Archive for November, 2016

Vatican judge says cardinal-critics of pope could lose red hats / Cruxnow.com

“What they [the cardinals] have done is a very grave scandal, which could even lead the Holy Father to take away their red hats, as it’s happened already in some other times in the Church.”

According to a senior Vatican judge, four cardinals, including American Raymond Burke, who recently published a letter in which they asked Pope Francis to clarify his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, could lose their red hats over what he termed the ‘very grave scandal’ they’ve caused.

“‘What Church do these cardinals defend? The pope is faithful to the doctrine of Christ,’ said Father Pio Vito Pinto.

“‘What they [the cardinals] have done is a very grave scandal, which could even lead the Holy Father to take away their red hats, as it’s happened already in some other times in the Church,’ Vito Pinto said.

‘The priest, appointed in 2012 by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Vatican’s main working court, also known as the Roman Rota, was quick to clarify that his words don’t mean Francis has made such a decision, simply that he could.”

By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Fall of an archbishop; Byrnes set to arrive, steps in for Apuron / Pacific Daily News

“In the 14 years since the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal was uncovered in Boston and spread to parishes across the country and around the world, abuse allegations on Guam remained secret. Until now.”

When Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes arrives today (Nov. 28), he will step into a fractured community of the faith.

“Officially, he is coming to assist Archbishop Anthony Apuron in running the Archdiocese of Agana, and to serve as Apuron’s successor. But Apuron has been out of the public eye since June, when the Vatican suspended him and sent Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai to temporarily oversee the Guam church. Apuron faces what an archdiocese spokesman described as “credible accusations of child sexual abuse against him,” and a canonical trial is being prepared in Rome.

“Prior to his departure, Apuron led the Catholic faithful here for 30 years. He positioned himself as a fierce defender of morality, local culture and tradition, and used his power as a spiritual leader to influence political decisions. He also argued against a law that would remove the statute of limitations for civil suits in child sex abuse cases, and he once wrote a letter to a judge urging leniency for a former altar boy who confessed to sexually abusing a 2-year-old.”

By Haidee V. Eugenio and Dana M. Williams, Pacific Daily News — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Women deacons commission to meet in Rome for first time Nov. 25-26 / National Catholic Reporter

The new Vatican commission studying the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church will be meeting in Rome for the first time as a full group Nov. 25-26.

“The dates of the meeting, anticipated in recent months, was first reported Saturday by the U.S. newspaper Newsday, which spoke to commission member and NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano.

“Pope Francis’ creation of the commission, formally known as the Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, has been seen as signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the Catholic church’s practice of an all-male clergy.”

by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Francis dismisses critics of his teachings / National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that ‘they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.’

“The pontiff’s lengthy interview in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.

“The four say that focusing on ministering to people in their particular circumstances is eroding the church’s doctrinal absolutes and that Francis must dispel any ambiguities or face serious consequences.”

By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story, and click here to read NCR’s Joshua J. McElwee’s story “Flour cardinal challenge Francis over ‘Amoris Laetitia.'”

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Twin Cities archdiocese puts forth amended bankruptcy plan / National Catholic Reporter

An amended bankruptcy plan for the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese would potentially double the funds set aside for its creditors to the tune of as much as $133 million. Despite that increase, attorneys representing the 440 claimants say that the archdiocese’s contribution to the trust falls well short of its total assets, what they estimate above $1 billion, as does the per-person payout when compared to past similar settlements …

“While ‘at first blush’ the new proposal seems like a lot of money, it ‘falls so far short’ when compared to settlements in other dioceses, Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the creditors, said at a press conference Tuesday (Nov. 15) afternoon outside the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.

“‘This is a sham. It is deficient, and it’s misleading, and so we really have to call it out for what it is,’ he said.”

By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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USCCB and Pope Francis are singing from different hymnals / National Catholic Reporter

Watching the USCCB meeting this week was frustrating. The conference seems stuck. At a time when the country desperately needs a strong moral voice, the united voice of the bishops is sidelined, fretting about things that don’t matter and tepidly addressing the things that do. And, it was apparent to all that the concerns of Pope Francis are far from the concerns of the USCCB …

“In his update to the body on the work of the ad hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, Archbishop William Lori said they were making a difference. Are they …

“I heard almost no mention of the environment or Laudato Si’ at the USCCB meeting. Think about that for a minute …

“There was frequent mention of the charitable work of the church. But, there were no bishops heading to the microphones to denounce the ‘economy that kills’ …

“There was also a lack of discussion, at least in public session, about Amoris Laetitia …

“And, of course, the biggest immediate issue the bishops face is the prospect of mass deportations of many of our Catholic parishioners …

“… Sadly, I fear the country is about to be morally vandalized, indeed that process has already begun. There is a parable in the Gospel about the need for the night watchman to be vigilant. It is a parable the bishops should take to heart.”

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.

