Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Man of Hope screening

6 December 2013 - By

The Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC is showing “Wałęsa. Man of Hope” by Andrzej Wajda at the AFI/EU Film Showcase at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland on Saturday, December 7th at 1pm.


Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda brings the story of Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity movement to the big screen. Robert Więckiewicz (In Darkness) stars at Lech Wałęsa, while Agnieszka Grochowska shines as his loyal wife, Danuta. The sharp screenplay by Janusz Głowacki hinges on Wałęsa’s landmark 1981 interview, just months before Poland declared martial law, with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, recounting in flashback the previous decade-and-a-half of activism; Wałęsa would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983.

On Wednesday, December 4th Lech Wałęsa returned to Capitol Hill and the U.S. Congress after 24 years and was greated by a full house of nearly 500 dignitaries. Wałęsa’s appearance coincided with the screening of the film “Wałęsa. Man of Hope” for members of Congress. The evening highlighted Solidarity’s contribution in bringing down Communism and ushering in freedom and Democracy to Central and Eastern Europe which lead to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

“This history happened in Poland first” emphasized Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf, adding that Poland and the Polish people, will never forget the word ‘Solidarity’ and the support we received, particularly from the United States in our greatest hour of need.

“I spoke at every public high school in Connecticut over the years … and I’d be asked by people, ‘Can one person change the world?’ and I used to constantly cite Lech Wałęsa, Eunice Shriver, Nelson Mandela as people who clearly changed the world,” former Senator from Connecticut and current MPAA President Christopher Dodd said during the course of the on-stage interview held before the movie screening.

“When Lech Wałęsa jumped over the wall at the Gdansk Shipyard, he took the whole world with him. The Solidarity movement brought hope and democracy to Poland, and inspired so many more around the globe, including Polish Americans in my hometown of Baltimore. The United States and Poland are united by our beliefs – in freedom, in people, and in speaking truth to power. Today, we are strong democracies, true allies, and steadfast friends.” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Poland – bastion of educational success

6 December 2013 - By

Poland has showed marked success in education. The World Bank recently reported that Poland now ranks 9th among all countries in overall reading scores on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, the only transition country to go from being below the OECD average on PISA to above average. The most recent The Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index ranks Poland as 8th in the world (high proficiency) in English language skills among adults.

Several articles note the basis for this success. See Poland: Education’s superpowers have a new kid on the bloc from the Sydney Morning Herald; Wittmeyer: Want to find an education miracle? Look to Poland from Newsday; and Poland imparts lesson on education to U.S. from the The Coeur d’ Alene Press. Here’s any interesting take from the Dallas Morning News: Will Texas follow the Poland model?

I want to move to Poland.


The just-released PISA exam — the Program for International Student Assessment – shows that Polish students finished ninth among developed nations in science. They also finished 10th in reading.

And the U.S. finish in those subjects? 28th and 24th, respectively.

To be sure, all these rankings can wear you out. And Wendy Kopp, the who started Teach for America, was right to suggest in her Wall Street Journal piece this week that we should not use these particular rankings as a rallying cry to go clobber other countries. Instead, we should learn from each other.

What we could learn from Poland is this: The country’s schools once were in the dumps. But Poland started using standardized tests to assess students, elevated academic rigor, wouldn’t accept poverty as an excuse and gave local schools more autonomy.

None of those reforms were put into place easily, but over time Poland’s scores went up. That includes on the PISA exam, which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development administers. The exam focuses on applying classroom knowledge to real world problems.

There certainly is a Texas element to this story about Poland’s success. As this newspaper reported this week, the state has a
troubling number of high school students who have failed one or more end-of-course exams. As an example, 182,000 students have yet to pass last year’s English I writing exam. They get one more chance to do so this month.

The question is, what should we do about perennially failing students? Or ones who just keep struggling?

By raising this, I don’t mean more tests. The Legislature has made it clear they aren’t interested in additional end-of-course exams.

