Archive for category Pope Francis
“But (Robert) Mickens said Francis has never made the church’s sexual abuse crisis a priority of his administration.” (Religion News Service)
As the Vatican reeled from news that one of its top officials was taking a leave to fight historical sex abuse charges in Australia, the spotlight quickly turned to Pope Francis, with his critics slamming him for failing to do enough to tackle the vexing issue.
“Cardinal George Pell, the most senior figure in church history to face child sex abuse charges, is the Vatican’s financial czar and a trusted adviser to the pope.
“Pell, 76, is facing ‘multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences,’ said police in the Australian state of Victoria.”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Read more …
Could giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops make things worse for progressive Catholics?
A lot has been written about Pope Francis’s goal of making the church more democratic, with less control by the Vatican and more power to individual bishops. In an ideal world, not only would the Vatican have less say in choosing bishops, but priests and laity would have a larger role in the selection of their leaders.
“However, unless the institutional church actually reaches that goal, and power truly devolves to the grassroots, giving more autonomy to Catholic bishops might make things worse, not better, at least for progressive Catholics.
“While Pope Francis’s appointments of often have elevated reformers to power, he cannot replace every powerful leader in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“And the bishops now leading U.S. Catholics skew conservative. Indeed, in 2014, one bishop speaking on background confided that only about a third of American bishops were totally on board with Francis’s agenda, about a quarter were definitely against, and the rest were still figuring out where they stood. Not much appears to have changed in the intervening years.”
By Celia Wexler, Contributor, Huffington Post — Read more …
“While nuncios are currently allowed to consult laypeople when considering bishop candidates, they are not obligated to do so, and frequently put the focus of their consultations on current clergy members.”
One of the members of the Council of Cardinals said the group is considering whether to advise Pope Francis to make it mandatory for Vatican ambassadors to consult with laypeople before making recommendations for possible new bishops in the Catholic Church.
“Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias suggested the nine-member group might recommend that ambassadors be instructed to consult with members of a diocese’s pastoral or finance councils before passing on names of who to consider for bishop.
“‘This is a central matter for the church,’ Gracias said in a June 15 NCR interview. ‘The bishop is a central figure and the choice of a good bishop is very important for every church. If you choose the wrong person, things can be set back by years in the pastoral life of the church.'”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Married priests: Groups call on U.K. church to have national, courageous conversation / National Catholic Reporter
“Chris McDonnell, secretary of the Movement for Married Clergy, says the current model of Catholic priesthood, where the priest does everything, is unsustainable.” Over the years, Voice of the Faithful has often called for married priests, e.g., “A Petition to the American Bishops for the Ordination to the Priesthood of Married Catholic Men in the United States.”
“The ordination of married men to the priesthood ‘needs to be explored openly within the church in England and Wales at national and diocesan levels,’ the retired bishop of Portsmouth, England, has said.
“Speaking to NCR, Bishop Crispian Hollis said he was ‘increasingly aware’ of the pressure which priests are under due to the shortage of priests. He believes the issue of ordaining married men should not be left to ‘conversations within parishes and among the lay faithful.’
“His comments were made as new figures released by the National Office for Vocations in England and Wales showed a drop in the number of men entering formation for the diocesan priesthood. Director of the office, Benedictine Fr. Christopher Jamison, described the fall as ‘disappointing.'”
By Sarah Mac Donald, National Catholic Reporter — Read more … — Also of note, “Priests’ group accuses bishops of refusing to support pope’s openness to reform”
“When ordination is rightly understood, according to Pope Francis, women’s gifts for leadership can be shared within the church. Women can engage in decision-making for the church. He seems to be saying that ordination is simply less important than baptism in the grand scheme of things. And in any clerically-dominated church, that is saying a mouthful—for women and for men.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers some sage advice on how to take someone else’s words. In article 2478, it says:
“To avoid rash judgment, everyone ought to be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbors’ thoughts, words, and deeds, in a favorable way.
“To explain this, it offers a quote from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus:
‘Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.’
“I thought about this advice when considering some of Pope Francis’s words about women. As many have noted, despite his stated intention of including and promoting women, the Pope has caused no little consternation by some of his remarks concerning them.”
By Rita Ferrone, Commonweal — Read more …
“Collins’ departure laid bare the cultural chasm between the commission’s (Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors) outside experts, who proposed best-in-class ideas for protecting children, and the reality of the Vatican bureaucracy and its legal and administrative limitations.”
Pope Francis on Tuesday (Apr. 4) named a new official to oversee the Vatican office that processes clerical sex abuse cases amid mounting criticism over a yearslong backlog of cases and Francis’ handling of the problem.
The promotion of Monsignor John Kennedy to head of the discipline section of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was the second abuse-related appointment in recent days. Francis named the Rev. Hans Zollner, one of the Catholic Church’s top experts on fighting abuse and protecting children, as an adviser to the Vatican’s office for clergy on Saturday (Apr. 1).
Francis and the Vatican have come under fresh scrutiny over their response to the abuse crisis since Irish survivor Marie Collins resigned from the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission on March 1, citing “unacceptable” resistance to the commission’s proposals from the Vatican’s doctrine office.
Collins’ departure laid bare the cultural chasm between the commission’s outside experts, who proposed best-in-class ideas for protecting children, and the reality of the Vatican bureaucracy and its legal and administrative limitations.
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press — Read more …
Head of Vatican child protection commission pledges pope’s continuing commitment to rooting out clergy sex abuse / National Catholic Reporter
“Let there be no doubts: no other topic is more important for the life of the church,’ Cardinal Sean O’Malley said.”
“In the midst of a month in which the effectiveness of Pope Francis’ measures to fight clergy sexual abuse has come into question, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley pledged Thursday (Mar. 23) that the pontiff is still ‘thoroughly committed to rooting out the scourge of sex abuse.’
“O’Malley, the head of Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, told participants of an education seminar hosted by the group that ‘there is simply no justification in our day for failures to enact concrete safeguarding standards for our children.’
“‘Let there be no doubts: no other topic is more important for the life of the church,’ said the cardinal. ‘If the church is not committed to child protection, our efforts at evangelization will be to no effect; we will lose the trust of our people and gain the opprobrium of the world.’”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …