Voice of the Faithful Focus, May 3, 2012
Highlighting issues we face working together
to Keep the Faith, Change the Church
The Vatican and the LCWR
What’s left to say? By now the whole world has heard the Vatican is going to take care of those uppity, radical feminist nuns. Except they’re not that uppity. They’re not radical feminists. For Pete’s sake, they’re not even nuns. Which is where the problem begins.
— Vatican Orders LCWR to Revise, Appoints Archbishop to Oversee Group
— The Instructive Timing of the Crackdown on Nuns
— Options Facing LCWR Stark, Canon Lawyers Say
— We Are All Nuns
— Bishops Play Church Queens as Pawns
— Twitter Drive “What Sisters Mean To Me” Supports US Nuns
— Who Will Watch the Watchmen of America’s Women Religious?
— In LCWR Oversight, Key Questions Remain
— Notes on The LCWR Overhaul
— LCWR Annual Assembly to Go Forward
— The Vatican Should Exalt Catholic Nuns, Not Upbraid Them
— Read Them and Weep
— Rome and Women Religious
BBC Program Sites New Revelations over Irish Primate’s
Failure to ‘Act on Sex Abuse Claims’
New revelations about the failure of the Catholic primate of all-Ireland to protect children from abuse have been uncovered by the BBC’s This World show. It found Cardinal Sean Brady had the names and addresses of those being abused by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, but did not ensure their safety.
Vigilance on Sex Abuse Must Continue
Publication of the annual audit of dioceses and eparchies to determine how they are complying with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is intended to assure the Catholic faithful and the wider society that church leaders remain vigilant in their efforts to combat sex abuse of children by priests and other ministers. While the audits represent a degree of transparency and accountability that Catholics of previous eras could hardly have imagined, the surveys also have serious limits. Continued vigilance of audits is warranted.
Bishop Morlino Warns Dissenters to Stop — or Else
Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has moved to quell a backlash against a group of conservative priests in Platteville by warning parishioners they risk formal church censure unless they stop spreading “rumors and gossip.”
Accuser in Philadelphia Priests’ Trial Unleashes Fury at Catholic Church
A 47-year-old man unleashed his fury at the Roman Catholic Church, staring down a church official in a Philadelphia courtroom as he described being forced as a child to engage in sex acts with a priest.
SNAP Ordered to Hand over Wide Range of Abuse Documents
Group’s director also has been ordered to undergo second deposition. A Missouri judge this afternoon (Friday, 4/20) ordered the director of the leading advocacy group for victims of clergy sex abuse to give a second deposition and to turn over more documents to lawyers representing priests accused of sexual misconduct in the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.
Is Benedict Becoming a Papal Enforcer?
As Pope Benedict XVI marked his seventh anniversary as pope on Thursday (April 19), many Catholics were wondering if the pontiff is finally becoming the papal enforcer that some feared — and others hoped — he would be when he was elected to lead the church in 2005. The questions were prompted by this week’s announcement that Benedict had signed off on a crackdown on the organization representing most of the 57,000 nuns in the United States.
— Has The ‘Real Ratzinger’ Come Out to Play?
More about LCWR
New York Times Columnists Stand Up for ‘Stunned’ Nuns
(Here is a good summary of much of what is found in the above columns & web sites.)
National Catholic Reporter publisher Thomas C. Fox says he cannot recall any time in recent history that the Catholic Church was highlighted twice in columns in a single issue of the New York Times. The rare development is yet another indicator of the tremendous outpouring of support on behalf of U.S. women religious in general and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in particular as they come under attack from the Vatican for lapses in fidelity.
The Inquisition: Vatican Issues a Knuckle-Rap to the Nuns
Really? Religious women in America will now have a bishop grading their morals? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
The Vatican vs. the LCWR
There are those who do not agree with most of writings we have seen in the American press about the “issues” between the Vatican and the LCWR. Here are two articles on the “other side of the story”.
— The Church and The Sisters: What is Really Happening? (The standard media account about the CDF and LCWR lacks essential information & historical background.)
— The Vatican’s Corrective to Liberal Catholics (A three-year inquiry ends with a sharp but measured assessment of unorthodox religious practice in the U.S.)
