Voice of the Faithful Focus, Apr. 18, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Pope Upholds Reprimand of American Nuns’ Group
Pope Francis has reaffirmed the reprimand of American nuns issued by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and endorsed the plan to have three bishops supervise an overhaul of the nation’s largest umbrella group of American nuns.
— Pope Francis’ LCWR Reaffirmation Leads Sisters to Hard Questions
— Pope Francis Reaffirms Critique of LCWR, Plan for Reform
— Pope Francis, the CDF and the LCWR
— Pope Francis Supports Crackdown on US Nuns; Women Had Hoped for Different Approach
— Pope Francis and the Ongoing Reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Pope Sets Up Cardinals’ Group to Advise on Vatican Reform
Exactly one month after his election to the papacy, Pope Francis on April 13 set up a working group of eight cardinals from all over the world to advise him on the running of the Catholic Church and on how to reform the scandal-ridden Roman Curia.
— Pope’s New Advisory Group May Curb Secretary of State
— Pope Francis Taps Eight Cardinals to Lead Vatican Reform
— Five Thoughts on the Pope’s New ‘G8’
— Pope Francis Names Advisory Panel at Vatican
— O’Malley Named by Pope to a Key Advisory Council
— Pope Appoints Panel of Cardinals to Weigh Major Reform of Roman Curia
— Pope Taps Cardinals to Advise on Governing, Reform
— Pope Francis to Revolutionize Running of church with New Advisory Panel
Pope Seeks Decisive Action Against Sex Abuse
Pope Francis directed the Vatican on Apr. 5 to act decisively on clergy sex abuse cases and punish pedophile priests, saying the Catholic Church’s ‘‘credibility’’ was on the line.
— Pope Seeks Decisive Action Against Sexual Abuse
— Pope Francis Calls for Action on Clerical Sex Abuse
— The Vatican: Pope Seeks Decisive Action to Resolve Church’s Sexual Abuse Cases
The New Pope’s Real Target: Clericalism
Pope Francis may be building by example a case against the arrogance and self-satisfaction that provides the foundation for a multi-tiered, class-conscious society of those who make the decisions and those who don’t, those who have given up earthly rewards in favor of honorific titles, fancy liturgical attire and, above all, power.
Wisconsin Archdiocese Will Release Files on Abuse
Archbishop of Milwaukee Jerome Listeki announced on Apr. 3 that he has authorized the release of thousands of pages of documents on sexual abuse by Catholic priests, including cases that date back 80 years and including legal depositions of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan.
Can Pope Francis Really Reform the Vatican?
Pope Francis has won widespread acclaim thus far in his nascent papacy with popular gestures like washing the feet of juveniles during Holy Week and refusing many papal perks. But now comes the hard part of his new job: reforming the Vatican.
Waiting for Francis to Reform the Curia? He Already Has
While pundits and ecclesiastical junkies continue to speculate when and how Pope Francis will — or even if he can — reform the Roman Curia, he has already done it.
Senior Cardinal Says Francis Will Bring New Life to Vatican II
Pope Francis has ushered in a new phase in the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, shifting the focus of the Catholic church from the concerns of the industrialized North that dominated debates of the past 50 years to the “problems of the Southern Hemisphere.”
Hard Questions about Francis in Argentina and a Lesson from Chile
Here are some hard questions and about the new pope’s record in Argentina and the best answers NCR’s John Allen could find.
Pope Francis and a New Vision of Catholic Reform
From the very first moment of his unexpected election as Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina has embraced a series of small departures from established tradition.
Pope’s Gestures Signal a New Openness
In his short time as pontiff, Pope Francis has shown a refreshingly unpretentious manner. Even in selecting his name, taken for the first time from St. Francis of Assisi, who was commanded by a crucifix to “repair my church.”
THE FUTURE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Hidden Exodus: Catholics Becoming Protestants
The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal evidence: One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists. One of three people who were raised Catholic no longer identifies as Catholic.
