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ARCC News 01 November 2013

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USCCB to Vatican :
 In the USA Father Knows Best
John Alonzo Dick, PhD - STD                                        Nov.1, 2013  
 

Two remarkable developments this week end, as we honor our deceased People of God.

 

Joshua McElwee reported in the National Catholic Reporter, yesterday, that the Vatican has asked national bishops' conferences around the world to conduct a wide-ranging poll of Catholics asking for their opinions on church teachings about contraception, same-sex marriage, and divorce. Remarkable! The spirit of Vatican II is alive once again in ancient Rome.

 

Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, who is the Secretary General of the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, has asked the world's bishops to distribute the poll "immediately as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received."

 

The poll's questionnaire was sent on October 18th to the presidents of the world's individual bishops' conferences in preparation for the Vatican's October 2014 synod on the "Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization." This is the first time Rome has asked for input from grass-roots Catholics, since the establishment of the synod system.

 

As NCR reports: Among topics bishops' conferences are asked, in the Vatican document, to question their Catholic populations about are: 

  • How the church's teaching on "the value of the family" is understood today.
  • Whether cohabitation, the problem of divorce and remarriage, and same-sex marriages are a "pastoral reality" in their church. "Does a ministry exist to attend to these cases?" the document asks.
  • "How is God's mercy proclaimed to separated couples and those divorced and remarried and how does the Church put into practice her support for them in their journey of faith?" 
  • How persons in same-sex marriages are treated and how children they may adopt are cared for.
  • "What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live these types of union?" it asks. "In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?"
  • Whether married couples have "openness" to becoming parents and whether they acceptHumanae Vitae, an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI that prohibited artificial contraception use by Catholics. "Is this moral teaching accepted?" it asks. "What aspects pose the most difficulties in a large majority of couple's accepting this teaching?"

Some conferences of bishops have responded immediately and creatively. The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, for example, has set up an online survey that Catholics in their countries can use to respond to the Vatican's questions.

 

And in our United States? What has been the creative response of the USCCB? Another remarkable development.

 

McElwee reports that while Archbishop Baldisseri asked in his Vatican letter for wide consultation with the Catholic people, the American bishops have changed the focus.

 

It appears that American Catholic bishops see no need to consult their people. Apparently they still believe the nineteenth century Catholic adage that Father Knows Best. Remarkable!

 

An accompanying letter sent with the U.S. version of the Baldisseri Vatican document does not request that the American bishops undertake wide consultation in their dioceses! That letter, dated October 30, 2013, was sent from Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, the General Secretary of the U.S. bishops' conference, and only asks the U.S. bishops to provide their own observations.

 

As Msgr. Jenkins writes, according to documents published by NCR, "In his correspondence, Archbishop Baldisseri requests the observations of the members of the Conference regarding the attached preparatory documents and questionnaire that will provide a basis for the preparation...."

 

So much for the voice of the People of God, so much for the Vatican II spirit of collegiality,  and so much for good old American democracy.

Sometimes our USCCB appears to act more like the old USSR...... 

URL    
Pause for Prayer
Rev. Austin Fleming                                         Oct.22, 2013
 

Lord, every day:
I check my calendar,
I check my email,
I check my voice mail,
I check my texts,
I check my Tweets,
I check my FB messages...

Well, "every day" wasn't really accurate:
I should have said,
"five to ten times" every day...

I do a lot of checking in, Lord,
and some days I think I check in
with just about everybody except you...

So today, 
(especially when I'm checking in
at one of my regular check in spots)
today, Lord, 
help me find a quiet time, a quiet place,
just you and me, at least once today,
just to stop, to check in with you,
to pray... 

(How about right now, Lord?) 

URL    
Some things we have been reading  
Court strikes down mandate for birth control in ObamaCare
Julian Hattem       Nov.1, 2013
 

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.

 

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals - the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court - ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.

 

Requiring companies to cover their employees' contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly. 