Break with Rome Isn’t End of World
The sense of rebellion among clergy here had already reached the grass roots. The Association of Catholic Priests, which has 800 members here, had previously issued a statement reproving the Vatican for its stance towards the Irish clergy, and asked them “to go up and treat people with dignity and due process. We are not a small cohort of Catholic priests; we are at the heart of the church committed to putting in place the reforms of the Second Vatican Council”.
Liberal Priest Censured by Vatican
High-profile priest and broadcaster Brian D’Arcy has become the latest Irish cleric to be censured by the Vatican. The popular BBC Radio Two contributor, author and newspaper columnist was disciplined after concerns were raised about some of his published work.
— Fr. Brian Represents Us Better Than the Vatican
— A PR Blunder by the Irish Bishops’ Conference
Vatican Laments Irish Dissent, Silences Priests
Just weeks after a report from a Vatican inquiry into the Irish church lamented what it described as “fairly widespread” dissent from church teaching, it was revealed that the Vatican has “silenced” Redemptorist Fr. Tony Flannery. The Holy See’s move provoked fury among the members of the 800-strong Association of Catholic Priests, which has accused the Vatican of issuing a fatwa against liberal clerics.
Dublin: Vigil Outside Nunciature to Protest Silencing of Irish Protest
An Irish Catholic lay group, We are Church Ireland, is organizing a silent vigil outside the Holy See’s Nunciature in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, April 29, to protest against the silencing of several Irish priests by the Vatican over the past two years. It is calling for the revoking of the disciplinary measures against them and the opening of a proper dialogue.
Irish Law on Abuse Is Proposed
Ireland has introduced draft legislation that would make it a crime to withhold information on child abuse from the state authorities. The new law was introduced in response to last July’s Cloyne Report, which found that a Roman Catholic diocese had failed to report such abuse as recently as 2008.
Monsignor: Abuse Investigation Fell Through Cracks
“A seminarian in 1992 told (Monsignor) Lynn and Lynn’s boss, the late Monsignor James Malloy, that he had been raped throughout high school by Rev. Stanley Gana. The seminarian, who testified in person this week, gave Lynn and Malloy the names and parish of two other potential victims. In his 2002 testimony, Lynn acknowledged the archdiocese never tried to contact the potential victims or to ask Gana’s colleagues if they had seen anything untoward at the rectory.
Abuse Victims Testify at Church Official’s Trial
Two (more) men testified Wednesday of abuse they suffered as youths at the hands of a now defrocked Philadelphia priest. The two victims of Edward Avery, a former priest who has pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges, appeared during the landmark trial of Msgr. William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, who is charged with child endangerment. Monsignor Lynn is suspected of allowing priests accused of abuse to remain in positions where they could continue to abuse children.
Graphic Testimony in Landmark Church Sex Abuse Case
Five weeks of testimony concluded Thursday in the Philadelphia trial of a senior clergyman who allegedly chose to protect the church, instead of the children. It’s the first time in the U.S. that a senior official with the Catholic Church has faced charges in the church’s child sexual abuse crisis.
At Trial, Following a Defrocked Priest’s 25-Year Trail
For weeks, jurors at the Philadelphia clergy sex-abuse trial have sat through a meticulous paper case, hearing painstaking recitations of every complaint, memo, or interview related to priests suspected, but not charged, with abusing minors over the last half-century. Time and again, one question has been left dangling: Where are these priests now?
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bankruptcy Comes with Troubling Numbers
The report disclosed at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese.
Lawyers in Milwaukee Archdiocese Bankruptcy Case Seek Mediator
Lawyers for creditors in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy on Friday threatened to sue to recover $35 million it says the archdiocese fraudulently transferred to a parish trust before filing for Chapter 11 and asked the judge to appoint a mediator as a first step toward a settlement of the 14-month-old case. Meanwhile, the attorney for 350 victims in the bankruptcy filed a state court lawsuit against a Caledonia parish, putting the archdiocese on notice that if parishes are separate legal entities as it argues in the bankruptcy, then they, too, will be sued.
