Posts Tagged Michael Sean Winters

Vatican silence on Cardinal Pell’s trial is a turn from a long history / National Catholic Reporter

The idea that a cardinal, who was no longer even working in Australia and who could have been given immunity from prosecution by a foreign tribunal quite easily, will be facing a secular jury without so much as a peep of protest from the Vatican is stunning. (National Catholic Reporter)

Cardinal George Pell is going on trial in Australia to face charges he sexually abused minors. As victims’ advocate Anne Barrett Doyle told my colleague Josh McElwee, this trial is a ‘turning point’ in the long saga of compelling accountability by church leaders. It is even more of a turning point than Doyle may realize. Because the big story here is the dog that did not bark, the fact that the Vatican has made no protest at the prospect of a prince of the church standing trial before a civil magistrate.

“I cannot think of a single preoccupation of the Catholic Church that has more frequently defined the stances she takes vis-à-vis the ambient culture than the concern for the church’s independence and freedom. From the Middle Ages onward, popes undertook a delicate balancing act with other powers seeking control of the Italian peninsula. In individual countries, the church often fought for her rights against monarchs who wanted to control the church’s personnel or money or both.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstanding of Vatican II / National Catholic Reporter

N.B.: This is part one of a three-part series discussing the theologies of the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Paul VI. Links to parts two and three of the series are listed below.

The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope’s teaching? This is uncharted territory.

“I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.

“Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this first article in Winters’ three-part series.

Click here to read the second article in this series, “Pope Paul VI’s greatness lies in his church leaderhsip after Vatican II.”

Click here to read the third article in this series, “Different popes, different personalities — and underlying continuity.”

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Pope Francis is coming! Part 1 / National Catholic Reporter

Today (Aug. 19), I kick off a series of columns that will set the table for the pope’s visit. Today (Aug. 19), I explore what I think is the over-arching theme of this pontificate, and tomorrow, I will examine how that one large theme plays out in six, smaller sub-themes. Friday (Aug. 21), we will dig down on what we can expect specifically from his talks – and more than the talks, from the gestures – in the U.S. Next week (week of Aug. 24) I will examine how the pope challenges both the Catholic Left and the Catholic Right.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.

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Vatican publishes statutes for commission to protect minors / National Catholic Reporter

The Holy See this morning published the statutes for the Commission for the Protection of Minors, giving that body canonical and juridical status within the Roman Curia. It may not seem like they are very earth-shattering or, in the event, Church-shattering, but they are. First, there is the fact of a commission … (Second) the new commission specifically has the task of working with local churches and coordinating efforts within the Roman Curia to deal with the scourge of clergy sex abuse. Third, and perhaps most significantly, the new statutes stipulate: ‘The Commission is an advisory body at the service of the Holy Father’ … Fourth, apart from the chair and the secretary, there is no requirement that the commission members be clerics at all.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Time for +Nienstedt to go / National Catholic Reporter

It is time for Archbishop John Nienstedt to go.

Reading the affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, is grim. Caveat: A lawyer friend told me that a good defense attorney could drive several trucks through the document and that may be true. But, even if a quarter of what is asserted in that document is true, it is obvious that the Archdiocese of St. Paul has failed to live up to the bishops’ own requirements regarding the protection of children. Instances of suspected child abuse were not reported to the civil authorities. Clergy were not removed from active ministry as required by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children. Almost every page of Haselberger’s affidavit illustrates a clerical culture that, when confronted with evidence of proven or potential sexual abuse of a minor, instinctively reacted with the thought, ‘poor Father.”’

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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Not a Happy Day in Hartford / National Catholic Reporter

“Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you,” we read in 1 Peter 3:15. We are called to be “a people of hope.” Some days, watching and listening to Pope Francis, being hopeful comes easy, even naturally.

“Today (Oct. 29) is not one of those days. In naming Bishop Leonard Blair to become the next archbishop of Hartford, Conn., the Holy See has sent what can only be described as a counter-sign. This was a missed opportunity to send a signal to all the bishops in the United States that the Holy Father is calling for a different style of pastoral leadership in the Church. In June, Pope Francis spoke to the nuncios from around the world assembled in Rome. He sketched the type of pastoral leadership he expected in the appointment of bishops. The pope said he wanted pastors who would serve their people, not serve as overlords. They were, he famously said, to be men who “have the smell of the sheep.

“The good news is that Archbishop-designate Blair has the smell of the sheep. The bad news is that one suspects he thinks the sheep stink.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Read the rest of Winters’ article by clicking here.

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