Read more

Church historian: Francis could be moving church to new era of reform 
Colleen Dunne   Oct.24, 2013
 

Calling Pope Francis "Vatican II high octane," longtime church historian Jesuit Fr. John O'Malley said last week he sees real potential for church reform, even if it's just from the new tone and message coming out of Rome.

 

"With Francis, there is no mincing of words. You know where he stands, and you can't give it a spin," O'Malley, an expert on the church's ecumenical councils,  told NCROct. 17 before speaking at an event sponsored by Rockhurst University and four other Catholic colleges.

 

By living out the themes of reconciliation present at the Second Vatican Council, Francis may be intentionally moving the church toward a new era of reform, O'Malley said.

. . . .

What might be most significant about Francis, O'Malley said, is that he did not participate in Vatican II. That frees him to bring a broad vision of that council to today's church.

. . . .

O'Malley said he thinks Pope Francis has a broad idea of what reform needs to be at this point, including an effort to reach out to all Catholics and people of other faiths and to address the structural problems of the church. 

. . . . 

O'Malley said it would be extremely difficult to bring together a new council.

"Today to have a council, there are about 7,000 Catholic bishops in the world, and there were about 2,800 at the time of Vatican II. Where would you have it, Yankee Stadium?" If there were to be a new council, O'Malley said he hoped the church might look at a location such as South America or Africa. 

Read more

Carol Glatz       Oct.30, 2013
 

Move over Archbishop Ganswein, there's a new kid in town. Well, just temporarily.

For about an hour Saturday evening, during Pope Francis' meeting with families in St. Peter's Square, a little boy took over as prefect of the papal household: he helped bring guests up to the pope, he tried to take presents off the pope's hands, he adjusted the pope's microphone... He didn't leave the pope's side, just like a perfect prefect would do during many public and private audiences.

 

But the little boy got a lot more leeway than the archbishop and was allowed to sit in the papal chair when his legs got tired, he got some candy from the pope's other helpers, and he got a ton of head-pats, smiles and smirks. Not bad for a first job.

 Boy steals show during Pope event[GAME]

 Read more
Pope to name first cardinals in February
Hada Messia & Susannah Cullinane     Oct.31, 2013
 

Pope Francis will create new cardinals of the Catholic Church for his first time on Feb. 22, the Vatican announced Thursday.

. . . .

In a statement announcing the news, Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said a meeting of all the existing cardinals would be held before the ceremony to elevate the new cardinals, known as a consistory. 

Read more

New cardinals, and new opportunities for change
John Thavis     Oct.31, 2013
 

By February, there will be at least 14 "openings" for cardinals under the age of 80, who can vote in a conclave.

 

It's always impressed me how quickly a pope can put his mark on the College of Cardinals and influence the eventual election of his successor. There are numerical reasons for this: the voting age cardinals are a small group, limited to 120 members, and at present they have an average age of 72.

 

If Pope Francis remains in office as long as Pope Benedict did - eight years - that means he will have named well over half the 120 voting cardinals in the next conclave.

. . . . 

But creating lay, and women, cardinals is only one of the possibilities open to Pope Francis:

-- He could, and probably should, substantially increase the number of cardinals. There is really no other easy way to break the dominance of the Roman Curia cardinals (currently they represent more than one-third of voting-age members) and European cardinals (who today are more than half the voting-age members.) In the age of global Catholicism, there's no good reason why Latin America, the most populous Catholic region in the world, should have only 15 cardinals voting in a conclave, while Europe has 57.

 

-- The pope can lower "red hat" expectations in many European archdioceses and, in particular, in Roman Curia offices. As part of his restructuring of the Vatican's bureaucracy, he can rewrite the rules so that most Vatican departments no longer need to be headed by a cardinal. It's a prestige thing in Rome, and unnecessary.

 

-- Pope Francis may also want to give the College of Cardinals some real responsibility other than electing a pope. Up to now, occasional meetings of the cardinals have produced very little creative thinking or input. That could change, especially with new and younger membership.