For a Year Now, Austrian Catholics Debate Obedience
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is an old hand by now at dealing with Austrian church crises. Appointed archbishop of Vienna in 1995 (at the age of 50), after the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër had to step down after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, Schönborn has had to cope with constant demands for church reform ever since — demands that have now become a perennial issue and frequently hit world headlines.
Catholic Priest Denies Child Sex Allegations
A Catholic priest defending lurid child sex allegations has accused his alleged victims of fabricating claims against him to obtain compensation from the Church. The priest, who cannot be identified, says at least one of four men who made statements to police about alleged offences against them in the 1980s and 1990s made up claims. But a Sydney District Court jury heard yesterday it would have been easier for the men to obtain compensation if they had made allegations against the known paedophile priests.
Push to Widen Sex Abuse Inquiry
In Victoria, Australia, the state government has been urged to widen the inquiry into sex abuse by priests to consider how to make it easier for victims to sue the Catholic Church.
Listen to the People
Catholicism’s reputation as a monolithic belief system is plainly no longer deserved. The latest evidence comes from what was until not long ago one of the most conservative parts of Western Catholicism, the Catholic Church in Ireland. It would be strange if that snapshot of the sensus fidelium were peculiar to Ireland. All the evidence, including surveys conducted in Britain, suggests it is not.
Benedict Moves Back to Traditional Values
Tuesday marked the anniversary of the start of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, which officially began April 24, 2005, with an inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The pope promised not to impose his own will on the church but rather to listen “to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by him, so that he himself will lead the church at this hour of our history.” Seven years later, Benedict has certainly left a mark on the church, pressing a conservative interpretation of Vatican II’s key teachings, appointing like-minded bishops and making his priority the revitalization of traditional Catholicism in a world, which he often laments, seems to think that it can do without God.
— Return of the Rottweiler: Pope Benedict Cracks Down on Women’s Rights
Pope Appoints Special Commission of Cardinals to Probe Vatican Leaks
The Vatican has been embarrassed by the disclosure of a series of internal documents that have highlighted disagreements within the Roman Curia. The leaks have focused critical attention especially on the Secretariat of State.
The Vatican’s War on Women
But this is not a new war for the Vatican. This is old time religion. The Catholic Church has been a repressive place for women for its entire history.
Other Happenings around the World
Pope’s Ire Aimed at Wrong Target
Pope Benedict XVI can’t wait to crack down on “radical feminist” nuns. But will he ever really crack down on protectors of pedophile priests?
A Reliable Safety Net for Children
Let’s talk about sexual abuse of children. You’d rather not, you say? It’s too sensitive an issue, too hard to talk about. [A]s deeply as the community obviously cares about the safety of children, child sex abuse is not a conversation starter.
Church Has Learned to Protect Children (Poll)
It is past time that Congress, the president, the U.S. Department of Education and school boards devise a plan to protect our kids. For a blueprint, they should start by looking to the Catholic Church in the United States.
St. Leo’s Father Stan Submits Resignation, Working as Psychologist
In July 2010, Bishop Frank Dewane placed (Fr. Stan) Strycharz on administrative leave from the Bonita Springs (FL) church after he admitted he’d fathered a child, could not account for $1 million in church funds, and refused orders to fire two employees, including a music director in 2008.
Teacher ‘Sickened’ by Firing
Effort to expand family led to fertility dispute with diocese
Emily and Brian Herx, the Hoagland couple launched into a national religious debate this week, said Friday they just wanted to expand their family when she underwent in vitro fertilization and ultimately lost her Catholic teaching job in Fort Wayne.
— Should Catholic Schools Be Able to Fire Teachers Over Fertility Treatments?
(A priest explains the Church’s stance on assisted reproduction — and the internal politics that cost an Indiana woman her job.)
Walking the (Catholic) Plank
(An interesting perspective on the Catholic Church today.)
As an adult, I think I now understand why reading the word of God on our own wasn’t encouraged in my Catholic Church, or most anyone else’s. It was the same reason, I believe, the Mass was in Latin for so long. If we truly understood what was going on, we might have actually learned something.
The Subversion of Vatican II
In more than 30 years serving in Catholic education, both on the secondary and university levels, I have seen the Catholic Church lose many generous and spiritual young people because the institutional leaders do not give them the “spiritual space” to question, to dialogue, to doubt, to challenge.