Voice of the Faithful Focus, Mar. 7, 2013
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
U.S. Catholics See Sex Abuse as the Church’s Most Important Problem
As the Catholic Church prepares for a conclave to elect a new pope, Catholics in the United States tend to view the scandal over sex abuse by clergy as the most important problem facing their church today. The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life has a variety of resources on Catholicism and Pope Benedict XVI, including public opinion polls, research studies, event transcripts and interviews.
U.S. Catholics in Poll See a Church Out of Touch
Roman Catholics in the United States say that their church and bishops are out of touch, and that the next pope should lead the church in a more modern direction on issues like birth control and ordaining women and married men as priests, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
— Catholics’ Views on Pope Benedict XVI and the Church
Strong Policies on Abusive Priests Vital, O’Malley Says
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, said Mar. 5 that the next pope must make sure the Roman Catholic Church adopts measures to deal with bishops whose “malfeasance” allowed abusive priests to remain in ministry, which should include disciplining bishops who protect abusive priests.
Vatican Could Learn a Thing or Two about Renewal From Women Religious
We are about to elect a new pope who will face serious 21st-century issues using 19th-century structures to resolve them, and women religious may have something to teach the church about the process of conversion and development at this very important moment.
Pope Conclave Tainted by Abuse Scandal
The full list of cardinals who abetted the child abuse scandal that has dogged the church for more than a decade is longer than Mahony, Brady, Danneels and Rigali, but for coverups and allowing abuse to flourish, these four are among the worst offenders. The four are heading for the conclave, apparently ready to indulge their self-interest at the expense of the church.
U.S. Cardinal Forcefully Addresses Sex Abuse Scandal
The next pope must commit himself to ‘‘zero tolerance’’ of the sexual abuse of minors by clergymen, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, a senior US cardinal said Mar. 4 about the qualities and attributes the cardinals desire in the man who will succeed Benedict XVI.
The Vatican Bank and Money Laundering
Situated in a country ruled by men who consider themselves above the law and with close to zero transparency, the IOR (Institute for Religious Works, commonly referred to as the Vatican Bank) is the perfect institution for laundering money but you have to know someone in order to open an account.
Lawyers Question New York Cardinal in Milwaukee Suits
A week before Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is set to leave New York for Rome, where his name is being floated as a candidate for pope, he was questioned in behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests.
Leading Dissident Priest Slams Covert Pope Selection Process
A leading dissident Austrian priest whose call to disobey some Roman Catholic teachings drew a rebuke from Pope Benedict last year urged Church leaders to throw off their secrecy and canvass churchgoers on who should lead them next.
Now Gathering in Rome, a Conclave of Fallible Cardinals
The sudden resignation of the most senior Roman Catholic cardinal in Britain showed that the taint of scandal could force a cardinal from participating in the selection of a new pope. His exit came as at least a dozen other cardinals tarnished with accusations that they had failed to remove priests accused of sexually abusing minors were among those gathering in Rome to prepare for the conclave to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
U.N. Body Says U.S. Lax on Clerical sex Abuse Cases
A U.N. committee has accused U.S. legal authorities of failing to fully pursue cases of child sex abuse in religious groups, an issue especially troubling the Roman Catholic Church.
POPE BENEDICT XVI’s RESIGNATION & Legacy
Pope Benedict XVI ‘Did Nothing’ to Stop Pedophile Priest
Pope Benedict XVI has been accused of inaction over allegations of child sex abuse against an Italian priest who allegedly committed numerous sexual abuses on minors from 1980 to 2005, and then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was made aware but failed to take action.
Discord Remains at Vatican as Pope Benedict Departs
As the sun set on Rome and on his turbulent eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI, a shy theologian who never seemed entirely at home in the limelight, was whisked by helicopter into retirement on Feb. 28.
By resigning, Pope Benedict served the church well. He has spared it another prolonged period of mounting disarray. He has “humanized” the papacy. He has jolted the church into allowing that something generally considered unthinkable for centuries is really not beyond doing after all. And he has set the stage for his successor to do likewise.
