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Guided by the Spirit
Teresa White FCJ                                           May 17, 2013

A few years ago on Pentecost Sunday, the homilist at Mass, commenting on the reading from chapter 2 of Acts of the Apostles, compared the Holy Spirit to a satellite navigation device. At first I thought it an unattractive idea, prosaic in the extreme. Not only did it belittle the Spirit to liken it to a handy gadget, I felt, but it failed to honour the poetry and mystery of the Third Person of the Trinity.


But reflecting on the idea later that day, I began to warm to it. Perhaps because I have such an abysmal sense of direction and have discovered by personal experience just how helpful a sat nav can be, I felt the simile was not only justified but remarkably apt. A sat nav guides the driver, and although it repeats its instructions more than once if you do not follow them, it does not attempt to force you to do what it tells you. Its most appealing feature, in my opinion, is that if you persist in ignoring what the disembodied but clearly audible voice suggests, it recalculates and proposes an alternative route. The only thing you have to do is make sure you switch on the device and give it time to warm up and tune in to the satellite signals. Then you just watch the screen, listen to the directives and make your own decision about whether or not to follow them.


So how, we could ask, do we tune in to the Spirit? First and foremost, like the driver to the sat nav, we need to be attentive to God's presence and power in our lives. The gift of the Spirit is never forced upon us. All we have to do is to open ourselves freely to receive the new life it offers. John V. Taylor says, 'The Spirit is as free and unpredictable as the wind which blows where it wills. You simply ask for it; ask and wait trustfully; and let yourself come alive. Have the courage to lower the barriers, and welcome life'. Hildegard of Bingen has the same message. 'The Holy Spirit ... is radiant life,' she wrote, 'awakening and enlivening all things'. On a sat nav, we set our own destinations, to which we believe we will be taken. Could we be said to do the same, in a spiritual sense, by seeking the Kingdom of God? 

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Opinion: A Fair Shake in Rome?
Robert Schutzius                                          May 2013
If 57,000 U.S. religious women represented by the LCWR can't get a fair shake and a just hearing in Rome, what chance does anyone else have?  One would think that the U. S. bishops would have come to the defense of these religious women who have dedicated their lives to building up the Church in their dioceses, but alas, it appears that they turned a blind eye to what was taking place or, worse yet, they encouraged it, and maybe even some "arranged" it.  Did any of them speak out in defense of the nuns? 
Finally, the head of the Vatican department that oversees men's and women's religious orders, Brazilian CardinalJoão Braz de Aviz, head of the Vatican's Congregation for religious came forward and confessed that "he was left in the dark" about the Vatican investigation that led to the makeover/takeover of the largest umbrella group for American nuns.  Most likely the election of the South American Pope Francis gave him the courage to speak up and describe how the clamp-down on the US nuns came about.  "Someone", with lots of power and influence, railroaded the investigation and persecution of the nuns by by-passing the very Roman Catholic Curia Congregation of Religious that is in charge of overseeing the religious orders.  How could that be?
Most likely we will never learn how this came about, which is not good news.  We are left with speculation and finger-pointing at the most logical culprits, or at least the ones who have the most to gain by the intended, controlling, outcome, namely -  the U.S. Bishops.  Our wonderful U.S. women religious are much closer to the pew Catholics than the bishops, as they serve in our parishes, our schools, hospitals and wherever there is people in need.  The are educated, and more experienced with real life than most bishops and are prepared and inspired to follow their conscience to deal with the needs of people.  And they own property and resources. 
Our bishops are not going to get off their thrones, stick their necks out, and speak up for the nuns. And maybe they can't.  But we can.  We cannot vote for our bishops, but we can vote by our envelopes, and the nuns deserve all the help we can give them.  Talk to them before you appeal anything to Rome.   
Bob Schutzius is an ARCC Presidential Advisor and Office Manager.
Some things we have been reading   
Pope Francis warns against 'cult of money,' urges more help for poor
UPI      May 16, 2013

Pope Francis Thursday blamed the global economic crisis on "the cult of money" and urged reform to promote the common good and help the poor.


Speaking to newly accredited ambassadors to the Vatican, the pope said money "has to serve, not to rule," Catholic News Service reported. He told his audience humanity has "created new idols" and said growing social and economic troubles result from "our relationship with money and our acceptance of its power over ourselves and our society."

. . . .

"We have begun this culture of disposal," he said, in which people themselves are "considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away," while a minority of people accumulate "exponentially" increasing wealth while income "is crumbling" for the majority.

. . . .

"Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life," he said, quoting St. John Chrysostom. "It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs."
Sanders praises pope's condemnation of 'cult of money'
Burlington Free Press Staff      May 16, 2013

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today applauded Pope Francis for condemning a "cult of money" in the world that he said was oppressing the poor.

 . . . .

Sanders commended the pope. "At a time when the gap between rich and everyone else is growing wider, at a time when Wall Street and large financial institutions are exerting extraordinary power over the American and world economy, I applaud the pope for speaking out on these enormously important issues," Sanders said. 

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Vatican religious prefect: 'I was left out of LCWR finding' 
Joshua J. McElwee    May. 5, 2013

The controversial Vatican decision last year to place the main representative group of U.S. Catholic sisters under the control of bishops was made without consultation or knowledge of the Vatican office that normally deals with matters of religious life, the office's leader said Sunday.

That lack of discussion over whether to sharply criticize the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), said Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, caused him "much pain."

"We have to change this way of doing things," said Braz de Aviz, head of the Vatican's Congregation for Religious.
 . . . .

Braz de Aviz, who has led the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life since 2011, made the comments Sunday during an open dialogue session with some 800 leaders of sisters' communities at the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General.

Answering questions from the sister leaders for over an hour and a half, Braz de Aviz spoke openly, referring several times to tensions between sisters and bishops on church authority, questions of obedience, and the future of religious life.  

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Vatican doctrine office confused by cardinal's LCWR comments 
Estefania Aguirre       May 7, 2013 


The Vatican's doctrine congregation has released a statement saying the media misreported a cardinal's remarks about the ongoing reform of a group of American sisters, but an inside source at the department says it is confused because the matter is their "exclusive responsibility."


An official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith told CNA May 7 on the condition of anonymity that it is "perplexed" by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz saying it did not discuss with him their decision to require an American group of religious superiors to undergo reform.


