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Christmas blessing fronARCC

May you have 
The gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
Some things we have been reading  
Open Letter to Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller

Dr. theol. Ida Raming
70599 Stuttgart (Germany)
December 2015

To the Prefect of the CDF
Card. Gerhard Ludwig Mueller
Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio
00120 Città del Vatica

Rev. Cardinal,

Out of concern for negative developments in our RC Church which are deeply contrary to the Spirit of Jesus, I want to appeal to you as chief of the CDF.
First, please, allow me to introduce myself to you: I am a Roman Catholic theologian with a doctorate in theology, and was promoted as a member of the faculty of the University of Muenster (Westphalia) in 1970. I'm also an active witness of the Vatican Council II (having submitted a petition to the Council in 1963, together with Dr. Iris Mueller, who died in 2011).

In my dissertation, (published in 1973, second edition 2002; English translation: 1976, 2004), I carefully researched the position of women in the tradition of the RC Church, especially the reasons for the exclusion of women from diaconate and priesthood.  My teacher (+ 1988) was a well-known specialist in the history of Canon Law and of Canon Law itself.

Since entering the field of theology, I have attentively observed the development concerning this issue and have published numerous articles and several books on it.

Through my research, I've gotten a deep insight into the long history of discrimination against women in the Catholic tradition. I found not only biblical texts discriminating against women, but also texts of Church Fathers and Church teachers (e.g. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas). They emphasize that women are both genetically and morally inferior to men. Therefore, they claim that women are restricted to a state of subjection (status subiectionis). Consequently, women are denied not only the dignity of being created in the image of God (at the very least, this is deeply questioned) but also the possibility of being validly ordained (cf the argumentation of Thomas Aquinas and other canonists, concerning the state of subjection of women and the ordination of women).

These texts were collected as sources into the Corpus Iuris Canonici and laid the foundation of the so-called impossibility of women's ordination, as CIC/1917 c. 968 Sec. 1 declares: "Sacram ordinationem valide recipit solus vir baptizatus"- "Only a baptised  man can validly receive sacred ordination"). This law was taken over into the CIC/1983 c. 1024 without any change, despite the protest of women's movements and critical scientific research.

The result is:
The exclusion of women from ordination to priesthood is based on a severe, long lasting discrimination against women which can be proven by many sources from church history and church tradition. This history remains closed to honest reappraisal by church-leaders even in our own times, and therefore the discrimination remains in place to the present day.

Of course, today the responsible church-leaders avoid referring to the so-called inferiority of women as reason for their non-ordination, - the present social situation and ideals in democratic states are such that this argument would be dismissed out of hand.

But behind the argumentation of the Church leadership concerning the "non-ordination" of women, you can still find the ongoing discrimination against women, - it is simply disguised.

Referring to the exclusion of women from ordination, Church Leaders (including the CDF) declare that Jesus was totally free in choosing only twelve males as apostles.

This argumentation does not take into account that the position of women during Jesus' lifetime was totally inferior (excluded from teaching in public and from witnessing in the court). Thus women were not able to act as apostles, who were sent by Jesus to teach and give publicly witness. By the same token, Jesus could not choose a slave (legally incapacitated) into the group of the Twelve - by way of striving for the liberation of slaves! 
It is evident: Church doctrine without taking into account social-cultural and historic developments inevitably leads to false conclusions and false doctrine!

In order to support the exclusion of women from priestly ministry, Church leaders also refer to the otherhood", the "other, or gender-specific, role of women". 

But who defines the so-called "otherhood", or "other role" of women? It is only the Church leadership - in relation to whom women are in a state of subordination!

Indeed, it is revealing and striking that Church leaders are always stressing that the exclusion of women from ordained priestly ministry does not imply any discrimination or disadvantage to women! That is, of course, an effort by the leading Church-pastors to assuage women, to disguise the injustice against them. However, the truth is that only the ones who are oppressed by the injustice - the women - are able to express what they feel as discrimination against them, not the decision-makers (= Church leaders)!

In my opinion, the doctrine of the Church in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis"  (John Paul II., 1994) is mistaken when it claims "that the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women".  Indeed, I wish to emphasize that the church (church leadership) does have "the authority to confer priestly ordination on women"!

They can surely rely on the following texts of the Bible:
1 Cor 12:11: "All these gifts are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he/she gives them to each one, just as he/she determines.'

That means: God is freely calling women to priestly ministry, no-one can limit God to calling only men to priesthood!

Gal 3:26-28: "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus..."

These words of scripture are awaiting acknowledgement and realization in the RC Church.
Because of church leaders' persistance in their patriarchal behavior and spirit, the realization of these words of the Bible is prevented - to the detriment of our church.

