Posts Tagged Joshua McElwee
Australian bishops’ report advocates major changes to church governance / National Catholic Reporter
Revelations of clergy abuse and cover-up, the authors state, showed “the widespread failure of the Church’s authorities to respond with justice and compassion” and “give a particular focus to the need for reform in practices of governance within the Catholic Church.” (National Catholic Reporter)
A new report commissioned by Australia’s bishops and religious orders recommends a series of radical changes to the way the Catholic Church operates across the country, tackling issues as far-ranging as women’s inclusion in decision-making roles and the Vatican’s opaque process for making episcopal appointments.
“The overarching theme for the report — written as part of the local church’s response to a five-year government inquiry into institutional child sexual abuse — is how governance in the church can be more ‘co-responsible,’ or better shared among bishops, clergy and laypeople.
“Revelations of clergy abuse and cover-up, the authors state, showed ‘the widespread failure of the Church’s authorities to respond with justice and compassion’ and ‘give a particular focus to the need for reform in practices of governance within the Catholic Church.’
“The report, which encompasses seven chapters, four indices and a bibliography over its 208 pages, had originally been delivered to the Australian bishops in early May and kept confidential to allow the prelates time to digest its contents.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Women survivors speak of church authority structure facilitating their abuse / National Catholic Reporter
The three harrowing accounts were part of a Nov. 27 testimony-sharing and panel discussion event in Rome, held less than a mile east of the Vatican and meant to raise up women’s voices in the revived discussion of clergy sexual abuse after a spate of revelations globally this year. (Global Sisters Report in National Catholic Reporter)
“Three women survivors of clergy sexual abuse shared deeply personal stories during a Nov. 27 storytelling event, each revealing layers of pain, sadness and hurt exacerbated by the realization that they were trapped within a male-dominated structure that ignored their stories and demanded silence.
“Peruvian Rocio Figueroa Alvear, once the head of the women’s branch of a burgeoning but now disgraced lay religious movement, recounted being forbidden to speak of her abuse by its male second-in-command, and threatened with publishing of false claims against her own conduct should she disobey.
“American Barbara Dorris, long known as a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP, spoke publicly for the first time about her rape by a priest as a 6-year-old girl, and how it continued for years afterward.
“Saying she did ‘everything in my power’ to hide her pain from her devout parents and family, Dorris only came forward as a parent when she recognized warning signs in the behavior of another priest on a playground with children.
“And German Doris Wagner tells of the calamitous fifth year in her mixed-gender religious order, when a male superior came into her room at night and raped her.
“‘Instantly, I knew … that if I spoke about this, the community would blame me and not him,’ she says. ‘And so I kept silent.'”
By Joshua J. McElwee, Global Sisters Report, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
U.S. sister-auditor: Synod shows cultural divide between bishops, laypeople / National Catholic Reporter
The discussions at the ongoing Synod of Bishops have shown a clear difference in mindsets between the prelates considering issues of family life and ordinary Catholics looking to the gathering in hopes for changes in church pastoral practice, one of the non-voting participants in the event has said.
“U.S. Sacred Heart of Mary Sr. Maureen Kelleher — who is taking part in the Oct. 4-25 synod as one of 32 women serving in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members — said there is a clear cultural divide between bishops’ and laypersons’ points of view.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
New family synod document a mixture of welcome, criticism of modern life / National Catholic Reporter
The Vatican document outlining the initial working positions for October’s highly anticipated global meeting of bishops on family life issues offers little to no clear indication of how world prelates have responded to Pope Francis’ call to openly discuss difficult issues facing families, such as divorce and remarriage.
“The document, which many anticipate as a possible barometer for how the bishops’ discussions at the fall event might evolve, instead mainly focuses on restating many positions adopted at the meeting held last year with an occasional emphasis on showing mercy to those facing burdensome situations.
“The document also appears to reiterate some of the culture-war language that has sometimes marked the church’s language in recent decades and reaffirms the church’s moral teaching in several areas, including the prohibition on the use of birth control.
“It also does not seem to offer substantially new options for divorced and remarried people seeking the ability to take Communion in the church.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
News yesterday (Sept. 29) that the Vatican is investigating Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, first reported by Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter, is potentially a prelude to the most significant step Pope Francis may ever take with regard to the church’s child sexual abuse scandals…
“What would be new in the Finn case, if he’s removed or otherwise sanctioned, is that a bishop would be held accountable not for the crime of sexual abuse, but for the cover-up, meaning failure to respond appropriately when someone else under his supervision is accused.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., The Boston Globe associate editor for Catholic news, on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Canonization of Popes Focuses Attention on Decades of Change, Conflict, Record on Abuse / National Catholic Reporter
Wrapping Up Two Decades of Change, Conflict, Francis Saints Two Popes
“And just like that, 56 years of church history — from the unexpected calling of the Second Vatican Council through the sometimes tumultuous and radical response to its modernizing moves for Catholics around the world — were wrapped up in about six minutes.
