Archive for October, 2013
‘Be loving critics and critical lovers of the institutional church.’
“Jennifer Haselberger first heard that phrase while she was an undergraduate student at the College of St. Catherine (now St. Catherine University) in St. Paul, Minn. When she returned home in 2008 to take the position of chancellor of canonical affairs for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese, the phrase returned with her. Responsible for its records and archives, she discovered unreported allegations of clergy sex abuse and lapses in investigations.
“Ultimately, Haselberger, 38, resigned her position in April, saying that she found it impossible to continue in her position knowing such gaffes existed and that her efforts to rectify them had proved futile. So, she alerted law officials and local media.”
By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter. Read the rest of Rowe’s report by clicking here.
Pope Francis has said repeatedly that he wants to see greater roles for women in the Catholic Church, and some argue that he could take a giant step in that direction by appointing women to the College of Cardinals – the select and (so far) all-male club of “Princes of the Church” that casts secret ballots in a conclave to elect a new pope.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service
Read the rest of Gibson’s article by clicking here.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese is struggling with accusations by its former canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger, who has a long and accomplished history with the church. She was five years into her “dream job” as a canon lawyer for the Catholic archdiocese when she alerted law enforcement officials last spring to what she believed was child pornography on a priest’s discarded computer.” By Dan Browning, Star Tribune
Read the rest of Browning’s story about this whistle blower by clicking here.
A new international network of reformist Roman Catholic priests is pushing to give lay people a bigger role in a Church that Pope Francis wants to bring closer to grassroots members. Speaking as dissidents from six countries met in Austria Oct. 11 for the first time, clergyman Helmut Schueller said the Church should draw on people in local parishes that are under threat of vanishing as the ranks of the priesthood dwindle.” By Michael Shields, Reuters
Read the rest of Shields’ story by clicking here.
German Catholic bishops are scrapping centuries of secrecy and reporting the value of their private endowments as a scandal caused by a free-spending prelate puts pressure on them for more financial transparency.
“Limburg Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst – dubbed “the luxury bishop” – has shocked the Church by admitting six-fold cost overruns on construction of his luxurious new residence, which is now priced at 31 million euros, most of which will be paid from his ample reserves.” By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor, Reuters, in Orlando Sentinel
Read the rest of Heneghan’s story by clicking here.
Additional stories about Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst:
In his first address entirely focused on the topic of women, Pope Francis on Oct. 13 said ‘women are called to service, not servitude.’ His remarks came before approximately 150 people gathered at a two-day Vatican event organized by the women’s section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. It marked the 25th anniversary of the apostolic letter ‘Mulieris Dignitatem,’ written by Pope John Paul II. ‘I suffer — speaking truthfully! — when I see in the church or in some ecclesial organizations that the role of service that we all have, and that we must have — but that the role of service of the woman slips into a role of servitude,’ Francis said.” By Thomas Fox, National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of Fox’s story by clicking here.
In June 2012, Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer was removed as a pastor, after the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese received a complaint of child sexual abuse against him. The archdiocese informed the police, and by November Wehmeyer had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. He is serving a five-year prison sentence.
“Ostensibly, the archdiocese had complied promptly and fully with the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the standards for dealing with priests accused of abusing a minor. The archdiocese certainly spun the story that way. That may have been the final perception, if Minnesota Public Radio had not followed the story to its origins.” Editorial in National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of NCR’s editorial by clicking here.
Upset that her superiors had refused to take action, a former church official reported to police that leaders of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had kept secret for eight years images of pornography — some of it appearing to show children — belonging to one of its priests.” By Madeleine Baran and Mike Cronin, Minnesota Public Radio
Read the rest of this story by clicking here.
Minnesota Public Radio broke this story on Oct. 3. Since then, media in Minnesota have brought additional details to light. The archdiocese’s vicar general has resigned, and the archbishop has denied any wrongdoing. Click the links below:
- Archdiocese’s Vicar General Peter Laird Resigns Amid Court Allegations
- Twin Cities Catholics React to News about Church Leaders, Priests
- Archdiocese’s Attorney Says No Evidence of Child Porn Found
- Under Fire, Archbishop Nienstedt Scrambles to Respond
- Priest Misconduct: Task Force to Investigate Coverups
- Mother Alleges Wider Church Coverup of Clergy Sexual Misconduct
Council of Cardinals; Pope Interviews; Assisi; Francis the Mystic; and War on Christians / National Catholic Reporter
As veteran Vatican watcher and journalist John L. Allen, Jr., points out, this has been quite a week for news coming from Rome.
I’ve been covering the Vatican for almost 20 years, and aside from the two conclaves during that span, I’d be hard-pressed to recall many weeks with more breaking news than what we experienced the last seven days. After giving a talk for the Cushwa Center at the University of Notre Dame on Monday night, I’ve been in Rome following events. Here’s a tick-tock of what we’ve seen …”
Allen then lists about a dozen news items that show the direction that Pope Francis’ papacy is taking and changes that are being considered in the way Catholic Church is run. He says much more in the article, but if you don’t have time to read it entirely, read the bullet points. They’re worth your time. Click here to go to the article.