One in 11 Filipino Catholics Considers Leaving Catholic Church
About one in every 11 Filipino Catholics, or 9.2 percent, sometimes considers leaving the Church.
Demographic Shifts Mean Europe No Longer Catholic Church’s Center
The election of Pope Francis, an Argentine, to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics confirms what observers have long known: Vast demographic shifts in the Catholic population are reconfiguring the face of the church and shifting the institution’s center from its historic European heartland.
Reformist Priest Refused Permission to Speak
As Catholics around the world wait to see if Pope Francis ushers in a new era of openness, the Toronto archdiocese has been accused of stifling free speech.
For Friars, Finding Renewal by Sticking to Tradition
Once, Rev. Gerard Dunne’s medieval robes of a Dominican friar may have deterred some, but today the garment seems to be the greatest selling point for enlisting new priests.
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Pope Francis Stresses “Fundamental Importance” of Women in the Church
Pope Francis emphasized the “fundamental” importance of women in the Roman Catholic Church Apr. 3, when he said they were the first witnesses of Christ and have a special role in spreading the faith. By Reuters
— The Fundamental Role of Women in the Church
— Pope Francis Says Women Play a ‘Fundamental’ Role within the Church
— With New Pope, Catholic Women Hope to regain Church Leadership Roles
Religious Women Press for Change
Religion has sanctified male supremacy, but now that the cost of female powerlessness is openly calculated in the suffering of billions, religion must generate the empowerment of women.
Embrace Women’s Gifts, Protesters Say
As observers throughout the church wait to see how Pope Francis will handle issues of substance, some are looking particularly at what openness he’ll show to the participation of women in church leadership.
Former Aide Says Francis May Close Vatican Bank
A former top aide to Pope Francis said Apr. 3 that a little-known aspect of his record as the archbishop of Buenos Aires lends credence to speculation that sooner or later, he may shut down the Vatican Bank.
FBI Now Handling Troy Catholic Church Alleged Misappropriated Funds Investigation
An investigation into whether a priest mishandled more than $400,000 at Troy’s St. Thomas More Catholic Church is now being conducted by the FBI.
Nun with Gambling Addiction Admits Stealing $128 from Two New York Churches
A Roman Catholic nun with a gambling addiction has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $130,000 from two rural western New York parishes.
Windsor Priest Charged with Theft in Connection with $180K in ‘Irregularities’
Provincial police have arrested a local priest who allegedly spent almost a decade stealing more than $180,000 from his own church.
Catholic Priest Arrested for Stealing €4 Million from Rome Hospital
Italian police on Apr. 4 arrested a priest accused of pocketing €4m (£2.76m) from a Catholic hospital he ran and helping run up €600m in debts that forced it into bankruptcy. By Associated Press in The Guardian
CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
Solving the Sex Abuse Crisis: Experts Draft a To-Do List for Pope Francis
Pope Francis ordered the Vatican this week to act “decisively” in protecting children from sexual abuse and punishing predator priests, but his brief statement contained few specifics on how to stem the crisis that has roiled the Catholic Church for a decade.
Aide Predicts Francis will Hold Bishops Accountable
When the Vatican released a statement indicating that Pope Francis wants to move aggressively on the child sexual abuse scandals in the church, it was met by skepticism from victims groups insisting that “actions speak louder than words.” Over the years, perhaps the most persistent such demand for action has been that bishops who mishandle abuse cases should be held accountable. Yesterday, a senior aide and confidante to then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio predicted that Francis will plug this hole as pope.
Francesco C. Cesareo Named National Review Board Chair
Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., president of Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts, has been named the next chair of the National Review Board by USCCB president Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
Catholic Religious Order Abuse Files May Go Public
Less than three months after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the files of priests accused of sex abuse, attorneys for victims are back in court seeking similar records kept by more than a dozen religious orders.
