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Apr 20 15 4:12 AM
Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious
TURIN, Italy (AP) -- Turin's archbishop says interest in the Shroud of Turin is so keen that many pilgrims who already saw the burial cloth some believe covered Jesus are returning to see the linen again when it goes back on display starting Sunday.
The 4.3-meter-long (14-foot) cloth will be displayed April 19-June 24. Pope Francis will view it on June 21 on an overnight trip to the Turin area, which will include private time with relatives.
Public viewings of the cloth were last held in 2010.
"Many pilgrims who had already seen the shroud in past showings come back, even though some saw it just five years ago," Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia said on Saturday.
"That's not a long time. And yet many of the bookings we have are people who have already seen the shroud. That means there is a fundamental need in people's hearts to renew this incredible experience that they had the first time they saw it," the prelate told reporters.
Reservations are mandatory but free of charge to see the shroud, displayed in a climate-controlled case, in Turin's cathedral. Turin's mayor said recently that more that 1 million people had made reservations. In 2010, some 2.5 million people came, according to organizers of the display.
The pope's predecessor, Benedict XVI, has described the cloth as an icon "written with the blood" of a crucified man. Benedict said there was "full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus."
When Pope John Paul II saw the shroud in 1998, he said the mystery forces questions about faith and sciences and whether it really was Jesus' burial linen. He urged continuous study.
Skeptics say the linen bearing the figure of a crucified man is a medieval forgery.
Nosiglia said people of all faiths will come to see the shroud, not just Christians. `'Even non-believers will come. It's an occasion that brings everybody together and aims to give a precise response to the violence in this world. It tells us that the way to build a fairer world is not violence, but love," he said.
Between science and faith, a mystery that is still the subject of dispute
Discovering the Holy Shroud on its journey from Chambéry to Turin
What is the Shroud?
It is a linen cloth that is 442 cm long and 113 cm wide and kept in the northern Italian city of Turin. On the light yellow ochre cloth there are visible imprints of an image - front and back – of a human figure. There are also numerous other marks caused by wear and tear.
When did people first come to know about the Shroud?
Around 1350. People came to know about the Shroud in 1353 when it entered into the possession of French nobleman Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey. In 1453 the Shroud was given to Louis I, second Duke of Savoy, who kept it in Chambéry.
Which Pope approved it as a public cult?
Julius II in 1506: he set the feast day for May 4th.
What do the marks imprinted on the cloth show?
A man who was beaten and whipped, his head crowned with thorns, with nails and a lance driven into him. The face is black-and-blue but poised in the solemnity of death. A crucified person whose burial sheet was preserved through the centuries in such a way as to present this image which bears similarities to the Passion and Jesus of Nazareth’s death.
How is the man on the Shroud presented to us?
The imprints are darker in areas marking the position of protruding parts of the body and lighter in the other areas. The light distribution in the image is therefore the opposite to what one would perceive in reality. The imprint behaves like a photograph negative, light and dark areas are inverted, hence the man on the Shroud is presented as he really was, the way he would appear to us if we were facing him.
What process was used to date the Shroud?
It was dated using radiocarbon dating in 1988. The results obtained in the laboratories of Oxford, Tucson and Zurich have dated the Shroud between 1260 and 1390.
So everyone agrees that this is not the cloth Jesus’ body was wrapped in?
These results are still the subject of debate among scholars due to the question of the reliability of radiocarbon dating. Recent studies in the US and Russia have opened scientific discussion further, presenting potential evidence to show that biological and chemical pollution are able to significantly alter the radiocarbon age of a fabric.
What does pollen have to do with the Shroud?
In 1973 and 1978 Swiss criminologist Max Frey collected samples of biological material from the Shroud. Frey’s study focused on identifying pollens because by identifying the type of pollen would tell us which plant it came from and hence the geographical area it originates from. Frey claims to have identified 57 pollens which apparently show that the sheet has spent time in the East. There are apparently pollens from Palestine, Turkey, France and Italy. Evidently pollen can only point out a geographical itinerary not a historical one; however, since there was knowledge of the Shroud from the mid-1300s on and there is no record of any journeys being made to the East, if the Shroud is found to have traces of Eastern pollen, this could call into question certain aspects of its history.
What are the two black lines on the sheet?
