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Catholic Church

Andy Birkey
Mary Cullen / WGLT

He’s not a craftsman or guilder, nor artist or tradesman. Andy Birkey makes his living carving, casting, and decorating traditional gothic furnishings for Catholic churches, but he said he struggles to consider himself part of Bloomington-Normal's community of artists.

Fulton Sheen
JONATHAN AQUINO / Flickr via Creative Commons

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is going home.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
M. Spencer Green / AP

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Illinois' six Roman Catholic dioceses failed to disclose at least 500 sexual abuse cases involving priests.

A picture of Holy Trinity Church
Ivo Shandor / Flickr

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria has removed three long-retired priests from public ministry because of credible allegations of sexual misconduct with children.

News conference on public nuisance lawsuit
Facebook / Jeff Anderson and Associates

UPDATED 4:10 p.m. | The Catholic Church in Illinois has been sued by four people who claim they were sexually abused by priests and that the church protected the priests by concealing the abuse.

Pastors Debate What To Say About Trump From Pulpit

Oct 4, 2017
Associated Press

A majority of evangelical Christians threw their support to President Donald Trump in the 2016 election, as did a large number of conservative Catholics and mainline Protestants who agreed with candidate Trump's positions on abortion and the economy.

Eastview Pastor's Sex Sermon Called 'Offensive'

Aug 31, 2017
Eastview Christian Church

Pastor Mike Baker stands on a large stage at Eastview Christian Church that serves as a pulpit. He is dressed casually in a summer suit, open collar shirt, and loafers with no socks. Behind him, lit up in stage lights, are the letters: S E X.

Pope To Young Catholics: Let's Hear From You

Aug 7, 2017
Elyse Shoenig

It’s the 5:30 p.m. Sunday Mass at Epiphany Catholic Church in Normal. This used to be the parish’s “Life Teen Mass,” but it isn’t any longer. White-haired and middle-aged people fill the pews—even some couples with children. But there are few teens or young adults. That concerns Father Eric Powell, Epiphany’s pastor.

Springfield Bishop Decree Tests Parishioner's Faith

Jun 29, 2017
Steve Rainwater / Flickr

John Freml grew up in a Catholic family and attended parochial schools. He is an active member at his parish in Springfield and says he loves the Catholic Mass.


She disguised herself as a male hoping to study at a university. Her personal collection of books is said to have numbered 4,000. She once said women "can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper. "

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was a 17th century Mexican nun who wrote poetry and plays and championed a woman's right to study, learn and think for herself.


When the sole clergy abuse survivor on an international papal commission resigned in protest recently, citing resistance by Vatican officials to reform, the protest didn’t surprise Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

Staff / WGLT

Epiphany Catholic School is dealing with a "huge mess."

Epiphany Principal Mike Lootens said the water from a main break overnight in Normal was gushing up six or seven feet high and then running straight downhill into the school.

Gary Jones

One of Dorothy Day's favorite quotes comes from one of her best-loved authors, Dostoyevsky. "The world will be saved by beauty."

Vivien Evans, Flickr

The circular design known as the mandala is an ancient symbol that represents wholeness. Mandalas usually have a focal point in the center that can represent the divine presence within.

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

GLT correspondent and producer Judy Valente was recently honored for her journalism by the national Association for Women in Communications.

Valente received a Clarion Award in public affairs reporting for a segment she reported on "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly," a religion news show on national PBS-TV.

The report focused on St. Benedict's Preparatory School for boys in Newark, New Jersey. The school was born out of the strife of the 1967 riots in that city, and is run by a group of Benedictine monks who have gained success with unconventional teaching methods.


Lynne Mapes-Riordan has long been active at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. She never thought about becoming an ordained deacon, however, until her church began praying to the Virgin Mary to help guide one the men in her parish who was training to become a deacon.

Then Mapes-Riordan had an epiphany.

"I read that prayer because part of it was to help people understand what deacons do. And it occurred to me that Mary herself could not be a deacon," Mapes-Riordan said.

That's because the Catholic diaconate, as it's known, is currently open only to men. That might change.

