Archive for September, 2013
The Positive reception to Pope Francis from all quarters is itself almost as astounding as the man himself. A kind of global sigh of relief has greeted his humane and kindly manner, a signal that the human family, even in a secular age, longs for a rescue of transcendent value. The Catholic Church, for all of its problems, and if only because of its history as a pillar of Western culture, remains a universal object of fascination …
“… The pope aims to start “a long-run, historical process” on behalf of the poor. No one denies his seriousness on this issue — from the choice of his name, to the place where he lives, to his witness in Brazil. But the pope knows as well as anyone that the single most powerful engine drawing people out of poverty is improvement in the economic status of women, which can only occur within a larger cultural transformation. Education. Participation. Power. Reproductive freedom. Yes, women’s liberation. There can be no other strategy for ending poverty.” By James Carroll, The Boston Globe
Read the rest of Carroll’s commentary by clicking here.
Francis’ papacy only just reached the six-month mark, so it’s probably premature to be talking about make-or-break moments for his legacy. That said, the Oct. 1-3 maiden summit of eight cardinals from around the world, tapped by the pope to advise him on governance and reform, profiles as a potentially critical turning point.” By John Allen, National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of John Allen’s story about the Pope’s upcoming meeting with his cardinal advisors by clicking here.
Click here to read and watch: “Philly Priest Sexually Abuses Altar Boy for Years: DA,” by Dan Stamm, NBCphiladelphia.com, September 26, 2013
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced the arrest Thursday morning of Rev. Robert Brennan.
“A serial predator is now behind bars thanks to brave actions of this young man,” said Williams.
The alleged assaults, which Williams says included penetration and oral sex, happened while Brennan was an assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in the Rhawnhurst section of Northeast Philadelphia from 1998 to 2001.
Editor’s note: Msgr. Lynn will not be charged in this case because it fell three months outside the EWOC statute of limitations.
Please note this is not the Father Brennan from the 2012 trial. That was Father James Brennan.
In the last 50 years, we have had five popes. The first four were at the Second Vatican Council as either bishops or peritus (theological advisers). Francis may not be a pope from the council, but he is quickly establishing himself as a pope of the council. Each of his recent predecessors, to be sure, carried forward particular elements of the council’s teaching. This pope, however, has received the council’s teaching through his distinctive experiences as a Jesuit, a Latin American and, pre-eminently, as pastor. His pontificate represents a fresh new phase in the ongoing reception of Vatican II, one shaped by a variety of post-conciliar developments.” By Richard Gaillardetz, Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology, Boston College, in National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of Prof. Gaillardetz’s article by clicking here.
This is the third in a series of articles in National Catholic Reporter that examine the ramifications of the interview Pope Francis gave to America magazine that was released Sept. 19. The first two articles are “It Will Be Hard to Go Back after Francis’ Papacy” and “The Real Test of Francis’ Reform: Touching the Spiritually Poor.”
Pope Francis’ appointment of Michigan Bishop Bernard Hebda to serve alongside John J. Myers as coadjutor archbishop of Newark might have been the first time the Vatican acted to discipline a bishop for dealing improperly with sexually abusive priests since John Paul II accepted Bernard Law’s resignation as archbishop of Boston in 2002. Coadjutors are often appointed when the Vatican wants to make clear its displeasure with a hierarch (e.g. the case of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle).” By Mark Silk, Religion News Service
Read the rest of Mark Silk’s commentary by clicking here.