Rather, how shall the state respond to a large number of students who are behind? And how can the state keep students in the future from ending up in the same spot, assuming they don’t have learning disabilities that keep them behind?

Poland’s answer is you don’t give up on kids. It faced enormous poverty after suffering through decades of deprivation under the reign of communism. But it didn’t accept the notion that kids born into poverty couldn’t meet higher academic standards.

Amanda Ripley, author of “The Smartest Kids in the World,” noted in a recent Point Person interview that “Of all the changes Polish officials made, the one that seemed to matter most was that they held all students to more rigorous academic standards for a longer time period.”

In other words, they didn’t lowball expectations, even though plenty of students were struggling. Polish authorities even tried to get more kids out of our equivalent of vocational education.

Of course, raising expectations requires adequate resources to help teachers best reach students. The Texas Legislature must make sure that it spends smartly but adequately on students. But as Ripley also noted, Poland spends about half of what U.S. schools spend on their students. So, money alone is not the answer.

And Poland isn’t the only nation to do better while raising expectations. “Globally, the longer students stay together in demanding classes,” Ripley observed, “the better the whole country seems to do.”

So, there’s a roadmap here for Texas, or at the least start of one. The state could ease up on expectations. As an example, we could suggest that more kids go into vocational education, as some legislators pushed for this year. On the other hand, the state could keep encouraging kids to set their sights higher, as in for college or at least a two-year degree.

Poland went the high-bar route when conditions suggested otherwise. Will we?

Poet Tadeusz Dąbrowski Gives Reading at UMass Amherst

30 September 2013 - By

From the University of Massachusetts – Amherst: To mark the beginning of Polish Culture Month, Polish poet Tadeusz Dąbrowski is presenting a bilingual reading at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in 301 Herter Hall. The reading is being hosted by the Amesbury Professorship in Polish Language, Literature and Culture at UMass Amherst.

Born in 1979, Dąbrowski has been called “an inheritor of the great metaphysical tradition in [Polish] poetry” and “an essential factor in the picture of contemporary [Polish] verse.” Critics have described his poetry, which has been published in numerous Polish and foreign journals, as “restlessly inventive, sharp-witted, and intent on raising mischief” and as “full of love, swagger, and linguistic excitement.”

Dąbrowski is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including the bilingual collection “Black Square,” with translations by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, published in 2011 by Zephyr Press in Boston.

The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in campus lots and at metered spaces after 5 p.m.

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News and Opportunities from the New York State Alliance for Arts Education

20 September 2013 - By

Public Review of the Draft High School Core Arts Standards

Please join the public review of drafts of the High School national core arts standards for Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts beginning September 30 and ending October 21, 2013. Draft high school music standards for secondary ensembles will be included in the September 30th release; standards for additional music course sequences (guitar/keyboard and composition/theory) will be released later. Watch for details and information on their wikispace or Facebook page.

October 1 Deadline: Art Education Grants

The National Art Education Foundation (NAEF) annually invites applications for the Ruth Halvorsen Professional Development Grants, Mary McMullan Grants, NAEF Research Grants, SHIP Grants, and Teacher Incentive Grants. Grants range from $500 to $10,000 depending on the grant category. The Foundation was established as an independent, sister organization to the National Art Education Association (NAEA) to provide support for a variety of art education programs. Foundation grants are made only to NAEA members, including student and retired members, state/province associations, and recognized affiliates. Full info can be found here.

October 11 Deadline: NYSCA’s Musical Instrument Revolving Loan Fund

The loan program is competitive and allows access to eligible non-profit symphonies, ensembles and music organizations to apply for a low interest loan to support the purchase of musical instruments and certain equipment related to presentation and teaching of music. The purpose of the funds is “to stimulate the professional growth of musicians and symphony orchestras which provide a vital educational and cultural service to the citizens of the state. To review the MIRLF guidelines and application visit the dedicated web page.