"We are perplexed because the matter is the exclusive responsibility of the congregation and we aren't stepping on anyone's toes," the source said early on Tuesday afternoon. 

Read more



A Vatican cardinal pulls back the curtain 
 John Thavis        May 6, 2013  


The comments Sunday by Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, on how the Vatican's handling of the investigation of a group of U.S. Catholic sisters caused him "much pain," are stunning for several reasons.

First, the cardinal made it clear that the decision last year to insist on reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest group of U.S. sisters, was taken without consultation with his own office, the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders around the world. 


That opens a window on how little communication occurs between Vatican offices, even on matters that clearly require a joint approach and careful deliberation.

It also underlines how the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which issued the assessment of LCWR last year, continues to act as if there is no need for dialogue - not even with others in the Roman Curia.

As Cardinal Braz de Aviz said, the whole episode illustrates a power struggle dynamic at work inside the Vatican. "This struggle of who is going to win is not good," he said. 

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Pope to Nuns: Don't Be Old Maids 
Nicole Winfield      May 7, 2013

Pope Francis has told nuns from around the world that they must be spiritual mothers and not "old maids."

Francis also warned the sisters against using their vocations for personal ambition, saying priests and sisters who do so "do more harm to the church."

Francis has complained frequently about such "careerism" in the church - a buzzword that is frequently used to describe Holy See bureaucrats.

The pope made the comments during an audience Wednesday with about 800 sisters attending an assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, which gathers the leaders of women's religious orders from some 75 countries.  

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Let's stop defining women by fertility and motherhood 
Elizabeth Lefebvre    May 9, 2013

It's been an interesting week for women in the church. First, there was the back and forth between prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and the Vatican over who knew what about the crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.


Then yesterday Pope Francis gave a somewhat odd speech while addressing women religious from 75 countries who were attending a gathering of International Union of Superiors General. He urged the women religious to be fertile spiritual mothers in the church, as opposed to being old maids or spinsters. The pope said that the nuns' vow of chastity must be "fertile" and generate "spiritual children in the church."  


So, even being an unmarried, celibate women still means that the church will define you by fertility and maternity? Continuing to define women by themes of motherhood and maternity undermines the real progress that has been made in the ways that we think about women. The church doesn't ask priests and monks to be "manly." Why then does it insist that women must be nurturing mothers?  

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Pope Francis elected after supernatural 'signs' in the Conclave - Cardinal
John Bingham      May 14, 2013

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict, said he had personally had two "strong signs" that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was "the chosen one" in the run up to vote.


He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal - who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts - was elected.


Speaking to an Anglican conference in London, he also said the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, had a "strange similarity" to the new Pope.

He said that the two elections were a "little miracle" and a "sign from the Lord" that the two churches should work towards closer unity.

. . . .

"We were driven by the Holy Spirit to this man - he was sitting in the last corner of the Sistine Chapel: This man he is the chosen one."


He added: "I received at least two strong signs: one I can tell, the other was in the Conclave I can't speak about - but real signs of the Lord giving me indication 'he is the one'."


The Cardinal said that just after a special mass before the Conclave began he came across a couple from Latin America who are friends of his.


He said: "I met them outside the Basilica and I asked: 'You have the Holy Spirit, can you give me advice for the Conclave that will start in a few hours?'


"And the woman whispered in my ear 'Bergoglio', and it hit me really: if these people say Bergoglio, that's an indication of the Holy Spirit. 

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Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Tawadros II, Head of Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt 
VIS    May 10, 2013

The visit of Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark, "strengthens the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that already exist between the See of Peter and the See of Mark, heir to an inestimable heritage of martyrs, theologians, holy monks, and faithful disciples of Christ, who have borne witness to the Gospel from generation to generation, often in situations of great adversity," said Pope Francis on receiving the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt this morning. The pontiff remarked on the memorable meeting that took place, 40 years ago, between the predecessors of both, Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III, which united them "in an embrace of peace and fraternity, after centuries of mutual distance."
. . . .

The Bishop of Rome expressed his joy at being able to recognize one another as "united by one Baptism, of which our common prayer is a special expression that looks forward to the day when, in fulfillment of the Lord's desire, we will be able to drink together from the one cup."  
. . . .
 The Pope also thanked the Patriarch for his care toward the Coptic Catholic Church that has been expressed, among other things, in the establishment of a "National Council of Christian Churches". This undertaking "represents an important sign of the will of all believers in Christ to develop relations in daily life that are increasingly fraternal and to put themselves at the service of the whole of Egyptian society, of which they form an integral part. 

Coptic pope
 Read more
Pope to visit Brazil slum, meet prisoners, on first trip
Philip Pullella      May 7, 2013  

Pope Francis will visit the poor in a favela and meet young prisoners when he travels to Brazil on his first international trip as pontiff in July, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Francis, who has said he wants to make concern for the poor a hallmark of his papacy, will visit the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro on the fourth day of his July 22-29 trip to the world's largest Catholic country.

Manguinhos is one of Rio's most visible favelas, wedged between a busy highway and a former oil refinery and near the main airport and large military bases.

. . . .
The pope will also meet young prisoners who will be brought to the archbishop's residence for the occasion.

The main purpose of the trip is for the pope to preside at the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth, an international gathering sometimes dubbed a "Catholic Woodstock" that takes place in a different city every two years.

The World Day of Youth celebrations start on July 23 and end on July 28.  

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2 months before Pope's visit, Brazil judicial panel clears way for gay marriage 
Laura Bonilla       May 15, 2013

A top judicial panel cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Brazil on Tuesday, ruling that gay couples could not be denied marriage licenses.

The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples.

. . . .
The move comes just over two months before Pope Francis attends World Youth Day in Brazil, the country with the most Catholics in the world -- 123 million of its 194 million inhabitants. 

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Silence still shrouds kidnapped Orthodox prelates. Bishop of Aleppo: We're groping in the dark 
Asia News        May 8, 2013

Silence still shrouds the plight of the Orthodox Bishops kidnapped on April 22 on the outskirts of Aleppo. For weeks, the Greek-orthodox Patriarchate has been trying to establish contacts to start a negotiation and cannot understand the reasons behind the act, which remains unexplained. 


Interviewed by Asia News, Mgr. Jeanclement Jeanbart, the Greek-Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, said that "we are groping in the dark", "the situation - he explains - is very delicate, for safety reasons the Orthodox Patriarchate is keeping quiet to avoid generating false news." For the prelate, the only thing certain is that no one knows where Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji and the two priests kidnapped in February are. "We Catholics - he adds - are close to our Orthodox brothers and sisters, with prayer and with our constant physical and moral presence."  

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Does the church really need a second Fortnight for Freedom? 
Scott Alessi     May 3, 2013

If at first they don't succeed, the U.S. bishops are determined to try, try again. And so this summer, the bishops have announced they will sponsor the second annual Fortnight for Freedom campaign, another two weeks devoted to trying to prove that Catholics' religious freedom in the United States is in grave danger. 

 . . . .

So will the second Fortnight prove more successful than the first? That seems unlikely, since the bishops' religious liberty concerns have garnered a lot less attention in general without a presidential election looming. And even if the campaign were to get more Catholics on board this year, it is doubtful that a louder outcry from the church than we've already heard would make much of a difference in the federal government's policies.  

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Diocese, Bishop Finn settle lawsuit involving Ratigan photographs 
Judy L. Thomas     May 15, 2013

The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese has settled a civil lawsuit involving a priest convicted last year of possessing and producing child pornography.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court against the diocese, Bishop Robert Finn and the Rev. Shawn Ratigan by the parents of a young northern Missouri girl, was settled late Tuesday for $600,000, attorneys for the girl's family said.

It is the diocese's largest settlement in a single priest sex abuse case, they said.  

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Cleveland Catholic bishop and breakaway congregation continue talks
Michael O'Malley     May 13, 2013

The two sides met earlier this month to discuss the community's secession and the setting up of its own worship space in a renovated warehouse, actions that led to the excommunication in March of the group's pastor, the Rev. Robert Marrone.


During the 1 1/2-hour meeting on May 3, Lennon told the representatives -- members of the community's board of trustees -- that Catholic worship outside the authority of the diocese is a violation of church teachings, according to a report of the meeting in the community's recent newsletter.

. . . .

The meeting was the first between Lennon and the trustees since he closed their church, St. Peter Catholic Church, in downtown Cleveland in 2010 as part of a diocese wide downsizing.


That same year, Marrone and more than 300 St. Peter's parishioners, determined to stay together and keep their priest, set up a nonprofit group, the Community of St. Peter, and rented commercial space in a century-old building on Euclid Avenue at East 71st Street.


They have been celebrating Sunday Mass, baptisms and other sacraments in the space since then, despite warnings from Lennon that their salvation was at stake. 

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Cleveland's Community of St. Peter and Bishop Lennon continue their "conversation"
Bryan Cones      May 16, 2013

In the annals of parishes who have resisted their closings, Cleveland's St. Peter Parish takes the cake. Though shut down in 2010 by Bishop Richard Lennon, more than 300 parishioners instead decided to create their own non-profit and rent space in downtown Cleveland to continue their ministry. Though Bishop Lennon has declared their pastor, Father Robert Marrone, excommunicated, and the Sunday Eucharist of the Community of St. Peter "outside the governance" of the diocese and a violation of church teaching (church law, maybe), the community continues to meet--and argue with the diocese about its continued existence, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

. . . .

St. Peter's to me embodies what is possible when every baptized person takes seriously their call to ministry. As the conflict with the diocese shows, sticky points about authority and ownership need to be worked out. But imagine the possibilities. 

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Cardinal Dolan Uses NYPD To Bar Gay Catholics.
David Badash      May 5, 2013

Cardinal Timothy Dolan today used the NYPD to prohibit from Sunday worship services gay Catholics and their allies by barring their entry into NYC's historic St. Patrick's Cathedral, the iconic home of the Roman Catholic Church in New York.

The small group of silent Catholic protestors were threatened with arrest by a New York City Police detective - unless they first washed their hands.

The ten Catholics, who are LGBT and not LGBT, and even parents of LGBT people, were responding to Cardinal Dolan's April 25 blog post, "All Are Welcome!," which tells gay people who wish to participate in the Catholic faith, you must first "wash your hands!" They labeled their actions today a "Dirty Hands Vigil." 

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Cardinal O'Malley releases statement on Irish Prime Minister's invitation to Boston College
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley      May 10, 2013



Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church's social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies. 


Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College's graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation.

. . . .

Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops' directives.  

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Irish government said to be furious over statement condemning Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny 
Niall O'Dowd      May 12, 2013 

Did Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley renege on a deal over the controversy surrounding Irish Prime Minister EndaKenny's appearance as the commencement speaker at Boston College?


Irish government sources strongly believe he did and the level of anger towards the cardinal has left some of them spitting fire.


In addition, Boston College authorities are said by Irish government sources to be deeply upset at the turn of events that has left the prospect of large anti-abortion protests at Kenny's appearance on May 20th very likely. 

 . . . .

According to my sources O'Malley had indicated agreement with a plan that would see him absent on the day at Boston College but with a plausible reason not directly related to Kenny for not attending.


That way he would have signalled his disapproval but not become embroiled in the controversy that has now been stoked by his comments.


They point out that O'Malley had recently warmly and very publically  greeted President Obama at the interfaith services for Boston victims of the marathon bombing despite Obama's position as far more pro-active on defending abortion than Kenny.


The Irish government made the case firmly that EndaKenny had very reluctantly introduced the minimal legislation that safeguards the life of the mother on the back of a Supreme Court judgement that mandated he or some future Irish government had to do it.  

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Legion priest leaves priesthood to care for son 
Associated Press      May 11, 2013 

A prominent American priest of the Legion of Christ religious order has decided to leave the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child years ago.

The Legion said Saturday the Rev. Thomas Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and television personality, had asked Pope Francis to be relieved of his celibacy and other priestly obligations. A friend, the Rev. John Connor, wrote in a Legion blog that Williams wanted to care for his son and the mother.


After Williams' admission, the Legion's then-superior acknowledged he had known for years about the child, yet allowed Williams to continue teaching and preaching morality. It was another blow to a congregation discredited by revelations that its founder was a pedophile who built a cult-like order which the Vatican is trying to reform. 



Gingrich: LGBT rights fight 'one sided' because Catholics are oppressed too 
David Edwards      May 5, 2013   

Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Sunday said that the debate over rights for LGBT people was "one sided" because Catholics were also being oppressed.

During a panel discussion on NBC's Meet the Press about gay NBA player Jason Collins, Gingrich quickly tried to change the subject from equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans to religious discrimination.

"I haven't heard you say if you think a Republican nominee for president can support gay marriage," NBC host David Gregory asked Gingrich.

"I doubt it," the former House Speaker replied. "I think that's up in the air, because I do think things are changing."

"But what I'm struck with is the one-sidedness of the desire for rights," Gingrich continued. "There are no rights for Catholics to have adoption services in Massachusetts, they're outlawed. There are no rights in D.C. for Catholics to have adoption services, they're outlawed. This passing reference to religion - 'We sort of respect religion.' Well, sure. As long as you don't practice it."  

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Sheldon Whitehouse: God Won't Save Us From Climate Catastrophe 
Michael McAuliff        May 9, 2013

God will not save us, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) declared in a Senate floor speech on climate change Wednesday that sounded more like a sermon than a political appeal.

Whitehouse has made it his personal mission for more than a year to highlight the catastrophic consequences of climate change every week. His zeal became downright evangelical Wednesday evening, apparently inspired by hearing a fellow senator assert that God won't let people ruin the planet.

In a powerful 17-minute speech, Whitehouse argued that such sentiments amounted to "magical thinking" and smug arrogance that do not gibe with the Bible, let alone reason.

"If we believe in an all-powerful God, then we must then believe that God gave us this earth, and we must in turn believe that God gave us its laws of gravity, of chemistry, of physics," Whitehouse said.

"We must also believe that God gave us our human powers of intellect and reason. He gives us these powers so that we his children can learn and understand earth's natural laws," Whitehouse said.

Time to Wake Up: Magical Thinking on Climate Change 

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Mahony unbound
Grant Gallicho      May 10, 2013

Remember how in January, after nearly a decade of legal filibustering, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles finally made public the priest-personnel files it agreed to release as part of a 2007 settlement with abuse victims, except the files were heavily redacted, and remember how those files contained damning memos detailing the lengths to which archdiocesan officials - including Cardinal Roger Mahony - went to shield abuser-priests from civil authorities, and how soon after those memos made news, Archbishop Jose Gomez garnered praise for announcing that Mahony would "no longer have any administrative or public duties," and how several media outlets reported that Mahony had been "barred from public ministry," except he really hadn't, and then he took to his blog to dress down Gomez for "not once over these past years...[raising] any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors," yet, as Mahony's then-spokesman explained, he had "cleared his calendar of confirmation appointments this year"? Well, he's doing them again.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Since Easter, he has officiated at eight services, including one last week in which he anointed more than 120 youths at a Wilmington parish.

His presence has caused controversy, with some parents threatening to pull their children from the liturgies and at least one parish priest asking that Mahony not attend. It has also raised questions about why Gomez's rebuke of Mahony, an unprecedented move that won him praise from victims and their supporters around the world, had so little lasting effect.

You don't say. Gomez's letter did not include anything specific about the alleged change in Mahony's status. And, as an archbishop, Gomez does not have the authority to restrict the ministry of a cardinal. (Only a pope can do that.) But he does have the authority to say who presides over confirmations in the archdiocese. Have a look at the letter. Sorry, is that link broken? It seems the letter is no longer available on the website of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. (The L.A. Times cached a copy here.) Odd that the archdiocese's archive of press releases includes a January 22 apology from auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, who played a part in archdiocesan efforts to conceal accused priests from the law (and who really did cancel confirmations this spring), along with Gomez's statement on the release of the priest-personnel files, dated January 31 - the same date on his statement on Mahony. Did that document disappear down the memory hole? 

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Legendary L.A. church official was accused of molestation
Harriet Ryan      May 13, 2013

Two men came forward to say that a prominent leader of the Los Angeles archdiocese during the post-war boom years molested them, the L.A. Times reported Sunday.

Msgr. Benjamin Hawkes was a power broker in Los Angeles during that era. The second-in-command to two cardinals, he ran the Los Angeles church for three decades, a span during which it grew into the largest, most diverse, and by some counts, wealthiest archdiocese in the nation.


His knack for money and real estate gave him influence from Rome to Hollywood. He socialized with real estate titans, advised Vatican officials and even taught actor Robert DeNiro how to play a priest for a film role inspired by Hawkes' life.


But Hawkes' revered place in the archdiocese's history is being reconsidered in light of the recent release of his confidential church personnel file. The file, made public in January in a lawsuit against the church, shows that 10 years after his 1985 death, two men came forward to say Hawkes had sexually abused them as teenagers.


"I went into shock," said prominent California historian Kevin Starr, who has written about Hawkes. "This was a great big commanding figure.... A celebrity."

Read more


A controversial Broadway play on the Virgin Mary closes Why?
David Gibson    May 7, 2013 


A Tony-nominated play that offered a controversial take on the Virgin Mary reflecting on her life held its final performance on Sunday (May 5), closing after only two weeks as poor ticket sales never matched high expectations. 

 . . . .

So what went wrong with "Mary"? 

. . . .

Yes, "The Testament of Mary" garnered a Tony nomination for best play, but that came off almost as a consolation prize. And some critics, especially those with a theological bent, like Charles Austin of Religion News Service, did enjoy the religious speculations that the drama prompted.

Yet many others saw a theatrical mismatch between a finely tuned book and an overwrought play. "Stiff with its own seriousness, it's a Broadway show that wants to impress us with its anti-Broadway intellectualism, while straining for a big, tricked-out success," wrote The New Yorker's Hilton Als. "One of the greater disappointments" of the Broadway season, agreed Ben Brantley of The New York Times.   

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Newark Archdiocese hires renowned defense lawyer as Bergen County prosecutor investigates Fugee case 
Jeff Green       May 8, 2013

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark has hired Michael Critchley, a high-profile criminal defense lawyer, as prosecutors continue to investigate recent activities of a priest who confessed to molesting a 13-year-old boy more than a decade ago.


A spokesman for Archbishop John J. Myers on Wednesday confirmed that Critchley, a widely respected lawyer known for winning light sentences or outright acquittals in a string of high-profile criminal defenses, is representing the archdiocese for "additional legal help." 

