Posts Tagged national catholic reporter
Pope Francis faces chance to radically reshape U.S. Catholic hierarchy / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Future of the Church, Pope Francis, Voice of the Faithful on March 20, 2023
Thirteen American archdioceses and 21 dioceses could need new bishops by 2025.National Catholic Reporter
“If Pope Francis continues to serve as bishop of Rome for another two years, he may have a notable opportunity to refashion the U.S. Catholic hierarchy. Dozens of bishops, several in historically significant archdioceses, will be required by canon law to submit resignation letters upon turning 75.
“At least 13 archdioceses and 21 dioceses could have new episcopal appointments by February 2025. In addition, two dioceses — Fairbanks, Alaska, and Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana — are operating without bishops. The number of episcopal openings could increase because of deaths or resignations.
“If he names new bishops to all those local churches, Francis will have appointed 64 percent of the U.S. episcopate since becoming pope in March 2013. Forty-six percent of current U.S. bishops are Francis appointees, said Catherine Hoegeman, a Missouri State University sociology professor who tracks U.S. episcopal appointments.
“‘Over the next two years, it looks like Francis is going from [having appointed] a little less than half of active bishops to a little less than two-thirds. I think that’s a notable shift,’ said Hoegeman. Since 1969, she said, popes have made an average of 15 episcopal appointments every year in the United States.
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Bishops, theologians talk frankly about synodality at Boston College conference / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Future of the Church, Synod of Bishops, Synod on Synodality, Voice of the Faithful on March 8, 2023
‘It’s not enough simply to maintain and adapt what has existed until now; it is necessary to creat something new,’ Rafael LucianiNational Catholic Reporter
“For the second consecutive year, dozens of theologians and bishops from across the United States gathered together to discuss how the Catholic Church can better live out the synodal path that Pope Francis has said is what ‘God expects of the church of the third millennium.’ The conference, ‘The Way Forward: Pope Francis, Vatican II, and Synodality,’ was held March 3-4 at Boston College.
“Several bishops over the event’s two days were forthright in describing their thoughts and experiences during the local consultative process of the 2021-23 Synod of Bishops on synodality, noting challenges during the process and some resistance to the synod. (The bishops spoke in conversations that were under the ‘Chatham House Rule,’ meaning that journalists covering the event were free to report on the discussions but not identify who made any particular comment. The rule is intended to encourage open and frank discussion.)
“One bishop said he felt a tension between listening to people’s unvarnished thoughts about the church and his understanding of his role to be a ‘conservator’ or defender of Catholic doctrine.
“Another bishop commented that better catechesis must be a part of the synodal process moving forward because most participants in his diocese saw the Catholic Church more as an institution than a spiritual communion.”
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Read also, “Boston College conference didn’t just discuss synodality. Bishops and theologians modeled it,” by Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
New archive of Santa Fe clergy abuse documents hailed as unprecedented / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Catholic Church Finances, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on February 22, 2023
The archive agreement states that the archive will include documents ‘including but not limited to’ clergy personnel files, other perpetrator personnel files, victim files, investigative files, investigative transcripts, depositions, clergy risk assessments, minutes of Personnel Board and Permanent Review Board meetings, assignment records, seminary records, statements given to investigators or law enforcement, and under oath proof of claim forms from the Chapter 11 case.By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, National Catholic Reporter
“An unprecedented public archive of clergy sexual abuse documents is being established at the University of New Mexico thanks to a collaborative agreement between abuse survivors and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
“The archive, documenting one of the U.S. Catholic Church’s epicenters of sexual abuse and coverup, is the result of a commitment Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester made to the creditors’ committee that represented clergy sex abuse claimants in the archdiocese’s concluding Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
“The archdiocese, five participating religious orders and their insurers are funding the $121.5 million settlement trust, finalized in December 2022. In addition, the religious orders will contribute more than $7.7 million for specific claims against their members.
“Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall, along with law partner Levi Monagle and co-counsel Lisa Ford, represented 145 abuse survivors in the bankruptcy — more than one-third of the 395 claimants. Hall told NCR he hopes Santa Fe’s abuse document archive will become a template for current and future Chapter 11 cases involving sexual abuse.”
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Partners in mission: Dicastery promotes ‘co-responsibility’ of clergy, laity / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in church reform, Clergy, Clericalism, laity, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on February 21, 2023
‘The laypeople are not there at our service,’ (Quebec Cardinal Gerald) Lacroix said. ‘We are together at the service of the mission of the church.’By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
For too many Catholics, ordained or lay, the responsibilities of the laity are those “delegated” by the priest or bishop.
“As the continental assemblies for the Synod of Bishops make clear that hot-button issues — like sexuality, climate change and the role of women in the church — are not going away, the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life is pointing at a more fundamental issue at stake in learning to be a “synodal church”: What responsibility comes from baptism and unites all Catholics?
“And, related to the synod’s goal of promoting a church where people listen to one another and work together to share the Gospel and care for the poor, the dicastery is asking: How do clergy and laity walk and work side by side?
