O’Malley urges more accountability in sex abuse cases / Cruxnow.com

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston (who leads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) made a pitch to Pope Francis and his team of cardinal advisers Wednesday (Apr. 15) on the need to hold bishops who fail to report sexual abuse accountable.

“O’Malley’s talk came three days after two survivors of clerical sexual abuse met with him to protest the pope’s naming of a bishop in Chile linked to a notorious abuser.

“According to a Vatican spokesman, O’Malley brought the issue to the attention of the pontiff’s ‘G9’ commission of cardinal advisers, a body whose meetings the pope attends. O’Malley is a member …

“The Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said O’Malley emphasized to his fellow cardinals the need to establish appropriate procedures and methods to evaluate and judge cases of ‘abuse of office’ by bishops or priests — especially in cases in which they mishandled abuse allegations against a cleric or other church personnel under their supervision.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican ends controversial three-year oversight of U.S. sisters’ leaders / National Catholic Reporter

A controversial three-year program of Vatican oversight of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters has come to a curt and unexpected end, with the sisters and the church’s doctrinal office announcing that the goal of the oversight ‘has been accomplished.’

“The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has accepted a final report of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, ‘marking the conclusion’ of the oversight, the Vatican announced Thursday (Apr. 16).

“The lengthy process saw the Vatican issue what the sisters called unsubstantiated sharp critiques of their work and life while appointing Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee a program of reform for LCWR. Thursday’s news release says the Vatican and the sisters both noted the ‘spirit of cooperation’ of the ordeal.

“The end of the mandate, the Vatican release says, came in a meeting Thursday morning between LCWR officers, Sartain, and officials of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation. Sartain and the LCWR officers presented a joint report on the implementation of the mandate, which the doctrinal congregation approved.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican: Council of Cardinals has bishop accountability ‘on the table’ / National Catholic Reporter

The cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the church’s central bureaucracy have discussed the issue of accountability for Catholic bishops who mishandle cases of clergy sexual abuse, the Vatican spokesman said Wednesday (Apr. 15).

“Addressing the latest meeting of the Council of Cardinals during a press briefing, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said the prelates have put the issue “on the table” after being presented with it by Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

“‘It is not that they might have made a precise project or a document’ on the issue, Lombardi said. ‘But the theme is explicitly, let’s say, on the table of the C9, and the intention is now to find a way to proceed in the deepening of the competence in these cases.’”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Assessing Pope Francis

Vatican watchers in the media continue to assess Francis’ impact a little more than two years and a month into his papacy. Here are three recent stories:

The barque of Peter in shark-infested waters
(Apr. 13, 2015) “The seas have suddenly become a lot more agitated for Pope Francis, who up to now has proven to be amazingly unsinkable in the face of any kind of adversity. But in the last few weeks, he has found himself in the midst of several minor crises and controversies that if not resolved well could work to undermine his credibility with many Catholics and deal a blow to his project for reforming the church.” By Robert Mickens, Global Pulse editor-in-chief, in National Catholic Reporter

Despite rhetoric, Pope Francis treats cardinals like princes
(Apr. 10, 2015) “In his pre-Christmas talk to the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican Curia, Pope Francis shocked his audience and the world by his scathing words on the failings of those working in the Vatican. He warned them against 15 separate “diseases” in their work and attitudes … News stories of this talk naturally connected it with Pope Francis’ plans to reform the Curia, but the speech notwithstanding, little progress has been seen except in the area of financial reform. After such a speech, one would have expected heads to roll, but they did not. Despite the rhetoric, curial cardinals are still treated like princes.” By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis is wildly popular. So what?
(Apr. 8, 2015) “In the days before Easter, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal published the results of a poll finding that most Americans still hold a favorable view of Pope Francis. A few weeks before that, the Pew Research Center released a report showing that the pope remains popular even with non-Catholics. That was an update to a poll from last December demonstrating that Francis was popular around the world, too.” By Michael O’Loughlin, Cruxnow.com

 

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Pope’s sex abuse advisors meet in Rome over Chile bishop / Associated Press

Four members of Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisory commission traveled to Rome on Sunday (Apr. 12) to voice their concerns in person about Francis’ appointment of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up for the country’s most notorious molester.

“The four met with Francis’ point-man on abuse, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who agreed to relay their concerns to the pope about the appointment of Juan Barros as bishop of Osorno in southern Chile, the commission members said in a statement.”

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press in The Island Packet — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican abuse commission members hope to meet with Francis about Chilean bishop / National Catholic Reporter

Members of the Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on clergy sexual abuse are making an unscheduled visit to Rome on Sunday (April 12), hoping to personally tell the pope their concerns about his appointment of a Chilean bishop accused of covering up abuse.

“Two members of the commission who are survivors of abuse will make the trip with two other survivors and are scheduled to meet Sunday evening with Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the Vatican commission and also a member of Francis’ Council of Cardinals.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Francis and the New Rome / The Wall Street Journal

One Saturday last month (March), Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Ognissanti (All Saints’) Church in one of Rome’s working-class neighborhoods. Little known to tourists or art historians, Ognissanti was the site of a momentous event in the modern history of the Catholic Church: Exactly 50 years earlier, Pope Paul VI had gone there to celebrate the first papal mass in Italian rather than in the traditional Latin.

“In marking that anniversary, Pope Francis made plain his view of the vernacular Mass, one of the most visible changes ushered in by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The practice still pains Catholic traditionalists who mourn the loss of churchwide unity that came with a common language.

“Allowing Catholics to pray in their local languages ‘was truly a courageous act by the church to draw closer to the people of God,’ Pope Francis told a crowd gathered outside. ‘This is important for us, to follow the Mass this way. And there is no going back…Whoever goes back is mistaken.’

In his two years in office, the pontiff has drawn attention for his unconventional gestures—such as personally welcoming homeless people to the Sistine Chapel last month—but those gestures matter most as signs of the radical new direction in which he seeks to lead the Catholic Church: toward his vision of the promise of Vatican II …”

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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