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As criminal probe continues, senate president urges Newark archbishop to 'step down now' 
Mark Mueller   May 9, 2013 

Saying leaders "must be held to a higher standard," state Senate President Stephen Sweeney yesterday joined in calls for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers to resign over his supervision of a priest who violated a lifetime ban on ministry to children.

Sweeney (D-Gloucester) is at least the fourth New Jersey politician to wade into the controversy over the Rev. Michael Fugee, the subject of a criminal investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

"As the days go on, it becomes clearer and clearer that Archbishop Myers cannot remain in his position," Sweeney said in a statement.

While politicians rarely venture into the affairs of the Roman Catholic church, let alone demand the resignation of an archbishop, Myers' role in the Fugee case has become a lightning rod for criticism from around the nation.  

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To Understand the Catholic Hierarchy's Troubles, Look to Newark's Scandal 
Michael D'Antonio       May 9, 2013 

Often lost in the shadow of the Archdiocese of New York, and its larger-than-life cardinal, Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., is attracting national attention these days for all the wrong reasons. It is now the site of one of the more pathetic episodes in official Catholicism's sex abuse scandal, a case so badly mishandled that it reveals, by example, why the hierarchy can't seem to end its long running crisis. 

. . . .

What is remarkable about the Fugee case is not the fact of a man violating the terms of an agreement with criminal authorities, although this is egregious. More troubling is the lack of supervision by Fugee's archbishop John J. Myers and the church's official reaction to the Star-Ledger's reporting. At first church authorities challenged the accuracy of the reports. Then they claimed Fugee had actually been closely supervised. Both positions have since been reversed.  


Archbishop Myer's credibility is weakened by his prior record. In 2009 he assigned Fugee to work as a hospital chaplain, where he could access children. Fugee was fired when hospital officials learned of his record. Myers then named Fugee co-director of an office responsible for training priests. This hardly seems appropriate, given his own difficulties as a priest.
. . . .

Anyone who wonders why Catholic officials have had trouble putting to rest the clerical sex abuse scandal that began in 1985, need only consider this current case. John Myers has been a bishop since 1987, nearly the entire length of the scandal, and still he cannot recognize a problem priest and deal with him effectively. 

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Cardinal Dolan and America's troubled Catholic Church 
Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo      May 13, 2013  

Cardinal Dolan, president of the USCCB, says he needs an "attractive, articulate, intelligent" woman as his personal spokesperson, claiming that "the days of fat, balding Irish bishops are over."  He has chosen Kim Daniels, a long-time effective advocate of conservative causes,  and ex-personal domestic policy czar to Sarah Palin.   Might one say that Daniels has gone "from Sarah Palin's brain to Cardinal Dolan's voice?"   But her promotion also signals that the cardinal as head of the USCCB has had more failures than successes. 

. . . .

I believe an honest appraisal would show that influence and respect for the USCCB is lower now than when Dolan assumed the office.  These are moments when I think his leadership struck out. 

. . . .

I consider it appalling that the president of the USCCB needs a personal spokesperson in addition to the USCCB's resident Sister Mary Ann Walsh.  Ensuring division among bishops to promote the influence of an individual cleric is never good.    

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Worcester bishop failed 3 sobriety exams 
Brian Ballou      May 7, 2013

Minutes after he allegedly hit a car in traffic and fled the scene Saturday night, Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester was so wobbly that a police officer halted his field sobriety test because he feared that McManus would fall and injure himself, according to a police report.

McManus's eyes fluttered and were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, and when he was asked to count he could not. McManus told the officer that "he may have hit a vehicle but he didn't realize he did.'' He ­refused a breathalyzer test.

Those details of McManus's arrest in Rhode Island are contained in a police report ­released Tuesday morning, ­after McManus was arraigned in the J. Howard McGrath Judicial Complex. He pleaded not guilty to charges of drunken driving and leaving the scene of property damage. 

. . . .

He was released on $1,000 bail.

Bishop McManus has to appear in the traffic tribunal next week on a charge of refusing a chemical test.  Then he's back in District Court on charges May 28.

McManus, a Rhode Island native, served as auxiliary bishop in Providence for five years. He has led the Worcester diocese since 2004.  

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Police colluded with priests, says detective 
Jason Gordon       May 7, 2013

A ''Catholic mafia'' within the ranks of Newcastle police colluded with church leaders to cover up sex abuse in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, an inquiry into the abuse has been told.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox told the inquiry on Monday that while on leave his office had been raided, he and other police had been pulled off investigations into the alleged cover-up of child sex abuse and a colleague told him about a ''Catholic mafia'' within the ranks of Newcastle police.

''I just didn't trust other police,'' he said.

The inquiry, headed by Commissioner Margaret Cunneen, was told police chose not to charge former Catholic Bishop Michael Malone with hindering police investigations into paedophile priests.

The inquiry was also told that senior police were gagged from talking to Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy, despite her being ''the genesis'' of a strikeforce investigating the cover-up of child sex abuse within the diocese.  

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MP denies whistleblower's 'Catholic mafia' claim
Dan Box       May 7, 2013


Nationals MP and former policeman Troy Grant will directly contradict evidence given by whistleblower Peter Fox about alleged police cover-ups of child abuse in the Catholic Church, an inquiry has heard. 

 . . . .

During the 2002 conversation between the then-serving officers, Mr Grant was also "highly critical of some senior police at Newcastle (whom) he perceived to be hindering his investigation", he said.

But counsel assisting the inquiry, Julia Lonergan SC, said Mr Grant, who will give evidence tomorrow, had signed a statement directly contradicting this claim. In this sworn statement, the member for Dubbo, in western NSW, denied using the phrase "Catholic mafia", or that the conversation took place as Mr Fox described.  

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Bishops Geoffrey Robinson and Bill Morris launch petition to the Vatican   Mon.dd, 2013

Sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been nothing short of an epidemic of catastrophic proportions. The devastation of victims, the ruination of priests and religious, the damage to a major world religion and its faithful are horrendous and incalculable.


Australian Bishops - Geoffrey Robinson and Bill Morris call on the new Pope to seize the opportunity of his appointment to not only sweep the Church clean but to put His /God's house in order for all time. 

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Former diocese of NH leader investigated for misuse of funds, improper relationship  
Rachel Zoll         May 7, 2013

The leader of one of the nation's top clergy treatment centers resigned Monday over allegations involving an inappropriate adult relationship and misuse of church funds in New Hampshire, where he previously served in numerous leadership positions with the Diocese of Manchester.