Catholic Sister Recalls Her Pupil, Gov. Mike Pence

Aug 1, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Flickr


  Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump have been in the national spotlight for decades. But Americans are still getting to know their vice presidential running mates, Gov. Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, and Gov. Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana. 

Someone who's known Pence a long time is a Catholic Benedictine Sister from Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, IN.

Sister Sharon Bierman taught Pence in seventh and eight grades at St. Columba Catholic School in Columbus, IN.

Judith Valente

After spending time at the Republican Convention last week, the group of Catholic sisters known as the "Nuns on the Bus" are now in Philadelphia for the Democratic Convention to press for their "Mend the Gaps" social justice agenda.

Jennifer Wong/Network


The Nuns on the Bus who are touring the country rolled into the Republican Convention this week, hoping to talk with attendees and delegates about the nation's social issues.

Sister Mary Ellen Lacy said the sisters generally received a warm reception from those they encountered.

The sisters walked around the convention grounds with a lemonade wagon and invited attendees to talk with them about the issues they believe are important to the nation.

A Ride With The Nuns On The Bus

Jul 14, 2016
Judith Valente

Welcome to the Nuns on the Bus tour, 2016.

The socially-conscious nuns who gained national attention during the last presidential election, rolled through Bloomington-Normal this week as part of a 13 state tour that will include stops at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.

Catholic Women Appear Closer To Becoming Deacons

May 18, 2016
Aleteia Image Department / Creative Commons

Within the Catholic Church, ordained deacons provide assistance to bishops and priests. They can officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals and are allowed to preach at Sunday Mass. For decades, this role has been reserved for men only.

But that may soon change.

Chicago Archbishop Says Gun Control Is Pro-Life

Dec 29, 2015
Archdiocese of Chicago

The Archbishop of Chicago -- the leading Catholic official in Illinois -- is becoming a prominent spokesman among American bishops for stricter gun laws. In this wide-ranging interview with WGLT's Judy Valente, Blase Cupich talks about recent street violence in Chicago as well the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, and how people of faith should respond.

Orbis Books

For years, Tom Roberts edited Joan Chittister's columns for National Catholic Reporter. The two were friends and he says he thought he knew the Benedictine sister and spirituality writer well. That was before he began a series of lengthy and intense interviews with Chittister. Roberts' new biography plows some old ground, like Chittister's famous showdown with the Vatican over her support of women's ordination; her work on global human rights; her many books on monastic wisdom for contemporary readers, as well as her years as prioress of her monastery after the Vatican II reforms.

Courtesy of Benetvision

Joan Chittister, a Catholic sister and member of the Benedictine  monastic order, is considered one of the foremost spirituality authors of our time. She has written more than 50 books. Her latest book is about the men and women in the early church who retreated to the desert to seek God with an undivided heart. Chittister says the sayings handed down from them still resonate with people today.

Joan Chittister is a member of Mount St. Benedict Monastery in Erie, PA. Her new book is "In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics."

Catholic Church Annulments Changing

Dec 8, 2015
The Catholic Post / Peoria, IL

Catholics will find it easier to seek a marriage annulment, as changes to the process announced by Pope Francis in September go into effect this week. The additional process will make it easier for practicing Catholics who divorce their first spouses to remarry in the church. 

A Journey To See Pope Francis

Oct 1, 2015

Pope Francis' historic visit to Philadelphia this past weekend drew more than a million people. Among them was WGLT's Judy Valente, who accompanied a group of pilgrims from central Illinois. They drove through the night in a van to get there, hoping for a glimpse of the man in white. They got that and much more.

Durbin Likes Pope's Message

Sep 24, 2015

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is impressed by Pope Francis' joint address to congress. Durbin calls the pope an inspiration not just through his words, but his actions.

Jared Pohl, Flicker

In what may be the only case of its kind in the country, the Catholic diocese of Peoria returned a Bloomington priest to ministry who served time on felony drug charges. Neither the diocese nor the priest formally publicly disclosed his background to the people who attend the two parishes he serves. The handling of the case raises familiar questions about transparency in the Catholic Church and about balancing an individual's right to privacy with a congregation's right to know.