of nearly 20 acres to the Jesuit institution, which has already bought other nearby land from the archdiocese, is scheduled to close by Aug. 1. It is part of a long-range effort to recover from financial problems related to the clergy sex-abuse scandal that erupted in 2002.

The archdiocese is keeping St. John’s Seminary, where it has trained priests since the 1880s, at its present location in Brighton.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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