“That’s how long it took Sunday (Apr. 27) for Pope Francis to formally declare his predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints of the Catholic church, from the first prayers of the formal canonization rite to the formal decree.”
By Joshua McElwee, posted Apr. 27, 2014, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Records Show That John Paul II Could Have Intervened in Abuse Crisis – But Didn’t
“Sitting on a bookshelf in my office is a red leather-bound copy of the Code of Canon Law. This isn’t just any copy of the church’s rulebook. It was signed by Pope John Paul II for me at the request of my former boss, the late Cardinal Pio Laghi. It is dated 6-6-1983 in the late pope’s own hand. I was definitely a fan in those days.
“On Sunday (Apr. 27) after John Paul is promoted to sainthood, it will become a second-class relic. I will not venerate it, nor will I join the cheering crowds.
“The past 30 years have led me to the opinion that his sainthood is a profound insult to the countless victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy the world over. It is an insult to the decent, well-intentioned men and women who were persecuted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his reign, and it is an insult to the memory of Pope John XXIII, who has the misfortune being a canonization classmate.”
By Thomas P. Doyle, posted Apr. 25, 2014, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this column.
Frrancis Convenes First-of-Its-Kind Summit of Religious Institute Treasurers to Talk about the Use of Money / National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis has asked the treasurers of the thousands of Catholic religious orders around the world to meet in Rome this weekend to discuss how they can use their orders’ financial assets ‘for the service of humanity.’
“The first-of-its-kind summit puts an unusual focus on the wealth of the orders.”
“(The event) is to have 15 talks on issues ranging from the use of church property, to financial debts, to economic solidarity …
“Among other presentations listed for the Vatican event:
- ‘Church property and its purpose,’ Jesuit Fr. Yuji Sugawara, dean of the faculty of canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University;
- ‘Charity, justice, and legality. The assets of Institutes and orders,’ Dominican Fr. Miroslav Konštanc Adam, rector of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, commonly known as the Angelicum;
- ‘Relationship between the service of authority and the service of the economy, in the good management of the institute,’ Br. Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, head of the De La Salle Christian Brothers;
- ‘The missionary project and economic choices.’ Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, superior general of the Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice;
- ‘Towards a prophetic, communional economy with solidarity,’ Sr. Evelyne Franc, superior general of the Daughters of Charity.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.
Pope Francis told a group of Dutch bishops this week that the Vatican must continue reforms undertaken by the Catholic church in the 1960s and ’70s, according to one of the participants in the meeting. Bishop Jan Hendricks, who attended the meeting Monday (Dec. 2), later recounted that the pope said implementation of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council is only half complete … The Dutch visit is one of the first for Francis, who has so far received visits only from bishops from several of the regions that make up the Italian episcopal conference.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of McElwee’s interview.
While U.S. bishops consider how best and how broad to collect information ahead of a 2014 global bishops’ meeting on family issues, several lay Catholic groups took the task into their own hands. In mid-November, a coalition of 15 church reform groups (including Voice of the Faithful) — primarily members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal — created an online survey for U.S. Catholics to offer their thoughts on the preparatory document to the 2014 Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the theme of ‘pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelization.’” By Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of Roewe’s report by clicking here.
Additional information on gathering input from the faithful in preparation for past synods can be found in NCR’s Joshua McElwee’s article “Experts: Wide-Range Listening for Synods a Massive Undertaking.” Click here to read the article.
Nearly a week after news that the Vatican has asked for the world’s bishops to distribute among Catholics a questionnaire on issues like contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce “immediately” and “as widely as possible,” there is no consensus on what that direction means.
“Moreover, comparing notes from recent Vatican statements, it is hard to decipher whether the call for consultation is unprecedented or something that’s happened for decades.
“The Vatican’s chief spokesman said in an interview over the weekend that the Vatican’s request for the world’s bishops to survey Catholics on how certain topics affect their lives was part of a habitual “praxis.”
“Yet the official who sent the questionnaire said Tuesday it is part of a wide-ranging project to reform how the Vatican reaches out to bishops and faithful around the world.” By Joshua McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of McElwee’s article by clicking here.