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Its mission is "to focus our communal love for the Church and passion for reform on a single cause: urging Pope Francis and his council of eight cardinals to decentralize the Church and encourage the People of God in each diocese throughout the world to elect their own bishops.  . . . .  Electing our own bishops will make for a new, more vibrant Church in which the people of God - led by the clerical, religious, and lay leaders - will have a voice in what Vatican II declared was our Church. With movement from the bottom up, the Church will be more welcoming to those outside its doors. Whether you are an active Catholic, a former Catholic, or a non-Catholic, if your respect for the Church would be enhanced by a decentralized Catholic Church, we invite you to be a part of our online community. " 
For more information and to sign the letter to Pope Francis, CLICK HERE.  
The Domino Effect
Robert  Schutzius, Ph.D.                                                                      June 2013   

The Catholic Church's fierce opposition to legalizing same-sex unions can be explained by the domino theory.  The first domino to fall inevitably results in the fall of closely related others.  So it is that the Church is pulling out all the stops to retain the illegal status of same-sex unions upon which the Supreme Court has recently acted.  


Domino No.1 - Legalizing same-sex unions bestows recognized legal civil rights on same-sex couples that are enjoyed by heterosexual couples. 

Domino No. 2  - Same sex unions defined as "Marriages" comes next. While legalizing same-sex civil unions bestowing spousal civil rights is one thing, defining it as a "Marriage" gives same-sex behavior a new psychological and cultural status in society.  Marriage implies mutual rights and legitimacy to sexual expression without the possibility of conception for same-sex married couples.  

Domino No. 3  -  Birth control comes next.  Contraception is wrong because it prevents the natural purpose of heterosexual intercourse which is the possibility of conception.  But if homosexual behavior, becomes legal and socially acceptable, what happens to the argument that heterosexual behavior must always be open to conception? 

Domino No. 4 - Obama Health Care. -  If the moral arguments against artificial contraception falls what can be the argument against the Health Care bill and the government's providing free contraceptives?

Domino No. 5 -  Catholic Credibility as a moral authority.  If the above events occur, this fifth domino will certainly suffer the same fate.  It may be too late to prevent, as those intermediate dominoes are already tittering.  
Looking at it this way, is it any wonder that the Church is desperately trying to keep same-sex unions illegal.   It is something to think about. 
Some things we have been reading  
U.S. bishops view Supreme Court's rulings as 'tragic day for marriage' 
Carol Zimmermann      Jun.26, 2013

U.S. Catholic bishops said the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 rulings on same-sex marriage were a "tragic day for marriage and our nation."

The court, in separate 5-4 rulings struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defining marriage as between one man and one woman and also refused to rule on the merits of a challenge to California's Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative barring same-sex marriage.

In the rulings, the court said DOMA was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause and they sent back to lower courts a challenge to Prop 8, saying the individuals who defended the law in court lacked the legal standing to do so.

A statement by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said the court "has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act."

"The court got it wrong," they continued. "The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage."  

Read more

Full statement

Marriage, the church and the Supreme Court 
Michael Sean Winters     Jun.27, 2013

The Supreme Court's twin decisions in the battle over same-sex marriage on Wednesday were momentous, to be sure. But Wednesday was not "tragic," as the statement from the USCCB stated. Nor were the court's decisions victories in what Harvey Milk's nephew unfortunately termed the "defining civil right issue of our time," a claim that was downright offensive coming within 24 hours of the Supreme Court's far more objectionable decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. Turns out, old-style civil rights remains the defining civil rights issue of our time.


In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "The state's power in defining marriage is of central relevance to this case." Indeed. And there is the rub for me. I do not understand why some people, including some bishops, are all worked up about same-sex marriage when the fact that the state, not the church, has the power to define civil marriage is well-established in American legal culture, and it was so long before anyone ever talked about gay marriage.

. . . .
I repeat my call for the bishops of the United States -- and now extend it to the bishop of Rome -- to adopt a different strategy. We should draw a bright line between civil marriage and the sacrament of matrimony. We should start by announcing that the church's ministers will no longer participate in the conferral of civil marriage in any way. If you want that, go to city hall and get the forms signed there. If you want the sacrament, come to us. As long as the ministers of the church participate in a legal contract that the state defines, it is only a matter of time before someone seeks to compel the ministers of the church to perform a same-sex ceremony with a lawsuit.  

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Bill Donohue: Federal Amendment On Marriage Needed 
Catholic League       Jun.26,2013 

It is clear from today's two rulings that the ball has been moved down the field to a point where the pro-gay marriage side is in the red zone. Whether they can be stopped from crossing the goal line depends solely on the prospects of having a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The 38 states needed to pass such an amendment are not the problem-we already have 38 states that have their own laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman-the problem is getting two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to agree. 

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Scalia: 'High-Handed' Kennedy Has Declared Us 'Enemies of the Human Race' 
Tim Grieve         Jun.26, 2013 

Dissenting from this morning's opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Antonin Scalia - as expected - holds nothing back.


In a ripping dissent, Scalia says that Justice Anthony Kennedy and his colleagues in the majority have resorted to calling opponents of gay marriage "enemies of the human race."

. . . .
Scalia says that the court's holding - while limited to the Defense of Marriage Act - is a sure sign that the majority is willing to declare gay marriage a constitutional right. 

It takes real cheek for today's majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here-when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority's moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress's hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will "confine" the Court's holding is its sense of what it can get away with.   


And, he says, the holding will short circuit the debate over gay marriage that should have been carried out in the states.  

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For bishops, gay marriage fight moves to states 
Thomas Reese       Jun.27, 2013 

The U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on gay marriage mean the political battle over gay marriage will move to the states. This will have significant consequences on the role of the Catholic bishops in the fight. Leadership on the issue will move from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the many state conferences of Catholic bishops.
. . . .
People will continue to hear from these prelates, but over time, their views will become irrelevant as decisions on strategy and tactics move to the state level. It is the bishops of a state who will decide how much money and effort they want to devote to the marriage debate in their states.

Bishops in states that have legalized gay marriage may conclude that it is politically impossible to reverse the decision in their states and therefore admit defeat and move on.

Bishops in red states where gay marriage is not legal may judge the fight worth making because with other allies, they have a good chance of maintaining the status quo.

The tough call will be for bishops in blue states, where polls show growing support for gay marriage. Here they must choose between fighting gay marriage or negotiating exemptions for the church as a price for their silence. No bishop wants to talk publicly about this on the national level, but in the back rooms of state legislatures, this may be the best deal that the bishops can get.  

