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Catholics look for direction from new Pope

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2013 @ 6:53 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 16, 2013 @ 6:53 PM

University of Dayton student Katie Baglieri had been standing in St. Peter’s Square for about 90 minutes Wednesday when the smoke began to pour from the chimney, indicating a new pope had been elected.

“The energy of the crowd was insane,” Baglieri said. “It is difficult to put into words how awesome it was to hear the crowd chant “Viva il Papa” and “Papa Francesco” over and over again. Then, when he came out to speak the roar of the crowd was incredible.”

He, as the world now knows, is Pope Francis, the first pope to use that historically significant name, the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas. Across the region, just as across the world, Catholics are looking at Pope Francis’ background and life story – unique in so many ways compared to his 265 predecessors – for direction as to what his papacy will mean for the future of the Church.

Many say they believe he intends to reform the Church, which has been plagued by scandal, and will emphasize economic justice for the poor – a focus both of the Jesuits and Liberation Theology, which started in Latin American Catholic churches in the 1950s and 1960s.

The selection of the Argentina native has also thrilled Hispanics worldwide.

“It was a historic moment,” said Miguel Diaz, UD professor and the American Ambassador to the Holy See from 2009 until November. “Undoubtedly, the church has made history in terms of expanding in to a more catholic, with a little ‘c,’ universal fold and embracing a new face in leadership.”

The new pope is a bit of an outsider, at least in Rome, where the Catholic bureaucracy is dominated by Italians. Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati, said he has never met him. Neither has Diaz, who has books in his UD office that were signed by several of the other cardinals who had been considered leading contenders to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. Diaz said Francis, then known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was not one of the “Roman regulars, in terms of the Roman Curia.”

A Pope from Latin America would bring a definite change of perception, particularly on issues like poverty, said Jana Bennett, an associate professor of moral theology at UD.

“This is where liberation theology comes from, where there’s a strong focus on the people and focusing on the poor,” Bennett said. “That was a radical move in its time and I think it continues to be radical today.”

Picking a Pope who is not from Europe also sends a message that this is a global religion, representing people everywhere, she said.

“I think that’s what this pick means, that this is a church of the people,” she said.

Joe Valenzano, an assistant professor of communications at UD, said it was a day full of symbolism, starting with the chimney smoke, but the new Pope embedded a lot of symbolism himself, starting with his choice of name.

“Francis was someone who reformed the church and the church’s attitudes. He was very much about the poor, very much about helping people, which is also a lot about what this cardinal was doing in Buenos Aires,” Valenzano said

“He was of the people. He rode the bus to work. He lived in a very Spartan apartment. So there’s a symbolic link between the name and his background. And it also indicates what he’s going to do with the papacy.”

But despite the many firsts of this new papacy, some other things will not change — at least not rapidly. Few, if any, believe that Francis will suddenly allow the ordination of women priests, support gay marriage, or or change the Church’s views on abortion.

“Theologically, he’s conservative,” said Sister Louise Akers, a nun who was banned from teaching by the Cincinnati Archdiocese after she refused to publicly renounce her support for the ordination of women. “He’s a traditionalist.”

The new pope will have plenty of reform options, considering the ongoing pedophilia scandal, disarray in the Curia and the financial problems at the Vatican Bank, Akers said. But she said the choice of Francis, so different in background than other popes, shows that the College of Cardinals knows that the church is in need of great change, she said.

“We can expect no sudden change,” Akers said. “For me, there is a lot of hope. It’s not going to happen overnight, and this is one step in the long history of the church.”

Some are calling for rapid change. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Religious Leadership Roundtable called on Francis to re-evaluate the Church’s approach to gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender issues, noting that, as cardinal, he “spoke strongly against marriage equality and against the right for gay and lesbian people to adopt children.”

All Out, another gay rights group, went further, as spokesman Andre Banks said that “by electing Jorge Bergoglio to be Pope, the Catholic Church has renewed their commitment to oppose equality for lesbian, gay bisexual and trans people.”

As cardinal, Bergoglio called gay marriage “a lie aimed at confusing and fooling the children of God” and “a destructive pretension against the plan of God,” according to All Out.

Daniel Frondorf, the leader of the Cincinnati branch of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said that Pope Francis has an opportunity to bring justice to abuse victims.

