Posts Tagged roman catholics
Pope Francis establishes commission to study women’s diaconate; appoints Voice of the Faithful St. Catherine of Siena Award recipient as member
Pope Francis has established a commission to study ordaining women as deacons in the Catholic Church and has appointed a recipient of Voice of the Faithful’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award as a member. Among the 13 members, six are women, and four of those are lay women.
Voice of the Faithful has long sought women’s equality in the Church and, as part of that initiative, a women’s diaconate. This came closer to reality today (Aug. 2), as the Vatican announced Pope Francis’ “Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate,” particularly to look into the role of women deacons in the early Church.
Appointed to the commission is Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D., senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in New York. She has written widely regarding a women’s diaconate, has spoken often to VOTF audiences and received VOTF’s St. Catherine of Siena Outstanding Layperson award at its 2012 10th Year Conference in Hartford, Connecticut.
When Pope Francis said in May that he would consider such a commission, VOTF reiterated its call for all baptized Catholics, women and men, to have equal access to all positions within the Church and a voice in all decision-making processes.
At that time, Zagano said, “I am delighted that in this time of Pentecost the Spirit has brought the question of women deacons to the Holy Father’s mind, and I hope and pray that I will be able to assist whatever commission he establishes.”
Today, Zagano’s prayer was answered, and VOTF looks forward to the commission’s study and, eventually, a diaconate for women in the Church.
Voice of the Faithful presents its views on women deacons on its website in a paper it commissioned from Carolyn Johnson, Ed.D. Click here to read “Women Deacons: How Long Will It Take the Catholic Church to Open This Door,” and click here to see a bibliography of suggested readings on women in the Church that VOTF compiled for its 10th Year Conference in 2012.
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.
In Rome —
Pope Francis had encouraged bishops from more than 120 countries to speak freely when they gathered at the Vatican nearly three weeks ago for a broad discussion of family matters to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And speak freely, they have.
“The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting …
“‘This is a pivotal moment of this pontificate,’ said Roberto Rusconi, who teaches the history of Christianity at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a state school. Pope Francis is sounding out the world’s bishops ‘to better understand whether they are going to follow his line or not.’”
By Laurie Goodstein and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times
In Australia —
The Church has described its history regarding child abuse in Australia as “shameful, corrosive and complicit” and says it now expects its liability exposure to be potentially $1 billion on top of payments already made.
The CEO of the Truth justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said in a speech in Canberra on Tuesday (Oct. 20) night the Church’s history was ‘littered with examples of cover-ups and crimes and of Church leaders failing in one of the very basic tenets of their calling.’
At Pope Francis’s closed-door meeting in Rome this month, top clergy are intensely debating whether the church should bend more to the messy realities of modern families. On the ground, however, it already has.
“Questions on the agenda at the rare, high-level meeting that ends this weekend include whether those who divorce and remarry outside the church can receive Communion, and whether there is a place in Catholic life for same-sex couples. Changing Catholicism’s stance towards such things could begin to unravel the unity of the world’s largest church, say opponents who see the debate in Rome as directly tied to the future of Catholicism. But in many parts of the world – the West in particular – the church has for years quietly been making changes to engage with Catholic families who are transforming in ways that mirror the rest of the society.”
By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.
As the 2015 Synod of Bishops gets underway, two things seem clear. One is that many prelates seem determined to stay positive as much as possible, playing down their differences and trying to shift the discussion away from controversial matters toward areas of potential common ground.
“The other is that real tensions over issues, as well as the synod process, may make that goal awfully hard to achieve.”
By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The C9 has finalized the proposal it will present to the Pope, who may decide to establish the congregation even before the whole reform plan is complete.
“The work of the C9 group, the council of nine cardinals tasked with studying the reform of the Roman Curia and helping the Pope in the government of the universal Church, concludes today (Sept. 16). After the establishment of the Secretariat for the Economy and the Secretariat for Communications, the next step will be the creation of a new congregation dedicated to the laity, the family and life issues …
“It was suggested on a number of occasions that lay people should be placed at the helm of the new congregation but in February this year, Fr. Lombardi said the top person in charge could not be a lay person. However, the possibility of lay people acting as secretaries or assistant secretaries of the congregation has not been excluded.”
By Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, La Stampa — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Dan Ogrodowski stayed silent into middle age. He expected to go to the grave, he said, without speaking out about the Milwaukee priest who had raped him as a child. But now, embittered by what he calls the Roman Catholic Church’s continued betrayal of abuse survivors, he is publicly describing his childhood torment for the first time, hoping that Pope Francis will prioritize the needs of victims and will hold priests and bishops accountable during his visit to the United States this month.”
By Vivian Yee, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Just days now from Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States, the media is filled with analyses of what his papacy has meant inside and outside the Church.
“Some secular liberals are still gushing. Feminist Catholics and sex abuse survivors? Not so much. Conservatives don’t like his de-emphasizing abortion. Conservative Catholics in Congress won’t welcome blunt talk on climate change or putdowns of unfettered, winner-take-all capitalism. Everyone says his words of openness and mercy have not translated into a single doctrinal change. And they are right.
“But the so called ‘Francis Effect’ lives on for those of us dissenting Catholics who feel welcomed by a pope for the first time in half a century. It’s pathetic, I suppose, that so little – an all-talk, no-action gesture of acceptance — can mean so much. But consider the contrast.”
By Margery Egan, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this column.
Australian bishop testifies on prevalence of child sex abuse in the church / National Catholic Reporter
Dying of cancer, Bishop Emeritus Geoffrey Robinson appeared Aug. 24 before the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to testify to the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the church.
“He painted a sad picture of a brave and lonely Sisyphus with his band of bishops in tow, pushing a boulder with a reasoned response to the crisis up the Vatican Hill, only to have it pushed back by popes and cardinals who had no idea about the issue and a blindness about the incapacity of canon law to deal with it.
“‘However great the faults of the Australian bishops have been over the last 30 years, it still remains true that the major obstacle to a better response from the church has been the Vatican,’ Robinson told the commission. Most of the Roman Curia saw the problem as a ‘moral one: if a priest offends, he should repent; if he repents, he should be forgiven and restored to his position. … They basically saw the sin as a sexual one, and did not show great understanding of the abuse of power involved or the harm done to the victims.'”
By Kieran Tapsell, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
A survivor of sexual abuse perpetrated by a Catholic priest hesitates to report his abuse, thinking that he will not be believed. Another survivor knows that she was not the cleric’s only victim but worries that she will be the only person to report his behavior. And many Catholics complain that their church has allowed the media and survivors’ organizations to control, and even manipulate, information in order to make all clergy seem suspect and all bishops seem insensitive.
“Would full disclosure of the names of clergy offenders help these survivors and the countless other men and women who have still not reported their abuse to come forward? Would such disclosures provide comfort to those survivors who were not believed by church officials when they reported these incidents years ago?
“For the past decade, arguments have been made for and against mandated disclosures, and there have been disclosures made and disclosures withheld. Nonetheless, the debate continues.”
By Kathleen McChesney, America — Click here to read the rest of this commentary. McChesney is a former executive director of the the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and former F.B.I. executive.
Europe’s fractious Catholics set out their views in synod questionnaire / National Catholic Reporter
Like their counterparts around the world, Europe’s bishops’ conferences are supposed to have been engaged in a listening process for next October’s Synod of Bishops on the family.
“And while little has been divulged officially so far about the views collected from Catholic respondents, it’s been possible to glean some measure of the strong feelings being expressed.
“When the Vatican sent out the final report of the synod’s October 2014 Extraordinary Assembly, it asked bishops to conduct an ‘in-depth examination’ and seek out ‘practical solutions’ to the ‘innumerable challenges’ identified at the synod sessions.
“It circulated 46 questions, as part of the lineamenta, or preparatory documents, about family ministry and how the church could best tackle issues such as homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, contraception, and cohabitation …
“Europe’s fractious and divided church looks set to play a key role when the synod convenes in October.”
By Jonathan Luxmoore, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.