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Former priest arrested in Rome for fake paedophile claims  
ANSA              Jun..28, 2013 

A former priest, Patrizio Poggi, was taken into custody on Friday in Rome for aggravated and continuous slander after having reported the existence of a criminal organization aimed at recruiting youths, including underage boys, for alleged prostitution services to members of the local clergy. 


Investigations that led to the arrest of the man ''demonstrated how Poggi conceived and put in action a slanderous plan, presenting circumstances that were false'', according to a statement by police. The man's actions were driven by ''resentment tied to personal reasons''    
New Vatican Secretary of State may be appointed soon
Andrea Gagliarducci     Jun.28, 2013

Rumors have emerged that Archbishop Pietro Parolin, apostolic nuncio to Venezuela, will shortly be appointed as the Vatican's Secretary of State.


The move could take place as soon as June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.


As the Secretary of State must technically be a cardinal, he would first be appointed pro-secretary of State, retaining his status as archbishop. He would, however, be the acting Secretary of State until a new appointment is made or until receiving the red "biretta" of the cardinal, thus taking officially the post.


A skilled diplomat, Archbishop Parolin, 58, served as Vatican undersecretary for relations with States from 2002 to 2009. 

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Argentina's president wishes Francis: "Happy Day of the Pope"
Gerard O'Connell    Jun.29, 2013

"Happy day of the Pontiff"!  That's what Argentina's President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wished Pope Francis in a most unusual and amazing letter for June 29, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul - the patrons of the Church of Rome.   


The President published the full text of the letter on her personal twitter account  (@CFKArgentina) on the evening of June 28. 


Writing in a colloquial and highly informal style, though addressing him as "His Holiness, Francis", she begins by confiding that she had experienced considerable difficulty in actually writing the letter.

. . . . 

The letter came in for considerable critical comment - both for its style and content - in the country's main media outlets, including in La Nacion, the newspaper which Pope Francis reads, as well as in the social media.


Some commented on the fact that while the President had published her own letter to Pope Francis, she had not published the one he had sent to her - which included a greeting to the nation, following her visit to the Vatican for his inauguration last March.  

Click here to read the original letter in Spanish. 

Read more

Pope Receives Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Zenit     Jun.28, 2013

Pope Francis welcomed a delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who arrived from Rome to celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul. The traditional visit on the occasion of the Churches respective patronal feasts began in 1969, a tradition the Holy Father said, that "is an essential part of the journey towards towards unity."

. . . . 

The Holy Father also commended the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Churches. The commission which is headed by Metropolitan Ioannis and Cardinal Kurt Koch was credited by the Pope as making a "fundamental contribution to the search for full communion."


"The Commission," he said, "has already produced many common texts and is now studying the theological and ecclesiological relationships between primacy and synodality in the life of the Church."

Read more

Traditionalists indicate definitive break with Catholic Church 
CNA Daily News     Jun 27, 2013 

On the 25th anniversary of the illicit ordination of four bishops by traditionalist Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of Saint Pius X indicated a definitive break of talks with the Catholic Church.


In a statement June 27, three of the four bishops originally ordained by Lefebvre expressed "their filial gratitude towards their venerable founder who, after so many years spent serving the Church and the Sovereign Pontiff, so as to safeguard the Faith and the Catholic priesthood, did not hesitate to suffer the unjust accusation of disobedience."


The document - titled "Declaration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the episcopal consecrations (30th June 1988 - 27th June 2013)" - is signed by Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais and Alfonso de Galarreta.  Bishop Richard Williamson, also ordained by Lefebvre, was expelled last year from the society. 

. . . .

The traditionalist bishops announce that, in practice, the dialogue with the Vatican is over and that from now on, they will wait "either when Rome returns to Tradition and to the Faith of all time - which would re-establish order in the Church."


Or, "when she explicitly acknowledges our right to profess integrally the Faith and to reject the errors which oppose it, with the right and the duty for us to oppose publicly the errors and the proponents of these errors, whoever they may be - which would allow the beginning of a re-establishing of order."


Meanwhile "we persevere in the defense of Catholic Tradition and our hope remains entire," the statement concludes.  

Read more

Pope Francis: "I am not a Renaissance prince..."
Anthony Ruff, OSB      Jun.23 2013

Pope Francis decided at the last minute not to attend a Beethoven concert last evening, Fox News and others reportedFox News comments, "Unlike his predecessor Benedict, who was well-known as a music lover, Francis has shown scant interest in music, liturgical or otherwise." The concert, an event long planned for the Year of Faith, included Beethoven's 9th symphony with choir and orchestra.


Pope Francis supposedly said "I am not a Renaissance prince who listens to music instead of working," Vatican Insider first reported, later softening its report to preserve the general sense without quoting the pope directly. It seems to be a pattern that Pope Francis is often reported to have said something surprising, then it is taken as a sort of confirmation when the Vatican does not deny the report.


Whatever the exact words of the Holy Father, he is clearly intent on distinguishing the church and its leadership from the trappings of secular monarchy of past ages. Speaking to nuncios and apostolic delegates recently, Pope Francis said that a good prospective bishop will "love interior poverty as freedom for the Lord" and he won't have the "mindset of a prince." 

Read more

Pope's General Audience: "Nobody is useless in the Church, we are all equal" 
Rome Reports     Jun.26, 2013  

"No one is useless in the Church - and should anyone tell you, 'Go home, you're useless!' that's not true. No one is useless in the Church. We are all needed in order to build this temple. No one is secondary: "Ah, I am the most important one in the Church!" No! We are all equal in the eyes of God. But, some of you may ask, 'Mr. Pope, sir, you are not equal to us." But I am just like each of you. We are all equal." 

Pope's General Audience:
"Nobody is useless in the Church, we are all equal"

 Read more

Jews tell pope of concern over moves to make Pius XII a saint 
Philip Pullella,   Reuters Jun.25, 2013 

A Jewish leader expressed concern to Pope Francis on Monday over attempts to make a saint of World War Two-era Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust.

Francis made no mention of his wartime predecessor during his talks with members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), but the pontiff repeated the Roman Catholic Church's condemnation of anti-Semitism.

"The Jewish community continues to be concerned about efforts to canonize Pope Pius XII while innumerable documents pertaining to the history of the Church and the Jewish people during the dark years of the Holocaust still remain closed to outside scholarly investigation," IJCIC chairman Lawrence Schiffman told the pope.

The issue of whether the Vatican and the Church under Pius did all they could to help Jews has dogged Catholic-Jewish relations for decades. Pius became pontiff in 1939, the year World War Two broke out, and reigned until 1958.  

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Pope: Christians cannot be anti-Semitic 
Clerical Whispers      Jun.24, 2013 

Pope Francis says due to "our common roots" with the Jewish people, "a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!" 