“The dicastery is exploring those questions Feb. 16-18 at a conference titled, ‘Pastors and lay faithful called to walk together.’ The meeting, in the Vatican Synod Hall, has an enrollment of 210 participants from 74 countries: 107 laypeople, 36 priests and 67 bishops.”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Hierarchy’s sacramental betrayal in abuse scandal obstructs synodality / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Future of the Church, Synod on Synodality, Voice of the Faithful on January 17, 2023
Members of the hierarchy appear not to realize the depth to which the effects of the scandal have seeped into every level of the institution. If they did, they would be acting far differently.Tom Roberts, National Catholic Reporter
“It was in late spring, 1985, when I received a call from NCR’s then-editor Tom Fox. I think he said he hoped I was sitting down.
“Fox and I often exchanged calls when we thought that one of our publications had something of interest for the other. At the time, I was news editor of what was then called Religious News Service, headquartered on a floor in the former Jesuit residence at 56th Street and Sixth Avenue in New York.
“I was sitting at my desk when he told me that NCR’s next edition would contain an extensive and rather explosive report detailing the abuse of children by Catholic priests and the failure of hierarchy to do anything about it.
“That conversation was a jarring introduction to corruption and evil that continue to reverberate to this day. That first national story to be published about the scandal was extensive, detailed, and the accompanying editors’ commentary saw far into the future.
“What I eventually came to understand about the scandal affected not only my career (I landed at NCR in 1994) and how I would spend my time in the world of religion reporting. It would also ultimately place in question much of what I knew and understood about the church.”
What transpired regarding the scandal in the more than 35 years since that phone conversation continues to be the dominant lens through which I view developments in the church, including the synodal process underway. I agree with theologian Massimo Faggioli and Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, who wrote recently in this space: “‘It must be understood that the chances of the synodal process that will soon begin its continental phase are closely tied to what the Catholic Church is doing and not doing on the abuse crisis. It’s about the abuse crisis even when it’s not explicitly about the abuse crisis.'”
By Tom Robert, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Study of moral injury measures ‘added weight’ of clergy sexual abuse and its concealment / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Broken Vessels, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on December 12, 2022
The Xavier team’s instrument is the first to measure moral injury in survivors of clergy sexual abuse and, according to (principal investigator Marcus) Mescher, is more comprehensive than previous methods used to assess moral injury in civilians.Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter
“A research team from Xavier University in Cincinnati has created a tool that measures the ‘moral injury’ caused by clergy sexual abuse and its concealment by officials in the Catholic Church.
“In a report on the pilot study, released Dec. 12, moral injury is described as persistent psychological and emotional distress, spiritual anguish, moral confusion, social isolation, and distrust for institutions. It results from a betrayal of trust or violation of deeply held moral values.
“‘When the perpetrator of sexual abuse is a priest — someone ordained in persona Christi — and represents the holy, the sacred or the entire church or even God, the trauma of abuse takes on an added weight,’ said Marcus Mescher, a principal investigator for the study and professor of Christian ethics at Jesuit-run Xavier. ‘I thought the concept of moral injury would be a helpful hermeneutical lens for understanding the many ripple effects of harm caused by clergy sexual abuse.’
“Moral injury is a concept primarily applied to veterans traumatized by combat, though recently it’s been explored in high-stress professions such as law enforcement, health care, child protective services and education, according to the report.”
By Katie Collins Scott, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
The abuse crisis should be the center of the pope’s ongoing synodal process / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Voice of the Faithful on November 15, 2022
It has become evident that it is no longer an option to ignore, dismiss, belittle, or remain bystanders with regard to cases of abuse, especially in the church. Abuse of any type — sexual, spiritual, abuse of power and/or authority — blatantly contradicts the fundamental dignity of every human being.Massimo Faggioli and Hans Zollner, S.J., National Catholic Reporter
“As American Jesuit historian Fr. John O’Malley wrote in one of his last articles published in America magazine last February, the history of synodality is older than you think. There are different phases in the history of the synodal institution and way to govern the church: from the very early church to the medieval times to early modern Catholicism. The current phase is part of what Vatican II had in mind for church reform: a mix of aggiornamento (or updating in light of new issues) and of ressourcement (taking a fresh look at the ancient sources of the Christian tradition).
“At the same time, the current synodal process initiated by Pope Francis’ pontificate cannot be understood outside of the epoch-changing abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, one of the “signs of the times” the pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II talks about: ‘the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel.’ The fact is that now it is no longer the church scrutinizing the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel. It is also the signs of the times — beginning with the voices of victims and survivors of abuse — scrutinizing the church in the light of the Gospel.
“It has become evident that it is no longer an option to ignore, dismiss, belittle, or remain bystanders with regard to cases of abuse, especially in the church. Abuse of any type — sexual, spiritual, abuse of power and/or authority — blatantly contradicts the fundamental dignity of every human being. This recognition of the terror of abuse is part of a long-term process of knowing and understanding at a sociocultural and political level (public opinion, legislation, the justice system), but also at the communal level as Catholic community (which is much larger than just the number of those who after baptism participate sacramentally in the life of the church).”
