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We Have a Problem
Robert Schutzius, Ph.D.                                           July 2014
 
An article in the July 4-17, 2014  issue of the

NCRVatican publishes reflection on Sensus Fidei, gives a clear idea of what the International Theological Commission thinks about this idea of Sensus Fidei.  

 

If there is a problem with the faithful not accepting a teaching of the Vatican, it is because:

 

"While the validity and importance of different church teachings cannot be the subject of a popular vote, the degree to which they are or are not accepted by most Catholics is important," the commission members wrote.

 

"When the reception of magisterial teaching by the faithful meets with difficulty and resistance," the document said, "appropriate action on both sides is required."

 

Catholics "must reflect on the teaching that has been given, making every effort to understand and accept it," the document said. "Resistance, as a matter of principle, to the teaching of the magisterium is incompatible with the authentic sensus fidei."

 

At the same time, the theologians said, "the magisterium must likewise reflect on the teaching that has been given and consider whether it needs clarification or reformulation in order to communicate more effectively the essential message."

 

The answer is "We have a Communication Problem".  It is not that the faithful might be right, it lies in the fact that they are too dense to really understand the teaching.  So to solve the problem, the teaching must be more clearly taught and the people must study it more. The possibility that the teaching might be clearly understood and still found unacceptable to the whole Church, the People of God, does not enter the picture at all.  It is too bad that their view of communication seems to be a one-way street.  We are to learn from them, with no possibility of them learning from us.

 

We can only conclude that no matter how much we study and understand a teaching of the Vatican, if we still do not accept it, it is because we are too ignorant to figure it out, and not because we believe the message of Jesus that he is still with us building His Church in us, His people, keeping us from error. 

 

Bob Schutzius is an ARCC presidential advisor, former board member, secretary and office manager of ARCC.

Some things we have been reading  
Pope: Bishops Will Be Accountable for Sex Abuse
Frances D'Emilio     Jul.7, 2014
 

Pope Francis promised to hold bishops accountable for the protection of minors and begged forgiveness Monday from the victims of clergy sex abuse as he held his first meeting with several abuse survivors.

 

The pope celebrated a Mass with six survivors at his Vatican hotel Monday, but in his homily he didn't spell out whether that accountability would include firing bishops and other prelates who systematically shuffled pedophile priests from parish to parish to avoid bringing shame upon the Catholic Church.

. . . .

Francis himself has been criticized by survivor advocates for how he handled abuse cases when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, specifically for not meeting with victims and denying that he had handled the case of an abusive priest, said Anne Barrett Doyle, a director of the advocacy group BishopAccountability.org.

  

Even while the pope spent his morning with the three men and three women, listening to their stories one by one, several victims' groups blasted the meetings as being "a PR event."

. . . . 

"I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves," the pope said Monday. "This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk."  


Read more

 

Pope meets with six victims of sexual abuse for over three hours at the Vatican
Pope meets with six victims of sexual abuse for over three hours at the Vatican
  
Vatican concedes many Catholics ignore core teaching on sex and contraception 
Nicole Winfield       Jun.26, 2014
 

 The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to "close our eyes to anything" when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church.

 

Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn't expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October. But Pope Francis is well aware that the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today's secular world and he is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a "new language" that is welcoming and responds to their needs.

 

The Vatican on Thursday issued the working document for the synod discussions, which in itself marked a sharp change from past practice: The Vatican sent out a 39-point questionnaire seeking input from ordinary Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church's teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.

. . . .

The document itself, though, acknowledged that the church had a credibility problem.

 

"Responses from almost every part of the world frequently refer to the sexual scandals within the church (pedophilia in particular) and in general, to a negative experience with the clergy and other persons," it said. "Sex scandals significantly weaken the church's moral credibility."

 

The document doesn't recommend changing church teaching on key hot-button issues like its opposition to gay marriage.

 

But citing Francis' frequent call for the church to be more merciful and less judgmental, it recommends new pastoral guidelines to confront the increasing reality of legal recognition for same-sex unions, stressing that gays must be treated with dignity, respect and spared discrimination. 

Read more

Supreme Court: Some companies exempt from contraceptive coverage
Joshua J. McElwee       Jun.30, 2014
 

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some private corporations should be afforded religious exemptions from one mandate in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, finding that some private companies should be given the same accommodations to the mandate as religious nonprofits like churches and charities.

  

The 5-4 ruling by the court was made regarding the private corporations Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which filed suit against a Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring coverage of contraceptive services in health care plans, saying it conflicted with their religious views.

  

In a contentious decision, written by associate Justice Samuel Alito but opposed by all three women serving on the court, the justices ruled for the first time that certain businesses can hold religious views, effectively requiring the Obama administration to find another way to provide contraceptive services to women employed by those companies.

  

The businesses, the court said, are afforded such protection by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 law aimed at preventing legislation that infringes on a person's free exercise of religion. 

Read more

  

More articles 

 

SCOTUS

 URL

Media exaggerated horror tale at Irish orphanage
Shawn Pogatchnik    Jun.24, 2014
 

Revelations this month that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation.

 

Since then, however, a more sober picture has emerged that exposes how many of those headlines were wrong.

The case of the Tuam "mother and baby home" offers a study in how exaggeration can multiply in the news media, embellishing occurrences that should have been gripping enough on their own.

