Archive for category Future of the Church

Francis summons world’s bishop presidents to Rome for meeting on clergy abuse / National Catholic Reporter

Although the pope meets frequently with groups of bishops from particular countries, a pontiff has never before called all the presidents of the world’s bishops’ conferences to Rome. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has called all of the presidents of the world’s various conferences of Catholic bishops to Rome for a February meeting on clergy sexual abuse, in the first such global summons by a pontiff.

“Paloma García Ovejero, the vice director of the Vatican press office, announced the decision in a Sept. 12 briefing, saying the pontiff decided to make the move during a meeting of his advisory Council of Cardinals and has already set the dates for the encounter as Feb. 21-24.

“‘The Holy Father, hearing from the Council of Cardinals, has decided to call a meeting with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the Catholic Church on the theme of ‘protection of minors,” said García. ‘The meeting with the pope will take place at the Vatican.’

“Announcement of the first-of-its-kind meeting comes as Francis is under intense global scrutiny for his handling of clergy sexual abuse after former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Vigano released a document Aug. 26 alleging a systemic cover-up of allegations against now ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Flirting with schism / Commonweal

This summer has inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the abuse scandal. The ecclesial context of this chapter is very different from the situation between 2002 and the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The sex-abuse crisis is now reacting explosively with another crisis: the growing rifts within the Catholic Church in the United States. (Massimo Faggioli in Commonweal)

The publication of the ‘testimony’ of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican nuncio to the United States, is an unprecedented moment in modern church history—and not just because of his demand that Pope Francis resign. The eleven-page document, crafted and published by Viganò with the help of sympathetic Catholic journalists while the pope was in Ireland, is motivated by a personal vendetta and enabled by a serious crisis within U.S. Catholicism.

“Those familiar with Viganò’s career at the Vatican and in Washington, D.C., were not surprised to see his accusations fall apart upon inspection. His earlier smear campaign against other members of the Curia, which came to light because of ‘Vatileaks,’ had similarly collapsed. It is worth noting that the first real pushback from the Vatican came on September 2, when officials challenged Viganò’s account of how he had arranged the private meeting between the pope and Kim Davis in 2015. Viganò misled Pope Francis about that stunt, and ignored the advice of Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, who had both warned him against it …

“This summer has inaugurated a new chapter in the history of the abuse scandal. The ecclesial context of this chapter is very different from the situation between 2002 and the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The sex-abuse crisis is now reacting explosively with another crisis: the growing rifts within the Catholic Church in the United States. There is, first, the not entirely new rift between different kinds of Catholic culture. Then there is the rift between the current pope and many American bishops, which is more recent. Finally, there is a new rift between Pope Francis and American Catholics; even those who love him can’t make out what his short-term strategy for dealing with the abuse crisis is—as opposed to the long-term fight against clericalism outlined in his “Letter to the people of God” of August 20 …”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal — Read more …

Massimo Faggioli, and internationally recognized author and theologian at Villanova University, will be a featured speaker at Voice of the Faithful’s 2018 Conference: Progress & Promise, in Providence, R.I., on Oct. 6. Click here for information and to register.

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It’s time to choose the painful path of purification / National Catholic Reporter

If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ. (National Catholic Reporter)

The Catholic community has arrived at a point in its history so seared by raw reality that we are all left with nothing to lean against or hide behind. Our leaders, drained of authority and credibility, can only follow as we move beyond overburdened expressions, beyond even the content of our normal prayers. We grasp for some new psalm of lamentation to fit this horrid moment and search for a new way to live as a Catholic community.

“The scandal of children sexually abused by priests whose acts were covered up by bishops has been in the public eye in gruesome detail for more than 30 years. The Pennsylvania grand jury report, for instance, was not the first nor was it worse in detail than others were. Why it should spark the public conscience and the outrage of Catholics as it has doesn’t matter. A new moment is upon us.

“The papacy of Francis, so promising of needed reform, stands at an inflection point. Either he handles this crisis with effective, wide-ranging and concrete actions, or his tenure will go down as a disappointing failure.

“Most important, the current moment must lead to a radical reform of Catholic clerical culture and the meaning of ordination itself. If we cannot begin this challenging work, we should at least have the honesty to say that a monstrous evil has prevailed and that we no longer understand what it means to be a church of Jesus Christ.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more …

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National Review Board: change in church’s culture needed to end abuse / National Catholic Reporter

“Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,” the National Review Board said. (National Catholic Reporter)

More committees are not the answer to stop the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by clergy, said an Aug. 28 statement by the National Review Board, which is charged with addressing clerical sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church.

“‘What needs to happen is a genuine change in the church’s culture, specifically among the bishops themselves,’ the board said. ‘This evil has resulted from a loss of moral leadership and an abuse of power that led to a culture of silence that enabled these incidents to occur.