November 1 Deadline: Award to School Board Providing “Outstanding Support”

Online nominations are now being accepted for the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and National School Boards Association Award (KCAAEN and NSBA Award). This award recognizes a local school board for outstanding support of the arts in education. The winning board receives a plaque presented at the NSBA Annual Conference, along with a cash award of $10,000 to use for their arts education programs. Full details and nomination materials can be found online.

November 14 Deadline: Grants for Dutchess, Orange & Ulster Counties

Projects can be in any artistic discipline and may include (but are not limited to) workshops, exhibitions/studio tours, performances, community music festivals, multi-discipline collaborations and public programming whose central focus is the arts. The maximum funding request for an organization is $5,000. Arts Education Grants support residencies by artists and/or cultural organizations in a public school, and focus on sequential, skill-based knowledge. These awards are administered by the Dutchess County Arts Council. Please see their website for the complete 2014 application, guidelines and list of informational seminars.

December 15 Deadline: Inspirational Teacher Award Nominations

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is seeking nominations for the 2014 Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, a series of annual grants that recognize inspiring teachers in the United States.The awards were created in honor of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who frequently attributes his success to the teachers in his life. The awards are presented each year on Sondheim’s birthday, March 22, to a handful of teachers, kindergarten through college, who are nominated via the Kennedy Center Web site.

Opportunities for Professionals

CRAVE Creators Conclave & Festival weekend, September 20-21, 2013, Syracuse, NY

Join artists in all disciplines, arts administrators, educators and students, presenters, curators, economic development stakeholders and the public for this statewide gathering. CRAVE is a unique creative gathering to inspire, explore and reward new ideas for audience engagement and empowerment. Sample Syracuse’s Connective Corridor cultural district, learn from national leaders, share best practices from your community, and see global artists like DJ Spooky. For more info and to register, please click here.

NYSTEA Educators Conference, October 4-6, 2013, Queens, NY

Register here for the annual NYSTEA Educators Conference “Making Connections: From School to School.” Enjoy 5 different workshops, welcome reception at the Roundabout Theatre Company with guest speaker writer/composter Joe DiPietro, awards luncheon, vendors and networking with like-minded professionals from across the state.

Municipal Art Society 2013 Summit, October 17-18, 2013, New York, NY

Taking Place at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the fourth annual MAS Summit for New York City will explore the themes of Innovation and Leadership. Participants will discuss the challenges that face New York, and topics will explore new and innovative ways to continue the city’s role as a global urban leader, while also covering issues of resilience and the city’s livability. Please see their website for more information.

National Guild’s annual Conference for Community Arts Education, October 30 – November 2, 2013, Chicago, IL

This gathering will bring together more than 500 arts education leaders from 350+ organizations nationwide. Join this dynamic learning community of staff, faculty, trustees, and teaching artists to forge the future of arts education in America. The conference will feature nationally renowned speakers and dozens of professional development and networking opportunities designed to help you increase participation and impact, raise more money, sustain and grow key programs, and advocate for equitable access to arts education. Register online.

National Artist Teacher Fellowship Program

The Center for Arts in Education invites arts teachers from public arts high schools to apply for funding for artistic development through its National Artist Teacher Fellowship Program (NATF). The NATF program provides grants of $5,500 to enable selected arts teachers from all disciplines to rejuvenate their own art-making. A complementary grant of $1,500 is awarded to each Fellow’s school to support post-fellowship activities in the classroom. Applications will be available online by September 27.

Opportunities for Students

October 2 Deadline: Student Entries for Rochester Student Showcase

The Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester announces the Student Showcase 2013 call for entries, an opportunity for its student members to submit their original work to a juried exhibition at The Gallery at the Arts & Cultural Council. Students from all visual art disciplines are encouraged to submit their work for consideration. Exhibition dates will be November 1–26. Use this on-line entry form.

October 18 Deadline: Young Arts Award

YoungArts provides emerging artists (ages 15-18 or grades 10-12) with life-changing experiences with renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding young artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts. Support is offered in ten artistic disciplines: cinematic arts, dance, design, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice and writing. Students should apply here.

By applying to the YoungArts program, winners are eligible for:

  • Up to $10,000 monetary award (total awarded each year is over $500,000)
  • Exclusive eligibility for recognition as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
  • Master classes with world-renowned artists
  • Access to scholarships, career opportunities and professional contacts

Job Opportunities

Access the newest and freshest jobs available to professionals seeking employment through NYSAAE’s JOBlink.

The Cosmopolitan Review – Summer Edition

28 June 2013 - By

The Cosmopolitan Review, A Transatlantic Review of Things Polish, in English has issued its Summer 2013 edition jam packed with books, art, poetry, events, and excellent information.

CR welcomes summer, as does Poland. And nowhere is the summer solstice more beautifully welcomed than in Poland, with the ancient festival of Wianki (wreaths), when barefoot girls in white dresses bring floral wreaths to a river’s edge, cast them in the water, and leave them to fate’s caprice.

The wianki, elaborate works of art involving branches, flowers and candles, float downriver to the delight of children and adults alike. More wreaths are fashioned into floral crowns embellished with figures of birds, butterflies and anything else the artistic imagination can come up with. Extravagance has no limits on this day; the hats of Ascot pale by comparison perhaps because wianki – as opposed to hats – is not a commercial enterprise. One can only hope that this festival will forever stay as it is, that Hallmark will never create Wianki greeting cards, and shopping malls will never have Wianki Day Specials. Though purveyors of food, drink and music are welcome. And we’ve just learned that there is a Wianki fest in Washington, D.C. Good to know in case you don’t make it to Kraków next year.

Luckily, “Poland” is wherever Polish people are, as is stated so eloquently in Hanka Ordonówna’s wonderful book about children when their Poland was just “two rooms.” For thousands of us, Poland has been, at one time or another, in India, Africa, New Zealand, Mexico and beyond.

Tulacze dzieci (polish) (Paperback)

By (author): Ordonowna Hanka

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In this issue, we highlight India, mainly because of the marvelous book by Indian author Anuradha Bhattacharjee, The Second Homeland: Polish Refugees in India. That Polish landscape included elephants, exotic fruit, generous Maharajas and a superb cast of characters ranging from cabaret stars to theosophists.

The Second Homeland: Polish Refugees in India (Hardcover)

By (author): Anuradha Bhattacharjee

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Books, as always. Michał Kasprzak weighs in on Marci Shore’s The Taste of Ashes; there’s a review of Magda Romanska’s new anthology of Bogusław Schaeffer’s works. And two writers have a problem with Agata Tuszyńska’s Vera Gran.

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Boguslaw Schaeffer: An Anthology (Paperback)

By (author): Boguslaw Schaeffer

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Vera Gran-The Accused (Hardcover)

By (author): Agata Tuszynska

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On the light side, an Englishman’s adventures – misadventures? – begin with his future bride’s father saying “No.” He also notes that while English weddings are heavy on speeches, Polish weddings emphasize food and dancing. He indulges in the eternal rivalry between Kraków and Warsaw as well, so to cool that, CR puts the spotlight on enchanting Zamość.

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And now to food! As noted in The Guardian: No processed cheeses, no tinned fish, no just-add-water packets… think Provence, with beetroot. Which brings us to two new Polish cookbooks, Polish Classic Desserts and From a Polish Country Kitchen, both reviewed in this issue.

Polish Classic Desserts (Classics) (Hardcover)

By (author): Peter Zeranski, Laura Zeranski

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Finally, as noted above, Poland is wherever Polish people are and for several summers they were in Canmore, Alberta, at Poland in the Rockies. There were fond hopes that a new cycle of this lively symposium would begin again in 2014 but fate decided otherwise. In this issue, CR bids a formal Farewell to Poland in the Rockies.

