Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops / National Catholic Reporter

“A comparison of the Italian text of the prior and new versions of the canon makes the change clear. Where the Italian says the Vatican was tasked before with ‘authorizing’ all liturgical translations, it is now asked simply to ‘review”‘ translations made by the bishops’ conferences. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church’s liturgies are translated from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops’ conferences.

“In a motu proprio issued Sept. 9, the pontiff says he is making a change to the church’s Code of Canon Law so that the Second Vatican Council’s call to make the liturgy more understandable to people is “more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”

“The motu proprio, given the title Magnum Principium, modifies two clauses of Canon 838. The rewritten clauses say simply that the Vatican is to ‘recognize’ adaptations of Latin liturgical texts approved by national bishops’ conferences.

“A comparison of the Italian text of the prior and new versions of the canon makes the change clear. Where the Italian says the Vatican was tasked before with ‘authorizing’ all liturgical translations, it is now asked simply to ‘review’ translations made by the bishops’ conferences.”

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

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Seeking a path from Pell to a Plenary Council / Commonweal

“The hearings have laid bare the cultural factors that enabled the (clergy abuse) scandal to be so badly managed,” he (Francis Sullivan, head of the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council) told me. “They can be summarized as issues of power, privilege, and participation. Who controlled decision-making, who was involved in decision-making, and who benefited from the decisions taken. The lack of transparency and the entitlement attitudes that underpin clericalism were given a lot of ventilation.” (Commonweal)

Arriving in Sydney, Australia, this summer for a round of conferences sponsored by the Broken Bay Institute of the Australian Institute of Theological Education, I found a church confronting events likely to have a profound impact on its future: the Royal Commission’s completion of its work on an ‘institutional response to child sexual abuse’; the return of Cardinal George Pell from Rome to face charges on sexual abuse cases alleged to have taken place decades ago in the diocese of Ballarat; and the announcement of a Plenary Council for Australia set for 2020—the first since 1937.

“The three issues are interwoven. The Pell case frightens the institutional church for the ripple effects the trial might have on other investigations into clergy sexual abuse. It complicates the creative response of the Australian episcopate to the scandal: the creation of the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council launched shortly after the establishment of the Royal Commission and headed by Francis Sullivan, a lay Catholic who for fourteen years was chief executive of Catholic Health Australia. After the expected publication of the Royal Commission’s report at the end of this year, the Truth, Justice, and Healing Council will publish its own report. It will be interesting to see how the episcopate receives it. Created by the bishops, the council has nonetheless maintained an independent attitude; for example, it has refused the request of some bishops to cross-examine witnesses heard by the Royal Commission.

“Sullivan gave me his assessment of the impact of the Royal Commission hearings. ‘The hearings have laid bare the cultural factors that enabled the scandal to be so badly managed,’ he told me. ‘They can be summarized as issues of power, privilege, and participation. Who controlled decision-making, who was involved in decision-making, and who benefited from the decisions taken. The lack of transparency and the entitlement attitudes that underpin clericalism were given a lot of ventilation. This has opened public debate about the role of women, celibacy, seminary training, supervision of clerics, and the ethical use of church finances.’ The church, he added, has lost control of this public debate. ‘Its voice has been muted and compromised,’ he said. ‘Any semblance of a defensive tone is jumped on by critics and the majority of the leaders have been missing in action.'”

By Massimo Faggioli, Commonweal — Read more …

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Editorial: Retain abuse survivors or risk irrelevancy / National Catholic Reporter

“To prevent irrelevancy, the commission must ensure that survivors have direct participation in its work and the commission itself needs a strong, public endorsement by Francis.” (National Catholic Reporter)

It is distressing to learn that the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors may be restructured so that survivors of sexual abuse by clergy may have no direct voice in that body. The commission has helped the church make great strides in addressing this global issue, but it is in danger of becoming irrelevant.

“Signs of trouble with the commission began to surface in 2016, a year after its inception, when one of two abuse survivors on the commission, Peter Saunders, was suspended. The trouble became acute when the sole remaining survivor on the commission, Marie Collins, resigned earlier this year.

