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Some things we have been reading  
Pope Francis observes, judges, and acts. And begins establishing a parallel Curia
Andrea Gagliarducci      Mar.3, 2014

Watch, judge, act. These are the three steps put into action by Pope Francis. After almost one year of pontificate, Pope Francis has decided on a way forward on how to reform the Curia. Those who were thinking of a wide reform, built on a solid legal framework, will be perhaps disappointed. Pope Francis seems to have taken the decision of changing everything without waiting any longer. And of starting the Curia reform without reforming the Pastor Bonus, i.e. the constitution that regulates the functions of the offices of the Curia. Rather, Pope Francis is going to directly establish a parallel Curia. When this parallel Curia is complete, he will probably let all the other structures wither away.


This development is informed by two decisions Pope Francis has taken and is reportedly going to take. The first, that of establishing an Secretariat for the Economy. The second, that of appointing Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello as 'Moderator Curiae', i.e. a general coordinator of the Roman Curia.

. . . .

Attentive observers believe that Pope Francis will establish several secretariats, at least eight, and the prefects will be the cardinals of the Council of Cardinals. 

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Pope Francis says Church needs better bishops
David Gibson       Feb.27, 2014

In another strongly worded message to the Catholic hierarchy, Pope Francis told the Vatican body that vets nominees for bishops that they need to find him better candidates to send to dioceses around the world.


"To choose such ministers we all need to raise our sights, to move to a higher level," Francis told the Congregation for Bishops, the critical department of the Roman Curia that acts as a clearinghouse for bishop nominees, Feb. 27. "We can't do anything less, and we can't be content with the bare minimum."


On consecutive days last weekend, Francis delivered stern warnings to 19 new cardinals he appointed to join about 150 others in the College of Cardinals: On Feb. 22, he told them to avoid "rivalry, jealousy, factions," and at a Mass in the Vatican the next day, he said they must reject "habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favouritism and preferences."


Francis also has repeatedly called on clerics to live simply and humbly, and in his address to the cardinals and staff who make up the Congregation for Bishops, Francis said that self-denial and sacrifice are written into the bishop's DNA.


He exhorted them to find "authentic" pastors who display "professionalism, service and holiness of life."

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Financial reform shows crafty political side of pope
John L. Allen Jr       Feb.25, 2014 

Pope Francis may embrace simplicity, but he's hardly a simple man. The Jesuit pontiff is also an extraordinarily crafty politician, and a financial reform announced by the Vatican yesterday proves the point.

. . . .

The pope has created a new finance ministry to oversee all Vatican departments, especially those that handle money. It will prepare an annual budget and oversee detailed financial statements, addressing a long-standing complaint by cardinals from around the world - to wit, that they could never get a straight answer from the Vatican about how much money it has or what's happening to it.

The ministry, known as the Secretariat of the Economy, will report directly to the pope and will implement policies set by a new board of eight bishops and seven lay people with expertise in financial affairs. As his first "finance minister," Francis tapped 72-year-old Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, who was already a member of the pope's "G8" council of cardinal advisors.

It's the most significant reform of the Roman Curia, the bureaucracy of the Vatican, in a quarter-century. Calling the new department a "Secretariat" underlines its importance, since there's only one other outfit in the Vatican with that name, the Secretariat of State, and by tradition it's the big kid on the block in terms of wielding power. 

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Francis convenes religious institute treasurers for summit on use of money
Joshua J. McElwee      Mar.3, 2014

Pope Francis has asked the treasurers of the thousands of Catholic religious orders around the world to meet in Rome this weekend to discuss how they can use their orders' financial assets "for the service of humanity."


The first-of-its-kind summit puts an unusual focus on the wealth of the orders. Last fall Francis pointedly asked leaders of religious orders to reevaluate management of their assets, especially empty monasteries and convents which in recent years have frequently been turned over to non-religious pursuits, such as hotels and restaurants.


The event, to be held near the Vatican March 8-9, has not been announced publicly but is expected to draw hundreds of representatives of the estimated 900,000 men and women religious globally. It is to have 15 talks on issues ranging from the use of church property, to financial debts, to economic solidarity. 