California-Pacific Triennial

21 June 2013 - By

With the flow of ideas and images crisscrossing the Pacific Ocean becoming a crucial component of contemporary art on the West Coast, the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) now offers an international dialogue, highlighting artwork by 32 artists from 15 countries. The presentation includes three off-site exhibitions giving greater access to individuals interested in this international survey. The California-Pacific Triennial is being curated by Dan Cameron of OCMA.

On Thursday, June 27th, from 7-9pm the OCMA will hold the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, Artists Panel at the Yost Theater, Santa Ana. The evening will provide an early glimpse of the Triennial with a panel discussion in Spanish, moderated by MoCA Curator Alma Ruiz featuring artists from Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Colombia. Artists scheduled to participate include: Darío Escobar, Adriana Salazar, Adán Vallecillo, Sebastián Preece, Yoshua Okón, Hugo Crosthwaite.

On Sunday, June 30th, from 11am-5pm the OCMA will host the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, Public Opening at the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach.

The Gallery is closed Mondays and holidays. Hours are Tuesdays – Sundays 11.00 am – 4.00 pm. Extended hours: Friday & Saturday 11.00am – 7.00 pm. The first Saturday of the month galleries are open until 10.00 pm.

Grand Central Art Center programs are made possible with the generous support provided by: Metabolic Studio, the Efroymson Family Fund, the William Gillespie Foundation, the Fainbarg-Chase Families, an anonymous donor, The Yost Theatre, and Community Collaborative Partners.

Off-Site Exhibitions

Grand Central Art Center

The Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) a unit of Cal State University Fullerton’s College of the Arts in Santa Ana is hosting Colombian artist Adriana Salazar for a two-month studio residency, early May through June. During her residency, Salazar is reinterpreting a preexisting work for the California-Pacific Triennial, as well as developing a new site-specific sculptural installation for the main gallery at GCAC.

Coastline Art Gallery

Coastline Art Gallery in Newport Beach will present a three-person exhibition including Triennial artists Brice Bischoff and Dario Escobar, along with artist Stella Lai from June 30 – September 22. The exhibition includes a new floor-based sculptural work by Escobar that relates to the suspended mobile piece that he has created for OCMA. More details here.

The Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University

York Chang’s and Mitchell Syrop’s two person exhibition at the Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University presents the artists interest in the fabrication of supposed truths through the authority of text and context from June 30 – September 14. The pairing of their different methods of investigation, provides exciting, new constellations and timbres of their respective work, while showing the continuation of conceptual approaches in L.A.’s most recent art history.

‘My Mother’s Secret’ Bestseller Covers Heroic Acts to Safeguard Jews During WWII

18 June 2013 - By

From Christian Newswire: My Mother’s Secret, by J.L. Witterick, has been recognized by The Globe and Mail of Canada as a bestselling non-fiction book.

My Mother’s Secret honors two women who saved many Polish Jews from certain death. The book is based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena, who are honored as The Righteous Among the Nations, non-Jewish heroes who risked their lives to save the lives of Jewish citizens.

After 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland and started the persecution of the Jewish population, Franciszka and her daughter provided shelter to Jewish individuals and families, as well as a German soldier, all acts punishable by death. With courage and cleverness, they outsmart the Nazi commander and their collaborating neighbors.

My Mother’s Secret is a powerfully written story and has been chosen to be used as curriculum in studies by Middle East exchange students. The book has also been awarded Rising Star stature by iUniverse.

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky said, “In My Mother’s Secret, a new level of heroism is revealed … heroism where no ‘wow’ or admiration was given. True heroism is when no one sees or knows! A truly inspiring and breathtaking book.”