Read more

Could Pope Francis make women cardinals? A pipe dream, and an opening
David Gibson         Oct.18, 2013
 

Could a woman vote for the next pope?

 

Pope Francis has said repeatedly he wants to see greater roles for women in the Catholic church, and some argue he could take a giant step in that direction by appointing women to the College of Cardinals -- the select and (so far) all-male club of "princes of the church" that casts secret ballots in a conclave to elect a new pope.

 

Whether it's even possible is a matter of debate. But that hasn't stopped the feverish speculation, which was sparked last month by an article in a Spanish newspaper in which Juan Arias, a former priest who writes from Brazil, wrote that the idea "is not a joke. It's something that Pope Francis has thought about before: naming a woman cardinal."

. . . .
In the U.S., Fr. James Keenan, a fellow Jesuit and a well-regarded moral theologian at Boston College, started a post on his Facebook page soliciting nominees for the first female cardinal.

. . . .  

But Keenan is not the first to float the idea.Just last year, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was asked during an interview on Catholic television whether a woman could be named a cardinal. Dolan agreed that it was "theoretically" possible.

Read more

More articles about Pope Francis  
Pope: When faith becomes an ideology, it can make Christians hostile and arrogant  
Francis cartoon
Vatican: Monsignor Pietro Parolin Released From Hospital 10 Days After Mystery Surgery
Associated Press       Oct.28, 2013
 

The Vatican's new No. 2 has been released after more than 10 days in a hospital.

The Vatican has refused to say what was wrong with Monsignor Pietro Parolin, only that he underwent surgery unexpectedly and missed the Oct. 15 ceremony at which he was to take up his duties as secretary of state.

 

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said he spoke with the 58-year-old Parolin Friday. He said the surgery went well and that Parolin would take some time to recover at home in Italy's Veneto region and hoped to "soon" take up his responsibilities in Rome. 

Read more

Abuse Allegations Leave Twin Cities Archdiocese In Turmoil
Madeleine Baran      Oct.24, 2013
 

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been rocked in recent weeks by revelations from a top-level whistle-blower. The former official says church leaders covered up numerous cases of sexual misconduct by priests and even made special payments to pedophiles.

 

The scandal is notable not only because of the abuse but also because it happened in an archdiocese that claimed to be a national leader in dealing with the issue.

. . . .

(Archbishop Harry) Flynn retired in 2008 and was

J. Haselberger

 replaced by Archbishop John Nienstedt, who hired a young canon lawyer named Jennifer Haselberger to oversee church records.

 

As priests came up for promotion, Haselberger searched church files for any disciplinary problems. Digging deeper, she found separate stored files detailing how some priests had long histories of sexual addiction and abuse. She warned Nienstedt about what she'd learned, she says.

. . . .

She then discovered that some abusive priests got special payments, like the Rev. Robert Kapoun, who for 14 years received nearly $1,000 a month on top of his pension.
. . . . 

Haselberger says that for her, one of the last straws came when a priest was arrested for and convicted of sexually abusing children.

 

Several years earlier, Haselberger had examined the lengthy file of that priest, Curtis Wehmeyer. Documents showed he had approached young men for sex in a bookstore.

 

Haselberger says she gave the information to Nienstedt. Soon after, he appointed Wehmeyer pastor of two parishes. 

. . . .

Haselberger resigned in protest in April, but she says she felt burdened by what she knew.

"Because I was still having to look people in the face who I knew that I had information that they needed," she says. "And the fact that I had this and they didn't, and no one was going to be telling them, was really difficult."

 

So Haselberger shared the church's secrets with Minnesota Public Radio News in a series of interviews this fall.

. . . .

Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest who warned bishops in the '80s of a looming abuse crisis, says it's remarkable the revelations are coming from an insider.

 

"What has been happening, it seems to me, in St. Paul has been almost a chain reaction," he says. "There's something systemic; it's not accidental."

. . . .

Nienstedt has responded to the scandal by creating a task force to review church policies.

But some parishioners, and even priests here, are calling for him to resign. They say they feel betrayed by church leaders who led them to believe that their archdiocese remained a safe place for children.

Read more
More on Minnesota abuse scandal
Archbishop John Nienstedt

 

University Of St. Thomas      

Catholic Church wavers on child sex scandals in pope's homeland
Simeon Tegel       Oct.25, 2013
 

Pope Francis' promise of a more humble, tolerant Catholic Church may have earned rave reviews around the world, but in Latin America, a string of child sex scandals has left some wondering what's really changed in the Vatican.

 

Along with landmark gestures such as dressing simply, publicly kissing followers' feet and refusing to condemn gays,Francis has also vowed to punish pedophile priests.

Yet seven months into his papacy, the church's questionable handling of child molestation cases in Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic and Peru is calling that commitment into doubt.

. . . .

In the Dominican Republic, the Vatican's envoy, Josef Wesolowski, was secretly fired in August for allegedly paying underage boys for sex.

 

In Peru, an auxiliary bishop, Gabino Miranda, has been on the run for more than a month since child sex allegations surfaced. He is alleged to have selected his victims during confession.

. . . .

Meanwhile, in Chile, the archbishop of Santiago, Ricardo Ezzati, this month declined to appear before a congressional committee investigating sexual abuse at Catholic children's homes, citing the separation of church and state. 

. . . .

And in Argentina, Father Julio Cesar Grassi is now behind bars after an appeals court in September confirmed his 15-year sentence for sexual assaults on two young boys.

. . . .

For critics, the cases show the church under Francis - who was archbishop of Buenos Aires before becoming Latin America's first pope - still has a long way to go in how it handles pedophile priests. 

Read more

Pope expels German 'luxury bishop' from diocese
Nicole Winfield And Daniela Petroff    Oct.23, 2013
 

Pope Francis temporarily expelled a German bishop from his diocese on Wednesday because of a scandal over a 31-million-euro project to build a new residence complex, but refused calls to remove him permanently.

 

The Vatican didn't say how long Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would spend away from the diocese of Limburg and gave no information on where he would go or what he would do. It said he was leaving pending the outcome of a church commission investigation into the expenditures and his role in the affair. 

Read more

Bishop's suspension a symptom of German Catholic Church's wealth
Nele Mailin Obermueller & Jabeen Bhatti    Oct 23, 2013 
 

The $20,000 bathtub and $482,000 walk-in closets ordered by "Bishop Bling-Bling" - the moniker of Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the now-suspended bishop of Limburg - have scandalized the German public.

 

But Tebartz-van Elst, 52, is only the latest German clergyman to run into trouble since Pope Francis took the helm of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis temporarily suspended the bishop on Wednesday while a church commission investigates the expenditures on the $42 million residence complex.

 

As the new pontiff tries to reform the way the church does business, German dioceses, which reportedly include the world's wealthiest in Cologne, are chafing under the new direction as membership numbers continue to dwindle.

 

"Tebartz-van Elst is just the tip of the iceberg," said Christian Weisner, spokesman for the German branch of We Are Church, an organization advocating Catholic Church reform. "There is a real clash of cultures between Germany's current cardinals and bishops - nominated under John Paul II or Benedict XVI - and Pope Francis." 

. . . .

"The German Catholic Church is one of the country's wealthiest and largest organizations and its top officials expect a certain lifestyle," said Frerk, who has published two books on the German churches' wealth and what he describes as their opaque financing. "But they are wary of the extent of their wealth becoming broadly known because it might lead to fewer donations." 

Read more

German Church exodus in wake of 'luxury bishop'
CathNews       Oct.17, 2013
 

The thousands leaving both locally and nationally has alarmed the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Moreover, the crisis caused by the behaviour of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst has divided the most senior German Catholics.

 

Besides having spent an estimated $40m on his residence, including $20,000 on his bathtub, Bishop Tebartz has also received two court orders for perjury from a Hamburg court and nine for breach of trust from a court in Limburg.