 

The key fact is that a researcher, Catherine Corless, spent years seeking records of all the children who died in the orphanage in County Galway during its years of operation from 1925 to 1961. She found 797 death records - and only one record that one of the youngsters had been buried alongside relatives in a Catholic cemetery.
. . . . 

When Corless published her findings on a Facebook campaign page, and Irish media noticed, she speculated to reporters that the resting place of most, if not all, could be inside a disused septic tank on the site. By the time Irish and British tabloids went to print in early June, that speculation had become a certainty, the word "disused" had disappeared, and U.S. newspapers picked up the report, inserting more errors, including one that claimed the researcher had found all 796 remains in a septic tank.

The Associated Press was among the media organizations that covered Corless and her findings, repeating incorrect Irish news reports that suggested the babies who died had never been baptized and that Catholic Church teaching guided priests not to baptize the babies of unwed mothers or give to them Christian burials.

 

The reports of denial of baptism later were contradicted by the Tuam Archdiocese, which found a registry showing that the home had baptized more than 2,000 babies. The AP issued a corrective story on Friday after discovering its errors.

 

Brendan O'Neill, editor of the London-based online magazine Spiked, said journalists worldwide "got a whiff of Corless's findings and turned them into the stuff of nightmares." He noted that several top newspapers in the United States stated that 800 baby skeletons had been found in a septic tank, and that commentators fueled by a "Twitter mob" mentality compared the deaths to Nazi-era genocide.  

Read more

Quinn to priest group: Church poised at a moment of far-reaching consequences
Thomas C. Fox      Jul.7, 2014

"I've read your book and am hoping it will be implemented," Emeritus Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco said Pope Francis told him just days before his election as pope after the two men ran into each other outside a coffee shop in Rome.

 

Quinn related the story June 25 to some 225 priests at a gathering of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in St. Louis, where the prelate was honored with the group's Pope John XXIII Award.

 

Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was referring to a 1999 Quinn treatise, The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity. That book was Quinn's response to Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, a meditation on ecumenism and the role of the office of the pope as sign of church unity.

 

Quinn said he took up John Paul's offer, contained in the encyclical, to further discussion. Quinn examined papal structural history and the centralization of the office that has occurred over the centuries. He makes the point in his book that decentralization of Vatican authority is a prerequisite for any serious consideration of union between the Roman Catholic church and other Christian church bodies. The book called for a review of monarchal governing structures and a return to serious collegiality among bishops and local churches, including allowing them to select or elect their own bishops.

 

Quinn has argued that the idea of a decentralized church is hardly novel and is based on governing models in place 1,500 years ago. Re-establishing a more collegial, less centralized church governance, Quinn says, was the intention of the world's bishops who gathered during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The vision of a more collegial church, he states, is found in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, "The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church." 

. . . .

Last year, Quinn wrote Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church, an elaboration of his earlier work. In the new book, the prelate says decentralization could be achieved by returning the Roman Catholic church to a model of governance found in Eastern Orthodox churches. He suggests the establishment of patriarchates, while allowing synods of bishops to have real decision-making power.

 

In such a reconfiguration, the appointment of bishops, the creation of dioceses, questions of liturgy and other matters of Catholic practice would be up the regional bishops' conferences, Quinn writes. He adds that the bishop of Rome should remain the sign of unity and love among the churches, and that a de-centralizing papacy would enhance church unity and strength.

Read more

Archbishop Nienstedt under investigation
Grant Gallicho       Jul.1, 2014
 

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being investigated for "multiple allegations" of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other men, according to the archbishop's former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger. The investigation is being conducted by a law firm hired by the archdiocese. Nienstedt denies the allegations.

  

The investigation was spurred by information the archdiocese received late last year, according to another person with knowledge of the investigation. (This inquiry is not related to a December 2013 accusation that Nienstedt touched a boy's buttocks during a confirmation photo shoot. The archbishop denied that allegation, and, following an investigation, the county prosecutor did not bring charges. Reportedly the case has been reopened.) Near the end of the year, it came to light that a former Twin Cities priest had accused Nienstedt of making unwanted sexual advances. 

Read more

  

Archbishop Nienstedt released this statement..

Auxiliary Bishop Lee Pich� also released a statement.  

Holy See Press Office: Canonical Trial of Ex Nuncio Jozef Wesolowski
VIS       Jun.27, 2014
 

The first stage in the canonical trial against the former apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Josef Wesolowski, has been concluded with the laicisation of the prelate.

 

From this moment, the accused has two months in which to make an eventual appeal. The penal trial before the Vatican judicial authorities will continue as soon as the canonical sentence has been made definitive.

 

Finally, with reference to recent media reports, it is necessary to specify that until now Msgr. Wesolowski has been granted relative freedom of movement, as he awaits the verification by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of the basis of these accusations made against him. 

Read more

Pope adds Secretary of State Pietro Parolin as member of Council of Cardinals
Rome Reports     Jul.3, 2014

 

Pope Francis and his nine cardinal advisers continue working relentlessly on redesigning the Vatican. The select group expanded to include Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The move merely reflects reality, since Parolin has participated in all meetings, but with a lower profile, given that he was not a full member. 

