Voice of the Faithful Focus, June 14, 2012
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
Analysis: Bishops’ Accountability Still Missing from Abuse Scandal
As the nation’s Catholic bishops mark 10 years since they adopted sweeping reforms to address the sexual abuse of children by clergy, the 800-pound gorilla in the chancery remains a lack of accountability for the bishops themselves. The lay National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on June 13 warned the bishops at their spring 2012 meeting in Atlanta that “they must follow their own policies against abuse more rigorously if they hope to restore their fragile credibility,” according to David Gibson,Religion News Service. The NRB also said, “While the charter called for punishing priests with a one-strike policy and instituted programs to safeguard children in Catholic parishes and schools, it did not provide any mechanism for disciplining bishops who flout the charter’s provisions.
— A Ten Year Progress Report, June 2012, USCCB National Review Board
— National Review Board Recommendations – June 2012
Is ‘Zero Tolerance’ Charter on Priest Sex Abuse Working, 10 Years Later?
Ten years ago in Dallas, American Catholic bishops responded to an exploding priest sex abuse scandal with a “zero tolerance” charter. Now as WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, there are those who see the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops “Charter on the Protection of Children and Youth” as a success and those who don’t.
At Meeting in St. Louis, Catholic Theologians Defend One of Their Own against the Vatican
The head of the Jesuit order in East Africa explained to other theologians gathered here last week that a simple gesture had different meanings in different cultures.
Magisterium’s Clock Is Stuck in 1965
What exactly was ‘the spirit of Vatican II? Here as elsewhere we find ignorant voices raised to misrepresent it merely as the spirit of 1960’s secular liberalism. This trend has led to an even more dangerous and unjust one: to blame ‘the spirit of Vatican II’, and those who speak of it, for ‘all that has gone wrong’ since.
Essay: Power of The Dying Hierarchy Is An Illusion
Another sister told me this about a decade ago: The hierarchy is like a dying dragon, breathing fire on those around it as it flails through its final collapse. But don’t worry, she said, it is dying and someday something else will resurrect.
Church Battles Efforts to Ease Sex Abuse Suits
While the first criminal trial of a Roman Catholic church official accused of covering up child sexual abuse has drawn national attention to Philadelphia, the church has been quietly engaged in equally consequential battles over abuse, not in courtrooms but in state legislatures around the country.The fights concern proposals to loosen statutes of limitations…
LCWR Denounces Vatican Intervention, Says Critique ‘Unsubstantiated’
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has a Vatican call for reform of their group, saying that it has “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and caused greater polarization.”
— LCWR President Speaks of Pain and Process
— American Nuns Vow to Fight Vatican Criticism
— When in Rome, Speak Up for Reality
— Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues
— Editorial: Sisters’ Discussions Reflect Healthy Questioning
LCWR Leaders Meet with Vatican Officials to Discuss Reform
Leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met on June 12 with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to discuss the Vatican’s call for reform of the American group. Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been designated by the CDF to supervise the reform, also took part in the meeting.
— Vatican Official Warns of ‘Dialogue of the Deaf’ with LCWR
The Vatican’s assessment of the L.C.W.R. offers an opportunity for discernment and collaboration.
The history of the Catholic Church in Washington State, my new home, is likewise filled with similarly inspiring chapters, chief among them the pioneer courage and faith of consecrated women. Their story was repeated again and again across the United States, and perhaps nowhere else in the world have women religious had the impact they have had in this country.
— An article responding to Archbishop Sartain article above: At Cross Currents?
— A later article regarding the June 12 meeting with the LCWR in Rome: Sartain: LCWR Dialogue a ‘Work in Progress’
Vatican Seeks to Rid Itself of Turbulent Nuns
Many of today’s Roman Catholic nuns wear civilian clothes, not the familiar black habits, and are out in the world, rather than being cloistered in a convent. They work in soup kitchens, run homeless shelters, and clinics providing free medical care. Their work brings them in contact with the dregs of society — the poor, the dispossessed and the helpless. They worry about children not getting enough to eat or abused women who have nowhere to turn.
Franciscan Friars Back American Nuns in Vatican Spat
The brothers have come to the sisters’ defense. Leaders from the seven Franciscan provinces in the U.S. publicly backed a group of American nuns on Thursday (June 7), calling a Vatican crackdown on the women “excessive.”
— Priests Come to Nuns’ Defense
— Catholics Rally around Nuns Amid Vatican Crackdown
— Vigil Supports Nuns Reprimanded by Vatican
Update on Nuns Justice
A quick note that if you haven’t seen the great CBS Evening News story about the vigils, take a peek here.
— And then check out Sr. Maureen Fiedler on CBS This Morning
Vatican Declares “Year of Assault”
Under the guise of a “Year of Faith,” the Vatican has launched an all-out assault on any theology or interpretation of Vatican II based on what it calls a “Hermeneutic (Interpretation) of Rupture.”