“By dismissing from ministry those bishops and cardinals who have been credibly proven to be enablers of abusive priests, Francis will send a message that a new day has indeed dawned in the Vatican: accountability will be required from not only those who perpetrated the crimes, but from those who looked out for the interest of the church instead of that of the children,” Frondorf said, calling for a world-wide extension of reforms undertaken by many North American bishops, such as finger printing, background checks, and victims’ assistance programs.

Those who challenge the new pope for reform and change point to his new name, that of two important saints: St. Francis of Assisi, a reformer who focused on helping the poor, and St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits.

“When I heard the news that a Jesuit brother of mine would be the next Pope, I was completely stunned,” said Michael Graham, president of Xavier University. “That the Holy Spirit should choose a man from the tradition of Ignatius Loyola to lead the Church must be a deep consolation for anyone and everyone associated with any Jesuit ministry throughout the world.”

Peter Huff, who holds the Besl Family Chair in Ethics, Religion and Society at Xavier, said the Jesuits were “formed with a very independent spirit from the beginning,” leading to jealousy and distrust from older orders. Because of that, there for centuries the view that a Jesuit would never be named Pope.

“We seem to be entering a new chapter,” Huff said. “Jesuits are known for their social activism, their concern for the poor and their concern for building institutions, particularly educational institutions.”

Diaz said he hoped that the new pope would follow the example of Francis of Assisi, known for his humility and his willingness to challenge the abuse of power and privilege.

“If he follows the example of the name of the saint he’s chosen, I think we’re in for an interesting ride in the next few months and years,” Diaz said.

NEW DETAILS: Police used GPS data to find Dayton man’s body in creek

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 6:18 PM

Charles Romine
Charles Romine

GPS data was received during the 911 call Charles Romine made Sept. 18 when he was confused about where he was, but dispatchers “are trained that the primary source of location information comes from the caller,” according to a statement sent out Friday afternoon by Dayton police.

Romine, 71, was found dead two days later — Sept. 20 — at least three miles northwest of the downtown Dayton location he described in his 2:22 p.m. call Sept. 18.

The statement said historical GPS data was used by a Special Victims Unit detective to locate Romine’s deceased body in Wolf Creek near the area of Philadelphia Drive and James H. McGee Boulevard. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said it will not comment until its investigation is complete.

RELATED: Family, friend talked to 911 the day before man’s body was found in creek

“The Dayton Police Department extends our sincere condolences to the family of Charles Romine regarding their loss,” the Friday release said. “Several attempts have been made to meet in person with members of Mr. Romine’s family to inform them about the investigation and the extensive efforts of the Dayton Police Department to locate Mr. Romine.”

The statement said: “In examining the original dispatch record, it was learned that GPS data which contains longitude and latitude information was received during the initial 911 call from Mr. Romine’s cell phone.”

Dayton police denied a public records request from this news organization for internal emails about the efforts to get information from Romine’s cell phone provider.

When Romine called 911, he said: “I need a rescue. I’ve been on these rocks for, like, three hours.”

RELATED: Vigil for Dayton man found in Wolf Creek turns into call for justice

He also said he didn’t want to be humiliated, but that he knew he needed help. “I don’t want to be looking embarrassed, that’s the main thing,” Romine told the dispatcher. “But I don’t want to lose my life, either.”

Dayton police’s Friday statement also said: “At times, the GPS coordinates are not available or can be less accurate than the information provided by a caller. Hence, Montgomery County Regional Dispatch personnel relied upon location information as provided by Mr. Romine.”

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

The statement provided a series of some events “after an internal review of records and information from Montgomery County Dispatch Center.” They included: Romine called 911 and said he was in the alley across from the Community Blood Center; A Check Welfare call was generated and two officers responded; Dispatchers called Romine’s number twice but could not get through.

On Sept. 19, Romine’s relatives reported him missing and two Dayton officers were dispatched. At the request of officers, the regional dispatch center attempted to locate current GPS coordinates from the cellular phone provider, but Romine’s cellular phone was not communicating with the network, according to the statement.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

Romine’s family planned to meet at 1 p.m. Saturday on the bridge over Wolf Creek to march to the Dayton police department and City Hall. The family has told this news organization that they feel the case was an injustice.