The Pope was speaking to a 30 strong delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC) who gathered in the Apostolic Palace's Hall of the Popes for a private audience Monday. 


The IJCIC is committed to developing relations with the Vatican's Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, the Orthodox Christian Church, the World Council of Churches, and other international religious bodies.


Though he acknowledged he has met "important personalities of the Jewish world," Pope Francis admitted this marked the first time he was addressing an official group of representatives of Jewish organizations and communities. 


And as such, he wanted to recall that landmark Second Vatican Council declaration Nostra Aetate which he described as a "key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people."


"The fundamental principles expressed by the Declaration," he continued, "have marked the path of greater awareness and mutual understanding trodden these last decades by Jews and Catholics" - a path very much supported, he noted, by his predecessors.


Pope Francis recalled his own friendships with leaders of the Jewish world while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, saying these "friendly relations are in a way the basis for the development of a more official dialogue."  

Read more


Pope with Jewish leaders
Vatican contests charges against WWII Italian official praised for saving Jews 
Philip Pullella Jun.24, 2013 

The Vatican newspaper said on Saturday a decision by scholars to brand a wartime Italian previously praised for saving Jews as a Nazi collaborator was part of an attempt to smear the Catholic Church during the papacy of Pope Pius XII.


An article, titled "To Strike at the Church of Pius XII" and written by historian Anna Foa, said the decision to re-classify Giovanni Palatucci, a Catholic, as a collaborator was at best hasty and more study was needed.


Palatucci had been previously credited with saving around 5,000 Jews while he was police official in the city of Fiume, now part of Croatia. He died in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany in 1945 at the age of 35.


In 1990, Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial honored Palatucci as a Righteous Among the Nations, the highest recognition for those who helped Jews during World War Two.


But earlier this week The New York Times reported that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington was removing mention of his exploits from an exhibition after officials learned of new evidence that purports to show he was a Nazi collaborator.  

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Britain rejects involvement of pope in Falklands dispute 
Reuters     Jun.20,2013 


Britain and a representative of the Falkland Islands on Thursday rejected the idea of Pope Francis intervening in the long-running dispute  with Argentina over the islands, which Buenos Aires claims are Argentine territory.

In 1982 Britain sent its armed forces to the Falklands to repel an Argentine invasion of the contested South Atlantic archipelago, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas.

Just over 30 years later, memories of the conflict remain and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has mounted a campaign to renegotiate the islands' sovereignty, lobbying Pope Francis on the issue and rejecting a March referendum in which Falkland residents voted to remain a British Overseas Territory.

"I think the last thing we need is religion inserted into this," said Mike Summers, a member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly. Mark Lyall Grant, Britain's U.N. ambassador, echoed his remarks, saying: "I certainly share the view that religion is not likely to solve anything."  

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Pope's eight cardinal advisors say the Curia is not the only thing they'll be reforming
Andrea Tornielli     Jun.25, 2013

Although their official meeting will be in October, they are already moving full steam ahead with their work and will use the summer months to prepare thoroughly for their first meeting. The eight cardinals Francis chose as his advisors last 13 April, exactly one month after his election, are currently mulling over ideas and proposals. And they will not just be dealing with Curia reform.

. . . . 

The eight cardinals have held separate meetings with the Pope, they are in constant contact, and they share material and ideas regarding possible reforms. A great deal has been said about the Roman Curia: During the pre-Conclave meetings a clear need emerged for structures to be streamlined, certain offices merged, improved coordination among dicasteries and improved communication between these and the Pope. Although the reform of the Holy See's financial and economical structures are not at the top of the council's list of priorities, council coordinator Maradiaga's words indicate that this area will not be excluded.


The summer will be a time to organise and share the material gathered so far. The eight cardinals will look beyond the Curia and its reform - necessary though it is. They will also focus on proposals regarding Church life in general, following Francis' indications.

Read more
Church in Scotland is at a crossroads 
Christopher Lamb               Jun.21, 2013 

 . . . .
Any day now the Vatican is expected to announce (Cardinal Keith) O'Brien's successor. As the Church in Scotland tries to pick itself up again, this appointment will be crucial in determining its future.


Interestingly, the frontrunners for this post (as reported in The Tablet's notebook this week) - Mgr Leo Cushley and Mgr Patrick Burke - represent different sides of the Church. Mgr Cushley, who works in the Vatican's Secretariat of State, is a diplomat who has spent time in Cairo, Burundi and at the UN. He is well versed in the work of the Church as bridge-builder, peacemaker and conciliator. While Mgr Cushley has limited pastoral experience, he is favoured because it is thought that his approach and experience would enable him to lead the archdiocese through a very difficult period.


Mgr Burke, on the other hand, is an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which is less concerned with diplomatic solutions. Mgr Burke, a priest of St Andrews and Edinburgh who was educated in England, is a combative figure unwilling to accommodate those who want to question church teachings. 

. . . .

So will it be the diplomatic approach or the doctrinal one? Whoever is appointed is going to have their work cut out. 

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Vatican Archbishop brings message of support to Scottish Catholics 
Independent Catholic News      Jun.17, 2013 

In three extensive addresses delivered over the weekend, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, has offered words of great encouragement to Scotland's Catholics. 


In an address to priests at Motherwell Cathedral, the Prefect encouraged them to continue to work quietly and effectively in parishes. He said: "The Church is, sad to say, represented on occasion by those of its members who are seen to fall dramatically, and whose misdeeds, as a result, receive enormous attention. But the Church is also that 'entire forest' of good men and women, their lives, their deeds unsung and, for the most part, unnoticed by the wider world, countless hundreds and thousands of them, flourishing with their own grace, their own courage: an entire forest growing up in silence."   

. . . .

Later, at a Mass in St Andrew's Cathedral the Archbishop paid tribute to Catholic teachers and students and spoke out strongly in favour of Catholic schools. 

. . . .

Finally in a landmark address at Glasgow University, the Archbishop spoke warmly of the new St Andrew's Foundation, launched last weekend. He said: "Catholic Education is acknowledged by both Church and State as a fundamental right and primary responsibility of Catholic parents - the first educators of their children. In accordance with this fundamental right, the State has the duty and responsibility to facilitate the wishes of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their desire to pass on their faith to their children." 

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Vatican inquiry 'may be led by Cardinal O'Brien's successor' 
Nick Drainey Jun.24, 2013 

The Vatican is to carry out an inquiry into Cardinal Keith O'Brien after his admission of sexual advances towards young priests.


After weeks of speculation, it was reported that an apostolic visitation will take place. During the process, a "visitator" will have direct authority from the Pope to investigate a complaint to the Vatican last October by a Scottish priest, and further allegations from four former seminarians of inappropriate sexual advances and "drunken fumblings".  