Msgr. Edward Arsenault held several senior positions in New Hampshire from 1999 to 2009 before becoming president and CEO of Saint Luke Institute in Maryland in October 2009. In New Hampshire, Arsenault had been former Bishop John McCormack's top lieutenant, handling the clergy sexual abuse crisis and being responsible for the church's new child protection policies.

The Diocese said Monday that it received allegations earlier this year regarding a potentially inappropriate relationship involving Arsenault. During its investigation, the diocese found evidence of improper financial transactions, and reported the matter to the attorney general's office.

In a statement, Bishop Peter Libasci said the diocese will cooperate fully with the investigation.  

Read more

Don't let spring turn to winter
Hans Küng      May 11, 2013

Who could have imagined what has happened in the last weeks? When I decided, some months ago, to resign all of my official duties on the occasion of my eighty-fifth birthday, I assumed that in my lifetime I would never see fulfilled my decades-long dream that - after all the setbacks following the Second Vatican Council - the Catholic Church would once again experience the kind of rejuvenation that it did under Pope John XXIII.


And now my theological companion of many decades, Joseph Ratzinger - both of us are now 85 - suddenly announced his resignation of his papal office effective from the end of February. And, on 19 March (his name day and my birthday), a new Pope with the surprising and programmatic name Francis assumed this office.

 . . . .

.... a Church in the spirit of Francis of Assisi means a Church of Good News and of joy, a theology based purely on the Gospel, a Church that listens to people instead of indoctrinating from on high, a Church that does not only teach but constantly learns anew.

. . . .

While no reasonable person will expect that all reforms can be effected by one man overnight, a shift would be possible in five years: this was shown by the Lorraine Pope Leo IX (1049-54) who prepared Gregory VII's reforms, and in the twentieth century by the Italian John XXIII (1958-63) who called the Second Vatican Council. But today the direction should be made clear again: not a restoration to pre-council times as there was under Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, but instead considered, planned and well-communicated steps to reform along the lines of the Second Vatican Council.  

. . . .

To conclude, I have a final question: what is to be done if our expectations of reform are dashed? The time is past when Pope and bishops could rely on the obedience of the faithful. A certain mysticism of obedience was also introduced by the eleventh-century Gregorian Reform: obeying God means obeying the Church and that means obeying the Pope and vice versa. Since that time, it has been drummed into Catholics that the obedience of all Christians to the Pope is a cardinal virtue; commanding and enforcing obedience - by whatever means - has become the Roman style. 


But the medieval equation of "obedience to God = to the Church = to the Pope" patently contradicts the word of Peter and the other apostles before the High Council in Jerusalem: "man must obey God rather than any human authority".


We should then in no way fall into resigned acceptance. Instead, faced with a lack of impulse towards reform from the hierarchy, we must take the offensive, pressing for reform from the bottom up.  If Pope Francis tackles reforms, he will find he has the wide approval of people far beyond the Catholic Church. 


However, if he allows things to continue as they are, without clearing the log-jam of reforms now in progress, such as that of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, then the call of "Time for outrage! Indignez-vous!" will ring out more and more in the Catholic Church, provoking reforms from the bottom up. These would be implemented without the approval of the hierarchy and frequently even in spite of the hierarchy's attempts at circumvention. 


In the worst case - as I wrote before the recent papal election - the Catholic Church will experience a new Ice Age instead of a spring and will run the risk of dwindling into a barely relevant large sect.  

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Pope Francis' First Crisis? Defiant Archbishop Refuses to Quit 
Santiago Wills       May 8, 2013 

The new pope's first crisis is not related to the Church's controversial position on contraceptives or proposals for female clergy. Rather, Pope Francis' first major quandary is getting rid of a Puerto Rican archbishop who, despite the Vatican's numerous requests, has repeatedly refused to step down.


The source of Pope Francis' current ordeal is Roberto Octavio González Nieves, the outspoken Archbishop of San Juan, who has been accused by Vatican emissaries of allegedly protecting pedophile priests, abusing his power, promoting Puerto Rican independence from the U.S., and supporting a law that could grant same-sex couples living together hereditary rights and health benefits, according to the Vatican Insider.


González Nieves was confronted by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the current prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and denied the allegations during a tense meeting in Puerto Rico on December 15, 2012. In the course of the discussion, the Vatican envoy subtly asked González Nieves to resign and to ask the Church for a new position elsewhere.


Nearly two months later, González Nieves sent Ouellet an angry missive that was recently leaked to the Puerto Rican press.


"Injustices, persecutions, defamations, fact-meddling, and unjust and biased enquiries should never amount to legal sources or just causes for a Bishop to resign," González Nieves wrote. "Therefore, this servant [of the Church] wants to state that he will never resign to the Archbishopric of San Juan de Puerto Rico when there is no reason to do so."  

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Puerto Rico Catholics support archbishop 
Danica Coto      May 8, 2013

Roman Catholics in Puerto Rico rallied Wednesday around an archbishop who is apparently under pressure from the Vatican to resign for allegedly covering up for sexually abusive priests and other misdeeds.


Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves has not confirmed that he is being asked to step down as leader of the Catholic Church in the U.S. island territory. However, he has asked parishioners to pray for him.


"I beg of you, please, do not send letters to the Holy See with expressions of solidarity. There is only one thing to do in situations like these: Pray," he wrote in a May 3 letter that was read to churchgoers last Sunday. "I know the last two weeks have been intense and painful for all of us for reasons you already know."


A rally of support Wednesday evening coincided with Gonzalez's 14th anniversary at the Puerto Rican archdiocese. He had previously studied and worked in New York, Texas, Maryland and Massachusetts. The 62-year-old was born in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico at a young age.  

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Polish Church 'sex abuse' exposé ends in violence
France 24     May 16, 2013

An attempted interview by two FRANCE 24 journalists with a Polish priest accused of paedophilia ended in a violent confrontation on Sunday. The video has caused consternation in Poland, where the event has seemingly underscored rising tensions over the Catholic Church's alleged efforts to cover up sex abuse.


FRANCE 24's correspondent Gulliver Cragg and cameraman Tomasz Lubik requested an interview with the priest and as a result were briefly held against their will on May 12. The parish priest in the city of Szczecin invited them into the rectory, locked the door and tried to physically prevent them from leaving. The two journalists eventually managed to escape when the priest dropped his keys. 

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Axed archbishop Keith O'Brien is to become Roamin' Catholic
Gail Cameron     May 16, 2013

The disgraced 75-year-old cleric - who admitted "inappropriate conduct" over claims by four priests - was ordered by the Vatican to quit Scotland for "prayer and penance".

In a statement yesterday, the Catholic Church confirmed his departure was "in agreement with the Holy Father". It said: "His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien... will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer and penance."


It added: "Any decision regarding future arrangements for his eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See."

. . . . 
 It emerged yesterday the fallen churchman, originally from Ballycastle, Co Antrim, was spotted flying to Rome's Ciampino airport last week.
. . . .

Yesterday air passenger Dickson McDonald, 52, told how he sat two rows behind the Cardinal on a flight from Edinburgh Airport to Rome last Wednesday.


He claimed the churchman - who walked with the aid of a stick - boarded the 6.30am Ryanair service with two other men, and remained sombre throughout the 2hr 50min trip.

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Banishing O'Brien answers some questions, raises others
Abigail Frymann      May 17, 2013

So Rome has ordered Cardinal Keith O'Brien to leave Scotland, three months after it was first reported that four priests and a former priests accused him of 'inappropriate acts'.


For a Prince of the Church this is a colossal and rare humiliation - not just for the owner of the red hat but also for the Vatican that gave it to him. The Church has no process for stripping a cardinal of his position in the way that it can remove a priest from ministry - O'Brien is not, as one national newspaper wrote this week, an 'ex-cardinal'.


Back in 2003, curiously, when he was given his red hat, O'Brien was made to swear an unusual oath that reaffirmed his allegiance to defending the Church's teaching, especially on priestly celibacy, the immorality of homosexual relations, and contraception.

. . . .
But re-read today, it also suggests some people in Rome knew or suspected something of what we now know, and had their reservations about his being promoted to the College of Cardinals.
 . . . .

The Vatican has to act and be seen to act with transparency and fairness with regards to O'Brien, his clergy, and the laity and others who are hurt, confused and angry. Spiriting away its worst behaved clergy doesn't help it against accusations that it would still prefer to cover up scandal. Let's face it, the Church is supposed to lead the secular world on moral issues, not follow reluctantly behind. 

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A saint-making record is also a diplomatic headache for Pope Francis 
Claudio Lavanga      May 12, 2013

Pope Francis canonized more than 800 Catholics in Saint Peter's Square Sunday - the largest number to be elevated to sainthood at once in the history of the Catholic Church.


The choice of some of the new saints was also striking, touching on the already-fragile relationship between Christianity and Islam.


The new saints included hundreds of laymen from the southern Italian port town of Otranto who were slain in the 15th century by the invading Ottoman Turkish army after they refused to convert to Islam.

. . . .

So why risk creating yet another inter-faith row with a celebration which some in the Muslim world may be seen as a provocation?


The answer is that it wasn't Pope Francis' choice in the first place. The decision to canonize the hundreds of Otranto martyrs was rubber-stamped by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on Feb. 11 - the same day he announced his resignation.

. . . .
It was an uncomfortable parting gift for his successor, who now faces an uphill struggle to rekindle ties with Islam. 

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Pope Francis to 'Launch' New Mobile App Entitled MISSIO: World News Through the Eyes of the Church, in Eight Languages
Monica Yehle      May 16, 2013

On the Friday before Pentecost Sunday, Pope Francis is set to "unlock" a new media initiative of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States -- MISSIO App.


"This App is a way for the Church and our Holy Father to reach the growing number of the world's people who have access to handheld mobile devices -- a way to connect as the one Body of Christ," said Father Andrew Small, OMI, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

. . . .

The App is currently available for download but remains in a "locked" position. During Friday's event, the Pope will press a button marked "Evangelizantur" which is a Latin phrase meaning, "They have been evangelized."  Subsequently, a push notification will be sent to all those who have downloaded the App indicating that the Pope has launched the MISSIO App.

. . . .

The MISSIO App may be downloaded free wherever Apps are available 

Read more


Vatican, U.S. in Anti-Money-Laundering Deal 
Allesandra Galloni       May 7, 2013

The Vatican took another step toward making its finances more transparent Tuesday, signing a deal with U.S. regulators under which each side will share information about financial transactions with the aim of rooting out money laundering and other illicit dealings.

The deal announced by the Vatican marks the latest move by the world's smallest state in response to international pressure to better police the Holy See's finances, which for decades were considered opaque. 

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Secretive Vatican bank to publish annual report  
CBS/AP/      May 14, 2013

The Vatican bank, long a source of secret and scandal for the Holy See, plans to publish its annual report online as part of its efforts to be more financially transparent.

Vatican Radio said Tuesday that the bank's president, Ernst von Freyburg, announced the plans to his staff Monday and said the bank would launch its own website this year.

The moves come ahead of a July deadline for the Vatican to submit to a new evaluation by the Council of Europe's Moneyval committee, which assesses compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing norms.
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Medieval hermit pope not murdered after all 
Rossella Lorenzi       May 8, 2013
Celestine V, the hermit pope who set precedent for Benedict XVI, has been given a new face and fate by researchers who have examined his skeletal remains.

The last pontiff not chosen by a conclave - and the first to declare that a pope could rightfully resign - Celestine V is regarded as one of the Catholic Church's most enigmatic popes.

His remains, kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L'Aquila, Italy, did not show his real face, but a wax mask with the likeness of Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, the Archbishop of L'Aquila from 1941 to 1950.

Beneath the mask, a half-inch hole suggested that Celestine died from a nail driven through his head while he was imprisoned by his successor Boniface VIII.

"For centuries this hole on the skull has fueled speculations and legends," said Luca Ventura of the San Salvatore Hospital's Department of Pathology in L'Aquila. "But our analysis found no trace of the murder engineered by Boniface. On the contrary, we can say beyond doubt that Celestine wasn't alive when the lesion was made."

. . . .

"Contemporary sources cite pneumonia and a possible hemiplegia (paralysis of one side of the body)," Ventura said.

Analysis on the remains revealed that Celestine was 5 foot 5 inches tall and suffered from chronic sinusitis, parodontopathy, vertebral arthritis and Schmorl's nodes, which are herniations of the intervertebral disc likely caused by weight carried at a young age.  

