Voice of the Faithful Focus, July 21, 2011

Voice of the Faithful's Focus highlights issues we face as we work together to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

Cardinal Rigali Resigns - Archbishop Chaput Appointed in Philadelphia
     On July 19, Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal Justin Rigali's resignation as archbishop of Philadelphia, and the archdiocese announced Archbishop Charles Chaput's installation as Philadelphia Catholic's new bishop. Rigali leaves as Philadelphia's clergy sexual abuse scandal continues. Voice of the Faithful stated July 20 Rigali's resignation was accepted now because the Vatican heard the voices of Church reform. Some point out he reportedly was to retire soon anyway, but in fact, he left amid scandal before he intended. Chaput has been archbishop of Denver since 1997. He is described as a staunchly conservative and evangelical bishop. He has been criticized and applauded, as people try to understand his views.

Abuse Files Become Available in Germany
     In Germany, the Catholic Church will open to investigators priest and employee personnel files across the country. In nine dioceses, investigators will have access to records back to 1945. In 18 other dioceses, they will review records between 2000 and 2010. This promises to be Germany's equivalent of the U.S. bishops' John Jay Report. The Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute will conduct statistical studies on the nine dioceses, and the University of Essen-Duisburg psychiatric institute will research predator priests' behavior to help determine how to prevent abuse.

From NCR: Has Catholicism Become Merely Set Decoration
& What Will Vatican Summit Reveal

     In National Catholic Reporter, Eugene Cullen Kennedy offers a two-part commentary portraying Church leadership as using props from the past to set the stage for the next decade of Catholic life instead of paying attention to real issues. Will people come to the Church simply because the clerics build it? Also in NCR, John L. Allen, Jr., again approaches the controversy over clergy sexual abuse in light of the Vatican's planned February 2012 summit.

Catholics Tell Pope, Bishops Church No Longer Inspires
     In Australia, Catholics for Renewal has railed at the pope and bishops to be more accountable reject discrimination and do more listening to their flock. In a scathing open letter, the group says the church no longer adequately inspires people.

Cloyne Report Fallout Continues
& Irish Government Attacks Vatican
     In Ireland, the government officials, including the prime minister, have lashed out at the Vatican over clergy sexual abuses, some as recently as 2009, brought out by the Cloyne Report. The prime minister has decried the "dysfunction, disconnection and elitism" of the Church and described the Vatican's position as "calculated and withering." Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi counters the Vatican's actions have been misconstrued, and the Vatican has not received appropriate credit for what has been done regarding clergy sexual abuse. The Cloyne Report has caused great consternation and the pope may cancel this year's Ireland visit:
      -
Ireland denounces Vatican role in abuse cover-ups
      - Irish priests refuse to break seal of confession
      - All dioceses my face probe by State
      - Martin calls on bishop to take responsibility
      - Papal visit now looks doomed after backlash hits Church
      -
Irish child abuse report attacks Vatican/powerful bishop
      -
Ireland Confronts the Vatican
      - Irish summon Vatican diplomat over abuse cover-up
      - Irish Report Finds Abuse Persisting in Catholic Church
      - 'Inadequate. Inappropriate. Ineffective. Entirely unhelpful
      - Magee 'created one false and one accurate account
      - Clerical abuse - an international timeline

Sr. Joan Chittister ACC Address Gets Rave Reviews
    
At the American Catholic Council last month, Sr. Joan Chittister presented a remarkable this-is-the-best-of-times, this-is-the-worst-of-times appraisal of the Church that unfortunately most of you were not present to hear. "Every age that is dying," she quoted a Fifth Century philosopher, "is simply another age coming to life." Here are excerpts from her talk .

Justice4PAKids Lobbies for Statute of Limitations Reform
     In Pennsylvania, a group of citizens including Voice of the Faithful and Catholics4Change members is launching an Internet Blog to help them lobby the state legislature to reform the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse to benefit victims. Voice of the Faithful National endorses Justice4PAKids and prays that God blesses their endeavors.