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Irish have 'become pagan', some Catholic bishops believe  
Patsy McGarry       Jun.24, 2013

The Irish people "have, to all intents and purposes, become pagan" in the opinion of "a substantial number" of Ireland's Catholic bishops and some priests, a new report from the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has said.

It said "there seems to be a substantial number of bishops, and some priests, who believe that the problems we are facing are not due to any difficulties in the Church or with the priesthood, but are caused by a lack of faith in the people.

"The people, they told us, have bought into the evils of materialism and consumerism, and don't have time or interest in faith any more. They have, to all intents and purposes, become pagan. And they believe that 'evangelisation' is the answer." But "there didn't seem to us to be any practical ideas, or indeed energy, around how this evangelisation could be progressed," it said.

The association's leadership team has so far met priests' councils in the Catholic dioceses of Dublin, Waterford, Kerry, Killaloe, Clonfert, Tuam, Elphin, Achonry, Killala, Clogher, Kilmore, Armagh and Ossory and Raphoe.


The meetings followed the refusal of the Irish Episcopal Conference to meet the association. Instead, the bishops suggested the association meet priests' councils in each diocese.  

Read more

Report on ACP meetings with Priests Councils   

Pope Francis wants pastors as bishops 
Thomas Reese        Jun.21, 2013 

In an address to papal nuncios, whose job it is to nominate bishops, Pope Francis described the kind of persons he wants them to put forward. He wants pastors who are "close to the people, fathers and brothers." They should be "gentle, patient and merciful; animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life." They should "not have the psychology of 'Princes.'"

The pope spoke at an audience to the papal representatives who had come from hundreds of countries around the world for a two-day conference at the Vatican. The pope specifically warned them against ambitious prelates who want to be promoted from one diocese to a more prestigious one. He cited the ancient view that bishops "are married to a Church" and should not be "in constant search of another." 


What was missing from Francis's list of episcopal attributes were loyalty and orthodoxy, the two criteria that dominated the nomination process under Popes John Paul and Benedict.  

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Pope Francis meets with Adolfo Perez Esquivel and other leaders about indigenous rights and liberation theology 
Iglesia Descalza       Jun.26, 2013 

On Monday, June 24th, Pope Francis met a second time with Argentine human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel and with Felix Diaz, leader of the Qom ethnic tribe's "La Primavera" Community, Diaz's wife Amanda Asijak, and Fr. Francisco Nazar, vicar for the indigenous populations of the Diocese of Formosa, Argentina.


During the meeting, the leaders denounced the persecution and systematic violations of human rights that the native peoples of Argentina are suffering and expressed concern for the protection of those rights, especially with respect to land and cultural identity. After the meeting, Diaz stated that the Pope told them he had decided to include the indigenous issue on his agenda and that he had asked them to join him in the struggle against injustice in the world.

. . . .

However, the meeting did not simply address indigenous rights. Perez Esquivel also brought the Pope a message  ( ) from Brazilian Bishop Emeritus Pedro Casaldaliga whom he had phoned before going to Rome -- a plea for the Church to defend the indigenous people and reconcile with liberation theology.
. . . .
After the meeting, Perez Esquivel said he thought that the Pope would probably move towards what Casaldaliga is asking for.
. . . .
Perez Esquivel also revealed that during the 45-minute meeting, he gave Pope Francis a copy of the Pact of the Catacombs that was signed by around 40 progressive bishops during the Second Vatican Council, including many from Latin America, in which they made a commitment to live simply and in solidarity with the poor. 


Perez Esquivel said that when Pope Francis saw the names of Helder Cámara, Luigi Betazzi, Manuel Larraín, Leónidas Proaño, Sergio Méndez Arceo and Faustino Zazpe among the signatories, he exclaimed, "Wow, look who's there!"

  Read more

The war between the Liberation Theology movement and Rome is over 
Gianni Valente       Jun.21, 2013

"The Latin American ecclesial and theological movement known as "Liberation Theology", which spread to other parts of the world after the Second Vatican Council, should in my opinion be included among the most important currents in 20th century Catholic theology." This authoritative and glorifying historical evaluation of Liberation Theology did not just come from some ancient South American theologian who is out of touch wit the times. The above statement was made by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which Ratzinger headed in the 1980's, after John Paul I appointed him to the post. The Prefect gave two instructions, warning against pastoral and doctrinal deviations from Latin American theological currents of thought. 

. . . .

Müller affirmed that "poverty in Latin America oppresses children, the elderly and the sick," to such an extent that many are driven to "contemplate death as the only way out." Right from the outset, the Liberation Theology movement "forced" theological movements founded elsewhere, not to consider the real living conditions of people and individuals as something abstract. He saw "the body of Christ" in the poor, as Pope Francis does.
The arrival of the Catholic Church's first Latin American Pope made it possible to look at those years and experience without being conditioned by the controversies that raged at the time. Without the ritualism of the false mea culpas and superficial changes, it is easier today to see that the hostility shown by certain sections of the Church towards the Liberation Theology movement was politically motivated and did not really stem from a desire to preserve and spread the faith of the apostles. Those who paid the price were the theologians and pastors who were completely immersed in the evangelical faith of their people. They either ended up in the mince or faded into the shadows. For a long time, the hostility shown towards the Liberation Theology movement was invaluable factor in helping some climb the ecclesiastical career ladder.  

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Pope sets up Pontifical Commission to study IOR reform 
Vatican Radio     Jun.26, 2013

Pope Francis has established a Pontifical Commission charged with drawing up an "exhaustive" report into the juridical standing and activities of the Vatican's financial institution, the Institute for Religious Works, more commonly known as the IOR.
. . . .
Presenting the Secretariat of State communique to journalists Wednesday, Holy See press office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. stated that the Commission is tasked with carrying out inquiries and presenting the Holy Father with a report of their findings "in view of possible reform".
. . . .
The members of the Commission are:Cardinal Raffaele Farina, President
Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, Member
Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru, Coordinator
Monsignor Peter Bryan Wells, Secretary
Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Member  

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Cleric and 2 Others Arrested in Vatican Bank Investigation
Nicole Winfield    Jun.28, 2013

A Vatican cleric and two other people were arrested Friday by Italian police for allegedly trying to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) in cash into the country from Switzerland by private jet. It's the latest scandal to hit the Holy See and broadens an Italian probe into its secretive bank.


Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, already under investigation in a purported money-laundering plot involving the Vatican bank, is accused of corruption and slander and was being held at a Rome prison, prosecutor Nello Rossi told reporters.

. . . . 

Prosecutor Rossi said the Swiss operation involved three people, all of whom were arrested Friday: Scarano, a recently suspended accountant in the Vatican's main finance office, Italian financier Giovanni Carenzio, and Giovanni Zito, who at the time of the plot was a member of the military police's agency for security and information.


Rossi detailed a remarkable plot - uncovered by telephone wiretaps - in which the three allegedly planned to bring into Italy some 20 million euros in cash that financier Carenzio held in his name in a Swiss bank account without paying customs at the airport, as would be required.

. . . . 

Scarano, as well as the other two, are also accused of corruption. If they are indicted and convicted, they could face up to five or six years in prison, prosecutors said.

. . . .

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Scarano was suspended more than a month ago and that the Vatican was taking the appropriate measures to deal with his case. He said the Vatican had confirmed it was prepared to offer its "full cooperation" to Italian investigators.  

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Press Release On Arrest Of Curia Prelate
VIS      Jun.28, 2013
This morning, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, issued the following communique regarding the arrest, in Italy, of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, director of accounting analysis service of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), in the context of an investigation on corruption and fraud.
"As has been made known in the past few days, Msgr. Nunzio Scarano was suspended from his position at the APSA over a month ago, as soon as his superiors were informed that he was under investigation. This is in compliance of the Regulations of the Roman Curia, which require the precautionary suspension of persons against whom prosecution has been initiated."
"The Holy See has still not received any request from the competent Italian authorities on the matter, but has confirmed its willingness to cooperate fully."
"The competent Vatican authority, the AIF (the Vatican Financial Information Authority), is following the issue in order to take, if necessary, appropriate measures within its competence." 


Vatican: Holy See to cooperate with Italy in bank probe 
AKI       Jun.28, 2013

The Holy See on Friday said it would "cooperate fully" with Italian investigators after the arrest of senior cleric on suspicion of fraud and graft amid a wider probe into the Vatican Bank.


"The Holy See has not received any request by Italian authorities in this case, but it confirms it is willing to cooperate fully," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Lombardi said the body which oversees the Vatican's financial institutions was also across the case of Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant arrested on Friday for suspected fraud, corruption and slander.

"The Financial Information Authority (Ais) is following this problem and will take any necessary action within its remit," Lombardi stated.

He noted that Scarano was suspended last month from his post with the Vatican's Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (Apsa), which manages the Vatican's portfolio of assets including its real estate.

As a Vatican employee, Scarano was eligible to hold an account at the Vatican Bank, which Pope Francis on Wednesday put under investigation amid several money-laundering scandals. 

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IOR Scandal
  • September 2010: Italian police launch investigation into money laundering at the bank
  • December 2010: Vatican sets up financial authority to fight money laundering and make financial operations more transparent
  • May 2012: Bank chief Ettore Gotti Tedeschi dismissed for dereliction of duty
  • January 2013: Italian central bank suspends all bank card payments in the Vatican, citing its failure to fully implement anti-money laundering legislation
  • February 2013: German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg appointed to head bank
  • June 2013: Pope Francis sets up a commission to review the bank's activities, Vatican accountant arrested for suspected fraud, corruption   
Pope signals Legion of Christ reform to continue 
Nicole Winfield      Jun.28, 2013

Pope Francis is signaling the reform process of the troubled Legion of Christ religious order will stretch beyond next year's target date amid continued reservations about whether it has truly changed its ways following revelations its founder was a pedophile.

In a letter made public Wednesday, Francis confirmed the order would convene a general assembly in early 2014 to elect a new leadership and approve a revised set of constitutions. 

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Müller reiterates communion ban 
Tablet     Jun.21, 2013

Communion for remarried divorcees can never be justified as a matter of conscience, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) spelt out this week.

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller said the indissolubility of a sacramental, valid Catholic marriage is a "divine norm", and therefore "not at the Church's disposal" to alter.

In an article in the conservative German Catholic paper, Tagespost, Müller said it was not permissible for remarried Catholic divorcees to continue receiving communion after coming to the decision that their conscience permitted them to do so. Catholics in doubt about the validity of their marriage must put their case before an ecclesiastical court, which is responsible for possible annulments, he said.  


Obama's "Anti-Catholic" Speech 
Bill Donohue      June 21, 2013 

There are plenty of reasons to be critical of President Obama's policies as they relate to the Catholic Church, and I have not been shy in stating them. But the reaction on the part of conservatives, many of whom are Catholic, over his speech in Ireland, is simply insane. Never did Obama say he wants "an end to Catholic education." Indeed, he never said anything critical about the nature of Catholic schools. It makes me wonder: Have any of his critics bothered to actually read his speech?

Obama's speech, given in Northern Ireland, properly spoke of the divisions between Catholics and Protestants. He lauded the Good Friday Agreement, noting that "There are still wounds that haven't healed, and communities where tensions and mistrust hangs in the air." He said that "segregated schools and housing" add to the problem. Then he said, "If towns remain divided-if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs-if we can't see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division."

Obama was not condemning Catholic schools-he was condemning segregation. He was calling attention to the fact that where social divisions exist, the prospects for social harmony are dimmed. How can anyone reasonable disagree with this observation? Moreover, it should hardly be surprising that a black president would be sensitive to segregation, whether based on race or religion.  

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US bishops ask president Obama to close Guantanamo Bay prison 
Rome Reports      Jun.26, 2013

Bishop Richard Pates, the official spokesman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a message to the U.S Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, asking him to actively promote the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. According to the bishop, the facility has become 'a symbol of the indefinite detention of prisoners awaiting a trial.' 

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Catholics support Obama plan to further reduce nuclear arsenals 
Dennis Sadowski        Jun.20, 2013

Catholics concerned about the size of the world's nuclear weapons inventory welcomed President Barack Obama's plan to reduce the size of America's nuclear arsenals if Russia agrees to similar cuts.

The president announced in an address in Berlin June 19 that he would seek cuts "by up to one-third" from the current 1,550 weapons in strategic arsenals. The number of weapons deployed on long-range missiles, bombers and submarines was negotiated under the New START treaty ratified in 2011.

"We strongly applaud this direction of President Obama and really feel it's an enormous, progressive step," said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace.  

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Catholics and Lutherans will jointly mark Reformation's 500th anniversary in 2017 
Tom Heneghan     Jun.17, 2013

Senior Roman Catholic and Lutheran officials announced on Monday they would mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 as a shared event rather than highlight the clash that split Western Christianity.

The Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) presented a report in Geneva admitting both were guilty of harming Christian unity in the past and describing a growing consensus between the two churches in recent decades.

The 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, the doctrinal challenge that launched the Protestant Reformation, will be the first centenary celebration in the age of ecumenism, globalization and the secularization of Western societies.