. . . .

Mrs Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said the situation in Limburg was proving a burden on the Catholic Church. "One may conceivably express the hope that the solution found will be positive for the faithful and will strengthen people's trust in the Church," he said. 

Read more

Divorced and Remarried. Müller Writes, Francis Dictates
Sandro Magister     Oct.23, 2013
 

"I believe that this is the time of mercy," Pope Francis had said on the return flight from Brazil, responding to a question about communion for the divorced and remarried.

But the notion that the "mercy" preached by pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio would herald a lifting of the ban on communion, as many had inferred, is now out of the question.

The 'no' has been handed down - clearly with the approval of the pope - by the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, in today's edition of "L'Osservatore Romano," with a document fully reconfirming the doctrine of the Catholic Church in this matter, released contemporaneously in seven languages.

. . . .
"In the Orthodox Churches today, there are a great many grounds for divorce, which are mostly justified in terms of 'oikonomia,' or pastoral leniency in difficult individual cases, and they open the path to a second or third marriage marked by a penitential character.  This practice cannot be reconciled with God's will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus' sayings about the indissolubility of marriage. [. . .] Sometimes it is maintained that the Church de facto tolerated the Eastern practice.  But this is not correct."

And further on:

"The teaching on 'epikeia, too' - according to which a law may be generally valid, but does not always apply to concrete human situations - may not be invoked here, because in the case of the indissolubility of sacramental marriage we are dealing with a divine norm that is not at the disposal of the Church."

A third point that Müller's statement is intended to clarify - here as well with implicit reference to poorly interpreted words from the pope - concerns 'a concrete problem of conscience," used as a permit for communion:

"It is frequently suggested that remarried divorcees should be allowed to decide for themselves, according to their conscience, whether or not to present themselves for holy communion.  This argument, based on a problematical concept of "conscience", was rejected by a document of the CDF in 1994.  Naturally, the faithful must consider every time they attend Mass whether it is possible to receive communion, and a grave unconfessed sin would always be an impediment.  At the same time they have the duty to form their conscience and to align it with the truth.  In so doing they listen also to the Church's Magisterium, which helps them "not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it" (Veritatis Splendor, 64).    

Read more

Hawaii Churches Face Tough Decision Should Same-Sex Marriage Bill Pass
HuffPost      Oct.25, 2013
 

Last year, about 1.45 million Japanese tourists visited Hawaii, and a significant fraction of them came to get married or attend a wedding. The Central Union church in Honolulu, for example, conducts about fifty wedding ceremonies a month, most of them destination weddings.

 

Many churches in Hawaii rely heavily on the income from these wedding ceremonies to keep themselves running.

. . . .

But if a special session of the Hawaii state senate passes a bill legalizing same-sex marriage next week, these churches will face a very difficult decision.

 

According to the public accommodations law in Hawaii, any church that makes a profit from ceremonies conducted on its property may not discriminate against a certain group -- or couple -- from holding those ceremonies.

 

So, for those churches that are against same-sex marriage, the choice will come down to bottom lines: their accountant's vs.the Bible's. In order to keep any cash flow from weddings, they must allow same-sex ceremonies in their institutions. 

Read more

International priest organizations, lay leaders meet to discuss church reform
Christine Schenk          Oct.17, 2013
 

Convened by the charismatic Fr. Helmut Schüller of the Austrian Priests' Initiative and Deacon Markus Heil, spokesman for Parish Initiative: Switzerland, the high-energy, professionally facilitated gathering drew about 30 people. Among them were leaders of lay movements and priest associations from the United States, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Switzerland and Austria.

 . . . .

An important underlying commonality for participants was the shared struggle of ministering in the midst of a steadily worsening priest shortage.
 . . . .

Throughout the conference, the topic of the parish as a self-determining "subject" recurred. An important emerging strategy named the need to empower parishioners to discern the destiny of their parish homes themselves, especially in light of the failure of the institutional church to address the priest shortage.