Read more

Kasper's proposal for remarried divorcees
Andrea Tornielli       Feb.21, 2014

The Church cannot question the words of Jesus on the indissolubility of marriage. Whoever expects the Consistory and the Synod to come up with "easy", general solutions that apply to everyone, are mistaken. But given the difficulties which families today face and the huge rise in the number of failed marriages, new paths can be explored in order to respond to the deep needs of divorced people who have remarried as part of a civil union, who recognise their failure, convert and after a period of penance ask to be re-admitted to the sacraments. This is the opinion put forward by Cardinal Walter Kasper in a long speech to the Consistory's cardinals and the Pope this morning. Francis had asked the German theologian not to come up with answers but to raise questions. And this seems to be what Kasper has done.

. . . . 

According to Kasper, the Church today finds itself in a similar situation to what it was in after the last Council, the Second Vatican Council. Back then too, there were encyclicals, pronouncements and decisions issued by the Holy Office on questions such as ecumenism and religious freedom, which seemed to preclude other possible solutions. The Second Vatican Council opened some new doors without violating the Church's sacred dogmatic tradition. So the cardinal wonders whether in a similar manner, this cannot be taken further, extending change to the situation of remarried divorcees but without wiping out the core tradition of the faith. 

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Pope Francis urges sympathy for failed love in divorce debate
AFP      Feb.28, 2014

Pope Francis on Friday said couples whose marriages fail should be "accompanied" and not "condemned", wading into a debate on divorce that is testing his promise to put the Church in touch with modern life.


"When love fails, and it fails many times, we have to feel the pain of that failure, accompany the people who have felt the failure of their love," the pope said during the daily mass he holds in the Vatican.


"Don't condemn them! Walk with them!" he said, adding: "We have to be so close to the brothers and sisters who have suffered the failure of love in their lives".

. . . .

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon in France, told Vatican radio that a meeting of cardinals from around the world in the Vatican this month devoted "80 to 90 percent" of the time to discussing the issue.

German Cardinal Ludwig Mueller, head of the Church's doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has said the current rules are "impossible to change" and that people should stop thinking of marriage as "a party in a church".

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, a member of the council of eight cardinals established by the pope to advise him, has taken a more lenient line and has asked Mueller to be "more flexible".  

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Francis gives assurance that lay views on family will count
Robert Mickens      Feb.27, 2014

Pope Francis has assured Catholic lay­people that the Synod of Bishops will take their views seriously in October when it holds the first of two gatherings aimed at forging a fresh pastoral response to the rapidly changing state of the family and married life.
"This important meeting will involve all the People of God - bishops, priests, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the particular Churches of the entire world - all of whom are actively participating in preparations for the meeting through practical suggestions and the crucial support of prayer," the  Pope says in a personal letter to families, published on Tuesday. He says the support and input of families are "especially significant and more necessary than ever". 

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Kasper proposes appointing women as heads of pontifical councils
Andrea Tornielli     Mar.1, 2014

"Women's role in the Church should be rethought and integrated into the Pope's ideas for greater synodal dynamism and a missionary conversion": women should be offered leadership roles within the pontifical councils and in the future Congregation for the Laity given how many bishops the Curia has. Temporary mandates should be introduced in the Curia to prevent careerism, calling priests who already have some pastoral experience. This was the crux of what Cardinal Walter Kasper said in a long interview with Stefania Falasca published in today's issue of Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire.


"Up until now, women have generally only attended the synod as auditors, holding roles of little significance," Kasper said.  "There are always two or three female auditors who speak at the end of the meetings when everyone has already spoken. I ask myself how it is possible to prepare two synods on the family without giving a role of primary importance to women? A family cannot exist without women. It makes no sense to speak about the family without listening to what they have to say. I think they need to be called and listen as of right now, as we enter the preparatory phase."

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Give women more influence in church - McAleese
Mark Hennessy     Mar.1, 2014

Bishops and the laity, particularly women, must be given greater influence in the Catholic Church, the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has said. She was speaking at Cambridge University.


Bishops should be encouraged not to be "yes men" but "leaders who can speak freely", who consult with rank-and-file Catholics and then make decisions along with the pope, she said.


Senior church leaders have "until now" believed the church could only survive through "unquestioning obedience to the exclusively top-down teaching magisterium".


"That tight-grip approach has had very damaging consequences for the church in the modern world", she said, in a lecture on church governance to the Van Hugel Institute in Cambridge last night.


The pope could give a synod of bishops decision-making powers even though "no pope has ever done so and Pope Benedict is on record as being against doing so. Yet this is by far the most straightforward way of creating at least an embryonic form of collegial episcopal decision-making in the Catholic Church, she said. 