But in spite of this, it is my hope and belief that God's living spirit will introduce the church "into all truth" (cf. John: 16,13), even concerning the position of women - in the face of the resistance of church leaders!

In this hope for the Spirit of Truth I send you greetings, 

Pope Praises "the Good and Honest" Members of the Roman Curia, Asks them to Cultivate 24 "Needed Virtues"
Gerard O'Connell      Dec.21, 2015

Pope Francis struck a very different tone this year in his Christmas speech to the Roman Curia, compared to last year when he lambasted 15 "curial diseases." He did so by praising and giving encouragement to the loyal and devoted persons working there, and urged them to cultivate "the needed virtues" that will enable them to give faithful service to the church and the Successor of Peter. He listed 24 such virtues which, taken together, offer a profile of the ideal curial official.

He gave them cause for joy when he affirmed that "it would a great injustice not to express heartfelt gratitude and rightful encouragement to all those good and honest men and women in the Curia who work with dedication, devotion, fidelity and professionalism, offering to the church and the Successor of Peter the assurance of their solidarity and obedience, as well as their constant prayers."
. . . .
In his speech- which drew much applause at the end-he sought to encourage all those "good and honest" persons working in the Vatican by affirming that "the diseases and even scandals cannot obscure the efficiency of the services rendered to the pope and to the entire church by the Roman Curia, with great effort, responsibility, commitment and dedication, and this is a real source of consolation."
. . . .
Francis is well aware that there is resistance to his reforms within the curia. He alluded to this, too, when he told them that "the cases of resistance, difficulties and failures on the part of individuals and ministers are so many lessons and opportunities for growth, and never for discouragement. They are opportunities for returning to the essentials, which means being ever more conscious of ourselves, of God and our neighbors, of the sensus ecclesiae (sense of the church) and the sensus fidei (sense of faith)."
. . . .
He presented them in the form of "an acrostic analysis of the word  Misericordia (Mercy) with the aim of having it serve as our guide and beacon," and he recalled that the famous Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci used similar memory techniques in China. 

In actual fact, Francis links each of the twelve letters of this word to two virtues, thereby offering a catalogue of 24 virtues: missionary and pastoral spirit; idoneity (suitability) and sagacity; spirituality and humanity; example and fidelity; reasonableness and gentleness; innocuousness and determination; charity and truth; openness and maturity; respectfulness and humility; diligence and attentiveness; intrepidness and alertness; accountability and sobriety.

He commented on each virtue, and urged the curial officials to cultivate and develop these essential qualities so that they may be faithful and good servants in the Roman Curia and in the universal church.
Pope Francis faces a real dilemma in 'Vatileaks 2.0'
John L. Allen Jr.      Dec,23, 2015

In a  Christmas audience  with Vatican employees and their families on Monday, Pope Francis issued an unusually blunt mea culpa: "I want to apologize for the scandals that there were in the Vatican," he said, referring to 2015.

He didn't say which scandals he meant, and people from the United States or other parts of the world might wonder, since there have been more than a few.  . . . .

In Italy, however, no one is asking that question, because virtually everyone here assumes they know exactly what Francis had in mind: " Vatileaks 2.0."
. . . .
Initially, Vatican officials, up to and including the pope, hoped the criminal trial could be wrapped up before Dec. 8, when the jubilee Year of Mercy began.  

In the back of their minds was probably the first Vatileaks affair in 2012, when the trial of the ex-papal butler accused of leaking documents belonging to Pope Benedict XVI took less than a week.

This one, however, doesn't look like it will be so easy.

There are five defendants this time, not one, and unlike Paolo Gabriele in 2012, none seems prepared to go quietly. In a court hearing Dec. 7, a three-judge panel agreed to various defense requests that will have the effect of postponing the resumption of the trial for some time. ts journalist's bid to drop leaks charges.

[ Gianluigi] Nuzzi said Tuesday he's been told the next hearing won't take place until after Feb. 20.

One of the requests was for a technical evaluation of messages among Vallejo Balda, Chaouqui, and Nicola Maio, the third accused insider, who was Balda's secretary. (Some of those messages apparently utilized the mobile messaging tool  WhatsApp, which is terra incognita to most in the Vatican.)

Another request was to call various Vatican heavyweights as witnesses, including the secretary of state, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin - who wasn't even in Rome when the study commission was active because he was still the papal envoy in Venezuela - and Spanish Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, the president of a commission of cardinals overseeing the Vatican bank, as well as Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who runs the pope's personal charities.

What any might have to say that's relevant to the case remains to be seen, but no doubt it would be entertaining to have them in the dock. (Parolin has been told he can submit a written statement.)