Read more

Pope and 'C9' reform group talks 'free, frank, friendly'
ANSA      Jul.4, 2014

 

Pope Francis has had "free, frank and friendly" discussions with the C9 group of cardinals charged with examining reforms, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Friday. The focus of the meetings this week, the fifth session since the start of the Argentinian's pontificate, has been threefold: a presentation on the situation in the Governorate and the Secretariat of State, an in-depth look at the re-shuffle of the Vatican departments and the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) or Vatican Bank, Fr. 
Lombardi said. 


The cardinals expressed their esteem Thursday for IOR President Ernst Von Freyberg, amid speculation that he plans to resign from the bank, which is trying to make the white list of credit institutions with top transparency credentials "An English-language cardinal spoke of the '3Fs' to describe the atmosphere in which the cardinals work with the pope," Lombardi said. 

Read more

Another shake-up looms at troubled Vatican bank
John L. Allen Jr.      Juln.30, 2014
 

As a new Council for the Economy created by Pope Francis to oversee reform in Vatican finances prepares to meet this week, the troubled Vatican bank appears set for its second shake-up in two years with the imminent departure of its president, German businessman Ernst von Freyberg.

 

Officials confirmed the move to the Globe on Monday, but disagreed as to whether it's a routine part of restructuring efforts or if alleged irregularities are involved.

 

While struggling to avoid impressions of a crisis, Vatican officials also find themselves playing down accusations in the Italian press that a shadowy "Maltese lobby" led by economist Joseph F.X. Zahra of Malta, vice coordinator of the new council, is attempting to take control of Vatican assets.

 

Speaking on background, Vatican officials insist the reports are either false or exaggerated.

 

Officials not authorized to speak on the record said von Freyberg's exit could be finalized as early as this week.

. . . .

The leading candidate to take over at the bank, technically known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, is said to be French financier Jean-Baptise de Franssu, who served on a panel to study the Vatican's financial systems created by the pontiff in 2013 and who currently sits on the Council for the Economy.

 

If so, observers may read it as a gain for Cardinal George Pell, an Australian tapped by Francis in February as his finance czar, since Zahra and de Franssu are seen as Pell allies.

Read more

Will Francis still be the media's darling after the Synod on the Family?
Ben Ryan       Jul.3, 2014

 

Francis has a real and instinctive gift for reaching out to people and it has been met with astonishing positivity by the Western media. His personal phone calls to people who have written to him cause a particular interest.  . . . .

 

These separate incidents highlight a major potential problem for Francis in the coming months. A synod on the family will be held in Rome in October. Its working document known as the instrumentum laboris has already been published on the back of a consultation with Catholics around the world. The press coverage in papers like the Daily Telegraph has raised expectations that this could be what liberal commentators have been calling for - an end to "rigid teaching" on sex, contraception, marriage and homosexuality. Perhaps the Church will at last realise how few of its adherents follow its teachings and come to terms with the modern world.

 

They will be disappointed, however, as Francis must already know. To be unambiguously clear; there will be no reversal of the views of the Church on the central importance of marriage and the opposition to divorce, co-habitation, contraception or the recognition of homosexual marriages. What there will be discussion on is the pastoral role of education and mercy in reaching out to a society which does not necessarily share those positions.  

. . . .

This poses a different problem for Francis. The Church is right to consider how to educate people in its message on the family and right to reconsider the best ways of doing this in line with the issues facing people. But in doing so it is going to disappoint a great many commentators who are hoping for something more radical.  . . . .  Francis has recognised the importance of the media, his difficulty will be in keeping them on side when they react against the synod's proposals. 

Read more

Invited or not, here they come
Joan Chittister      Jul.3, 2014

. . . .

Whole bodies of people are moving forward while the bishops stay at rest. Most important of all, when the hierarchical church finally called for a response from the church at large about something important -- marriage, family, relationships -- material poured out of every lay group in the country. The data were clear: The laity was eager to respond. They wanted to be part of the conversation. They wanted to give back to the church the fruits of the sacrament the church has bestowed on them.

But not in one area alone or from one group alone.


For instance, the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has asked their bishop representatives to present three proposals to the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference with a view to forwarding them to Rome. Their proposals for official consideration include the acceptance of married priests, the ordination of women to the diaconate, and the recall of laicized priests to priestly ministry. 

. . . . 

Here, in our own case, an American-initiated global network of Catholics and Christians, Catholic Church Reform International, in collaboration with more than a hundred church organizations and individuals from 65 countries is calling for all Catholics to have an influential voice in the decision-making of the church.

 

They are taking the pope seriously. Pope Francis invited the church to prepare for the upcoming extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family by reporting to their bishops their own responses to the papal survey on the subject.

 

Catholic Church Reform International, in fact, is urging that all forms of family life be represented and invited to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family. They "want a voice in the church." Their document is clear: "Both knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by families need to be understood before meaningful resolutions can be reached."

. . . . 

Most important of all, Catholic Church Reform International is issuing an open invitation to anyone who wishes to attend its "Forum on the Family -- Listening to the Faithful," to be held Oct. 2-3 at the Jesuit Oratory of S. Francesco Saverio del Caravita in Rome.

 

Just prior to the opening of the synod on the family itself, the summary report of regional responses developed there will be delivered to the synod office.