“My Mother’s Secret is heroism defined. It is just so much more cherishable because it is a story based on fact. We are indebted to Jenny Witterick for sharing this book with us,” says Grady Harp a Top 50 Amazon Reviewer.

“My Mother’s Secret has a strong message about finding good in the midst of the most unbelievable evil,” adds one reviewer.

The author, J.L. Witterick, encountered the true story of heroism during the Holocaust because of a chance viewing of a documentary about the Holocaust. Witterick is not the usual author; she is the President of Sky Investment Counsel, one of the largest international money managers in Canada, was President of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts in 1995/1996 and is a Certified Financial Advisor Charterholder.

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Friends Union String Band at the Shaker Heritage Site in Albany

18 June 2013 - By

Please consider joining the Friends Union String Band for an epic Music At The Meeting House Concert with some Shaker Wit and Wisdom at the Historic 1848 Shaker Meeting House, 25 Meeting House Road (next to Albany International Airport), Albany on Saturday, June 22nd, 7:30 P.M. The suggested donation is $15. Please call (518) 456-7890 for more information.

The Friends Union String Band features renowned Adirondack hammer dulcimer, 6 and 12 string guitar and vocalist, Rod Driscoll, along with Melbourne, Florida based master guitarist and bhodran player, Norma Rodham and fiddle master Steve Iachetta. Friends Union String Band will perform innovative and traditional dance music in a coffee-house setting at the Shaker first settlement special performance place.

The Shaker Heritage Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


24 April 2013 - By

Over 30 years ago the United States Information Agency (USIA) worked with private partners to produce a TV film, “Let Poland Be Poland” to show support for the Solidarity movement and the Polish people following the imposition of martial law. The film features Frank Sinatra singing the Polish folk song “Wolne Serce” in Polish and English as well as Max von Sydow, Romuald Spasowski, Ronald Reagan, Tip O’Neill, Bob Hope, John Fraser, Glenda Jackson, Zdzislaw Rurarz, Charlton Heston and Orson Welles echoing the title, “Let Poland be Poland.”

On the varieties of Catholicism

24 April 2013 - By

From The Christian Century: Catholics without popes by Julie Byrne

On February 11, comedian Stephen Colbert asked historian Garry Wills if he was in favor of the next pope being not John Paul III or Benedict XVII but “Nobody the First.” Wills smiled and said, “Ah, very good idea.”

For some Catholics, this idea is more than a joke. For them, the question is not who should be the next pope. It’s whether there is or should be a pope at all.

With the retirement of Benedict XVI, the seat of Peter is empty—sede vacante. But for Catholics past and present, the papacy is only one possible center of faith. A wider look at Catholic history—wider than media obsessions during the conclave—shows that the pope’s centrality has long been a highly contested topic.

Official papal theology about itself has long put the pope at the center.

As the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and the 18th-century French Revolution unfolded, popes theorized that the strongest church was the most centralized church. Protestant denominations proliferated, and ancient monarchies toppled. But if one pope stood above all nation-states, Roman Catholicism would thrive.

The 1870-71 council of Vatican I made papal infallibility a doctrine, but voting was a hotly contested matter:

A straw poll showed that approximately 10 percent of the bishops opposed papal infallibility.

Before the final vote, about 60 prelates left Rome rather than defy the Vatican.
Not all local priests and parishes were ready to give in. In Germany and Austria, a new body arose called the Old Catholic Church. It patterned itself on another Catholicism—eastern Orthodoxy—and established leadership by a council of bishops. Almost immediately it celebrated mass in the vernacular. Within several decades, its priests could marry.

Eminent Catholic theologian Hans Küng—who recently hoped in the pages of the New York Times for a “Vatican Spring”—writes that Old Catholicism “continues to be Catholic but is Rome-free.” Doctrinally ancient but also modern, Küng says, “this little bold and ecumenically open Old Catholic Church from the beginning anticipated reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

Today, Old Catholicism has churches in ten countries from the Netherlands to Croatia. It ordains women and is in communion with Anglicanism.