Dayton police said the investigation into Romine’s death is still open pending a coroner’s report..

OVI checkpoint underway in Dayton

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 5:15 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 8:00 PM

(Nick Graham/Staff)
HANDOUT/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL
(Nick Graham/Staff)(HANDOUT/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL)

UPDATE @ 1:40 p.m. (Oct. 20):

OVI checkpoints will be held between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. in two Dayton locations.

Police will be out in the area of East Third and Terry streets and Keowee and East Fifth streets.

State law requires law enforcement to announce sobriety checkpoints ahead of time.

INITIAL REPORT:

A sobriety checkpoint in Dayton is planned for this weekend. 

The Combined Agency OVI Task Force of Montgomery County will operate the enforcement, according to a statement released Monday afternoon. The location will be revealed this week. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Lawyer denies mishandling estate

According to the OVI task force, there were 596 alcohol-related crashes in Montgomery County in 2016. 

Fourteen people were killed and 273 were injured in those accidents. 

The majority of the deadliest crashes occur on weekends, according to task force officials.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Mother, 2 daughters killed by live-in boyfriend, family say

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 2:04 PM

Mother And Her Two Children Killed By Live-In Boyfriend

An Arkansas man turned himself in after he killed a mother and her two young daughters, according to police.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators told FOX13 Cordale Stacy turned himself on Wednesday morning around 7 a.m. Charges have not officially been filed, but police identified him as the suspect in the killings.

The alleged triple murder happened inside the victims' home in Forrest City Wednesday night. FOX13 is told all three victims were shot.

Family members identified the victims as:

  • Nashae Williams, 38
  • Malayya Williams Issah, 9
  • Zanasia Wililams, 6

Family told FOX13 Cordale Stacy was Nashae Williams' boyfriend. He is also the father of Williams' youngest child.

That child was also in the home when the shooting happened but was unharmed.

Police found the bodies of the victims in the front room of their home. 

Family members are in disbelief.

"He didn't have to kill them. He didn't have to kill Shae," Rhonda Meaben, Nashae Williams’ sister, told FOX13.

Meaben said Stacy had been Williams' live-in boyfriend for several years. She told FOX13 they argued often, which caused Stacy to leave the home.

"You didn't have to do that to them babies," she said. "They didn't deserve it. All he had to do was leave."

Several family members said Stacy left the shooting scene with his 2-year-old daughter, who was not harmed. It is unclear whom she is staying with now.

"He don't care about nobody," Meaben said. “He doesn't have a heart. You can't if you kill a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old."

House aims for quick final budget vote next week to accelerate tax reform

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 7:33 PM

A day after Senate approval of a budget outline for 2018 that authorizes expedited work on a tax reform plan- without the threat of a Senate filibuster – House GOP leaders set the table for a vote next week on the budget measure, instead of engaging in House-Senate negotiations that could take several weeks, as Republicans look to generate more momentum for the first major tax reforms since 1986.

Friday afternoon, House GOP leaders signaled their plan to simply accept the budget plan passed 51-49 by the Senate, setting a Tuesday meeting of the House Rules Committee, which sets the ground rules for bills on the floor of the House.

“We want Americans to wake up in the new year with a new tax code, one that is simple and fair,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “Now it is time to meet this moment and deliver real relief to hardworking people.”

Approval of the Senate-passed plan would allow tax-writing committees in both the House and Senate to get to work on the actual details of tax reform; what’s been released so far is an outline, but not the fine print.

“This is another important milestone for tax reform, and sets the stage for us to pass major tax cuts that will deliver more jobs and higher wages for hardworking Americans all over the country,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

As for Democrats, some feel like they are being set up by the GOP, predicting that Republicans will unveil their tax reform bill, and then demand a vote on it days later.

“I am perfectly willing to negotiate,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO). “I can’t do it in a vacuum.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” McCaskill told reporters. “Why can’t we have a bill?”

When you look back at the 1986 Tax Reform Act – that took months to make its way through the House and Senate, and then a conference committee for final negotiations.

Need some weekend reading? Here is the link to the explanation of the 1986 Tax Reform Act – it’s only a little under 1,400 pages.

It’s a gentle reminder that if you do ‘real’ tax reform – it is a very complicated endeavor.