LCWR Move Is Puzzling Even to Those Outside the Church
As a Protestant, I have, as usual, been looking in from outside Catholicism at a running news story — and finding myself profoundly puzzled. News of the Vatican’s condemnation of the largest organization representing Catholic nuns in the United States — the Leadership Conference of Women Religious — is not of the same magnitude as the long-running story of sexual abuse and cover-up in the church. But in its own way, it is needlessly damaging the church — and not just the Catholic Church, but the church universal.
Vatican Criticizes US Theologian’s Book on Sexual Ethics
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sharply criticized Just Love, an award-winning book on sexual ethics by Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley, a prominent Catholic theologian at Yale University.
— Notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
— Vatican: American Nun’s Book on Sex Could Harm Catholics
— Nun’s Vatican-Condemned book on Sexuality Shoots Up Bestseller List
— Response to Vatican’s Notification Regarding Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics
Bishops’ Move against Women Religious a Hard Sell, Indeed
You can bet that in the eyes of the Vatican, its Monday condemnation of the book Just Love by Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley has nothing to do with other recent and not-so-recent actions taken against U.S. Catholic sisters.
— Condemnation of ‘Just Love’ Not a Surprise in This Day and Age
Vatican-Criticized Nun Addresses Fellow Theologians
Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley addressed for the first time publicly Friday evening the Vatican’s harsh criticism of one of her books, saying it points to “profoundly important” questions facing the Catholic community regarding the roles of truth and power.
— Statements Regarding CDF “Notification” on “Just Love” (By Sr. Margaret Farley and Sr. Pat McDermott, President, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas)
— Theologian’s Book a Wide-Ranging Study
— Theological Society Backs Vatican-Criticized Nun
Vatican Misses the Point Again
As leaked documents cast doubt upon the Vatican Bank and the Swiss guards say the butler did it, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues playing “Whack-A-Nun.” Vatican congregations have scrutinized women religious, put their major leadership organization into receivership and attacked the writings of individual sisters.
Is Pleasure a Sin?
It’s hard to say what is weirder: A Sister of Mercy writing about the Kama Sutra, sexual desire, and “our yearnings for pleasure.” Or the Vatican getting so hot and bothered about the academic treatise on sexuality that the pope censures it, causing it to shoot from obscurity to the top tier of Amazon.com’s best-seller list six years after it was published.
Catholic Bishops: What’s at Stake?
In the last number of months the Bishops have been speaking out on any number of things, seemingly more than usual, as well as dealing with internal issues. Here is a recent “discussion” about what the bishops have at stake held with representatives from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Religion News Service, and Catholic News Service.
10 Years after Catholic Sex Abuse Reforms, What’s Changed?
When the nation’s Catholic bishops gather in Atlanta next week (June 13-15) for their annual spring meeting, a top agenda item will be assessing the reforms they adopted 10 years ago as revelations of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests consumed the church.
Irish Catholic Faith on Line As Church Holds Eucharistic Congress in Dublin
An international conference celebrating Roman Catholicism opened Sunday in Ireland against a backdrop of anger over child abuse cover-ups and evidence of declining faith in core church beliefs.
— Archbishop Martin: A Divided Church Will Only Alienate Young People, Irish, Prelate Addresses Eucharistic Congress on the Church in Today’s Modern World
— New Evangelisation and Christian Unity Take Congress Centre Stage, The second day of the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin had an ecumenical focus.
Abuse Victims Remembered at Opening of Eucharistic Congress
The past 50 years in the Irish Catholic Church have been marked with a darker side, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said in his opening greeting at the International Eucharistic Congress at the RDS today.
Just How Catholic Are You? Take the Five-Point Test and See Where You Stand
As time passes, defining a Catholic – let alone an Irish Catholic – may prove ever more elusive. This survey was conducted exclusively on behalf of The Irish Times by Ipsos MRBI, among a national quota sample of 1,000 representative of the circa 3.4 million adults aged 18 upwards, covering 100 sampling points throughout all constituencies in the Republic of Ireland.
More Than 230 New Abuse Allegations Received by Catholic Church in Ireland
The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church (NBSCCC) received 237 new abuse allegations in the 12 months from 31 March 2011 to 1 April this year.
Northern Ireland to Launch Inquiry into Clerical Child Abuse
The Northern Ireland power-sharing government is expected to announce an inquiry into clerical child abuse in religious-run institutions in the province.
Pope’s Envoy Apologizes to Irish Victims of Clerical Sex Abuse
An envoy for Pope Benedict has apologized in person to child victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, a gesture that highlights the Vatican’s concerns over its deteriorating status in Ireland.
Deadlines on Child Sexual Abuse Complaints May Be Extended
Victims of child sexual abuse who missed deadlines for filing civil claims against their abusers may get a two-year window during which they could bring old cases to court, under one legislative scenario under discussion on Beacon Hill.
Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Richard Lennon Sends Conciliatory Letter to Priests, Seeking to Repair Relationship
Bishop Richard Lennon has sent a conciliatory letter to the priests in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, acknowledging that his relationship with many of them has deteriorated.