LA Priest Ministered Despite Abuse Conviction
When the Rev. John Anthony Salazar arrived in Tulia, Texas, in 1991, he was warmly welcomed by the Roman Catholic community tucked in the Texas Panhandle. What his new parishioners didn’t know was he’d been hired out of a treatment program for pedophile priests — and that he’d been convicted for child molestation and banned from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for life.
Perlitz Sex Abuse Lawsuits Move Forward
Charges of widespread sexual abuse by the director of a program funded by wealthy area Catholics and created to help abandoned Haitian boys appear headed to trial.
Priest Cases Show Abuse Issues Persist
Records obtained by the Chicago Tribune reveal several instances in which the Joliet diocese’s handling of abuse allegations contradicted promises made by bishops, adding to concerns about the overall efficacy of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that U.S. bishops signed amid fanfare in June 2002.
Joliet Diocese Did Not Detail Priest’s Past
The Joliet Diocese acknowledges church officials allowed a Roman Catholic priest to serve as a hospital chaplain even though the bishop declared him unfit for parish ministry because of “inappropriate behavior” with a boy years earlier.
Recently Retired Dubuque Archbishop to Testify in Sex Abuse Cases
A Catholic archbishop in Iowa who retired Apr. 15 will be deposed in upcoming weeks in two lawsuits brought against the Benedictine abbey in Missouri where he was abbot for 10 years.
Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Second Child Rape Charge
The former head of a religious order in Ipswich pleaded not guilty yesterday to new charges that he sexually abused a child in the early 1980s.
New Trial Denied for Ex-Priest Convicted of Raping Altar Boys
A former Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of raping two altar boys in Berkshire County in the 1980s was denied a new trial by a Massachusetts Appeals Court this week.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Removes Three Priests from Public Ministry
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has permanently removed three more parish priests from public ministry over allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct around minors.
Civil Suit Alleges Catholic Priest Sexual Assault
A central Pennsylvania woman has filed a civil lawsuit alleging that a Catholic priest sexually abused her last spring at a Bucks County church.
— Married Mother of Nine Claims Catholic Priest Raped Her When She Went for Counseling and then Fled to Poland with Help from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Uganda Catholic Bishop Apologizes to Sexual Abuse Victims
A top Ugandan Roman Catholic Church bishop has apologized to victims of sexual abuse by the church’s priests in the East African country after a priest exposed the scandal.
Churches Don’t Want to Know, Abuse Inquiry Told
Catholic Church leaders in Australia were contributing to the ostracism and scapegoating of child sex abuse victims, showing little leadership and little “will to know.”
Catholic Church ‘Lacking Leadership’ to Deal with Child Sex Abuse, Professor Says
An Australian parliamentary inquiry has been told a lack of decisive leadership within the Catholic Church has thwarted a cultural shift which would better address problems of child sexual abuse.
Shield Laws Leave Whistleblowers, Reporters on Hook
Strong whistleblower laws and defamation laws that recognize responsible journalism are important governance and integrity issues – and we have neither of them.
Long Haul as 5,000 Line Up to reveal Tales of Heartache to Royal Commission
At least 5000 people could tell their traumatic stories to the royal commission into child sex abuse. And the commission says the reputations of individuals or institutions will not be spared if naming and shaming was justified.
— Australia Probes sexual Abuse of Children by Catholic Clerics
Former Catholic Priest Charged in 15 Child Abuse Cases
Austrian authorities have charged a defrocked priest with sexually abusing 15 children as head of a Catholic boarding school. By WDEF-TV News
— Ex-Priest Charged in 15 Cases of Alleged Child Sexual Abuse
Catholic Church in UK Comes Under Probe for Sex Abuse Scandal
The Metropolitan Police has set up the so-called Operation Fernbridge to look into historical cases of pedophilia in Britain. The detectives are examining claims that the prelate protected priests who were sexually abusing youngsters.