By Massimo Faggioli and Hans Zollner, S.J., National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Cardinal McElroy’s elevation has ‘enormous significance’ for U.S. church / National Catholic Reporter
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, Future of the Church, Voice of the Faithful on August 31, 2022
The Catholics whose hearts have been warmed and encouraged by (Cardinal Robert) McElroy’s leadership for many years were among those ‘ecstatic’ at the appointment.Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
“As you can imagine, I am not often speechless. But when I finally reached the end of the receiving line at the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See’s residence to greet Cardinal Robert McElroy on Aug. 26, I couldn’t find the words. It has been three months since the news of his elevation to the cardinalate arrived — three months for it to sink in — and I was still not sure what to say.
“Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, knew what to say. ‘Ecstatic’ was how he described what so many Catholics were feeling at this moment. Wester spoke at a dinner for McElroy’s family and friends after the Mass of thanksgiving on Aug. 28. In discussions with pilgrims from San Diego, friends of McElroy’s from San Francisco or from college and seminary, and his brother bishops, ‘ecstatic’ was the exact word.
“For progressive Catholics, McElroy has been one of a handful of bishops who would go the extra mile, make statements of support for gay Catholics, push back against conservative efforts to hijack church teaching for political ends and participate in conferences on climate change. The Catholics whose hearts have been warmed and encouraged by McElroy’s leadership for many years were among those ‘ecstatic’ at the appointment.
“For Catholic intellectual leaders, ‘ecstatic’ was the right word too. ‘It is something of a truism that theologians and bishops live in different bubbles,’ Jesuit Fr. Mark Massa, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, told me. ‘The person who was best able to burst those bubbles was John Courtney Murray. Well before Vatican II, Murray saw the complexities and the promise of being a faithful Catholic in America. Most intellectuals I talk to, are delighted that McElroy is now a cardinal because he did serious intellectual work on Murray at the beginning of his ecclesiastical career.'”
By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Effort to educate Catholic priests on what to do when accused of abuse draws criticism
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Clergy Sexual Abuse, Priests, Voice of the Faithful on July 11, 2022
“I understand the anguish of priests who are wrongly accused and yanked out of a parish without any explanation. But for all of that anguish that they experience, it is minor compared with the pain, the loss and the betrayal experienced by survivors, their families and their parish communities,” said Donna Doucette, executive director of the reform group Voice of the Faithful, which was founded in Boston after the 2002 reporting on abuse and cover-up in that archdiocese.Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter
“A new initiative by a group representing U.S. Catholic priests to inform clerics of their canonical rights when they are accused of misconduct, including sexual abuse, is attracting criticism from survivor advocates, who say it could help cast accused priests in an overly sympathetic light.
“But the clergy behind the effort by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, or AUSCP, argue it is necessary. Over the last 20 years, they say, diocesan leaders have failed to respect priests’ rights under canon law — in some cases allowing accused clerics to languish in administrative “limbo” for several years while civil and church authorities investigate allegations made against them.
“‘And in so many cases it’s virtually impossible to prove their innocence, because it’s pretty hard to prove a negative,’ Fr. Mike Sullivan, a parish priest in Minnesota who is a canon lawyer and a member of the association’s Mutual Support Working Group, told NCR.
“That working group, after nearly two years of consulting with bishops, canonists and priests, has crafted a document that delineates clergy members’ rights under the Code of Canon Law when accused of wrongdoing, including sexual abuse.”
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Francis’ clergy abuse law, ‘Vos Estis’ isn’t working. Here’s how to fix it.
Posted by Voice of the Faithful in Catholic Bishops, church reform, Clergy Sexual Abuse, Pope Francis, Vatican, Voice of the Faithful on May 25, 2022
Our assessment so far of Vos Estis, based on the cases we’ve tracked in Poland, the United States, and elsewhere: Too few bishops have been found guilty, they’ve been punished too lightly, and next to no information about their misdeeds has been disclosed.By Anne Barrett Doyle, National Catholic Reporter
“Three years ago, as the Catholic Church faced an unprecedented reckoning with clergy sexual abuse, Pope Francis introduced a church law that promised to hold bishops and religious superiors accountable for abuse that they commit or cover up.
“Entitled Vos Estis Lux Mundi (‘You Are the Light of the World’), the law was touted by papal spokesmen as a turning point in the fight to end child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
“It’s ‘revolutionary,’ said Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich.
“‘The silence, omertà and cover-ups can now become a thing of the past,’ said Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the pope’s trusted abuse investigator.
Vos Estis, a motu proprio that was signed on May 9, 2019, was originally enacted for a three-year trial period that ends this June 1. As we wait to see if Francis will now make the law permanent, it is a good time to assess what will likely be this pope’s most significant response to the Catholic abuse crisis.
So far, the Vatican has released no information about the number or names of bishops investigated under Vos Estis. BishopAccountability.org has been able to identify 28 cases where it has been used to process allegations of cover-up or abuse by bishops. We hope it is being used more widely than this — there are 5,600 living Catholic bishops! — but we can’t be sure.
By Anne Barrett Doyle, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …