Archive for November, 2015
Catholic church failed to act on pedophile priests, says Melbourne archbishop / Australian Associated Press in The Guardian
The Catholic church failed to act on the ‘horror story’ of pedophiles in its midst, Melbourne archbishop Denis Hart has told the royal commission.
“‘What is now apparent to me is that there was knowledge and a failure to act,’ Hart told the child abuse royal commission.
“‘Reading the victims’ statements that I have in preparation for the commission, I have just been totally appalled by the extent and the depravity of the offenders and the suffering and ruination of lives of the survivors.’
“Hart said there had been a terrible failure by the church resulting from the passivity or inactivity of his predecessors.
“But he excluded Cardinal George Pell, the Melbourne archbishop from 1996 to 2001, from the criticism.”
By Australian Associated Press in The Guardian — Click here to read the rest of this story.
May an abundance of gratitude burst forth
as you reflect upon what you have received.
May thanksgiving overflow in your heart,
and often be proclaimed in your prayer.
May you gather around the table of your heart
the ardent faithfulness, kindness, and goodness
of each person who is true to you.
May the harvest of your good actions
bring forth plentiful fruit every day.
May you discover a cache of hidden wisdom
among the people and events
that have brought you distress and sorrow.
May your basket of blessings surprise you
with its rich diversity of gifts
and its opportunities for growth.
May all that nourishes and resources your life
bring you daily satisfaction and renewed hope.
May you slow your hurried pace of life
so you can be aware of, and enjoy,
what you too easily take for granted.
May you always be open, willing,
and ready to share your blessings with others.
May you never forget the Generous One
who loves you lavishly and unconditionally.
By Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM, “A Thanksgiving Blessing,
from “Out of the Ordinary”
Pope Francis goes to Africa tomorrow (Nov. 25) for a six-day, three-nation apostolic journey that is supposed to culminate next Monday in Central African Republic, a country still in the throes of a brutal civil war.
“It is a real possibility that security concerns could force the Pope and his entourage to return home after visiting only the first two destinations — Kenya and Uganda — or at least limit the last leg to just a brief stopover for a Mass at the tightly guarded Bangui airport.
“No matter how the trip unfolds, Francis will not be coming back to anything remotely considered “peace and quiet” in Rome.
“Among other things, in the coming days and weeks he is set to announce some major personnel and structural changes in the Roman Curia and other Vatican-related departments.
By Robert Mickens, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 21) ordered five people, including two Italian journalists, to stand trial for leaking and publishing secret documents, in the latest development in a leaks scandal which is rocking the papacy.
“The trial stems from the publication of two recent books which depict a Vatican plagued by mismanagement, greed and corruption and where Pope Francis faces stiff resistance from the old guard to his reform agenda.
“The Holy See was embarrassed and angered by the books, which it said used information that should never have been allowed to leave the walls of the city state.”
By Reuters on Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful has long championed financial transparency and accountability in the Catholic Church, a never-ending, always necessary task. Take the commentary below. Garry Wills wonders once again, like many others before him and in light of Pope Francis’ agenda, how the Church can claim God and mammon. And how can it justify keeping its questionable financial dealings secret. For example, “In what is called Peter’s Pence, Catholics from around the world send money to be spent on the poor,” he says, “But four-fifths of that money is spent on maintenance of the bloated Vatican itself.”
Re-Jesusing the Catholic Church
by Garry Wills in The Boston Globe
How can a church whose officialdom is worldly and corrupt present Jesus to the world? Pope Francis thinks it cannot. He once told people at the morning mass in his small chapel, ‘To be believable, the Church has to be poor.’ He has spoken of personal revulsion at seeing a priest drive an expensive car. When he spoke of money as ‘the devil’s dung’ (he was quoting a church father, Saint Basil), some took this as an attack on Western capitalism. But it was a more general message, part of his apology in Bolivia for the church’s role in colonialism. And when Francis looks around the Vatican, he finds the same devil-stench. In one of his earlier interviews as pope, he said, ‘The Curia is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests.’ He said to assembled Cardinals that some approach the Vatican as if it were a royal court, with all the marks of such courts — ‘intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and partiality.’”
The nation’s Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) passed an updated guide for Catholic voters ahead of next year’s elections, but only after airing unusually sharp disagreements on how much they can, and should, adjust their priorities to match those of Pope Francis.
“More than any other item on the agenda of the bishops’ annual meeting here, the debate over the lengthy voter guide, called ‘Faithful Citizenship,’ revealed deep divides among the bishops and provided a snapshot of the extent of the ‘Francis effect’ on the U.S. hierarchy.”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Let victims pursue their abusers: New York’s outdated civil statute of limitations badly needs fixing / New York Daily News
The following is an op-ed piece published in the New York Daily News by attorney Marci Hamilton, a law professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and author of “Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.”
The greatest barrier to child protection is ignorance. The movie (‘Spotlight’) shows smart, experienced journalists struggling to comprehend what was right in front of them. ‘Spotlight’ will likely educate millions about the ways in which adults and institutions we trust protect adults and put children at risk every day.
“Despite news coverage of one scandal after another, most adults still trust their instincts regarding who is an abuser and who is not. That is dangerous. Until parents, teachers, clergy and all other adults understand the cunning moves of pedophiles and the ease with which we as adults let abusers persist, kids are at serious risk.
“’Spotlight’ should carry special significance in New York, where, unlike in Boston, so little of the truth about the bishops’ cover-up has surfaced. That is because New York shares the ignominious distinction with Alabama, Michigan and Mississippi of having the worst civil statutes of limitations for child sex abuse in the United States.”
Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
As the U.S. bishops gather in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting this week (Nov. 16-17), they will be deciding their priorities until the end of this decade. Will these priorities sync with those of Pope Francis or will the bishops continue on as if the pope is not taking the church in a new direction …
“Francis has been very clear in laying out his priorities in his talks and writings. His priorities would look more like this:
- A poor church for the poor
- The church as a field hospital, a church of mercy and compassion
- The practice of synodality at all levels of the church
- The end of clericalism and the empowerment of the laity
- The promotion of justice and peace and the protection of the environment —
“Francis’ harshest words are against clericalism and careerism in the church. He sounds like Jesus denouncing the scribes and Pharisees. He insists that leadership is for service. That shepherds must smell like their sheep. And that priests and bishops are at the bottom of the pyramid, not the top …
“Francis also wants to empower the laity to take up their role in evangelization and in reshaping the world according to Gospel values.
“As he asked the CELAM bishops in Brazil,
- ‘Do we make the lay faithful sharers in the mission?’
- Do diocesan and parish councils, ‘whether pastoral or financial, provide real opportunities for laypeople to participate in pastoral consultation, organization and planning?’
- Do we give the laity ‘the freedom to continue discerning, in a way befitting their growth as disciples, the mission which the Lord has entrusted to them? Do we support them and accompany them, overcoming the temptation to manipulate them or infantilize them?'”
By Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of the article.
Shortly after events in the just released feature film “Spotlight” end, Voice of the Faithful was born of out of the anger and frustration of faithful Catholics at what had happened in their Church: the clergy sexual abuse of children and its coverup. Determined to remain faithful, but to address the wrongs, the movement supported abuse survivors and worked to reform Church structures that enabled the scandal.
As Boston Globe Spotlight investigative team member Sacha Pfeiffer said on ABC’s “The View,” “Certainly some Catholics felt that they couldn’t go back to the church. Others tried to change it from within. There’s a group called Voice of the Faithful. They decided to do that.”
VOTF is what happened next in the Church’s life after the movie ends in 2002, shortly after The Boston Globe published its first stories detailing abuse and coverup in the Archdiocese of Boston. VOTF’s efforts changed how the Roman Catholic Church addresses problems, as described in sociologist Tricia Bruce’s in-depth study of VOTF as an intra-institutional social movement, Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church (Oxford University Press 2011).
Several points paraphrased from Bruce’s book show how VOTF:
- Refused to let the issue of abuse and the secrecy surrounding it go unspoken.
- Spoke out through national media and publicized stories of those victimized by clergy abuse.
- Attended meetings of lay Catholic leaders to focus attention on the scandal.
- Introduced discussions about sexual abuse, power, authority, and the rights and offerings of the laity into the conversation within the Catholic Church.
- Reawakened long-dormant conversations about Vatican II.
- Helped tell the history of the scandal and influenced the Catholic Church’s responses after 2002.
- Broadened the Catholic “we” to include not just the ordained and the silent majority obedient to existing structures, but also new communities within parishes emphasizing the leadership and abilities of lay Catholics.
- Expanded the meaning of Catholic identity to contain both faithfulness and challenge to the institution, suggesting it is possible and preferable to keep the faith, but change the Church.
VOTF continues to address the problems of clerically hardened institutional structures, aiming for greater lay input into governance and for healing wounds the scandal has inflicted. Some in the Church’s hierarchy echo this message, especially in light of “Spotlight’s” story.
As one example, Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque, Iowa, was recently quoted in The Boston Globe as saying that, “though failing to report or remove an offender is rare compared with the past, ‘it too still happens, and when it does, a shadow is cast on the church’s efforts to restore trust and to provide a safe environment. And so I suppose the story told by the movie (‘Spotlight’) bears repeating until all of us get all of it right.’”
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in the governance and guidance of the Church. More information is at www.votf.org.