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Disgraced Keith O'Brien faces Vatican 'trial'
The Scotsman      Feb.23, 2014

Cardinal Keith O'Brien is facing a new investigation by the Vatican and may face a "trial" under canon law which could lead to him losing his red hat.


Three priests in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh have asked Leo Cushley, the new archbishop, to pass on to the Holy See their written complaints which characterise O'Brien as a "sexual predator" who used his authority to compel them into "coercive" and "abusive" sexual relationships.


The priests, whose accusations led to the cardinal's enforced retirement and disgrace last February, appear determined to force Pope Francis to make a final judgment.


It is now understood that O'Brien's sexual relationships continued until at least 2009, six years after he was made a cardinal.

. . . .

The documents detailing their allegations have now been sent by Archbishop Cushley to the Congregation of Bishops, from where they are expected to be passed to the Secretariat of State.


Under canon law, the legal framework that governs the Catholic Church, only the Pope can pass judgment on or "sentence" a cardinal. 

Read more

Founder Of Liberation Theology Hailed At Vatican
Nicole Winfield    Feb.25, 2014

The founder of liberation theology, the Latin American-inspired Catholic theology advocating for the poor, received a hero's welcome Tuesday at the Vatican as the once-criticized movement continues its rehabilitation under Pope Francis.


The Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez of Peru was the surprise speaker Tuesday at a book launch featuring the head of the Vatican's orthodoxy office, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller; one of Francis' top advisers, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga; and the Vatican spokesman.

. . . .

Gutierrez, 85, received a round of applause when the Vatican spokesman noted his presence Tuesday and another round when he approached the podium to speak about the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

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Newark Archbishop's pricey retirement home spurs backlash as parishioners withhold donations
Mark Mueller      Mar.2, 2014

Every year, without fail, Joe Ferri writes a $100 check to the Archdiocese of Newark for the Archbishop's Annual Appeal, a fundraising drive that benefits a variety of religious causes.  


This year, Ferri left the empty envelope on his pew at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Bloomfield. He's done writing checks.


"If this is the only way I can be heard, so be it," said Ferri, 70. "I'm disgusted. The archdiocese is not going to get another penny out of me."


Two weeks after The Star-Ledger disclosed that Archbishop John J. Myers is building a 3,000-square-foot addition on the expansive home where he will spend his retirement, it appears the work will cost the archdiocese far more than the $500,000 allotted for construction.


Parishioners, infuriated by what they call a tone-deaf show of excess at a time when Catholic schools are closing and when the pope has called on bishops to shed the trappings of luxury, say they're cutting off contributions entirely or sharply curtailing them.


Others said they will continue supporting their local parishes but will ignore the annual appeal, which has been heavily promoted in churches over the past month across the archdiocese, home to 1.3 million Catholics in Essex, Hudson, Union and Bergen counties. 

Read more



 Retiring in Style
With about $300,000 in upgrades, it will make a suitable retirement residence for me.
Why does a bishop need five bedrooms?
Michael Sherrard, Faithful America      Mar.5, 2014

In a recent speech, Pope Francis suggested he wants bishops who are "close to the people ... animated by inner poverty, the freedom of the Lord and also by outward simplicity and austerity of life."


Meanwhile, the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey has decided that his existing weekend residence -- a 4,500-square-foot house with five bedrooms and an outdoor pool -- isn't big enough for his retirement.


So the archdiocese is spending at least $500,000 on a 3,000-square-foot addition, including an additional indoor pool, hot tub, three fireplaces, and a second elevator.


Archbishop John J. Myers has had a controversial career -- he allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working and he once issued a pastoral letter demanding that supporters of marriage equality refrain from receiving communion.


Many New Jersey Catholics say this is the last straw, and they'll stop contributing to the archdiocese fundraising appeals unless Archbishop Myers drops his plans for a huge retirement mansion.


We're launching a petition to show the archbishop that he's becoming a national embarrassment to the Church and it's time to start listening to Pope Francis.

Tell New Jersey archbishop: Drop your plans for a huge mansion.


Vatican Accepts Resignation of Controversial Archbishop
ABNA       Mar.1, 2014

The leader of the Catholic Church has accepted the resignation of a controversial cardinal who had been widely criticized for his anti-Islamic comments.


Pope Francis on Friday accepted the resignation of Cologne's Roman Catholic archbishop Joachim Meisner.