. . . . 

A recurring topic was that of rights in the church, including the rights of women and all laity to participate in church decision-making. Rose-Milavec and Heiser led discussions about how to help the Vatican include real families in the upcoming Synod on the Family, scheduled for October 2014.

 

"I want all women -- married, single, young, old -- to be able to participate in church decision-making," Rose-Milavec said. "I want women at the Synod on the Family, and I want women to help elect the next pope."

 

Another key issue for reformist priests and laity alike is difficulties experienced in engaging bishops in genuine dialogue.

Read more

Cashflight prelate gets house arrest
ANSA      Oct.25, 2013
 

A Rome court on Friday upheld arequest by Msgr Nunzio Scarano, a disgraced Vatican prelate at the centre of a money-laundering scandal, to be released to house arrest. Scarano was arrested in June on suspicion of planning to elude customs with 20 million euros in cash for a family of boat-builders he was friends with. 


He has denied charges that he conspired with a former Italian spy and a financial broker to try to secretly repatriate 20 million euros of laundered money from Switzerland to Italy. The court has rejected an appeal for house arrest for Giovanni Maria Zito, an agent in the AISI intelligence agency,and Rome broker Giovanni Carenzio, who were also arrested along with Scarano. 

Read more

Benedict XVI was very surprised by Gotti Tedeschi's ousting
Andrea Tornielli       Oct.22, 2013
 

Pope Benedict XVI was clearly in the dark about the clamorous ousting of the former president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. The circumstances surround his dismissal and the way this took place were a first in the history of the Holy See. Attempts were made to besmirch his personal and professional reputation, as mentioned in the list of reasons the Vatican bank's (IOR) board gave for Gotti Tedeschi's dismissal. The document was signed by Carl Anderson, chairman of the board of the Knights of Columbus.

 

Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and Benedict XVI's secretary, confirmed this in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, published in today's issue. "I remember that moment well. It was 24 May. It was the same day Benedict XVI's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested. Contrary to what many people think, there is no link between the two events. It was just an unfortunate and diabolical coincidence."

. . . .

 "Benedict XVI, who appointed Gotti as head of the IOR to carry on the [Vatican's] transparency policy, was surprised, very surprised at the no confidence vote against the professor. The Pope held him in high esteem and was fond of him but he chose not to interfere at the time, out of respect for those who were responsible for dealing with such matters. After the no-confidence vote, even though he was not able to meet with Gotti, the Pope kept in touch with him in a discreet and appropriate way," Ratzinger's secretary said. 

Read more

Vatican finance reform shows different opinions about process
Andrea Gagliarducci     Oct 21, 2013
 
As Vatican City commits to financial transparency, the hiring of a risk-management company to review the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See may reveal differing opinions about financial reform.

The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See - APSA - is the office that handles the Vatican's investment portfolio and its real estate holdings, as well as serving as the Vatican employment office and procurements agency.

APSA announced Oct. 15 that a "due diligence" review by the Promontory Financial Group had begun. Promontory had already been hired to review all the accounts and the procedures of the Institute for Religious Works, the so-called 'Vatican bank'.

Due diligence is the "evaluation of risks" in investments and loans, particularly with regards to the clients in a bank.

However, APSA is not a bank. The Holy See told evaluators from Moneyval, the European Council committee that evaluates adherence to anti-money laundering standards, that while APSA holds some accounts, such banking-type activity is minimal and will be closed. 

Read more

BELARUS: Why is Catholic priest still detained by KGB secret police?
Olga Glace,       Oct.22, 2013

 

Four and a half months after Belarus' KGB secret police arrested Catholic priest Fr Vladislav Lazar on 31 May, it is still unclear why he was arrested or what specific acts he is accused of having committed, Forum 18 News Service notes.

 

Fr Lazar is being held in a KGB detention centre under conditions which have been described as designed to crush the spirit. He has - against international human rights law - been denied visits from his family, friends and fellow-clergy, including Papal Nuncio Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. Fr Lazar has been charged with treason, which carries a punishment of between seven and 15 years in jail, but the authorities have refused to reveal details of their allegations.

 

Curiously, the charges were first revealed by the Catholic Church three and half months after the arrest, not by the authorities. The KGB secret police has bullied Fr Lazar's family, but campaigns for him continue. Pope Francis has also expressed his concern, and many in Belarus are convinced the priest is innocent. "The case is falling apart and everyone understands that the charges sound funny", journalist and family friend Lyubov Lunyova toldForum 18.

Read more

An open letter to Pope Francis about Bishop Robert Finn
Bill Tammeus   Oct.30, 2013
 

Dear Holy Father:

I write as a brother in Christ to say -- in words echoing what John Dean, former counsel to President Richard Nixon, once told Nixon in the midst of the Watergate scandal -- that there's a cancer growing on your remarkably hopeful papacy.

 

Radically unlike Nixon's mess, this one is not of your making, but only you can fix it.

You must remove Robert W. Finn as bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese. His continued presence there mocks the good-faith efforts the church is making to respond to the crisis of priests sexually abusing children.

. . . .

I've met Finn several times and I interviewed him in some depth when he first came to Kansas City. I see him now and then at various events and he's always been friendly toward me in public and seems an affable man.

 

But none of this is about me, and it really isn't about Finn, either. It's about the church you have been chosen to lead, Holy Father. And it's about how to make it clear to members of your global community that church leaders understand what happened in the abuse scandal and are committed to do all you can to respond in compassion, love and justice.

Compassion, love and justice require Finn's removal from office.

. . . . 
You have brought hope and joy to the church. And you can keep up that momentum, but not if you let Finn stay in office. Please act now. 

Read more

Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former award-winning faith columnist for  
The Kansas City Star, writes the daily 
 
"Faith Matters" blog  for the Star's website and a monthly column for The Presbyterian Outlook.

    

O'Malley meets with lawmakers
Lisa Wangsness & John R. Ellement       Oct.17, 2013
 

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley hosted some 60 state lawmakers at a breakfast meeting this morning that was meant to help rebuild his church's rapport with the Legislature.

 

The meeting, which was held at the private Union Club on Beacon Hill and closed to the press, was the first in which the cardinal has met with a large group of legislators since he became the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston in 2003.

 

O'Malley and his staff offered a broad overview of the archdiocese and its work, according to those who attended, highlighting the church's youth programs, assistance to immigrants, parochial schools, and care for the poor in 144 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts.

 

Hot button social issues such as contraception, abortion, and gay marriage did not come up, according to several legislators who attended, nor did pending legislation on extending the statute of limitations for abuse, which the Catholic church has opposed.

Read more

Upcoming Events   

 

Collegiality in Church Leadership 

The Church in the 21st Century Center 

 

Presenters: Mary McAleese (former President of Ireland & Canon lawyer) interviewed by Richard R. Gaillardetz (professor, Theology Department) 


Vatican II presented a clear vision of the Catholic Church as infused with broad ecclesial participation and co-responsibility. Mary McAleese and Richard Gaillardetz will discuss Vatican II's notion of collegiality in which power and responsibility are shared between the Pope and the college of bishops and how this vision has yet to be realized in the present day.

 November 7, 2013 | 6:00 p.m

Cadigan Alumni Center Atrium, Brighton Campus 

Registration

 

The Future of Priestly Celibacy

by 

 
Fr. Donald Cozzens
 
  
FutureChurch Teleconference Series
  

November 20, 2013

 
Together we'll explore parts of Cozzens' award-winning and best-selling Freeing Celibacy (2006) and Notes from the Underground: The Spiritual Journal of a Secular Priest (Orbis Books, 2013). Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions as well. 
Session 1:   12:30pm - 1:30pm (EST) 

Session 2: 8:30pm - 9:30pm (EST)

Sign up and download the readings 

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