 

Clearly, as the physicists teach us, to every action, there is a reaction. And this reaction from the laity on "family" as it exists now is coming from the very heart of the people on whose lives the synod will pronounce.

Read more

Korean 'comfort women' invited to papal Mass in Seoul
AFP        Jul.1, 2014
 

Korean women forced into sex slavery for Japanese troops during World War II have been invited to a mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis in Seoul in August, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

 

The invitation comes at a time when relations between Japan and South Korea are at low ebb over Tokyo's recent allegations that there was no evidence to corroborate the testimony of so-called "comfort women" who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels.

 

"We've invited the victims to the mass for peace and reconciliation," said a spokeswoman for the committee organizing the visit, who did not wish to be named.

 

The pope will celebrate mass on August 18 at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul. 

Read more

The wrong kind of papal 'ribbing'
Phyllis Zagano       Jul.2, 2014
 

I'm sure Pope Francis did not mean to insult half the human race the other day. In his first-ever interview with a woman journalist, he "joked" that women are taken from Adam's rib and that women have power as rectory housekeepers.

 

OK, so he's old, he's tired, and he's got a million things on his mind. But, hello, Holy Father -- the world is watching.

. . . .

Unfortunately, remarks like his are not all that unusual.

When you catch some priests or bishops making similar comments, they chuckle, "Oh, no, ha ha, just joking." Other clerics, the ones who buy their own groceries and cook their own chicken, may smile wanly and say nothing when such wisecracks fly past. Only a very few will man up to the fact that these words hurled in jest have insulted a woman, thereby all women, thereby half the body of Christ.

Read more

TV Preachers Glowingly Describe Meeting with Pope to Tear Down 'Walls of Division'
 Garrett Haley       Jul.3, 2014
 

Two controversial TV preachers recently met Pope Francis in an effort to work toward tearing down the 'walls of division' between Catholics and Protestants.

 

Kenneth Copeland and James Robison are two religious leaders in northeast Texas known for drawing huge crowds to their services and events, and who were a part of leading the group identifying as a "delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders" in its meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff late last month.

. . . . 

Several other evangelicals, including Robison's wife, were present at the meeting, which was organized by an Episcopal bishop.

 

"This meeting was a miracle," Robison told Fort Worth's Star-Telegram after returning from Rome. "This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together." 

Read more

Priest cleared in bizarre 911 call rejoins Quincy church
Rajah Maples       Jul.1, 2014
 

A priest who made headlines for unusual behavior last year has a new assignment at a Quincy [Illinois] Catholic church.

 

Monsignor Michael Kuse told KHQA Father Thomas Donovan began Tuesday as a parochial vicar at St. Peter's in Quincy.

 

Donovan returned to the ministry last fall after a bizarre 911 call in January 2013.

 

He dialed 911 after handcuffing himself inside a church rectory in Springfield.

 

Investigators say no crime took place. 

Read more

Trial pushed back for Detroit priest charged with defrauding Archdiocese charity
David Muller       Jul.1, 2014

 

A trial for a priest and an alleged accomplice accused of scheming a charity for money has been pushed back to September.

. . . . 

Kane and Brewer are charged with conspiracy to operate a criminal enterprise, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison; using a computer to commit a crime, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison; uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony; conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, a 14-year-felony; embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000, a 10-year felony; and conspiracy to embezzle between $1,000 and $20,000, a 10-year felony.

 

Kane is the former associate pastor of St. Gregory the Great and Church of Madonna, both in Detroit; as well as St. Benedict in Highland Park. In February of 2012, Kane was reassigned as a Christian service contractor at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In July of 2013, he became the Parochial Vicar to St. Moses the Black Parish.

Read more
Pedophile Catholic brother Gregory Sutton told: stay overseas
Dan Box      Jul,2, 2014

 

A pedophile Catholic bro�ther has told a royal commission the leader of his order alerted him to a police investigation, sent him overseas four days later and subsequently told him to "stay there and live your life".

 

Gregory Sutton, a former Marist Brother ultimately convicted of 67 sexual offences against 15 children, is the first �serial offender to publicly give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 

Sutton, released from prison in 2008, told the commission the then-head of the Marist Brothers, Alexis Turton, met him in 1989 and told him there was a police �investigation into his activities at a western Sydney school.

 

Brother Turton directed �Sutton to leave the country four days later, travelling first to �Chicago and then to Canada for "assessment" at an institute used by the Catholic Church, Sutton told the commission. 

Read more

Priest charged with sexual abuse in Portugal
Press TV      Jul.4, 2014

 

A priest and his accomplice have been charged with sexually abusing patients in several hospitals across Portugal, prosecutors say.

 

The alleged crimes were reportedly committed between 2004 and 2010 in hospitals run by the Roman Catholic order.

"The charge relates to the sexual abuse of four patients in the care of institutions run by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God," prosecutors said in a statement on Thursday.

The order operates more than 250 medical centers around the world. One of the hospitals mentioned in the indictment is an institution specialized for the mentally ill.

 

The latest church scandal is unveiled as the Portuguese Catholic Church is already under fire for the case of another priest named Luis Miguel Mendes. He was sentenced in 2013 to ten years in prison for the sexual abuse of six minors aged between 13 and 15. 

Read more

Pope sends delegation to Paraguay to investigate Pa. priest accused of molesting boys
Josephine McKenna      Jul.3, 2014

 

Pope Francis is sending a cardinal and a bishop to Paraguay to investigate the activities of a priest previously accused of sex abuse in Pennsylvania, the Vatican's diplomatic envoy to the Latin American country said.

 

The cardinal and the bishop will visit the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, in the country's east in late July, said papal nuncio Monsignor Eliseo Ariotti. 

 

They will likely look into the activities of the Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity, an Argentinian-born priest accused of sexually molesting minors when he served as a priest in Scranton more than a decade ago.

 

Urrutigoity is now second in command in Ciudad del Este and his career advance has provoked widespread debate among local bishops as well as opposition from the victims' support group SNAP. 

Read more

Woman appointed rector of a Pontifical University for the first time ever
Iacopo Scaramuzzi      Jul.3, 2014
 

She was the first woman to obtain a permanent position as a professor at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University Antonianum, the Roman university run by the Order of Friars Minor; she was the first woman to be appointed a dean, which is equivalent to the position of department head and now that Jorge Mario Bergoglio is Pope, she is the first woman to become a rector of a pontifical university in the Eternal City. The Vatican congregation for Catholic Education - headed by cardinal Zenon Grocholewski for the period 2014-2017 - has nominated Franciscan Sr. Mary Melone, an expert on St. Anthony of Padua, to lead the pontifical university. 

Read more

Vatican taps Jesuit canon lawyer to be pope's advisor to troubled Legion of Christ
Associated Press         Jul.3, 2014
 

The Vatican has named a Jesuit canon lawyer as special papal adviser to the Legion of Christ to help guide it for the next few years following revelations that its founder was a pedophile and a fraud and that the order needed reform.

 

The Rev. Gianfranco Ghirlanda is the second pontifical envoy named to try to turn the Legion around. Cardinal Velasio de Paolis presided over a three-year reform effort that ended in February. Ghirlanda had been one of de Paolis' deputies.

 

His appointment signaled that Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit, doesn't trust that the initial reform resolved all the Legion's problems. 

Read more

Editors depart Cuba Catholic magazine, sparking fears a critical forum for debate may be lost
Andrea Rodriguez       Jun.30, 2014
 

Launched as a bulletin for Catholic lay people, Espacio Laical magazine became an unusually open and critical forum for debate in Cuba, a rarity in a country where the state has controlled all media for five decades.

 

Now, the sudden departure of its two longtime editors may have endangered that status just as Cuba's Roman Catholic Church and the Communist-run country embark on major changes.

. . . .

But editors Roberto Veiga and Lenier Gonzalez resigned in early May, later confirming they quit because the magazine's content was controversial in the ecclesiastical community. The magazine's director, Gustavo Andujar, said the editors left voluntarily.  

. . . . 

In July 2013, Espacio Laical published a supplement titled "Cuba Dreamed, Cuba Possible, Cuba Future," outlining what the country should aspire to, including freedom of expression, political association and private economic rights.

 

University of Havana religious historian Enrique Lopez Oliva said that surely set off alarms both within the Catholic community, which is divided over how much the church should involve itself in politics, and for government and party officials, who say Raul Castro's reforms do not contemplate change to Cuba's single-party system.

 

"These points constitute a platform for a political movement," Lopez Oliva said. "They must have caused a certain amount of concern."

. . . . 

Gonzalez said neither he nor Veiga would comment on Espacio Laical beyond their initial statement. But in a hint of their post-magazine plans, he said Monday in a follow-up email to the AP that they are launching a project called "Cuba Possible" - a clear echo of the controversial 2013 supplement's title. 

Read more

Pennsylvania abbey withdraws invitation to Rembert Weakland
Marie Rohde      Jul.1, 2014
 

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland had planned to move to a Benedictine abbey, but the abbot has rescinded the invitation.

 

"This past week the abbot of my monastery in Latrobe phoned me to say he did not think it was a good time to return there," Weakland said in an email to NCR Sunday, the same day a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announced he would move to the St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa. Weakland joined the community of monks at the age of 18 and spent much of his time there over the next 20 years.

 

The Vatican recently laicized a Latrobe monk accused of misconduct, Mark Gruber, whose presence was creating some turmoil in the community. "The atmosphere was not a good one for me to return to," Weakland wrote. "Thus I will not be returning to Latrobe right now and at age 87 one never know what can happen in the future." 

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Gerald Robinson, Priest Convicted of Killing Ohio Nun, Dies at 76
John Schwartz      Jul.4, 2014
 

The Rev. Gerald Robinson, a Catholic priest who was convicted in 2006 of murdering a nun more than 20 years earlier, died on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. He was 76.

 

Father Robinson had a heart attack in May, and since then, he had been in a hospice at Franklin Medical Center, which is run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. His lawyer, Richard Kerger, confirmed his death.

 

Father Robinson had worked at Mercy Hospital in Toledo with Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, when she was killed the day before Easter in 1980. She was found in the hospital chapel, where she had been preparing for Easter services.

 

She had been strangled, draped with an altar cloth and stabbed 31 times, including nine wounds in the shape of an upside-down cross. There was a smear of blood across her forehead, as if she had been anointed in last rites.

 

Father Robinson was questioned, and he would later admit to making up a story that someone else had confessed to the murder. But the case was soon dropped for lack of evidence.

In 2003, however, the case was reopened after a woman accused Father Robinson and other priests of having molested her when she was a child. (Those charges were never substantiated.)

 

Investigators said they found imprints on the altar cloth that closely matched a letter opener of Father Robinson's, and other witnesses placed him near the chapel at the time of the murder. Prosecutors argued that Father Robinson was angry about Sister Pahl's domineering ways.

In 2006, he received a sentence of 15 years to life. 

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Catholic Bishop Max Davis charged with sex offence dating back to 1969
ABC.net      Jun.30, 2014
 

The Bishop of the Australian Defence Force has been charged with a sex offence dating back to 1969.

 

Bishop Max Davis is believed to be the most senior clergyman in the Catholic Church, and the first bishop, to be charged with a child sex offence.

 

The 68-year-old is due to appear in Perth Magistrate's Court on July 25, charged with three counts of indecent treatment of a child under 14.

 

The alleged incident took place when Bishop Davis was teaching at St Benedict's College in New Norcia, north-east of Perth.

 

The Church said Bishop Davis was not an ordained priest when the incident is alleged to have occurred, and that he "emphatically denies" the charge. 

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Vatican blocked bishops' actions against abusive priests before 2000, Australian bishop says
Brad Ryan      Jun.26, 2014
 

An Australian bishop has testified that until 2000, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy discouraged bishops from taking action against priests accused of sexual abuse.

 

Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide told a government commission that when bishops sought to discipline abusive priests, "the Congregation for the Clergy consistently made things difficult for them in trying to do that." He said that the Vatican dicastery regularly supported accused priests who wanted to remain in active ministry.

 

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who was prefect of the Congregation for Clergy from 1996 to 2006, acknowledged in a 2010 interview that he encouraged bishops to protect priests from prosecution for sexual abuse.

 

"Bishops, especially in the US, were trying to deal with these cases involving abuse and the Congregation for the Clergy consistently made things difficult for them in trying to deal with that," he said.

 

"The Congregation for the Clergy always came down on the side of the priest.

 

"The instructions that they gave to the bishops were that what they had done had to be stopped or put aside, and allow the priest to go back into ministry."

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Child sexual abuse royal commission: Vatican declines request to provide all documents relating to Australian priests
Lindy Kerin     Jul.5, 2014 

 

The Vatican has declined a royal commission request to hand over documents about child sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests in Australia.

 

The head of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Justice Peter McClellan, revealed last month that he had personally written to the Vatican, seeking copies of all documents relating to complaints about abuse involving priests in Australia.

 

The Vatican has provided documents to the royal commission relating to two cases, but Justice McClellan wanted more information to find out how church authorities in Australia, under the guidance or direction of the Vatican, responded to allegations of abuse.

 

In a written response, the Vatican says the Holy See maintains the confidentiality of internal deliberations, adding that it would be inappropriate to provide such documents.

 

Leonie Sheedy, founder and chief executive of Care Leavers Australia Network, a support group for victims of child sexual abuse says the Catholic Church is treating the Australian public with contempt.

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Italian priest charged with soliciting sexual favors from desperate refugees
 Josephine McKenna       Jun.25, 2014
 

The Rev. Sergio Librizzi, who was also the director of the Catholic charity Caritas in the Sicilian city of Trapani, was arrested at his parish on Tuesday (June 24) as he was preparing for Mass.

 

Prosecutors charge that Librizzi sought sexual favors from newly arrived migrants fleeing the Middle East and Africa in exchange for help with residency visas, as well as from the poor who sought help from the charity.

 

The priest's arrest is particularly embarrassing for the church given Pope Francis' strong stand in support of the immigrants flooding the area.

. . . .

After Librizzi's arrest, Bishop Pietro Maria Fragnelli suspended Librizzi and expressed his "shock and dismay" at the priest's alleged wrongdoing. 

. . . .

Librizzi is accused of at least 10 episodes of sexual violence against immigrants since 2009, and he also faces charges of embezzlement after the alleged discovery of 10,000 euros ($13,600 ) inside his church.

 

 Investigators say they plan to rely on witnesses and wiretaps in their case against him. 

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Pope appoints Chinese Malaysian priest as new archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
Gerard O'Connell       Jul.3, 2014

 

Pope Francis has appointed a 50-year old Chinese Malaysian priest, Julian Leow Beng Kim, as the new archbishop of Kuala Lumpur.  

. . . . 

Father Leow, who worked for six years in the construction industry before going onto study for the priesthood, is the first Chinese Malaysian to be appointed to lead the archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur (KL).  He succeeds Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, whose resignation the Pope accepted on 13 December 2013 for reasons of age.

. . . .

It is unusual to appoint a priest as archbishop; the normal path is for the archbishop to be chosen from among the existing bishops. Pope Francis, however, has made clear that in choices such as this, it is important to find the right man, even if he is not yet a bishop, and that is what happened here.

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Bishop: Muslim militant saved me from beheading in Central African Republic
Ed West     Jun.24, 2014
 

CAR bishop A bishop from the Central African Republic has revealed that he was saved from being beheaded by Islamists in April after one of their number intervened to save him.

 

Bishop Nestor-D�sir� Nongo-Aziagbia from Bossangoa had been kidnapped along with three priests by the Seleka militant group and told he would be executed.

. . . .

The Seleka group, which is comprised of members of the Muslim minority but also mercenaries from Chad and Sudan, seized power in the country in March last year, triggering a wave of violence. With the government and army unable to control the country, Seleka has been fighting a largely Christian militia, the Anti-Balaka, although religious leaders of all denomination insist that the conflict is not about faith.

 

Bishop Nongo-Aziagbia told the Catholic Herald:"I knew the people who kidnapped me, and as they led me to their base they gave me their reasons why I was kidnapped and they told me what they were going to do to me, they were going to kill me. I was with three of my priests and the feeling I had was guilt, not for myself but my priests who were willing to be killed.

. . . .

 "Thanks be to God on the way one of the commanding officers did not agree with that plan. He was the one who stopped our car and watched over me and our priests over the night and made sure we were released the following day," the bishop said. "What I understood from what he told me was that his elder brother is from the town where I was kidnapped and he called him and told him not to harm us. He had a good conscience and listened to his elder brother."

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Vatican recognizes exorcists' organization
Ed Adamczyk        Jul.2, 2014
 

The International Association of Exorcists has been formally recognized by the Vatican's Holy See, an indication the Catholic Church approves of the controversial practice of exorcism.

 

The group, restricted to Roman Catholic priests, was founded in 1990 by six priests. They included Father Gabriele Amorth, known as the "Exorcist of Rome," who claims to have performed 160,000 exorcisms -- the ceremonial process of releasing demons from those possessed by them.

 

The organization now has 250 members in 30 countries.

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Take This Chalice--Please
Rita Ferrone      Jun.30, 2014
 

The results of a recent survey by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate indicate that more than half the priests in the United States dislike the new Missal translation. A very large majority finds parts of it "awkward and distracting." Many believe it urgently needs revision. Fr. Tony Cutcher, president of the Federation of Priests' Councils, says it's time to move forward with "constructive criticism" and changes. Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said much the same thing recently at a conference in Florida.

  

OK, I'm ready. Can we change "chalice" back to "cup" now?

. . . .

There's a liturgico-historical argument against "chalice," and it's a killer. It was produced in 2006 by an Australian scholar, Fr. Barry Craig. His research was presented at the Western Pacific Rim Patristic Society and published in Worship magazine in 2007: "Potency Not Preciousness: Cyprian's Cup and a Modern Controversy."

  

Craig focuses on Eucharistic Prayer I, and argues that "hunc praeclarum calicem" ought not to be translated "this precious chalice" because such a translation is directly opposed to what the fathers meant by the original Latin phrase. In translating liturgical texts, Latin poetry and patristic usage matter.   . . . .

  

Craig meticulously researched the historical background according to these principles. He found that the word praeclarus never means "precious." Noble, outstanding, or potent, but not precious. His research devastatingly reveals that the sense of the English term "precious chalice" only appears a few times in the patristic literature. Whenever it does, it is used figuratively to describe the "precious chalice" of the heretics-i.e., the attractive cup from which false teaching is imbibed. 

 

There's more, too. According to Eucharistic Prayer I, Jesus took "this" cup in his hands. Why this cup? There was an early controversy concerning whether water might be used instead of wine in the Eucharist. The wine-water controversy provides the key to why the Roman canon says "this potent [i.e. alcoholic/spiritually inebriating] cup"-meaning wine. The vessel is plainly not the focus; its contents are. In English, the word "cup" can refer to both the vessel and what it contains. Not so "chalice." You can drink from a chalice, but you cannot "drink a chalice." If you are talking about the contents of the vessel, "cup" is the only word that works. 

. . . . 

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy does not account for its decisions, but a clue appeared in a footnote to the 2006 draft that was sent for review to the English-speaking bishops. This footnote explained that at certain points in the history of the English language Catholics favored "chalice" and Protestants favored "cup." The inescapable inference is that the word "chalice" is preferred in order to perpetuate a dead distinction between Catholics and Protestants. But is this something we want to do today? Most Catholics would say no.   

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Illinoisbishoporders tabernacles to be in center of  sanctuary
  

Bishop Paprocki:  "Tabernacles are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuary."

 

Ars celebrandi et adorandi

A Pastoral Letter To the Clergy and Faithful of the
Diocese of Springfield in Illinois
On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy Properly
and Adoring the Lord in the Eucharist Devoutly

. . . .

23. With this in mind, in order that more of the faithful will be able to spend time in adoration and prayer in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord, I direct that in the churches and chapels of our diocese, tabernacles that were formerly in the center of the sanctuary, but have been moved, are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuaryin accord with the original architectural design. Tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary or are otherwise not in a visible, prominent and noble space are to be moved to the center of the sanctuarytabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary but are in a visible, prominent and noble space may remain.  

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21st Century Catholics Reclaim Faithful Witness of Mary of Magdala
Deborah Rose-Milavec       Jul.7, 2014

 

Organizers worldwide have planned nearly 200 celebrations in the United States and 8 other countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Uganda, and United Kingdom) to coincide with the Feast Day of St. Mary of Magdala, July 22nd. This is the 18th year these international celebrations have been held as part of the effort begun by FutureChurch, a national Catholic reform organization based in Cleveland, Ohio.

. . . . 

The focus of the celebrations around the world will be remembering the St. Mary of Magdala's call to witness the resurrection and her role in announcing this core event of Christianity to the community.

 

The prayer services call upon the truth of St. Mary of Magdala's witness that is at risk of being lost in Church history. "One of the reasons the Mary of Magdala celebrations have proved so enduring is that Catholic women and men are edified to discover that Jesus included women in his Galilean discipleship. Most Catholics mistakenly believe that Jesus called only men, when in fact Luke 8:1-3 tells us Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Susanna and many other women accompanied him in Galilee. The celebrations this year will provide further knowledge that the church's inclusive ministry was modeled in the first century and it is time to live this ministry in the twenty-first century," England.

 

More information about local celebrations can be found at: http://futurechurch.org/2014-magdala-celebrations-faithful-witness 

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Legionaries of Christ to receive Vatican-appointed adviser
Francis X. Rocca      Jun.25 2014
 

The Vatican will name a special "assistant" to advise the leadership of the troubled Legionaries of Christ, whose revised constitutions Pope Francis has still not approved four months after they were submitted to him.

 

Father Eduardo Robles Gil, general director of the Legionaries, made the announcement in a video message sent to the congregation's members June 22 and now accessible on YouTube.

 

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, informed Father Robles Gil of the plan for an adviser at a recent meeting, the general director said. 

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The second issue of OMG! A Journal of Religion and Cultureis now available.

 

Catholic Church Reform.org
Janet Hauter      Jul.5, 2014
 
Dear Friends!  Need a big favor...

As most of you already know, I have been working for church reform in the Catholic Church--actually, that is where I will focus the remainder of my life.  
 
I have been hard at work attempting every possible effort to influence the Synod on the Family that will take place in Rome in November of 2015.  Sadly but not unexpectedly, no families were invited to share their experiences so that the decisions made in the Synod are real and begin to address the challenges and joys that families experience. 
 
We are first lobbying for families to be present but also to have the entire synod televised and available by radio for the entire Synod.  Transparency is not a choice.
 
So here's the favor:
*   Please go to Catholic Church Reform.organd on the home page there are the following options:
*   Sign the Open Letter to the Pope, if you agree
*   Sign the Petition to the Pope and the bishops who will attend the Synod next year
*   If you have an opportunity to hold or attend a Regional Gathering, please do so as we are collecting stories (it was, after all, good enough for Jesus) to help the Synod Fathers understand the "lived experience" of families since they haven't been in one for decades OR fill out the Surveys (on four different topics patterned after the November Vatican Survey) and submit your responses.  We will be delivering them in Rome this October.
  
Any help you can offer would be most appreciated.  This is critically important to me, to the American Catholic Council, to the 105 global reform organizations we are working with and the thousands of people who are watching, waiting or even engaged in one way or another.
 
We have a window of opportunity with this Pope---please don't let us lose our momentum!  We need to demonstrate with quantifiable evidence that people care about their families but families have changed significantly since the bishops were  engaged in one.  Time is of the essence as the planning meeting for the Synod will be held in 88 days and several us are going to Rome to deliver the "lived experiences" of real life families.  Please help!!! 
 
Janet W. Hauter, Chair:  The American Catholic Council (www.americancatholiccouncil.org)
Changing ourselves to change the Church  
Pax Christi USA mourns the passing of Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND
Johnny Zokovitch      Jul.7, 2014
 

Pax Christi USA is mourning the loss of Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND, one of the early leaders of Pax Christi USA who helped to shape and mold the organization into what it has become today. Sr. Jegen served as Pax Christi USA's first National Coordinator on January 1, 1979 and would continue in that role through December 1982. She passed away on Friday, July 4, 2014 after a long illness.

. . . .

Under Sr. Jegen's leadership, Pax Christi USA experienced unprecedented growth. The number of members in the term of her leadership grew from less than 1,000 to over 5,500 members, including 46 U.S. bishops. During her last year as national coordinator, Sr. Jegen would be chosen by the Pax Christi USA membership as the third recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award. She also served as Vice-President of Pax Christi International and led the Pax Christi International delegation at the United Nations. 

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Obama and the Pope top list of world leaders on Twitter
Lydia Tomkiwr       Jun.26, 2014

 

With 43.7 million followers, President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) leads the pack of world leaders now using Twitter to get their messages out. But Pope Francis (@Pontifex) holds the most influence.

. . . .

Pope Francis, with 14 million-plus followers across nine different language accounts, is not only highly influential but second only to Obama for number of followers. The report named the pope the "most influential tweep" because he averages over 10,000 retweets for every tweet on his Spanish-language account and 6,462 on his English-language account. Spanish is the top language used by world leaders for tweeting, followed by English.  

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Little Tramp's stamps of approval: Vatican honours Chaplin
Rome Reports       Jul.4, 2014
 

Charlie Chaplin conquered the entertainment world with a walking stick, an unmistakable moustache, and a list of moving stories. His movies didn't need words or colour to leave their mark on modern cinema.

 

Now the Vatican is celebrating 125 years since his birth with a collection of stamps dedicated to his most famous character, Charlot. 

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