These are the parts of the sheet that were burnt in a blaze that broke out in 1532, in the Holy Chapel in Chambéry, where the Shroud was housed at the time. Back then the cloth lay folded in a silver box. The two black lines formed as a result of the sheet’s contact with the overheated box. During the fire, a drop of melted metal fell onto the sheet, burning the fabric all the way through. This explains the symetric recurrence of numerous triangle-shaped holes all along the black lines.
Did someone repair this damage?
Yes, in 1534 the Clarisse nuns of Chambéry covered them over with patches. To reinforce the overall structure of the sheet, they sewed the Shroud and the patches onto a linen cloth, called the “Holland cloth”. For coservation reasons the patches were removed in 2002 and the “Holland cloth” was replaced with a new supporting cloth that is distinguishable under the burnt parts of the Shroud.
What happened in Turin in 1997?
In the night between 11 and 12 April, a fire started in the Chapel of the Shroud between Turin Cathedral and the Royal Palace. The Shroud was not directly affected because on 24 February 1993 it had been temporarily moved to the the Cathedral choir. That night, although the Shroud had not been affected by the blaze, it was removed in order to avoid the risk posed by the potential collapse of the Chapel dome as well as potential damage from the water used by the fire brigade to extinguish the fire.
Who owns the Shroud? And who looks after it?
Following the death of the last king of Italy, Umberto II of Savoy on 18 March 1983, ownership of the Shroud passed to the Holy See after the king left it to the Pope in his will. John Paul II decided that the Custodian of the Shroud on behalf of the Pope is always the Archbishop of Turin, currently Mgr. Cesare Nosiglia.
What is the Ostension of the Shroud?
It is the exposition, be it public or private, of the sheet.
Since when has the Shroud been in Turin?
Since 1578. It was brought here in order to give the Archbishop of Milan, Carlo Borromeo the chance to venerate it without having to travel all the way to Chambéry. Other than as a favour to Carlo Borromeo, there was also a political reason behind the decision to bring the Shroud to Turin: the House of Savoy was transferring its administrative centre to Turin. Emanuele Filiberto had the Shroud transferred on 14 September: the first Ostension was held upon entry to the city.
Apr 20 15 6:07 AM
Germany, defying Turkey, to call 1915 Armenian massacre 'genocide'
The German government backed away on Monday from a steadfast refusal to use the term "genocide" to describe the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces 100 years ago after rebellious members of parliament forced its hand.
In a major reversal in Turkey's top trading partner in the European Union and home to millions of Turks, Germany joins other nations and institutions including France, the European parliament and Pope Francis in using the term condemned by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the government would support a resolution in parliament on Friday declaring it an example of genocide.
Germany had long resisted using the term "genocide" even though France and other nations have. But the coalition government came under pressure from parliamentary deputies in their own ranks planning to use the word in a resolution.
"The government backs the draft resolution...in which the fate of the Armenians during World War One serves as an example of the history of mass murders, ethnic cleansings, expulsions and, yes, the genocides during the 20th century," Seibert said.
Turkey denies that the killings, at a time when Turkish troops were fighting Russian forces, constituted genocide. It says there was no organised campaign to wipe out Armenians and no evidence of any such orders from the Ottoman authorities.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had rejected using the word genocide in an ARD TV interview on Sunday, denying any suggestion it was being avoided to avoid upsetting Turkey.
"Responsibility can't be reduced to a single term," he said.
Members of parliament in the conservative Christian Democrats and their Social Democrat (SPD) allies forced the change.
Analysts said that the reluctance until now from Germany, a country that works hard to come to terms with the Holocaust it was responsible for, was due to fears of upsetting Turkey and the 3.5 million Germans of Turkish origin or Turkish nationals living in Germany.
The German government also did not want to use the word due to concerns the Herero massacres committed in 1904 and 1905 by German troops in what is now Namibia could also be called genocide - leading to reparation demands.
"It's a striking contradiction by the German government that Germany is denying the genocide of Armenians," said Ayata Bilgin, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University.
"Research has shown that external pressure on countries can have a considerable influence and Germany could play a very important role in this discussion on Turkey."