In other words, the process has the makings of a potential circus.
Medical examiners rule out foul play in death of former nuncio who faced abuse charges
Catholic World News       Dec,18,, 2015

A full post-mortem examination has confirmed that the laicized archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, who was facing a criminal trial for sexual abuse, died in August of a heart attack, the Vatican has announced.

Wesolowski, who had been relieved of his post as apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic because of sex-abuse charges, had been stripped of his title after a canonical trial, and was living at the Vatican under house arrest, preparing to face criminal charges, when he died. His case was seen as a test of the Vatican's determination to discipline bishops guilty of sexual abuse.

Wesolowski's trial was postponed once in July when he was hospitalized. A few weeks later, before the trial resumed, he was found dead at his residence. An immediate autopsy attributed his death to a "cardiac event."

The Vatican announced on December 18 that chemical toxicological examinations, performed under the supervision of a board of medical examiners, had ruled out any "exogenous causes"-an apparent reference to the possibility of poisoning-and that the disgraced prelate's death was "ascribable to natural causes."


Pope _ Cardinals


Pope Francis facing increasing criticism from conservative bloc
Nicole Winfield      Dec.18, 2015

Pope Francis marked his 79th birthday on Thursday amid hopes among his critics that it will be his last - at least as pope.
. . . .
They have taken aim at the just-concluded synod on family issues, where the divisive issue of Communion for the civilly remarried took center stage. They have raised alarm at Francis' call for a more decentralized church and his loosening of the Vatican's marriage annulment process. They have winced at his environmental alarmism, wondered what's in store for Catholic orthodoxy in this Holy Year of Mercy, and blasted as sacrilege the recent projection of photographic images of nature on St. Peter's Basilica.

The Remnant, a small, traditionalist US newspaper, last week penned an open letter begging Francis to change course or resign, arguing that his papacy was ''causing grave harm to the church.'' Organizers say a few thousand people have signed onto the petition.
. . . .
To put it more simply: ''Many people in the Vatican want Francis dead,'' said Francesca Chaouqui, the woman at the heart of a leaks scandal currently convulsing Francis' Vatican.

In an interview last weekend with Italy's La Stampa newspaper, Chaouqui said Francis' in-house reforms and nominations have emboldened his enemies, many of whom were in the Vatican when Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires and had a less-than-pleasant relationship with Rome.
. . . .
''Pope Francis is no longer trusted by many conservative Catholics, and the number who don't trust him has grown enormously since the synod,'' conservative columnist Damian Thompson wrote in Britain's Spectator last month. He said he doesn't see the dust settling until the next conclave, ''which lots of conservative Catholics want to happen as soon as possible.''

The Argentine Jesuit, who has rarely backed down from a fight, seems unfazed and quite possibly emboldened by the criticism. And there is no indication that it poses any real threat to his broad popularity, since the concern has been confined in the public sphere at least to mostly Anglo-Saxon and Italian pundits writing in predictably conservative publications, claiming to speak for a growing number of otherwise anonymous Catholic laity and clergy.
John Chuchman
Is God laughing or crying

We must fight Francis' effort
to decentralize the church,
else we'll be held accountable
and responsible for our own decisions.

Your Eminences,
We need a Pope to blame.

Pope names U.S. layman as No. 2 in press office, promotes Irish prelate
Junno Arocho Esteves     Dec.21, 2015

Pope Francis appointed a U.S. media adviser as the vice director of the Vatican press office and an Irish prelate known for revolutionizing the Vatican's approach to social communication as bishop and adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Vatican Secretariat of State, was appointed by the pope Dec. 12 as the Vatican's No. 2 spokesman. Burke will replace Passionist Fr. Ciro Benedettini, who served as the press office assistant director since 1995.
. . . .
The pope also named Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as bishop and adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Did this dog just say his prayers before tucking himself into bed?
Bishop of San Salvador Suspended for Sexual Abuse
Carmen Rodriguez     Dec.7, 2015

Bishop Jesús Delgado, third in line from the Archbishop of El Salvador and the leader of the effort to canonize the martyr Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, has been suspended from all his functions in the Catholic Church after confessing to having sexually abused a nine-year-old girl.

While the Catholic Church confirmed the news, it has not given details of the case. According to Salvadoran law, sexual abuse of minors including inappropriate touching and acts of sexual violation of a non-carnal nature are punishable by incarceration for eight to ten years.
. . . .
In a communiqué released by the Catholic Church after the news spread like wildfire on social networks, the Salvadoran Archbishop said that Delgado admitted that he had committed the abuses over the course of eight years and that he is prepared to meet with the victim who is now 42 years old to ask for her forgiveness.
Appeals court vacates Philadelphia monsignor's conviction, orders new trial
Ralph Cipriano      Dec.22, 2015

A Pennsylvania appeals court has vacated the conviction of  Msgr. William J. Lynn, and ordered a new trial for the Philadelphia archdiocese's former secretary for clergy.