“‘Intimidation, fear, and the misuse of authority created an environment that was taken advantage of by clerics, including bishops, causing harm to minors, seminarians, and those most vulnerable,’ the NRB said. ‘The culture of silence enabled the abuse to go on virtually unchecked. Trust was betrayed for the victims/survivors of the abuse; the entire body of Christ was betrayed in turn by these crimes and the failure to act.’

“The purpose of the NRB, established in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, is to work collaboratively with the U.S. bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in preventing the sexual abuse of minors in the United States by persons in the service of the church.”

By Mark Pattison, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Francis invites change, but we are the change / National Catholic Reporter

“It’s the average layperson living out the faith in the temper of the times who shapes the future. It is the visionary teacher, the loving critic, the truth-telling prophet that moves the church from one age to another.” (Joan Chittister in National Catholic Reporter)

There was a time in life when I wanted things done and wanted them done now. I still want things done now but over the course of the years, I discovered that, at least where the church is concerned, I was looking for action in the wrong places. As Sean Freyne, the Irish theologian and Scripture scholar, put it, ‘It’s a mistake to think that a pope has the power to do anything.’ Translation: The right to reign as an autocrat, to take unilateral action about almost anything, does not come with the miter and crossed keys. Nor, for that matter, does it come with the capes and crosses of bishops.

“Popes and bishops, I have come to realize, are the maintainers of the tradition of the church. When they move, it is commonly with one eye on the past — the point at which lies safe canonical territory. Only we are the real changers of the church.

“It’s the average layperson living out the faith in the temper of the times who shapes the future. It is the visionary teacher, the loving critic, the truth-telling prophet that moves the church from one age to another. It was those who had to negotiate the new economy who came to see fair interest on investments as the virtue of prudence rather than the sin of usury, for instance. It was those caught in abusive relationships who came to realize that divorce could be a more loving decision than a destructive family situation.

“And yet, the manner in which popes and bishops move, the open ear they bring to the world, the heart they show, and the love and leadership they model can make all the difference in the tone and effectiveness of the church.”

By Joan Chittister, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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‘Clericalized’ Catholic Church will not survive, says McAleese / The Irish Times

In Ireland ‘our church became an empire. We’re only now seeing the final dismantling of that patriarchal, misogynistic empire. So we’ve actually never seen our church fully flourish in the way that I think Christ intended,’ Ms. (Mary) McAleese said. (The Irish Times)

“The Catholic Church in its current form will not survive, former president Mary McAleese said in Rome on Thursday (Mar. 8).

“‘The clericalized church will not survive and that will be good. Just how long it might take or whether I’ll be around to see, or whether my children will be still Catholics, my grandchildren, that I don’t know.

“‘But frankly I did my best and the people who let me down in the job that I was given, the vocation as a Catholic mother and a Catholic woman, the people who let me down are not very far from here (in the Vatican),’ she said …

“In Ireland ‘our church became an empire. We’re only now seeing the final dismantling of that patriarchal, misogynistic empire. So we’ve actually never seen our church fully flourish in the way that I think Christ intended,’ Ms. McAleese said.”

By Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times — Read more …

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Editorial: Stop censoring, have a civil discussion / National Catholic Reporter

“It no longer takes the time it once did for tiny minorities to derail careers by slandering anyone who asks inconvenient questions.) National Catholic Reporter

“In September, NCR (National Catholic Reporter) and GSR (Global Sisters Reporter) have reported on three tales of Catholic thinkers censored — Jesuit Fr. James Martin; Boston College theology professor M. Shawn Copeland; and Rebecca Bratten Weiss, co-founder of the New Pro-Life Movement. The excruciating irony of these tales begins with the fact that it no longer requires an edict from the Holy Office or a word of disapproval from the local bishop to silence thought and to pronounce someone persona non grata.

“The mechanics have gone digital for sidelining someone like Martin, whose rather mild suggestions in his latest book, Building a Bridge, which urges a kinder church approach to the LGBT community, have stirred the hornet’s nest of homophobia. Bratten Weiss was branded as insufficiently pro-life for suggesting the life agenda can and should include issues of women’s rights, health care and violence. Word from Madonna University is the decision for Copeland not to speak was mutual, out of fear the situation would get ‘uglier.”‘

“It no longer takes the time it once did for tiny minorities to derail careers by slandering anyone who asks inconvenient questions. Once upon a time, such groups at least had to make the effort to send actual letters to faraway offices in Rome. They at least had to have some pull with officials there who would mistakenly construe a few dozen missives to mean the Catholic population of an entire country was up in arms.”

Editorial by National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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