Posts Tagged Religion News Service
Clergy shortage grows to more than 14k Catholics for every priest, Vatican data shows / Religion News Service
The reasons for the steady hemorrhage of Catholic clergy worldwide are varied, from secularization to the church’s ongoing sexual and financial scandals. And the COVID-19 pandemic has brought its own challenges. (Religion News Service)
“Catholic missions are struggling amid dwindling vocations and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by the Vatican ahead of the World Mission Day this Sunday (Oct. 18).
“The number of priests and ordained leaders has dropped significantly, especially in Europe and America, according to the report issued on Friday (Oct. 16) by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, charged with distributing clergy and coordinating missions around the world.
“The total number of priests in the world decreased to 414,065 in 2018, with Europe registering a drop of 2,675 priests compared to 2017. The report also reveals a slight decrease in the number of Catholic faithful in America, Europe and Oceania. Meanwhile, Africa and Asia continue to show signs of growth, according to the data.
“‘We mustn’t be afraid! Mission goes on thanks to the power of the Holy Spirit,’ said Archbishop Protase Rugambwa, the secretary of the evangelizing congregation, during a press conference at the Vatican on Friday.
“However, the diminishing number of clergy coincides with an increase in the global population, putting pressure on priests who must minister to larger numbers of people. As of December 2018, the report shows, there are 1,328,993,000 Catholics in the world.”
By Claire Giangrave, Religion News Service — Read more …
This is not an easy task, but it is made more difficult by many bishops who prefer the status quo. I fear we will not see much change in seminaries until Francis has time to appoint more new bishops. It could take another five years before we see real reform of diocesan seminaries. (Religion News Service)
No one has a greater impact on a Catholic parish than its pastor, which is why diocesan seminaries are key to the future of the church in America. Diocesan seminaries evaluate and then form those men who want to be parish priests. Sadly, in recent decades, too many of the priests coming out of these seminaries have been trained to be authoritarians with few pastoral skills.
“Some of them come to seminary with an authoritarian mindset, but faculty at today’s seminaries often do little to change that. Some faculty members even foster it, teaching their students that they have all the answers and that their job is to kick the laity into shape. In these cases, seminarians are not taught to listen, to delegate, to work with committees or to empower the laity, especially women.
“This is not true of all seminaries and seminarians. Chicago’s Mundelein Seminary has improved under the leadership of Cardinal Blase Cupich. Some are mixed bags. Others are disaster areas.
“In the worst programs, students are told not to ask questions but to consult ‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church,’ the book-length presentation of the teachings of the church prepared under the papacy of John Paul II. The documents of the Second Vatican Council are either downplayed or interpreted through a conservative lens. In too many places by too many faculty, moral theology is presented in a legalistic framework in which everything is black or white.”
By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service — Read more …
Facing scandal and division, U.S. Catholic bishops to hold unprecedented retreat / National Catholic Reporter
“What’s important is that we let the differences be expressed, for one thing, but also that we are willing to learn from each other, realizing that not any of us has the total answer,” he (Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago) said. “We do need to find a pathway together.” (National Catholic Reporter)
The Catholic bishops of the U.S. announced Oct. 23 that at the behest of Pope Francis they will meet for a weeklong retreat in Chicago in January.
“The unprecedented move reflects the depth of the crisis they are facing with the sexual abuse scandal and the long-standing divisions within their ranks over the broader direction of American Catholicism.
“The pope is even sending an elderly and revered Franciscan priest, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title of Preacher of the Papal Household, to lead the retreat — just as he does each year at Lent for the pontiff and the Roman Curia.
“Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement thanking Francis for sending Cantalamessa, who is 84 and rarely travels abroad, ‘to serve as the retreat director as we come together to pray on the intense matters before us.'”
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
In this sense, we should be happy to see more bad headlines because it means more bad actors are being caught. (National Catholic Reporter)
In the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals, what seems like bad news for the church — seemingly daily headlines about clergy being disciplined — is actually good news.
“The truly bad news of the scandal, of course, has been the horrible abuse of children, which will have negative effects on them for the rest of their lives. The good news is that perpetrators have been caught and exposed. Accusations are being investigated and the guilty are being punished. When the abuse scandal was first uncovered in the United States some 30 years ago, bishops in other countries denied they had a problem. What is clearly a worldwide problem is now getting attention at the highest level in the church, thanks to Pope Francis.
“In this sense, we should be happy to see more bad headlines because it means more bad actors are being caught.
“Some of the cases that have received media attention in recent months include …”
By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“The documents include letters showing church leaders knew of sexual abuse allegations that had been leveled against three priests from the 1960s through the 1980s.” (Associated Press on ReligionNews.com)
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has released hundreds of pages of court records related to sexual abuse allegations against clergy members in response to an order from a New Mexico judge, marking the largest disclosure of such records since alleged victims began suing the archdiocese nearly three decades ago …
“The documents include letters showing church leaders knew of sexual abuse allegations that had been leveled against three priests from the 1960s through the 1980s.”
By Associated Press on ReligionNews.com — Read more …
“But (Robert) Mickens said Francis has never made the church’s sexual abuse crisis a priority of his administration.” (Religion News Service)
As the Vatican reeled from news that one of its top officials was taking a leave to fight historical sex abuse charges in Australia, the spotlight quickly turned to Pope Francis, with his critics slamming him for failing to do enough to tackle the vexing issue.
“Cardinal George Pell, the most senior figure in church history to face child sex abuse charges, is the Vatican’s financial czar and a trusted adviser to the pope.
“Pell, 76, is facing ‘multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences,’ said police in the Australian state of Victoria.”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Read more …
“On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a “definitive ruling” that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.” (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope Francis has defrocked an Italian priest who was found guilty of child sex abuse, three years after overturning predecessor Benedict XVI’s decision to do the same after allegations against the priest first came to light.
“Mauro Inzoli, 67, was initially defrocked in 2012 after he was first accused of abusing minors, but Francis reversed that decision in 2014, ordering the priest to stay away from children and retire to ‘a life of prayer and humble discretion.’
“On June 28, the priest’s diocese of Crema in northern Italy released a statement saying the pope had made a ‘definitive ruling’ that Inzoli, also known as Don Mauro, should be dismissed from clerical duties.
“Bishop Daniele Gianotti of Crema said the Vatican body responsible for church doctrine informed him of the pope’s decision, which Gianotti described as “the worst punishment” to be imposed on a priest.”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
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.'”
Pope Francis on Sunday (Oct. 9) named 17 new cardinals, including three Americans, adding prelates from developing countries to give them a greater voice in selecting the next pope. Francis’ American appointments elevate moderates in the church hierarchy, bypassing doctrinal conservatives from large archdioceses.
“The three Americans, the most Francis named from any one country, are Archbishops Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis and a former Dallas bishop, Kevin Farrell, whom Francis recently reassigned to the Vatican to lead a new department for family, laity and life. Francis had skipped over the United States in two previous rounds of appointments.
“The pope announced the new cardinals from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of a special Mass on Sunday, saying their diversity represents ‘the universality of the church’ and ‘the mercy of God in every corner of the world.’ He said he will elevate the cardinals on Nov. 19.”
The only abuse survivor currently serving on a panel set up by Pope Francis to fight clerical sexual abuse says the Catholic Church is making good progress and welcomed changes initiated by the Vatican and the pontiff.
Marie Collins, who was raped at age 13 by a hospital chaplain in Ireland, is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.
“‘I have complained about slowness and frustration in the past,’ Collins told RNS this week. ‘From my point of view as a survivor, I would like everything to happen tomorrow.’
But, she continued, ‘We have had some really positive moves.'”
By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.