Lynn, convicted in 2012 on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child, had been serving a three-to-six year prison sentence. He was the first Catholic administrator in the country to be sent to jail for failing to adequately supervise a sexually abusive priest.

In a 43-page decision, a panel of three state Superior Court judges ruled that the trial court -- Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina -- "abused its discretion" by allowing 21 supplemental cases of sex abuse to be admitted as evidence against Lynn.

The 21 cases dated back to 1948, three years before Lynn was born, and took up at least 25 days of the 32-day trial. In his appeal, Lynn's lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, argued that the prosecution "introduced these files to put on trial the entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, hoping to convict [Lynn] by proxy for the sins of the entire church."

The Superior Court judges agreed, ruling that the "probative value" of the supplemental cases "did not outweigh its potential for unfair prejudice, and that this potential prejudice was not overcome by the trial court's cautionary instructions."
. . . .
The district attorney of Philadelphia is widely expected to appeal the Superior Court's decision to the state Supreme Court. If that happens, the Supreme Court would have another chance to review the Lynn case.

"I think it's the right decision, I'm pleased with it," Bergstrom said. The monsignor's lawyer said that supplemental evidence is allowed into a case to show "other acts of the defendant."

But the supplemental cases allowed in the Lynn case concerned "other acts of others," Bergstrom said. The effect on the jury was "completely awful and devastating."
Cardinal George Pell labels reports casting doubt on legitimacy of his illness 'misleading and mischievous'
ABC News     Dec.13, 2015

Catholic Cardinal George Pell has attacked reports casting doubt on the legitimacy of his illness, which has stopped him appearing at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Cardinal Pell was to appear at the inquiry on Wednesday but his lawyer  told the hearing on Friday Cardinal Pell was unwell and could not travel to give evidence in person.

He released a statement Sunday afternoon, in which he said the commission had reviewed and accepted the medical evidence tendered, and said reports referring to an "alleged" illness were misleading and mischievous.
Retired Bishop Imesch of Joliet dies at age 84
Catholic News Service     Dec.23, 2015

Retired Bishop Joseph Imesch of Joliet died Tuesday at Our Lady of the Angels retirement home in Joliet. He was 84.

The diocese said in a Wednesday statement the cause of death was heart related.

Bishop Imesch's body was to be placed at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet for viewing Dec. 28 and 29. A funeral Mass was schedule to be celebrated Dec. 29, followed by burial at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville.

The bishop retired in 2006 after serving the Joliet Diocese for more than 26 years.
. . . .
On a national level, Imesch may be best known for leading the U.S. bishops' nine-year effort to approve a pastoral letter on women's concerns. He headed a writing committee for the pastoral from 1983 until 1992, when it failed to gain the required two-thirds majority from the bishops. 

The document treated numerous topics, from the need for affordable day care to no-fault divorce, and included a vigorous defense of church teaching prohibiting women's ordination. The bishops voted to turn the document over to committees that could pursue some of the letter's objectives at a less authoritative level.
Pope Francis confirms nullification of marriage process will become free
Rome Reports      Dec.11, 2015

Since December 8th, the process to ensure that a marriage was celebrated validly has become quicker and more simple. Pope Francis announced the changes in September and has now confirmed that they are underway.
Further, Pope Francis has asked the Roman Rota, which is in charge of the process, to ensure that they always judge the cases for  free. But he also mentioned that "the faithful who can afford it have a moral obligation to give an offering to causes for the poor."
Women have no vote

Vatican City only nation where women can't vote

Lebanon: Women can vote in Lebanon, but only after proving that they've had elementary education. The same is not required of men.

Vatican City: The leader of the Holy See is elected by the College of Cardinals. Papal conclaves are the only voters in this tiny country in the center of Rome. Since women, in practice, cannot be cardinals, they cannot vote for the Pope.
Fiat Lux: Illuminating Our Common Home
Dec.8, 2015

A public art projection to light St. Peter's Basilica and inspire change around the climate crisis

Watch the breathtaking highlights:

Watch the full show:

Pope Francis Visit to Juarez Will Include Cross-Border Mass
Kevin Clarke     Dec.12, 2015

According to Chicago's  Catholic Extention Society , Pope Francis plans to celebrate an afternoon Mass near the U.S.-Mexico border during his visit to Ciudad Juárez in Mexico on Feb. 17. The 4 p.m. Mass will be celebrated at the Benito Juárez Stadium "right next to the border." The Mass will be the culmination of the pope's visit to Mexico. Also today the Diocese of El Paso, Texas announced that the Mass will include a cross-border component, adding that those details are still being worked out.
SNL -  St. Joseph's Christmas Mass 

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