The Six Most Important Reforms Voice of the Faithful Would Like Pope Francis To Discuss with His Advisors In October
Pope Francis meets in Rome Oct. 1-3 with his eight cardinal advisors on Church governance. Voice of the Faithful® would like at least the following six reforms to be on the Pope’s agenda, and as a start, Voice of the Faithful sent a letter to Pope Francis in late August asking that a VOTF proposed for a change in the process of bishop selection be placed on the agenda:
1. Disciplinary action for any bishop who has covered up clergy sexual abuse
- Clerical Culture: Reality & Concerns
- Voice of the Faithful’s Conclusions about the John Jay College Report: The Causes & Contexts of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010
- The Pope’s Real Target: Clericalism
- Clerical Culture Among Roman Catholic Diocesan Clergy
- Voice of the Faithful Urges Pope Francis to “Act Decisively” Regarding Bishops, Clergy Sexual Abuse & His Message to Vatican Congregation
2. The ordination to the priesthood of married Catholic men
- A Petition to the American Bishops for the Ordination to the Priesthood of Married Catholic Men in the United States
- Crisis in the Priesthood: Conversations about Celibacy
- A Brief History of Celibacy
- Mandatory Celibacy: Time to Discuss Its Flaws
3. An expanded role for clergy and laity in selecting local bishops
- VOTF Letter to Pope Francis
- Furthering the New Evangelization: Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy
- Lay Input into Bishop Selection Process
4. The ordination of women to the diaconate
- Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Church to Open This Door
- Women in the Church: Suggested Readings
5. Removal of the mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
- Nun Justice Project: Support the Sisters
- Leadership Conference of Women Religious
- LCWR: ‘Radical Feminism’ or ‘Living the Gospel’
6. Financial accountability and transparency
The Vatican, under Pope Francis’ “zero-tolerance” policy for pedophile priests, removed an auxiliary bishop from his post in a Peruvian province because of allegations he sexually abused children, a bishop said on Friday (Sept. 20).
“Luis Bambaren, the former president of Peru’s bishops’ conference and bishop emeritus of Chimbote, told local media that Gabino Miranda was dismissed as auxiliary bishop in the dioceses of Ayacucho, a poor Andean region in southern Peru, after he was accused of having sexual relations with minors.”
Read the rest of this Reuters story by clicking here.
Pope Francis’ comments this week on everything from gays to abortion (less talk, more mercy), the hierarchy (be pastors, not bureaucrats) and religious faith (doubt is part of belief) continue to reverberate through the church and the media.
“Here are five broader insights that this wide-ranging interview revealed about Francis — and why they will be keys to reading his pontificate, and perhaps the future of Catholicism.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service
Read the rest of David Gibson’s article on Pope Francis’ interview by clicking here.
Pope Franics Keeps Cleric Who Led Crackdown on Liberal U.S. Nuns / Associated Press in Christian Science Monitor
Pope Francis on Saturday effectively demoted a highly conservative Italian cardinal who led the Vatican’s department on clergy, while keeping in place a German prelate who wages the Catholic church’s crackdown on liberal U.S. nuns and helps craft its sex-abuse response.
“After six months on the job to study the workings of the Vatican’s curia, or bureaucracy, Francis has now put his imprint on several key positions which help administer the Roman Catholic church’s worldwide flock. His management picks will likely both please and disappoint both conservatives and liberals alike, perhaps in line with his fledgling papacy, which has often defied labels in either camp.”
By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, in Christian Science Monitor. Read the rest of D’Emilio’s story by clicking here.
Curtis Wehmeyer kept his white 2006 camper parked outside Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul where he served for six years, three of them as pastor.
“With the shades drawn, Wehmeyer could avoid the obligations of priestly life. He got drunk, smoked pot and looked at child pornography. He also lured to the camper two boys whose mother worked at the parish, plied them with alcohol, turned on pornography and told them to touch themselves. Several times, he touched one of the boys, according to police records.
“The family trusted “Father Curt.” As a priest, he had special powers. He could anoint the sick and baptize the young. Maybe, the mother hoped, he could inspire one of her sons to become a priest.
“That hope died last summer when one of the boys told his aunt what happened in the camper. The mother went to another priest, and then to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Soon after, police arrested Wehmeyer, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the boys, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. A judge sentenced the priest to five years in prison.”
By Madeleine Baran, MPR News. Read or listen to the rest of her story by clicking here.