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Candida Moss debunks the 'myth' of Christian persecution
Lauren Markoe       May 14, 2013


Growing up Catholic in England, Candida Moss felt secure in life, yet was told in church that Christians have been persecuted since the dawn of Christianity. Now, as an adult and a theologian, she wants to set the record straight.


Too many modern Christians invoke, to lamentable effect, an ancient history of persecution that didn't exist, Moss argues in her newly published book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented A Story of Martyrdom. 


Although anti-Christian prejudice was fairly widespread in the church's first 300 years, she writes, "the prosecution of Christians was rare, and the persecution of Christians was limited to no more than a handful of years." 

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Aux. Bishop Mark Seitz To El Paso Diocese 
CBS Local Media        May 6, 2013 

Pope Francis has appointed the auxiliary bishop of Dallas, Mark J. Seitz, the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.

The 59-year-old Seitz served in Dallas from 2010 until his transfer to this West Texas city. During his time in Dallas, Seitz donated one kidney to a parishioner.
. . . .
Seitz is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The United States Conference of Bishops says the Diocese of El Paso serves 858,546 people. About 80% of those people are Catholic.  

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Pope names Erie native to lead U.S. Jesuits
Erie Times-News      May 10, 2013

Pope Francis today named the Rev. Timothy Kesicki, an Erie native, the provincial of all Jesuits in the United States.

Kesicki, a 1984 graduate of John Carroll University, had been serving as provincial superior of the newly combined Chicago-Detroit province. 

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In the Spirit: Holy Wisdom Monastery now off-limits to Catholic priests
Doug Erickson       May 6, 2013 

Bishop Robert Morlino is continuing to put more distance between the Madison Catholic Diocese and Holy Wisdom Monastery, a former Catholic monastery on the outskirts of Madison that is now a non-Catholic ecumenical retreat center.

In the latest development, Morlino is now prohibiting priests in the diocese from "attendance or participation at all events held at Holy Wisdom Monastery and all events sponsored or co-sponsored by Holy Wisdom Monastery or the Benedictine Women of Madison," according to a March 7 letter to priests leaked to the State Journal.

February visit to the monastery by Sister Simone Campbell, an outspoken, progressive Catholic nun, appeared to be the final straw for Morlino. 

. . . .

In 2000, the monastic Catholic sisters at the site welcomed a Protestant woman to live with them, a move that led them to seek independence from the Catholic Church. The Vatican approved their request in 2006. The monastery is now managed by the Benedictine Women of Madison, an ecumenical community led by Sister Mary David Walgenbach, who is Catholic.  

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Why Pope Francis isn't welcome in Serbia 
Sasa Milosevic     May 15, 2013   


Though he washed the feet of a Serbian Muslim girl in an Italian prison on this year's Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Francis is still not on the road to visit Serbia.


Serbian ecclesiastical and political elite are still waiting for an official papal apology for crimes committed against Serbian Orthodox during World War II, and the pope has never received an official invitation to visit his more than 350,000 adherents in this Eastern European country.

Balkan history considers Roman Catholic clergy responsible for the death of 700,000 Serbs, Jews and Roma killed in the concentration camp Jasenovac, given the church's close relationship with the Nazi-affiliated Independent State of Croatia, as well as the forcible conversions of 240,000 Serbian Orthodox to Roman Catholicism.

. . . .

Long-strained communication between the Vatican and Serbia was additionally burdened after John Paul II beatified Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac in 1998. The Croatian wartime archbishop of Zagreb was accused of being an active collaborator with the Ustase regime.

In 2011, Pope Benedict paid tribute to Cardinal Stepinac at the outset of a two-day visit to Croatia. It also triggered Serbian rage.
A question few seem to consider when the US wages war afar 
Chris Herlinger May. 15, 2013 

Why is it that Americans tend to be so indifferent to the deaths of those in whose lands the United States wages war? That is a question rarely expressed, but still troubling.


It has long intrigued me partly because of personal experience. I have a cousin wherved periodic tours with U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and my heart and prayers went out to him. But my travels there through the years on humanitarian assignments mean my heart has also gone out to civilians in Afghanistan, and in neighboring Pakistan.


I visited both countries before the events of 9/11 (and have returned since). Because of those pre-war experiences -- where I saw realities of both countries without the lens of a U.S.-led war -- I have never been able to shake concern over the fate of ordinary Afghans and Pakistanis who are just trying to live their lives. 

. . . . 


By John Tirman 
Published by Oxford University Press, $21.95 
Tirman: "As a nation that has long thought of itself as built on Christian ethics, even as an exceptionally compassionate people, this coldness is a puzzle. It is in fact more than a puzzle, for ignorance or indifference has consequences for the victims of American wars and for America itself." 



. . . .


By Kevin Powers

Published by Little Brown and Company, $14.99  

Early on in the novel, Malik, an Iraqi translator for a young soldier, Private Bartle, is killed; Malik is one of the few Iraqi characters -- maybe the only one -- named in the novel. Otherwise, the Iraqis remain either nameless figures of looming threat or limp corpses on the street. . . . .Later in the book, a beaten-down Bartle, back in the United States, reflects on the war's searing costs -- one of them being guilt and shame at what he and others had done to those in the country they inhabited: "There isn't any making up for killing women or even watching women get killed ... it felt like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone and knowing from being taught your whole life that there is no making up for what you are doing."  

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Job Opening with AUSCP

The Association of US Catholic Priests seeks a Managing Director.  The Applicant can familiarize him/herself  with the Association's Mission, Vision and Guiding principles as found on this website.  Click here for a job description of the Managing Director's responsibilities, required knowledge, abilities and skills as well as useful competencies and characteristics, along with the manner to submit an application.

New Translation of the Roman Missal  

The Collect for the Mass of Pentecost Day
O God, who by the mystery of today's great feast sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation, pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit across the face of the earth and, with the divine grace that was at work when the Gospel was first proclaimed, fill now once more the hearts of believers. 
Lord God, through the mystery of this holy feast you sanctify your Church in every nation and people. Pour out the gifts of your Spirit across the face of the earth, and in your merciful kindness touch the hearts of all believers as you touched those who first heard the preaching of the gospel.
God our Father, let the Spirit you sent on your Church to begin the teaching of the gospel continue to work in the world  through the hearts of all who believe. 
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