 

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U.S. Catholic bishops elect Texas cardinal to top post / Associated Press

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops elected a Texas cardinal Tuesday as their new president, choosing him to guide their relationship with the new Trump administration and represent them to the Vatican.

“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, had served three years as vice president and succeeds Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who is completing his three-year term.

“Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected vice president, the first Latino to serve in the post, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, an analyst with the National Catholic Reporter newspaper. The vice president customarily is elevated to president, putting Gomez in line to become the first Latino leader of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. About 4 in 10 U.S. Catholics are Latino and they already comprise a majority in several dioceses, including Gomez’ own archdiocese, which is about 70 percent Latino.”

By Rachel Zoll, Associated Press — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Four cardinals openly challenge Francis over ‘Amoris Laetitia’ / National Catholic Reporter

Four semi-retired cardinals have publicly questioned Pope Francis’ most recent teachings on family life, issuing an open letter to the pontiff with five yes or no questions about how he understands church teaching following the publication of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetita.

“While the cardinals say they are writing the note in ‘an act of justice and charity’ to allow the pope to ‘dispel all ambiguity’ about his exhortation, they take a defiant tone and pit Francis’ document against others written by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

“Publication of such an open challenge to a Catholic pontiff from some of his cardinals, who normally act as the pope’s staunchest defenders, is exceedingly rare.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Priests ask American bishops to discuss, act on four issues / Association of U.S. Catholic Priests

The largest association of U.S. Catholic priests is asking the U.S. bishops who begin their annual fall meeting today (Nov. 14) to discuss four issues confronting the Church and society. They are racism, non-violence, ordination of women deacons and the ordination of married men to the priesthood.

The priests’ request was made in the form of a letter, dated October 25, to each of the bishops. It was signed by Father Bob (Bernard R.) Bonnot on behalf of the Leadership Team and the one-thousand-plus members of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.

Racism in Church and Society

The AUSCP thanked the bishops for their January 2016 statement that called for confronting the poison of racism, and noted that the priests in their June 2016 assembly had made this effort a goal of the members. “We are committed to find ways to make anti-racism ‘a habit in our Catholic communities,” Bonnot said.

Non-Violence as a Strategy for Church and Society

The priests cited a statement jointly issued by the Vatican Office for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi: “An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Re-Commit to the Centrality of Gospel Non-Violence.” Bonot said, “Our Church remains far from putting [non-violence] forward as our primary response to conflicts.” He said the priests are committed to use their voices to encourage priests, members of the faithful and others “to make non-violence our first response,” and that the priests “urge you to be part of that international effort.”

Ordination of Women as Deacons and Married Men as Priests

The AUSCP began asking the bishops to consider these options in 2013, echoing groups such as FutureChurch and Voice of the Faithful. The AUSCP in 2015 asked the bishops to establish a committee to study the question of ordaining married men to the priesthood, echoing the request of the National Federation of Priests Council in the 1970s. Bonnot noted that Pope Francis has called for fresh consideration of women as deacons.

“AUSCP sees these proposed ordinations as matters of prudence that can help address the pastoral needs of the faithful. By 2019, half of active diocesan priests are able to retire, so the number of priests available to serve full-time will rapidly decline. Many now retired priests are aging out of service. We AUSCP priests, mostly 50 and above, urge you as a bishop, with our bishops collectively, to give us reason to hope that there is relief on the horizon. We are also concerned that this shortage will thrust young priests into crushing responsibilities before they are adequately prepared,” (the letter said).

The letter also asked the bishops to consider taking steps that would enable lay men and women to preach at Mass, noting that “not all priests are gifted in this matter,” and many pastors cannot speak well in the languages of their congregations.

“The national elections will be over when you meet,” Bonnot said, “but the issues confronting our society and Church will remain. Our voices in addressing those issues are important for the faithful and for all citizens.”

For comment or more information
Father Bob Bonnot, AUSCP Leadership Team Chair: auscpbonnot@gmail.com(link sends e-mail), (330) 397-1257
Sister Jackie Doepker, Executive Secretary: office@uscatholicpriests.org(link sends e-mail), (872) 205-5862

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In troubled Newark archdiocese, hoping its new leader is a pastor, not a prince / The New York Times

… But Archbishop (Joseph) Tobin will face other challenges in Newark, where he will succeed Archbishop John J. Myers, the leader of the archdiocese’s 1.5 million Catholics for the past 15 years.

“Archbishop Myers — who in July turned 75, the age at which bishops routinely submit their resignations to the Vatican — has been faulted for the archdiocese’s handling of a case involving a priest convicted of sexual abuse. He has also come under fire for using more than $500,000 of church money to build an addition to his weekend home in Hunterdon County, N.J. — a three-story wing with an exercise pool and an elevator.

“‘It seems to me it is a place that needs some serious healing,’ Christopher M. Bellitto, a professor of history at Kean University in Union, N.J., said of the archdiocese.”

By James Barron, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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