Priest Heading Controversial Cleveland Community Threatened with Suspension
Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon has issued a “Declaration of Loss of Canonical Office” to Fr. Robert Marrone for refusing to step down as pastor of the Community of St. Peter, a congregation that defied the bishop and remained together after its parish, of the same name, was closed in 2010.
Meeting Minutes: Dolan’s Milwaukee Archdiocese Paid Accused Priests to Leave
The Milwaukee archdiocese has acknowledged it paid sexually abusive priests $20,000 to leave the priesthood without taking the laicization fight to the Vatican.
Philadelphia Trial Revives Catholic Church Sex-abuse Crisis
Ten years ago, the Roman Catholic sex-abuse scandal dominated the headlines with horrific stories of priests preying on vulnerable youths and a church hierarchy more concerned with protecting clergy instead of kids.
— Philly Priest Sex-Abuse Trial Hears Heated Closing Arguments
— Catholic Abuse Case Going to Jury in Philadelphia
Law Professor: Philadelphia Jury Has Much to Consider in Sex Abuse Trial
With the case now in its hands, the jury continues to deliberate the existence of a conspiracy to cover up priest sex abuse in the Philadelphia archdiocese.
— Philadelphia Priest-Abuse Jury Asks Key Questions
— (Diseased Cardinal) Bevilacqua Also Facing a Verdict
Chaput: Priest Sex-Abuse Scandal to Cost More than $11 Million
With the current clergy sex abuse scandal likely to cost more than $11 million, and because years of deficit spending have depleted its financial reserves, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said theArchdiocese of Philadelphia will seek donations to help pay for the World Day of Families event here in 2015.
Jury in Philly Priest-Abuse Case Returns Thursday
Frustration erupted Tuesday in a landmark priest-abuse case. As jurors failed to reach a verdict for a seventh day, a defense lawyer raged over their demands and a lone juror appeared distraught.
Gerald T. Slevin: Philadelphia Criminal Trial Has Now Fully Exposed Catholic Leadership Worldwide
Jerry Slevin has another outstanding posting commenting on the Philadelphia trial, which is in the process of wrapping up, and what that trial means at a fundamental level for the Catholic Church worldwide and for its future.
Nature of Ministry Is the Elephant in the Room
Viewed overall, the state of the Church is not too encouraging. In the space of a single generation, the deepening dearth of priests will lead to the collapse of the entire structure of parish administration, say Fr. Michael Kelly SJ in a speech delivered at St Mary’s Church, North Sydney, on Thursday, and published in Eureka Street.
Australian Bishop Who Wants Church Reform Resigns
The pope has agreed to give early retirement to an Australian bishop who ruffled the Vatican’s feathers by calling for a total reform of the Catholic Church, questioning mandatory celibacy for priests along with church teachings on sexuality.
THE VATICAN & THE POPE
Benedict in Milan, Vatileaks, LCWR and Farley
In moments of crisis, there’s a natural desire among many Catholics to rally around the flag, meaning to show support for the church and the pope. It’s not about denial, because Catholics are nothing if not sober realists about the church’s failures. It’s instead about saying to the world that despite it all, there’s still something positive about the church that commands grassroots loyalty.
Intrigue Mounts over Vatican Bank Chief Ouster; Leaks Show Board, Psych Questioned Behavior
Intrigue mounted Saturday over the controversial ouster of the Vatican bank’s president, with leaked documents showing board members and even a psychiatrist had questioned his behavior and fitness for the job months before he was fired.
Vatican Set to Control New ‘Catholic’ Internet Domain
The Vatican is in line to control the new Internet address extension “.catholic” and decide who is allowed to use it.
OTHER HAPPENINGS AROUND THE WORLD
The Catholic Contradiction
If you want some perspective on just how benighted the Roman Catholic Church looks today on the subject of women, consider Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard was a German Benedictine nun in the 12th century and a leading feminist writer of her time. But even though that time was the 1100s,the Vatican rarely hassled her for asserting that men and women are equal — that God’s true nature, in fact, is maternal — or that nonprocreative sexual pleasure is O.K.
Catholic Leadership in Crisis
If its leading administrators reflect the values and priorities of an institution, the Catholic Church is in serious trouble.
CARA Study: Priests Not Content with Bishops on Sex Abuse Front
To varying degrees, U.S. priests continue to harbor discontent with church leaders and at times feel like they are walking on “eggshells” as a result of the clergy sex abuse crisis, reports a recently released study.
Many Catholics Still Suspect Clergy Child Abuse: Study
Many Roman Catholics in the United States still believe that priests are sexually abusing children,says a report from a lay advisory group released Wednesday by the nation’s bishops.
Church Report: Children Safer from Abuse, More Work To Do
Meeting in Atlanta, the bishops heard from Al Notzon III, the chairman of the National Review Board, on the progress made 10 years after they tasked the lay group with “advising the bishops on the handling of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.”