"The awareness is dawning on Lutherans and Catholics that the struggle of the 16th century is over," the report said. "The reasons for mutually condemning each other's faith have fallen by the wayside."

They now agree belief in Jesus unites them despite lingering differences, it said, and inspires them to cooperate more closely to proclaim the Gospel in increasingly pluralistic societies.  

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Philly Archdiocese grappling with pensions for clergy 
John P. Martin      Jun.18, 2013

A pension fund for priests cited as a priority in a $200 million fund-raising campaign by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has fallen precariously short of money, and church officials want parishes and retired clergy to help cover the shortfall.

In meetings this spring, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput told priests the plan had been underfunded, poorly managed, and was spent on rising health-care costs for clergy, according to three priests who attended or were briefed on the talks. Chaput said the fund needed $90 million to be solvent but had less than $4.5 million, they said.

Clergy living at the archdiocese's Delaware County retirement villa and other church-owned facilities are expected to contribute 40 percent of their pensions to the archdiocese, the priests said. And parishes' annual assessments to the pension fund will rise from $6,700 to about $9,300 per priest, they said.

The changes come two years after the archdiocese ended a fund-raising campaign that made shoring up the priests' pension plan one of its goals.  

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Opinion: We need to talk about priests 
Michael Kelly        Jun.20, 2013 

The death by suicide of Belfast-based Fr Matt Wallace has stunned many people. He is the third Irish priest to take his own life in the last 18 months. People are understandably shocked by the particular circumstances of each tragedy. But when the dust settles around the death of Fr Wallace, and his brother-priests and parishioners begin to pick up the pieces, it's vital that some good can be brought out of this tragedy. There is a danger that when the shock dies down, we all get back to business as usual and there is no discussion about the wider questions.

For a start, we need to talk about the pressures facing priests in ministry today. Parishioners and bishops need to think seriously about expectations. Many priests are at breaking-point simply keeping the show on the road and there is little or no thought about realistic reform of parish life. While the number of priests serving in many parishes has fallen sharply in recent years, the expectations largely remain the same. In most dioceses, the (usually unsaid) advice is simply to keep one's head down and get on with things. A culture of deference means that most priests won't tell the bishop when they're in trouble and need more support. There's also a culture of not wanting to bother those in authority. Where problems arise, the solution is often short-term or little more than a sticking-plaster.

Priests are used to biting their lips. They often proceed without complaining. Interactions with their bishops rarely go beyond superficial chit-chat about football matches. There's usually little room for real talk about pressures in ministry.  

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Stockton bishop says diocese is almost out of cash 
Associated Press         Jun.17, 2013 

The Roman Catholic bishop of Stockton is warning parishioners that his diocese might run out of money before it has paid damages to all of the people who have sued over clergy sex abuse.

The Modesto Bee reported Saturday that Bishop Stephen Blaire said in a letter read to the 35 parishes he oversees that the diocese might have to file for bankruptcy, but that a decision hasn't been made.

Blaire told The Bee that the main reason the diocese's finances are in such bad shape is because of the $32 million it and its insurers have so far paid out to settle 34 lawsuits arising from the actions of former priests.  

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Bishop Suggests Pope Actions on Abuse Crisis
Bishop Geoffrey Robinson      Jun.29, 2013

These words are from a letter our Catholic Whistleblowers received fromretired Australian bishop Bishop Geoffrey Robinson who with two other retired bishops recently launched a world-wide petition drive calling for an Ecumenical Council inclusive of the laity to put God's house in order.


1)      Bishops take an oath of loyalty to the Pope and they treat it very seriously.  Because of John Paul II's silence, this oath led bishops to be silent and so worked against victims.  I would like to see Pope Francis turn this on its head by saying to bishops, "In the name of your oath of loyalty to me, I want you to remove offenders and reach out to victims in exact accordance with the model shown by Jesus in dealing with the needy of his time.  From this moment on, if you don't do these two things, you will be breaking your oath of loyalty to me."  Then this powerful oath would work in favour of victims.
2)      I would like the Pope to write to all bishops and say, "If a decision you either made or did not make, an action you took or did not take, led to a minor being abused; if an act of yours prevented justice from being done; or if you destroyed documents in order to impede justice from being done, then, in my own name and in the name of the Catholic people of the Church, I ask you to submit your resignation to me immediately.  I see this as essential to the restoration of the Church.  If you did any of these things and do not submit your resignation, you are harming the Church."
Thanks to Whistleblower and ARCC board member Rev. Patrick Collins
Report documents eight decades of Capuchin province's poor handling of sex abuse 
Joshua J. McElwee         Jun.18, 2013 

For eight decades, leaders of a community of Catholic priests and brothers spanning 10 U.S. states acted inadequately in responding to sex abuse allegations and prioritized protecting accused abusers over their victims, concludes an audit released by the group Tuesday.

. . . .

The report says that at the heart of the Capuchins' inadequacy to respond to the abuse was a culture of clericalism that placed the needs of priest-abusers above their lay victims and deference to lawyers who "revictimized" those victims in an attempt to protect the clerics from costly lawsuits. 

. . . .
The report also concludes that since the 1930s, when it says records were first available, the province rarely reported abuse to authorities, spent more money on hiring lawyers than on aid to victims, and routinely moved offenders between positions without divulging complaints against them.  

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Catholic religious order opens abuse files 
Rachel Zoll           Jun.18, 2013 

A Roman Catholic religious order released an unusually candid report Tuesday outlining how its leaders failed for decades to stop sex abuse in its schools and other ministries.

The Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, which spans 10 Midwestern states, asked experts in clergy sex abuse to provide a full accounting of abuse by examining all the order's records. Advocates for victims said it was the broadest attempt at transparency by any part of the American church.

The auditors found the Province of St. Joseph hid abuse from parents and police, kept offenders in ministry long after their misconduct was known and spent far more on defense attorneys than on helping victims. Some friars showed compassion to victims. But they were thwarted when the order and the insurance company that covered settlement to victims allowed lawyers to take a win-at-all-costs strategy in civil lawsuits that was unnecessary and undermined the moral standing of the church, according to the findings.

"For much of the history of the province, we have failed victims," said the Rev. John Celichowski, the provincial minister, or leader, of the Province of St. Joseph, in a conference call with reporters. "We realize it will take years and many concrete gestures to restore the trust we lost." 

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Milwaukee Archdiocese to release documents of priest abuse 
Bret Lemoine       Jun.28, 2013

The Milwaukee Archdiocese is set to release over 6,000 pages of secret documents on Monday, July 1st, detailing substantiated allegations of abuse by priests.

Victims have been working for almost two years to have the documents unsealed.

. . . .
45 priests are expected to be named in the documents, however there is concern that dozens of clergy-offender names are being withheld.

Critics believe there are two dozen deacons, Catholic school teachers and others who are not being named.

"There are priests, three ordained deacons that they said abused children in 2005. Where are they? Where are these three ordained deacons who assulted children?" asked Midwest Director of SNAP, Peter Isely.  

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Child abuse investigator told 'life in danger' 
Dan Box       Jun.28, 2013

A detective was warned by a colleague that her life was in danger from the "Catholic mafia", an inquiry has heard.

Detective Sergeant Kristi Faber told the NSW special commission of inquiry into church child abuse that another detective, Peter Fox, made the claim during a telephone conversation last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Fox told Ms Faber that her investigation into historic abuse committed by local priests meant she "would not be liked" and her "life was in danger from the Catholic mafia", she said.

In his own sworn evidence to the inquiry, Mr Fox has previously denied the conversation took place, although he has repeatedly used the phrase to describe serving officers who allegedly attempted to discourage investigations into the clergy.  

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Call for cover-up inquiry 
Deb Banks      Jun.28, 2013

A former police detective living in Mildura wants a government inquiry into what happened to him 40 years ago, after he uncovered hundreds of cases of sex abuse at the hands of a Catholic church priest and found himself confronted with a conspiracy to prevent investigation, damaging his career and leading ultimately to his resignation from the force.

Denis Ryan says his investigation into Catholic priest - Monsignor John Day - uncovered hundreds of cases of child sex abuse, but was smothered by Victoria Police and the church.

Mr Ryan has documented his quest for justice in a book released this week, and is telling his story for the first time.

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Government 'expects' orders to pay into Magdalene fund 
Conall Ó Fátharta       Jun.28, 2013

Justice Minister Alan Shatter told the Dáil the Government, survivors of the laundries and the wider public "expect" those who ran the institutions to pay to compensate the women who suffered in their care. Mr Shatter's challenge comes as two of the orders have told the Government they will not be contributing any money towards the Quirke redress scheme, expected to cost between €34m and €58m.

The Irish Examiner understands from sources that both the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge told the Government in advance of the Quirke Report being published on Wednesday, they would not be contributing money to the compensation fund.

The report recommended the women be paid compensation ranging from €11,500 to a maximum of €100,000 depending on the duration spent in a Magdalene Laundry.  

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Archbishop Myers fibs
Mark Silk       Jun.27, 2013


After maintaining radio silence for a month, Archbishop Myers of Newark made another effort at self-exoneration this week in a Q. and A. with the National Catholic Register. To say that his A's strain credulity would be an understatement.
Asked whether by returning Rev. Michael Fugee to ministry he had violated the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children's "zero tolerance" policy for all priests with credible accusations of clergy abuse, Myers said, "The memorandum of understanding worked out with the prosecutor's office said he could function as a priest, but not with minors in an unsupervised capacity."
That's not the case. The memorandum makes clear that Fugee was not to minister to minors, period.
Myers continued: "The assignments I gave him were intended to increase supervision. He was in the chancery eight hours a day, and he was working with another priest to identify places where priests could participate in retreats. In that role, he had no contact with children."


That's far from the whole truth. Myers fails to mention that he also assigned Fugee to serve as a chaplain at St. Michael's Medical Center without informing hospital administrators of the legal restrictions on him.

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Save the Children thanks pope for speaking against slaps 
ANSA           Jun.18,2013 

International charity Save the Children thanked Pope Francis on Tuesday for telling parents they should not slap their children on the face. The pope told parents that such actions damage their children's dignity - an important statement, said Valerio Neri, general manager of Save the Children Italy. "Save the Children has been working for years to promote positive parenting based on dialogue and listening to children and never the use of physical punishment," such as slaps, said Neri. Pope Francis discussed the importance of the Biblical lesson of turning the other cheek during a homily Monday, and reminded parents that their children should be treated with dignity.  

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Pope tells youthful Tagle: 'I thought you're from kindergarten'
Philip C. Tubeza     Jun.29, 2013

Attending a meeting in Rome two weeks ago, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle got a dose of Pope Francis' sense of humor.


Tagle, one of the youngest cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, said the Holy Father teased him, saying that he thought the 56-year-old de facto primate of the Church in the Philippines had just come out of kindergarten.

. . . .
"When he approached me, I said, `Your Holiness, I'm from Manila. I want to remind you I'm from the Philippines.' He said, 'Oh really, I thought you are from a kindergarten school.. scuola materna," he added." 

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Opponents of U.S. bishops' anti-poverty program accused of 'witch hunt' tactics 
Mark Pattison Jun.18, 2013 

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty arm, should "resist efforts that isolate Catholic-funded organizations from effective coalitions that are improving the lives of low-income citizens," according to a new report examining threats to CCHD's funding. 
. . . . 
"Lay Catholics concerned about protecting the church's social justice witness in public life should redouble their commitment to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development through donations, letters of support to bishops, and volunteering," said one recommendation in the report. 


The report is titled "Be Not Afraid?: Guilt by Association, Catholic McCarthyism and Growing Threats to the U.S. Bishops' Anti-Poverty Mission." It accuses such groups as the American Life League and the Reform CCHD Now Coalition of "creating a culture of fear around community organizing," based on interviews with community development experts, nonprofit directors and national philanthropic leaders.  

Read more                                                                        Report

Milw. Archdiocese releases statement on audit by Capuchins 
Trisha Bee        Jun.20, 2013

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee released a statement Thursday, June 20th regarding the voluntary release of an audit by the Midwest Province of Capuchin Franciscans. The audit names 23 of 46 friars alleged to have raped or sexually assaulted children.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee released the following statement:

We commend the Capuchin's decision to provide more open and candid communication related to clergy sexual abuse of minors. In 2004, when the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was one of the first dioceses in the country to make public the names of diocesan priest offenders with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, we encouraged religious orders to do the same. Today, we continue to work toward reconciliation with abuse survivors. In two weeks, the archdiocese will post additional documents to our website as part of our own commitment to transparency.
Rick Santorum & EchoLight Studios: Former Presidential Candidate Making Faith-Based Movies 
HuffPost        Jun.24, 2013 

Rick Santorum has picked up a new career. The 55-year-old politician is now the CEO of Echolight Studios, a faith-based film company.


Santorum announced the move on Mike Huckabee's Fox News program, "The Huckabee Show." "This is the right place and right time, and I've jumped in with both feet," the former GOP Presidential candidate said. "I often say that culture is upstream from politics, and I know entertainment also can be strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values."  

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Palin on Syria: Let "Allah" Sort it Out  
Garibaldi         Jun.20, 2013  

In a keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition earlier this week Sarah Palin spoke about the need to "'rededicate' our country to 'our one true Heavenly Father," going on to say, "If we rededicate our land to our Lord, things will turn around."