Meisner's resignation is said to have been due to his old age but German Muslims' anger over his anti-Islamic remarks seem to have also played a part.


A few weeks ago he praised the high birth rate among Catholics for making up for large Muslim families.

"I always say, one of your families to me makes up for three Muslim families," the Cardinal told members of the conservative Catholic group Neocatechumenal Way. 

Read more

Third pope in the Vatican? 
3rd pope
Francis must act faster on abuse issue
NCR Editorial Staff      Feb.27, 2014

. . . .

Critics have faulted the U.N. report for not keeping its focus on the sexual abuse of minors and instead also criticizing Vatican policies (we would call them teachings) on abortion, birth control, homosexuality and even corporal punishment. Bringing up these issues -- which the committee may not have been able to avoid because of its wider mandate -- made the report too easy to dismiss by the very people it should have roused to action. It also focused too much on the historical record and ignored some recent progress the Vatican has made. Because of this, the report comes off as dated, giving critics more ammunition to dismiss it. A more politically savvy report could have had greater impact. Commentators even on the NCR website called the report poorly done, sloppily executed and an opportunity squandered.


While acknowledging these weaknesses, we should not lose sight of the truth the report contains: When it comes to sex abuse, church officials continue to cloak themselves in secrecy, deceive the faithful and act with impunity.

. . . .

The church as a whole and individual dioceses in particular have made tremendous progress in addressing the issue of clergy abusing minors. In many areas -- Kansas City is one of them now -- the local church has exemplary training programs in child protection for church staff and volunteers. Jeff Anderson, the dark knight nemesis to Catholic officials across the country, has praised the Chicago archdiocese's victim assistance program as one of the best in the nation. The church is doing many things right.


What it has not yet done is take steps to tell the full truth and to address the impunity of high church officials. On recommendation from his Council of Cardinals, the pope has announced he will appoint a special commission to advise him directly on best practices in handling sex abuse. To demonstrate resolve at the highest levels that zero tolerance is a permanent part of the church culture, the mandate of this new commission must also include establishing disciplinary procedures for bishops and chancery officials who obstruct or ignore the enforcement of church law on clergy sex abuse.

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Pope Francis Dodges, Weaves and Wobbles on Child Sexual Abuse
Jason Berry       Mar.5, 2014

Pope Francis missed an opportunity to not repeat his predecessors' failures on the crimes of clerical sexual abuse of minors.


Last month the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child sharply denounced the Vatican's failure since 2001 to report data to the United Nations on sexual abuse by priests.

. . . .

In response to this harsh critique, the Holy See thought it prudent to correct the UN's "lack of understanding," justify its policies, claim the Vatican is "a reality different" than other countries, and complain of moral intervention into "doctrinal positions of the Catholic Church." This response only served to underscore the Committee's findings on the Holy See's conduct- the Vatican places its reputation over concerns for survivors of sexual abuse by priests.


Today Pope Francis again dodged, weaved and wobbled on criticisms of the Vatican's handling of child sexual abuse and went so far as to defend the Church's record. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, the Holy Father spoke in defense of the Vatican's actions in dealing with child sexual abuse, saying "no one has done more" to address the issue. "The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility... Yet the Church is the only one to have been attacked." 

. . . .

If the Holy See is going to claim moral authority it will be held to a higher standard, if not by the objective measures of the UN Committee, then indeed by public opinion. In turn, if the Holy See fails miserably to address the documented crisis of clerical sexual abuse of minors, fails to follow the rule of law and continues to put children at risk, the Holy See has earned every bit of criticism.  Some simply call that justice.  

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Appeals court: Archbishop must testify in clergy abuse lawsuit
Jean Hopfensperger       Mar.5, 2014

Archbishop John Nienstedt must testify under oath about the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minneapolis' response to child sex abuse charges against local priests, the state appeals court affirmed Wednesday.


The Minnesota Court of Appeals refused to consider an appeal by the archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, which were court-ordered in February to make Nienstedt and former vicar general Kevin McDonough testify under oath about abuse complaints.


The action came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this year by an alleged victim of former priest Tom Adamson. Ramsey District Judge John Van de North had ruled that Nienstedt and McDonough must provide sworn testimony on that case, as well as others.


It was the first time a Minnesota archbishop had been ordered to testify under oath about more than one abuser, the victim's attorneys said, allowing for questions about multiple cases over time.