“Collins resigned because she felt Vatican bureaucracy was neglecting and stalling the work of the commission. The commission is understaffed, underfunded and not accepted by offices at the Vatican that should be working with it, Collins said. Her statements have been reinforced by fellow commission member Krysten Winter-Green in an interview with NCR.”

By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Read more … — Read Voice of the Faithful’s statement, “Ineffectiveness of Papal Abuse Commission Provides Example of Need for Reform.”

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Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy change ‘irreversible’ / Cruxnow.com

“Battles over liturgical practice have been a chronic feature of Catholic life since Vatican II.” (Cruxnow.com)

Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday (Aug. 24), Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, ‘We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.’

“The declaration came in a speech on Thursday (Aug. 24) to Italy’s ‘Center of Liturgical Action,’ which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week.

“By ‘liturgical reform,’ Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation, the use of vernacular languages, and a stronger emphasis on the ‘full, conscious and active’ participation of the people.

“Although Pope Francis is often seen as having less interest in liturgical questions than some of his predecessors, this was a lengthy and carefully footnoted reflection, roughly 2,500 words in all.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …

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Papal abuse commission ineffectiveness provides perfect example of need for reform / Voice of the Faithful

Pope Francis’ Commission for the Protection of Minors is considering restructuring when present members’ terms expire next month, and survivors likely will not have a place at the table. They may comprise a separate advisory panel to the Commission.

Voice of the Faithful believes this is a mistake that would put survivors even farther out of the loop in helping to redress the clergy sexual abuse scandal and denigrate the importance of their counsel.

Of the two original survivor members of the Commission, Peter Saunders has been sidelined and Marie Collins resigned. The Commission’s ineffectiveness was a factor in both cases.

While recently citing some successes in educating Church leaders about the catastrophic results of child abuse, Commission member Krysten Winter-Green has said the Commission’s ineffectiveness stems in large part from insufficient resources and the slow and inefficient way the Vatican works, which echoes some of Collins’ comments upon her resignation.

Voice of the Faithful has worked long and hard to educate the laity to the need for reform of Church structures to better promote accountability, transparency, and broad and effective lay input into Church issues. There seems no more effective example of the need for reform than the inability of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to accomplish its goals with the Vatican bureaucratic cards stacked against it.


Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 23, 2017
Contact: Nick Ingala, nickingala@votf.org, 781-559-3360
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.

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Papal abuse commission considers restructuring, survivors may lose direct role / National Catholic Reporter

Consideration of a change in structure for the papal commission comes as the group has in recent months faced public questioning of its effectiveness in stopping future abuse of children and vulnerable people in the Catholic Church. The group now appears to be in the midst of a significant phase of transition. (National Catholic Reporter)

Pope Francis’ commission on clergy sexual abuse is considering whether to restructure itself so that it no longer includes the direct participation of abuse survivors. It is evaluating the possibility of creating instead a separate advisory panel of individuals who have been abused by clergy.

“A member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors revealed the group’s consideration of the idea in an NCR interview Aug. 14, saying that one of the commission’s work groups has been tasked with weighing the pros and cons of such a change.

“The commission appears likely to discuss the possible restructuring at its next plenary meeting in Rome in mid-September, when the original three-year terms of its members are set to expire.

“‘I think that may be a more productive [way] of ensuring the voice of survivors in the work of the commission,’ Krysten Winter-Green, the commission member, said of the potential change. ‘I do not know that it’s critical that a survivor needs to be actually on the commission.'”

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

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Sex abuse and the seal of the confessional / National Catholic Reporter

Priest sex abusers used confession to assuage their guilt, making it easier for them to repeat their crimes. (Kieran Tapsell in National Catholic Reporter)

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has just released its Criminal Justice Report in which it deals with many matters relating to the way child sexual abuse within institutions is handled by the Australian criminal justice system. In the course of that report, it recommends mandatory reporting of all suspected child sexual abuse within institutions and the creation of new offences of failing to take proper care to prevent such abuse.

“One recommendation that understandably created some media interest is that there should be no exemption to the reporting requirements for information provided in confession.

“The commission’s report produces convincing evidence, not only in Australia, but also overseas, that priest sex abusers used confession as a means of assuaging their guilt. It made it easier for them to repeat their crimes because confession was always available.”

Commentary by Kieran Tapsell in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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