Catholic Church at Crossroads: Demographics, Social Issues Pose Challenges
When Pope Benedict XVI said he was stepping down, he broke a tradition that had been in place since 1415. The pope leaves the Catholic Church in the midst of changing social views and demographic shifts among its followers.
Zero Hour at the Vatican: Bitter Struggle for Control of the Catholic Church
With Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, the struggle for power in the Vatican has gotten underway in earnest. The church badly needs reform, but with Ratzinger lurking in the shadows, will it be able to?
With Benedict Resigning, Can Latin American Claim Papacy
With Pope Benedict’s resignation , the time may be coming for the Roman Catholic Church to elect its first non-European leader and it could be a Latin American.
In Hindsight, Pope Benedict’s Resignation Seems Almost Predictable
As much as he astonished the world when he announced his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI’s decision seems almost predictable in hindsight. Given his previous statements on the subject and his recent signs of aging, one might say that people should have seen it coming.
A Parish Priest’s Hopes for the Next Pope
Perhaps the most important legacy of Benedict XVI’s papacy will be his resignation. It has set a very healthy precedent. In an age when medical science can keep us living well into our 90s and maybe even past 100, it is important that popes should feel free to resign when they are no longer up to the task of their ministry. Pope Benedict showed true pastoral concern for the church when he recognized he could not carry on.
Pope Benedict XVI Leaves Mixed Legacy on Clergy Sexual Abuse
As cases of sexual abuse continued to make headlines, Pope Benedict XVI at times publicly addressed the issue and even met with victims. But victims’ advocates remain skeptical and critical over his handling of the matter, particularly the failure to punish bishops who protected abusers.
The Complex Legacy of Benedict XVI
At least twice during his quarter-century span as the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, the celebrated and controversial Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Pope John Paul II he wanted to retire. Now that Benedict is finally in a position to grant his own wish to step down, the debate over his legacy is officially open.
Past Popes and a Modern Precedent
On Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI joins a handful of his predecessors who resigned as leader of the Catholic Church. In Boston and around the world, the Pope’s startling decision has prompted weeks of reaction, reflection and curiosity.
Pope Accelerated Latin American Church’s Conservative Theology
Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy in Latin America, the world’s most Catholic region, is marked by a victory of conservative theology and the demise of home-grown leftist religious thought, experts here say.
Papabile of the Day: The Men Who Could Be Pope
John L. Allen, Jr., of National Catholic Reporter is offering profiles each of the most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope. The old saying in Rome is that he who enters a conclave as pope exits as a cardinal, meaning there’s no guarantee one of these men actually will be chosen. They are, however, the leading names drawing buzz in Rome.
Pope Changes Conclave Rules, Allows Earlier Start
Benedict XVI has changed the rules of the conclave, allowing cardinals to move up the start date if all of them arrive in Rome before the usual 15-day waiting period between the end of one pontificate and the start of the conclave.
Scandals and Intrigue Heat Up at Vatican Ahead of Papal Conclave
As cardinals from around the world begin arriving in Rome for a conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, new shadows have fallen over the delicate transition, which the Vatican fears might influence the vote and with it the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.
Conclave: Top 10 Reasons Why This Version Is Different
Despite the echoes of the past, there are several unique features about this conclave that alter the politics and, perhaps, suggest a longer and more difficult process. Herewith, the top 10 differences about the 2013 edition of the papal election.
Controversy over Cardinal Mahony’s Conclave Vote Reaches Vatican
The controversy over Cardinal Roger Mahony’s vote in the conclave that will elect a new pope has now reached the Vatican, with at least one cardinal musing aloud that the former archbishop of Los Angeles should consider staying home.
Pope Benedict Leaves amid a Holy Mess at the Vatican
Benedict’s intellect and successful role as a spiritual leader for the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics is not in doubt, say Vatican experts and observers. But recent blunders and the poor handling of festering scandals indicate Benedict may have been far too immersed in scholarship and theology over his nearly eight-year tenure when what the church needed was a CEO.
Pope Electors Are Sizing Up a Field of Peers
There is no formal nominating process for choosing the man to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, and campaigning for oneself is counterproductive. But the cardinals who will file into the Sistine Chapel to elect a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church have been quietly sizing up potential candidates for years.
Pope Benedict XVI’s Leaked Documents Show Fractured Vatican Full of Rivalries
Largely lost when the pope’s personal correspondence was leaked to the press were the revelations contained in the letters themselves — tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI.
Three Cardinals Who Could Cast a Shadow Over the Transition
Confirmation that Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles will participate in the conclave was greeted with trepidation by some, worrying that it may cast a shadow over the papal transition by stirring fresh debate over the church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis.
Catholic Church Ready for Non-European Pope, Say Ghanian Cardinal
One of the developing world’s leading candidates for the pope’s successor has declared the Catholic church ready to have its first non-European Pope – and said that he will gladly take on the role “if it’s the will of God.”
What Manner of Man Will Follow Path of the Fisherman?
It might be the world’s most exclusive election, where elaborately garbed elderly men employing ancient rituals amid great ceremony set the course for a sixth of the world’s population, the 1.2 billion people who call themselves Roman Catholic.
WOMEN & THE CHURCH
Women Deserve Bigger Role in Church, Says Key Cardinal
The Catholic Church must open itself up to women in the next pontificate, giving them more leadership positions in the Vatican and beyond, according to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who will be influential in electing the next pope.
Vatican Resists New UN Move to Protect Women
The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting UN efforts, which started Monday, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children.
Vatican Shifts Tone on Cardinals Linked to Sex Scandals
As the church prepares to pick Benedict’s successor, embattled cardinals increasingly find themselves under the wagon wheels. Whereas the Vatican made clear in 2005 that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was expected to report to the Sistine Chapel, when Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned Feb. 25 amid allegations of impropriety, it said it had nothing to do with O’Brien’s announcement.
Discord Remains at Vatican as Pope Benedict Departs
As Benedict retires, he leaves in his wake a Vatican hierarchy facing scandals and intrigue that are casting a shadow over the cardinals entrusted with electing his successor in a conclave this month.
Thoughts on the Vatican’s ‘Gay Lobby’
National Catholic Reporter Vatican correspondent comments on the sensational story in an Italian newspaper Feb. 21 suggesting the existence of a shadowy “gay lobby” in the Vatican, suggesting that such dark forces may have factored into Benedict XVI’s decision to resign.
Vatican Should Act on Corruption and Sex Claims, Says Cardinal Pell
Cardinal George Pell has called on the Vatican press office to respond “in some constructive way” to reports of an internal investigation by three senior cardinals that told Pope Benedict XVI about an insidious web of blackmail, corruption and homosexual sex inside the Vatican.
Philippine Cardinal Tagle Pushes for People Power in the Church
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle wants to bring the Catholic Church closer to people, a vision his fans say comes from a genuine passion for helping the poor and one that could make him Asia’s first pope.
Zero Hour at the Vatican: A Bitter Struggle for Control of the Catholic Church
A shift is taking place in the otherwise immovable Catholic Church. A global struggle has begun over the prerogative of interpretation, opportunities, legacy and positions — a silent battle for Rome.
U.S. Catholics Divided on Church’s Direction Under New Pope
As the pontificate of Benedict XVI winds down, many American Catholics express a desire for change. For example, most U.S. Catholics say it would be good if the next pope allows priests to marry. And fully six-in-ten Catholics say it would be good if the next pope hails from a developing region like South America, Asia or Africa.
The Pope’s Muffled Voice
In large parts of the Roman Catholic world, certainly in North America and Western Europe, most Catholics don’t feel any particular debt or duty to the self-appointed caretakers of their church.
May a New Pope Throw Open Wide the Windows of the Catholic Church
Pope Benedict XVI wisely decided to resign the papacy because he recognized that, given his advanced age and lessened physical capacity, he could not meet the challenges of the office. Catholics can commend him for his many long years of service to the church as a theologian, priest, bishop and pope.
CHURCH IN TRANSITION
In Church and Country, a Crisis of Governance
What do the Roman Catholic Church and the American political system have in common? Both are divided into factions that neither trust nor understand each other, and both confront a crisis of governance.
