Archive for February, 2013
The Arab Spring has shaken a whole series of autocratic regimes. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, might not something like that be possible in the Roman Catholic Church as well — a Vatican Spring?” By Hans Kung, Op-Ed Contributor, The New York Times, professor emeritus of ecumenical theology at the University of Tübingen and the author of the forthcoming book “Can the Church Still Be Saved?”
The sudden resignation of the most senior Roman Catholic cardinal in Britain, who stepped aside on Monday in the face of accusations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward priests years ago, showed that the taint of scandal could force a cardinal from participating in the selection of a new pope. His exit came as at least a dozen other cardinals tarnished with accusations that they had failed to remove priests accused of sexually abusing minors were among those gathering in Rome to prepare for the conclave to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. There was no sign that the church’s promise to confront the sexual abuse scandal had led to direct pressure on those cardinals to exempt themselves from the conclave.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Before the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican circled the wagons around cardinals ensnared in sex abuse scandals. As the church prepares to pick Benedict’s successor, those embattled cardinals increasingly find themselves under the wagon wheels. In a wide-ranging news conference on Monday, the Vatican struck a markedly blase tone when asked about the decision by British Cardinal Keith O’Brien not to attend the conclave to elect the next pope. Hours earlier, the Vatican had accepted O’Brien’s immediate resignation over sexual harassment accusations. Whereas the Vatican made clear in 2005 that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was expected to report to the Sistine Chapel, on Monday it said it had nothing to do with O’Brien’s announcement.” By Jason Horowitz, The Washington Post
When Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled his plan to legalize same-sex marriage last year, Britain’s highest Roman Catholic cleric took to the national pulpit. Cardinal Keith O’Brien decried a “tyranny of tolerance,” calling gay marriage “grotesque” and saying no secular government had the moral authority to legalize such unions. On Monday, O’Brien, one of the church’s most strident voices against homosexuality, abruptly stepped down amid allegations of “intimate” acts with priests. His fall underscored perhaps the greatest challenge for the Roman Catholic hierarchy as it moves to elect a new pope: regaining its own moral authority.” By Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post
The United Kingdom’s top cardinal, Keith O’Brien, is to step down as an archbishop, effective immediately, according to a statement published on the website of the Scottish Catholic news office. Cardinal O’Brien, who is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the U.K.’s most senior Roman Catholic, also says he is choosing not to take part in the election of the next pope next month to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, a process known as the “conclave.’ He said in a statement that he will not attend.” By Kim Hjelmgaard and Cathy Lynn Grosman, USA TODAY
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has been accused of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest, the newspaper The Observer reported Sunday. The accusations, which date back to the 1980s, have been forwarded to the Vatican.” By John F. Burns, The New York Times
Cardinal Keith O’Brien: ‘Allow Priests to Marry’
Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic has said he believes priests should be able to marry if they wish to do so. Cardinal Keith O’Brien said it was clear many priests struggled to cope with celibacy, and should be able to marry and have children. The cardinal will be part of the conclave that chooses the next Pope.” By BBC News Scotland
As archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony was famous for his petulance, dispatching angry letters to priests and others whom he considered insufficiently deferential. But now that he finds himself in a subordinate position as a retired and rebuked bishop he displays none of the deference he once demanded.” By George Neumayr
A senior Vatican official called Cardinal Roger Mahony‘s participation in the selection of the next pope “troubling,” but said there was no formal procedure to stop the retired Los Angeles archbishop from attending the conclave next month.” By Tom Kington, Los Angeles Times
There is worldwide outrage that former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony will be part of next month’s papal conclave in Rome. A poll by an influential Italian Catholic magazine found that an overwhelming majority of its readers don’t want Mahony to be part of the papal conclave to select the next pope after Pope Benedict XVI finalizes his retirement.” By CBS-TV Los Angeles
A week before Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is set to leave New York for Rome, where his name is being floated as a candidate for pope, he was questioned in Manhattan for three hours on Wednesday behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
In the wake of the court-ordered release of 12,000 pages of confidential archdiocese records, Cardinal Roger Mahony (Archbishop of Los Angeles) has been criticized for hiding abuse allegations from police and failing to protect parishioners from accused molesters. But the documents suggest that Mahony at times had to press an unresponsive Vatican to get molesting priests out of the church.” By Victoria Kim and Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
Voice of the Faithful® prays for Pope Benedict XVI’s spiritual and physical health as he announces his resignation today, a move the Catholic Church has not seen for 600 years. The worldwide Catholic Church reform movement also prays that the new pope will be willing to listen to and discern the collective wisdom of all the people of God.
VOTF also hopes that, following the transition to a new pope, the Church can move more quickly toward full disclosure in the worldwide clergy sexual abuse scandal, accountability for those who have abetted the scandal, less secrecy in Church operation and a greater voice for the laity in how the Church is run.
Once thought of as an American problem, the clergy sexual abuse scandal circled the world by 2010, and revelations since 2002 have clearly shown the Church hierarchy knew about clergy sexual abuse for decades and kept it secret by transferring pedophile priests and covering up their crimes.
Despite Pope Benedict’s efforts to make a greater commitment to cleaning up the abuse scandal and address financial improprieties, the church still faces numerous problems, such as, loss of collegiality between Vatican curia and bishops, narrow doctrinal definitions that challenge valid theological inquiries, refusal to discuss the second-class status of women in the Church, demands that religious woman subordinate their social justice missions to Vatican control and, ultimately, a failure to hold accountable all bishops who were complicit in covering up clergy sexual abuse.
VOTF prays a new pope will emphasize transparency and accountability that can heal rifts in the Church and lead to fulfillment of Vatican II promises for a renewed Church, one open to ministering within today’s world rather than seeking a return to a world many centuries past.