Read more

Survey: Americans turn sharply favorable on gay issues
Cathy Lynn Grossman      Feb.26, 2014
Gay marriage against beliefs

Americans' attitudes toward the lives and choices of gays and lesbians have changed radically since Massachusetts first legalized same-sex marriage a decade ago.


new survey finds a significant shift toward tolerance across every religious, political and age group and every region of the country, said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI's survey, released Wednesday (Feb. 26), reveals the ramifications of these changes in family, church and community life.   

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Pope Tells Corriere Women Must Have Greater Role in Church
 Andrew Frye    Mar.5, 2014

Pope Francis said women must have a greater role in the leadership of the Catholic church and civil unions should be evaluated on their merits, according to Corriere Della Sera.


"It's true that women can and must be more present in church decision making," Francis told the newspaper in an interview published today. "The theological research is underway." 

Read more

Pope Francis does not rule out retiring like Benedict
Tom Kington      Mar.5 2014

Pope Francis has said that the Catholic Church should officially grant an active role to retired popes, raising the possibility that he may himself one day choose to follow the precedent set by Pope Benedict, and retire rather than dying in office.


"Benedict is the first, and maybe there will be others. We don't know," Francis said in an interview given to Italian daily Corriere della Sera. 

Read more

Daniel Burke      Mar.5, 2014

Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.


The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."


States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.


A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times. 

Read more

PBS Frontline:Secrets of the Vatican
Secrets of the Vatican premiered Tuesday, February 25 on PBS and is available for watching online. It examines the crisis the Catholic Church faces in light of the devastating charges of financial and sexual corruption.

A year ago, after receiving a confidential dossier on troubles in the Catholic Church, Benedict XVI became the first Pope in nearly 600 years to resign. In Secrets Of The Vatican, FRONTLINE exposes the threats and scandals that rocked Benedict's papacy: a far-reaching clergy sex abuse crisis; money laundering and corruption at the Vatican Bank; and Vatileaks-the release of internal documents revealing cronyism, power struggles, and allegations of blackmail within the Holy See.


This special FRONTLINE  goes inside the Vatican to unravel the remarkable series of events that led to the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict.

The writer, producer, and director is Antony Thomas. The co-producer is Jason Berry.


Related Articles

What's the State of the Church's Child Abuse Crisis? by Sarah Childress

Can Pope Francis Fix the Catholic Church? by Jason M. Breslow

Pope Francis In His Own Words by Jason M. Breslow

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga: The Church Needs "Fresh Air"

Robert Mickens: From Benedict to Francis

Monica Barrett: "If You Tell Anybody, Your Parents Will Burn in Hell"

Tom Doyle: Vatican is the World's "Last Absolute Monarchy"

Can the Curia Be Reformed? by Jason M. Breslow

Dig Deeper: Pope Francis and His Church by Sarah Childress

Amid Vatican Disarray, Pope Francis Set A New Tone by Jason M. Breslow

Pope Francis Appoints New Watchdog for Vatican Finances by Jason M. Breslow 

International Church Reform Groups Seek Meeting with Pope Francis to Discuss Expanding Women's Leadership, Access to Communion
Anthony Padovano, Linda Pinto      Feb.20, 2014


As the first anniversary of Pope Francis' election approaches, leaders of 52 organizations from the United States, Europe, and Asia working towards renewal and reform in the Catholic Church have sent a letter to the Pope. They are urging him to take immediate steps to appoint more women to Church leadership positions, and to stop the practice of banning people from Communion. They have also asked the pontiff to meet with them, saying they represent "millions of Catholics around the world who are deeply committed to our Church, but hope for changes on issues of governance and care."

They ask the Pope to appoint women to positions of policy and pastoral leadership, including as heads of offices in the Vatican Curia. They said this was "for the good of God's people," and that there were many Church leadership positions where "the only sacramental qualification for service is Baptism."
Will Pope Francis Finish Martin Luther's Reformation?
Jerry Slevin      Mar.5, 2014

In three year's time, the world will mark both (A) the 500th anniversary of the German theologian, Martin Luther's Reformation launch, and (B) the first Jesuit Pope, Francis' 80th birthday. That is the current retirement age of cardinals and Francis may retire then to establish a term limit precedent.