An Economic Makeover for the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is not a corporation. It’s a religion, a cultural force, and a global power. Still, one of the things the new Pope will have to deal with is a classic business mess — a multi-billion dollar conglomerate that has stumbled and is losing money and relevance. Experts on the show, including a priest with a Harvard MBA, tell listeners what the church needs to do to turn things around.
Broadside: Change in the Catholic Church
Public affairs program “Broadside” on NECN-TV with host Jim Braude
How Next Pope Must Tackle Child Sex Abuse
As Pope Benedict XVI steps down, the moral authority and future of the Roman Catholic Church depends on the next pope forcefully dealing with child sex abuse in its ranks.
Vatican’s Looming Inquisition Reveals a Fractured Catholic Church
Over the last half century, the place known as Holy Wisdom Monastery in Westport, Wisconsin, has changed as the Catholic Church has changed. And today, this simple, white building is a symbol of a global Catholic Church that is deeply polarized, and which some fear could even be fracturing.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia speaks of ‘Painful Times’ for Catholic Church
The Archbishop temporarily replacing Cardinal Keith O’Brien in the Archdiocese of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, Scotland, has spoken of the “painful and distressing times” affecting the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict’s Retirement Has Many European Catholics Hoping for Reform
Many devout Catholics in Europe feel that church doctrine and social reality have drifted too far apart – and that it’s time for a change.
A Vatican Spring
The Arab Spring has shaken a whole series of autocratic regimes. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, might not something like that be possible in the Roman Catholic Church as well — a Vatican Spring?
The Wages of Celibacy
The resignation of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic clergyman, accused of unwanted advances toward younger priests, will ratchet up the usual talk about lies, double lives and hypocrisy in the church, and rightly so.
German Bishops Give Leeway on Contraception in Rape Cases
The German bishops have announced that Catholic hospitals can provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims, as long as the pills prevent the fertilization of an egg and do not stop the implantation of a fertilized egg.
Catholic Church Is Losing Battle with Modernity
The Roman Catholic Church’s rigid hierarchy and centralizing instincts are almost entirely due to the fact that it became the state religion of the Roman Empire more than 1,600 hundred years ago. And the pope is still, in essence, the emperor.
Behold a global business in distress — incoherently managed, resistant to the modernizing forces of the Internet age, tainted by scandal and corruption. It needs to tweak its marketing, straighten out its finances, up its recruiting game and repair its battered brand. Behold, Catholicism Inc.
Additional Accusations Surface against Anchorage Priest
Two new accusations of inappropriate physical relationships have surfaced in regards to J. Michael Hornick, a priest of the Anchorage Archdiocese. Hornick was suspended from all priestly duties in 2011 for similar accusations with three separate women.
Tucson a ‘Dumping Ground’ for Abusive Priests
When a young Catholic priest in Los Angeles was accused of sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy in 1983, church officials did not remove him from ministry. Instead, they sent him to Tucson.
Who Paid the Bill for Mahony’s Cardinal Hat?
Just how much is Roger Mahony’s cardinal’s hat worth? The cost must be calculated in dollars, trust, respect and faith and must also include the loss of truth.
The Sins of Cardinal Mahony
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, for a quarter-century the archbishop of Los Angeles, is lucky not to be in prison, for there is no dispute that he orchestrated what amounted to a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse in Los Angeles.
— Catholics Gather in California, Haunted by Cardinals Scandal
— The Brazen Clericalism of Cardinal Mahony
— Vatican Murmurs about Mahony’s Attendance at Conclave
— Outcry Grows over Mahony’s Participation in Conclave
— Disgraced US Prelate Could Be Asked to Skip Conclave: Cardinal
— Vatican Impeded Mahony Attempts to Remove Priests, Files Show
A Dazzling Priest’s Lurid Fall, to Drug Case Suspect
From the time he joined the priesthood three decades ago, he seemed destined to become a star. As a confidant to two bishops and then as the erudite and clubbable pastor of two churches, Msgr. Kevin Wallin was a towering figure in the Roman Catholic Church in southwestern Connecticut.
Six Hawaii Residents Sue Catholic Church for Alleged Sex Abuse
Hawaii residents who were victims of sex abuse at the hands of clergy are suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu and related religious institutions.
