Archive for October, 2013

North St. Paul Pastor Seeks Leadership ‘Do-Over’ in Archdiocese; Calls for Releasing Names of Priests Accused of Child Sexual Abuse / Star Tribune

The pastor of a large Twin Cities parish has taken the unusual step of publicly questioning whether Archbishop John Nienstedt should continue in his post amid a widening priest sex abuse scandal.

“The Rev. Bill Deziel, who heads the 6,000-member Church of St. Peter, used his church’s Sunday bulletin to call for a ‘do-over’ of archdiocesan leadership. ‘When things get this bad,’ Deziel wrote to his parishioners, ‘sometimes a fresh start is needed for all involved.’ Such a change, he said, ‘could get us moving again with all that Christ calls us to do.’” By Baird Helgeson, Star Tribune.

Fr. Deziel also has called for the diocese “to release the names of 33 priests accused of sexually abused children and to open the so-called vault in the chancery offices so its files on priests can be inspected by law enforcement.” Read the rest of Helgeson’s story by clicking here.

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Pope Expels ‘Luxury Bishop’ from Diocese / The New York Times

Pope Francis temporarily expelled a German bishop from his diocese on Wednesday (Oct. 23) because of a scandal over a 31-million-euro project to build a new residence complex, but refused calls to remove him permanently.

“The Vatican didn’t say how long Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst would spend away from the diocese of Limburg and gave no information on where he would go or what he would do. It said he was leaving pending the outcome of a church commission investigation into the expenditures and his role in the affair.” By Associated Press in The New York Times

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

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Francis Is the Exclamation Point on Vatican II / National Catholic Reporter

I already hear concerns that the reformist church of 76-year-old Pope Francis might not survive his pontificate. I hear talk that the anti-reformists who took back the Second Vatican Council will likely do it again once Francis is gone from the scene.

“We ask: Will a church groomed by compassion and mercy, as Francis would have it, be the church of our future? Will our church be guided, as if with a compass, by the lives and needs of marginalized people? Can a pastoral Catholicism, embedded in the Beatitudes, be the Catholicism we offer the world?

“Viewed solely as a moment in church history, the Francis moment might not last. Post-Vatican II history teaches us that entrenched forces have ways of enduring. In this view, Francis could be a passing fancy. However, from the long view of history, the Francis pontificate could well be the exclamation point on Vatican II — change and reform is the default mode of operation, not a one-time activity.” By Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter

Read the rest of Fox’s column by clicking here.

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No Rivalry Between Celibacy, Marriage in Church Teaching, U.S. Liturgist Notes

Vatican II: 50 years ago today

“Christian celibacy is not to be regarded as a state in rivalry to marriage, much less in opposition to it,” a leading American liturgist has said here.

Father Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn., a council expert, spoke at a press conference at the American bishops’ press panel on the Christian theological aspects of celibacy.

He noted that Scripture “begins with the story of God’s blessing of marriage in the first book of Genesis and ends with the vision of the Spirit and the Bride, inviting all to come to the heavenly wedding feast. And, we might say, all the story in between expresses God’s relations to man in terms of marriage.”

Father Diekmann’s conference paralleled the discussion in the ecumenical council of the establishment of the married diaconate. He said: “Celibacy is not of divine law, but a disciplinary Church law which could be changed. There…

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Former Minnesota Archdiocesan Official Shines a Light on Failures / National Catholic Reporter

‘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.

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Could Pope Francis Make Women Cardinals? / Religion News Service

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.

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Archdiocese Insider Battles Catholic Church over Sex Abuse / Star Tribune

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.

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