Recent reports from Germany indicate that Francis by then may be well on the way to completing, not merely countering,  the Reformation that Luther had started and, paradoxically, Jesuits had been founded mainly to counter. Francis now has the unprecedented opportunity (1) to complete the reform of the Catholic Church, (2) to end the scandalous religious rift that never should have occurred, and (3) to consolidate the fruits of the enormous efforts of both Luther and Loyola and their many followers.


Why Germany? A central element of the explanation is that it is where Swiss born, Rome Jesuit educated, Fr. Hans Kung has boldly taught scholars and advocated for reform for almost six decades, often working closely with Luther's principal Protestant intellectual successors. Hans Kung has for decades clearly been a key, if not the key,  Catholic intellectual, and pastoral, force behind this "New Reformation". He has suffered much at the hands of the last two popes for his reform advocacy, but he is continuing to press, as he soon celebrates his 86th birthday.

. . . . 

Now key German bishops are calling for a sensible reconsideration of controversial Vatican positions on contraception, divorce, homosexuality, et al. Even John Paul II's and Benedict's mandated Catechism appears to be up for grabs. Are women and married priests and bishops soon finally to appear on the horizon? Will Luther have the last word?


What else is so unusual about Germany? The sudden acceptance of the resignation last week of prominent Cologne Archbishop and Cardinal Meisner surprised some. Meisner had reportedly supported the Bishop of Bling.  Meisner also reportedly recently insulted some Muslims by alluding to comparative birth rates of Catholics and Muslims, an especially sensitive topic since some Catholics think the Vatican's birth control prohibition has from its adoption in 1930 mainly been a Vatican geo-political position intended to pump up the Catholic birth rate which supports Vatican power and wealth.

Read more

Swiss Vicar General Warns of Massive Ecumenical Setback
Anthony Ruff, OSB i      Mar.5, 2014

This news from Switzerland is about an issue that concerns all of us. Josef Annen, vicar general of Zurich and Glarus in Switzerland, warned of massive steps backwards in eucharistic ecumenical sharing at a press conference today in Zurich. Topic of the press conference was publication of the book Katholiken im Kanton Zürich.


Annen notes that over half the marriages and partnerships in Zurich canton are of mixed confession. He said that through the bonds of baptism "all are members of the one Church of Jesus Christ," and that "at the Table of the Lord, at least in confessionally mixed marriages, [this unity] should not continue to lead down separate paths." But some of the bishops seem intent on interpreting intercommunion restrictively. It would be advantageous for the Swiss church, Annen said, if the bishops would say nothing on the topic at this point. The Swiss church can "no longer afford such a step backward," he warned.


It is feared by some that the Swiss bishops' conference will soon issue a document treating intercommunion. Book co-author Urban Fink said that the ecumenical commission of the bishops' conference, of which he is a member, has not been consulted. The ecumenical commission has asked the bishops' conference that the proposed document be shown to the theological commission and the ecumenical commission, but so far this has not happened. 

Read more

Friday in Lent
So long, farewell to Ingrid Shafer
March 5, 2014

  Ingrid Shafer

Farewell, Ingrid. You will be sorely missed. 

Vivat in aeternam!


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New Translation of Roman Missal   

1973 Lenten Preface 


Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed.  
You give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our Father,  
and of willing service to our neighbor.  
As we recall the great events that gave us a new life in Christ, you bring to perfection within us the image  
of your Son.



Lenten Preface
For by your gracious gift each year your faithful 
await the sacred paschal feasts with the joy 
of minds made pure, so that, more eagerly intent 
on prayer and on the works of charity, 
and participating in the mysteries by which they have been reborn, they may be led to the fullness of grace 
that you bestow on your sons and daughters. 

Upcoming Events


Aquinas Academy  

 VATICAN II:  Where are we now?

Presenter: Bishop Geoffrey Robinson 

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When? 4 Wednesday mornings 

10am - 12noon, March 12 - April 2 2014

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2014 National Annual Assembly
Dei Verbum, Revelation in Our Lives and Time 
June 23rd at noon to June 26th at noon. 
Registration Deadline: June 18. 
Keynote speakers: 
Donald Senior, C.P., writer and professor at the Catholic Theological Union; 
Michael Crosby, a Capuchin Franciscan and author on biblical discipleship; 
Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., professor of Old Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union; and 
Jim Bacik, called by Richard P. McBrien, "One of American's finest theologians." 
Liturgical musicians Jan Michael Joncas, David Haas, and Marty Haugen will be performing. 
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