Elsewhere in Palin's speech her call for "rededication" was juxtaposed by a mocking reference to "Allah" and the bloody civil war in Syria. 


I say until we know what we're doing, until we have a commander in chief who knows what he's doing, well, let these radical Islamic countries who aren't even respecting basic human rights, where both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line, 'Allah Akbar,' I say until we have someone who knows what they're doing, I say let Allah sort it out.   

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Benedict XVI wants to spend the summer at the Vatican
Rome Reports      Jun.25, 2013

Benedict XVI is "relaxed. He has a good memory and his eyes are bright and cheerful." These were the words of father Stephan Otto Horn, president of the Ratzinger Alumni Association who visited the Pope Emeritus early in June.   


According to his former student, Benedict XVI wants to spend his summer at the Vatican. He also suggested that his successor, Pope Francis spend a few days at Castel Gandolfo, to bear the summer heat.  Pope Francis has offered Benedict XVI, full access to the Pope's summer residence in the town of Castel Gandolfo.  

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Pope Emeritus to miss Schülerkreis
Tablet      Jun.28, 2013

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will not attend this year's Ratzinger Schülerkreis, the annual meeting of his former theology students that he founded in 1977, according to its president, Fr Stephen Otto Horn.


A retired theology professor from Germany and a post-doctoral student of Joseph Ratzinger at the University of Regensburg in the 1970s, Fr Horn said that the Pope Emeritus seemed frail but mentally "fresh" during an hour-long meeting to discuss the conference.


This will be the first time Benedict XVI will not attend the Schülerkreis, which is to meet at Castel Gandolfo from 29 August to 2 September.


Fr Horn said that Benedict XVI had nevertheless chosen the symposium's speaker and topic: "The question of God against the background of secularisation".


Adding St. Joseph's name to Mass texts, popes share their devotion 
Cindy Wooden      Jun.18, 2013

Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI have a special devotion to St. Joseph and have assured that devotion regularly will be shared at Mass by Catholics around the world.


The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said Pope Francis confirmed a decision originally made by Pope Benedict to include St. Joseph permanently in the eucharistic prayers used at most Masses in the Latin rite.


A decree signed May 1 by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, congregation prefect, and Archbishop Arthur Roche, congregation secretary, said Pope Benedict had received petitions from Catholics around the world and approved adding after the name of the Virgin Mary, the words "with blessed Joseph, her spouse."


Blessed John XXIII had added the name of St. Joseph to the first eucharistic prayer, known as the Roman Canon, in the 1960s. The new decree inserts his name into eucharistic prayers II, III and IV. 

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Two Weeks of Worthy Women: Jeanne Jugan 
Todd Flowerday       Jun.21, 2013 


The worthy founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor may well have been permanently unknown had the schemes of a young priest come to full fruition. This is one of those rare turnabouts in which the priest was the subject of a Vatican investigation and the woman vindicated. But more on that later.


Let's open the Two Weeks with Jeanne Jugan, born in Brittany during the French Revolution.  .

. . .

The seed of the Little Sisters began to sprout when Jeanne, in her mid-forties, took a blind widow into her rented cottage in Saint Servan. Over the course of the following few years, a few other women joined Jeanne in caring for an increasing number of elderly women. Jeanne solicited donations and as her coterie expanded, her gentle effectiveness at persuasion had landed many admirers, supporters, and larger homes to accommodate her companions and those for whom they cared.


A young priest, Father Auguste le Pailleur latched himself to this work. Seeming to be a friend and advisor, he assisted in the organization and the recognition of the Little Sisters, who date their founding from 1842.

. . . .
Ten years later, official recognition came from the Bishop of Rennes. At that time, Fr le Pailleur had maneuvered himself into the position of Father Superior General. He called Jeanne into his office, and ordered her to cease fundraising and ministry and to retire to a life of prayer. Postulants were told he was the founder of the Little Sisters, and that Jeanne was not even the first of his recruits. 
. . . .
Jeanne died in obscurity, and a new generation of Little Sisters had no idea of the true history of their founding. A decade after her death, Fr le Pailleur was summoned to Rome. An apostolic inquiry uncovered the truth and the priest was relieved of his position and ordered to his own retirement in a convent.

Le Pailleur's legacy of deception is now forgotten. St Mary of the Cross was canonized by Pope Benedict four years ago.   

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Lourdes faces 'economic disaster' after floods 
Ben McPartland      Jun.20, 2013

France's president François Hollande said on Thursday that a state of natural disaster would be declare in the southwest of the country after rampaging floods wreaked devastation across the region and left the Town of Lourdes and its famous Catholic pilgrimage site facing ruin.

Only the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception survived unscathed from the floods that devastated the pilgrimage site in the town of Lourdes.

The shrine's famous grotto was submerged under muddy water while chapels and the bathing pools filled with water many believe has curative powers, were left in ruin, as millions of gallons of flood water rampaged through the town.

Only six months ago the town was hit by similar floods which caused over a million euros worth of damage.

But with snow melt adding to the weight of the flood waters, as the Gave de Pau river burst its banks, this week's deluge was even more destructive than last October's.

The mayor of Lourdes, Jean-Pierre Artiganav spelled out the impact on the town, describing it as an "economic disaster".

Debris strewn across the sanctuary at Lourdes.
Debris strewn across the sanctuary at Lourdes.

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Banned in Boston: Cardinal O'Malley orders parishes not to let priest speak
Jason Berry        Jun.25, 2013  

"Banned in Boston" used to refer to plays or films that an Irish Catholic establishment, led by the cardinal-archbishop, deemed immoral and thus blocked from local venues.

In today's ironic counter-meaning, it is Father Helmut Schüller, a reform-minded priest from Austria who has been banned from speaking at Catholic parishes in Boston by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, as Catholic activists arranging his July speaking tour have learned.

"We have found it necessary to move Father Schüller's talk," Larry Bloom, a volunteer in the Boston suburb of Dedham said in an email to members of several reform groups. Schüller had been scheduled to speak at St. Susanna Parish in Dedham on July 17.  

. . . .

The talk has been moved to a nearby nondenominational church. 

Read more

Other coverage:

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Austrian Priest Helmut Schüller 
US Speaking Tour

Helmut SchullerFr. Helmut Schüller, founder of the Austrian Priests' Initiative will be on a U.S. speaking tour this summer.  His "Call to Disobedience," signed by a majority of Austrian priests, has brought worldwide attention and momentum to addressing the crises in the Catholic Church. Today, he leads a practical movement that recognizes the Holy Spirit among the laity and the necessity of reforming church governance.   


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