Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

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A grand jury report on child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses is expected to be released in the coming weeks, after two years of investigation.

Andrew Rush / AP

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said a year ago that its many parishes and church buildings could no longer be justified given current finances and clergy shortages.

Deanna Garcia/90.5 WESA

The Roman Catholic diocese of Pittsburgh has announced plans to reduce the current 188 parishes over six counties to just 57 over the next few years.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Dry leaf marijuana will soon be available for a growing list of Pennsylvania patients, including those addicted to opioids. State Health Secretary Dr.

Roman Catholic Diocese Of Erie IDs Priests And Lay People Accused Of Abuse

Apr 6, 2018
Julio Cortez / AP

*This post was updated on April 6, 2018 at 4:55 p.m.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, on Friday made public the names of 34 priests or other members of the clergy who faced credible allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct over the years, including their bishop in the 1970s, who they say failed to stop abuse that was reported to him.

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The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced two elementary school mergers and one closure over the weekend.

Church leaders report enrollment has dropped by 50 percent since 2000. The district remains the fourth largest school system in Pennsylvania, serving about 17,000 students and employing nearly 1,500 teachers.

Nicholas Vaskov, a spokesperson for the Diocese, said the cost of tuition and fewer people identifying with religion could be factors.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been nearly two years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and this week, a handful of dispensaries began selling it.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Pittsburgh sports teams are at the center of the debate over protests during the national anthem. Last Sunday, as football teams across the country kneeled or raised a fist in protest, the Steelers waited off field while the national anthem was played in Chicago.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Declining enrollment is causing the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to restructure some of its elementary schools.

Last weekend, Diocese officials announced that 10 elementary schools in the North Hills would be put under a single administration. The changes will go into effect next fall.

Bishop David Zubik said now, all 32 regional parishes will support those schools.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

One year ago, Margaret Pietz was almost the victim of fraud when a man claiming to be a lawyer called her and said her grandson owed $4,000 in car repairs related to a traffic accident. He even put a young man on the phone who addressed her as “grandma.” 

Pietz started to realize something was up when she was asked to send the funds in the form of Target gift cards and to not tell anyone else in the family.

“He thought he was calling a gullible grandma,” Pietz said. “The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was a scam.”

Catholic Church of England and Wales

More than 1,000 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will be in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families Congress. But the bigger draw is the pontiff's first visit to the United States.

Bishop David Zubik announced Wednesday the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will no longer charge to annul marriages.

The diocese is answering the call of Pope Francis, who previously proposed the elimination of all fees related to sacraments, including marriage, and in this case, the annulment of that union. According to the Rev. Thomas Kunz, judicial vicar for the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the annulment fees have prevented some Catholics from experiencing the sacraments within the church.

The leader of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh was hoping to raise $125 million in a first of its kind campaign for the diocese “to strengthen parishes and evangelize.”

The Our Campaign for The Church Alive instead brought in $230 million in pledges with nearly $63 million received to date.  “I continued to emphasize this campaign was really not about the money, it was about continuing the work of the church,” said Bishop David Zubik.  “ It (the amount pledged) shows that our people love their faith and are willing to make sacrifices for it.”

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is holding its third annual Fortnight for Freedom, which promotes religious freedoms for all according to the church. This year the theme is freedom to serve the poor and vulnerable, in accordance with the Catholic teachings.

“After extensive analysis and prayer,” the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik has decided to move forward with the closure of four facilities.

He announced Sunday plans to close the Holy Child Catholic Elementary School along with the St. Ignatius, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Barnabas church buildings.

According to Michael Latusek, superintendent of Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese schools, enrollment for the K-8 school has dwindled over the years.

A 110-year-old church is one of three closing next month as the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh merges two parishes with dwindling membership in the Monongahela River valley.

The historic St. Anthony Church was merged with Transfiguration Church in 2011 to create the new St. Damien of Molokai parish in Monongahela, a depressed former mill town. Both church buildings had remained open as worship sites, however.

Lawyers for the federal government and two Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses say a central question in a lawsuit over Affordable Care Act mandates is how to define a "substantial burden" as it relates to religious beliefs.

The oral arguments took place Wednesday in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses object to the new federal health care law and are suing the federal government to seek an exemption.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Members of the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is taking news about two abuse case settlements to call on the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to better notify the public when a priest has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The priests in question had both worked in Pittsburgh, though the abuse allegations come from other places they worked.