Alleged Victim Sues Ex-Priest
former southwest Louisiana priest facing trial Sept. 16 on charges of sex crimes against boys from the late 1980s to the early 1990s “ought to be locked up for life,” an attorney for an alleged victim said Monday.
Poly Prep-Inspired Child Victims Act to Be Heard
In New York State Assembly Next Month
New York assemblywoman Margaret Markey is taking her sexual abuse legislation on the road. Markey, a Democrat from Queens, will hold a hearing on her Child Victims Act, which would eliminate criminal and civil statute of limitations in sex abuse cases in Manhattan on March 8. The bill was inspired in part by scandals at Poly Prep, Penn State and Syracuse.
Dozens More in Pennsylvania, Ohio Claim Abuse by Friar
An attorney says about 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at schools in Ohio and Pennsylvania by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January.
New Scrutiny for a Bequest to an Order of Catholics
When Gabrielle D. Mee, a wealthy Rhode Island widow, left her $60 million fortune to a powerful Catholic order called the Legion of Christ in 2008, revelations had already begun to surface that its charismatic founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, had molested under-age seminarians and fathered several children.
— Legion of Christ’s Deception, Unearthed in New Documents, Indicates Wider Cover-up
— Rhode Island Judge Releases Documents Revealing Inner Workings of Legion of Christ
Bankruptcy Judge to Hear Victim Test Cases in Milwaukee
A handful of the sexual abuse survivors who filed claims against the Milwaukee archdiocese in federal bankruptcy court will go to trial as test cases to determine how many of the 574 who say they were assaulted are eligible for damages. To date, lawyers for the archdiocese have challenged more than 400 of the claims, saying they should be dismissed.
Readers Say What They Want from a New Pope
Sex abuse and its handling by Church authorities is the top priority for the next pope, according to a recent readership survey conducted by ucanews.com. The survey – conducted from February 18-28 – attracted 2,300 responses, with the majority (72 percent) from Asia. More than three quarters identified sexual abuse and how Church authorities respond to it as the most important challenge facing the Church and the new pope.
Special Commission of Inquiry Information Center
The commissioner looking into the police handling of sexual abuse by priests in the Hunter Valley is set to establish an information center to encourage more people to come forward.
Church’s Abuse Response ‘Heartless,’ Says Priest
One of Victoria’s most senior Catholic priests says the church’s abuse procedures have failed and must be closed down.
Retired Priest Gets 6 Months Hose Arrest
A retired Catholic priest has been sentenced to six months of house arrest after pleading guilty to sex crimes dating back more than 50 years.
Six New Sex Abuse Charges for Retired Catholic Priest
A former Catholic priest was back in court in Ottawa to hear six new sex abuse charges against him, stemming back to the 1970s.
Welsh Bishop: Time to Give Catholic Church Radical Reform
A Welsh bishop has called for radical change in the Catholic Church as cardinals prepare to elect a new Pope to lead the 1.2 billion-strong denomination. Bishop of Menevia, Tom Burns wants a new freedom to discuss “currently prohibited” issues including contraception and the remarriage of divorced people.
British Cardinal’s Resignation Underscores
Challenge to Catholic Church’s Moral Authority
On Feb. 25, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, one of the church’s most strident voices against homosexuality, abruptly stepped down amid allegations of “intimate” acts with priests. His fall underscored perhaps the greatest challenge for the Roman Catholic hierarchy as it moves to elect a new pope: regaining its own moral authority.
— Top British Cardinal Resigns, a Day after Charges of ‘Inappropriate Acts’
— Vatican to Open an Inquiry of British Cardinal
— UK’s Most Senior Roman Catholic Steps Down
— Britain’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien to Skip Papal Election
— Following Resignation, Top British Cardinal Acknowledges Sexual Misconduct
— Top British Cardinal Faces Accusation of Committing ‘Inappropriate Acts’
— Cardinal Keith O’Brien: ‘Allow Priests to Marry’
— Cardinal Keith O’Brien: ‘Catholic Priests Should Be Able to Marry’
— Vatican ‘Knew of Cardinal O’Brien Claims’