Old Catholicism has also generated several hundred small independent Catholic churches in the U.S., including the historic Polish National Catholic Church and the African Orthodox Church. Some, such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, the Church of Antioch and Ascension Alliance, open the sacraments to all comers, including marriage and ordination. The list also includes formerly Roman parishes, such as St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis and Spiritus Christi in Rochester, New York.

But even among those who stayed with Rome, there exist hugely differing views on the papacy. These Catholics take sides not on Vatican I but on Vatican II, the 1960s council that gave the church a modern makeover.

On the strong right of the U.S. church are opponents of Vatican II, who say the council’s documents are so out of step with tradition that its leadership must have been hijacked. John XXIII, the convener of Vatican II, was no true pope. Starting with him, the Roman popes have been impostors.

On the strong left are progressive Roman Catholics like Wills, whose pursuit of “the spirit of Vatican II” goes so far as to question the need for priests and popes at all.

The disagreements expose a wide and diverse Catholicism, in which overall affirmation of Vatican authority has declined. According to one recent survey fewer than three out of ten U.S. Roman Catholics says that the “teaching authority claimed by the Vatican” is “very important” to them.

U.S. Roman Catholicism is now fully one-third Latino, and this is another group that does not simply accede to papal centrality.

The vitality of devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the mother of Jesus manifested at Guadalupe, often far surpasses concerns for the pope. Especially among Mexican-Americans, who make up more than 60 percent of U.S. Hispanics, she is the living center of faith. Only half jokingly, some Latino Catholics say they are not Romans, but Guadalupeans. Among Guadalupeans, this beloved Mary with brown skin and a golden aura wins any popularity contest with the pope.

The election of the next pope is a fascinating spectacle on Vatican Hill. But if we look closely, the roil of Catholic opinion on the ground is the real show.

The author, Julie Byrne, is the Hartman Chair of Catholic Studies at Hofstra University. She is the author of O God of Players (Columbia University Press, 2003) and The Other Catholics (forthcoming from Columbia).

Between 1972 and 1974, the Mighty Macs of Immaculata College--a small Catholic women's school outside Philadelphia--made history by winning the first three women's national college basketball championships ever played. A true Cinderella team, this unlikely fifteenth-seeded squad triumphed against enormous odds and four powerhouse state teams to secure the championship title and capture the imaginations of fans and sportswriters across the country. But while they were making a significant contribution to legitimizing women's sports in America, the Mighty Macs were also challenging the traditional roles and obligations that circumscribed their Catholic schoolgirl lives. In this vivid account of Immaculata basketball, Julie Byrne goes beyond the fame to explore these young women's unusual lives, their rare opportunities and pleasures, their religious culture, and the broader ideas of womanhood they inspired and helped redefine.

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A generally good article that touches very lightly on the issues of Catholic Churches that are not Roman Catholic. Of course there is great divergence from what is considered “Catholic” and in line with the traditions of the entire Church from the first millennium. On one side are the Roman Church, Orthodoxy, the PNCC, and certain smaller “Old Catholic” Churches not recognized by Utrecht (but who maintain solid adherence to principals and doctrine). On the other Old Catholicism, certain portions of the Anglican Church, and some of the other smaller Churches that label themselves “Old Catholic” but are not recognized by Utrecht. They have veered in various degrees.

Good points on Rome’s self view of the Bishop of Rome (thankfully Francis uses this term) and its use of “infallibility” as a defense against the breakdown of other authority structures — to which at least a portion of the representatives at Vatican I did not agree. Also on the general view among (the majority I believe) of Roman Catholics who either think Rome has fallen to pieces (note the bubbling revolt among traditionalists against Francis), or pay little heed to anything coming out of Rome. Those who pay little heed like their local parish and ignore what doesn’t matter to them, whether it comes from their pastor, bishop or from Rome.



…and the rest


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