Apr 20 15 9:52 AM
The Vatican’s special commission on clergy sexual abuse has given Pope Francis a proposal on how to punish bishops who failed to protect minors from sexual abuse by clergy under their oversight. Marie Collins, a member of the panel — formally known as the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors — and herself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, said she couldn’t reveal details of the proposal, but that personally, she believes some bishops must be removed from office. Among those she cited was Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, convicted in 2012 of failing to report suspected child abuse to civil authorities. “I cannot understand how Bishop Finn is still in position, when anyone else with a conviction that he has could not run a Sunday school in a parish. He wouldn’t pass a background check,” she said in an interview with Crux. “I don’t know how anybody like that could be left in charge of a diocese.” Collins said her working group has discussed Finn’s case, as well as that of the newly installed Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid of Osorno, Chile, who is tied to one of that country’s most notorious abusers. “I would say that anybody being appointed a bishop should first, as part of his investigation for his appointment, it should be ascertained that he has a good understanding of child protection before he’s put in place,” she said. She said she didn’t know when Francis would act on the commission’s proposal. “It’s gone to the Holy Father and it’s up to him when he makes a decision,” she said. “Obviously the commission can’t put any deadlines on the Holy Father, it’s up to him when he decides. But I’d like to see it happen sooner rather than later.” Meanwhile, Collins criticized the Vatican for failing to adequately fund the panel — a failure she says could jeopardize the commission’s work. She said that although the group is making progress — such as including a section on abuse prevention in a course for all new bishops — the current model of temporary funding was untenable. “I personally find that inexplicable because I think that with the Church saying this issue is of the highest priority, this commission should have been properly funded from the beginning,” she said. The commission has even been told to consider raising their own funds to complete the work. “If the Church is saying that this is its highest priority, then they must be able to fund it and fund it properly,” she said. “If you’re not properly funded, if you’re not properly resourced, then you can’t do the work that you need to do.” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, president of the commission, was unavailable to respond to Collins’ comments. Pope Francis created the task force in December 2013 to study how the Church could better protect children and hold bishops accountable. The fact that few bishops have been punished by the Church or civil authorities for their roles in allegedly covering up abuse has been a sore spot for many Catholics in the United States and around the world. Collins has stated in the past that she would quit the commission if she felt their work wasn’t being taken seriously or was hindered by opposition forces in Rome, but Saturday she nuanced that remark a bit. “No, I’m not going to walk away,” she said. “I will try to contribute as much as I can to the commission.” But, she said, “If the time comes that I feel we’re not achieving anything, or there isn’t sincerity behind it, then I wouldn’t continue. But I’m not threatening to walk out.” One of the hurdles the commission faces, she said, is convincing bishops from Africa and Asia that child sexual abuse is a problem for dioceses there, even if victims haven’t come forward in large numbers like in the United States and Europe. “It’s very difficult then to get proper child protection measures put in place there, because if you think something’s not ever going to happen, you’re not going to put protections in place,” she said. “Just because victims have not come forward does not mean they’re not there. If they feel that they are not going to be believed, if there’s an attitude that this doesn’t happen, then coming forward as a victim is very, very, very difficult,” she said, citing similarities in Ireland just two decades ago. Collins’ remarks came during a visit to the United States Saturday to speak to the national gathering of the Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group launched in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis that rocked the US Church in the early 2000s. During her talk, she recounted her own abuse at the hands of an Irish priest in the 1960s, and the aggressive reaction from the Archdiocese of Dublin when she tried to report it decades later. Collins recoils when people accuse her of colluding with Church leaders on a PR campaign aimed at restoring the Church’s image rather than making substantive changes. She said that although she has agreed to help the Vatican, she still is encountering challenges. “I can see dysfunction, and leadership looking at their own position and power,” she told the group. “I’m working on this commission because I want to see children protected in the future, not because I think the Church and its leaders are doing everything right.” After her talk, she told Crux that she has faith in O’Malley, the commission’s leader, whom she described as “determined.” She said the members of the commission have direct access to O’Malley, one of the pope’s nine cardinal advisers, which is how she and another commission member were able to schedule a last-minute meeting with him in Rome last week. At times, Collins seems overwhelmed by the pressure that many Catholics place on the commission and her personally. During the conference, several individuals asked why progress wasn’t being made faster, why the commission wasn’t more diverse, and why the Church wasn’t doing more. “I wish the commission was an answer to everything, and I hope it is, but we have no guarantee it will be,” she said. “But I also have a healthy sense of reality. I do have a realistic view that we’ve had many promises in the past, and we’ve had many great words in the past, and nothing has happened.” But she does see positive signs. She said all the members of the commission — both lay and ordained — are committed to finding ways to make their changes stick. Back in her native Ireland, she’s encouraged by the Archdiocese of Dublin and its archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, who she said could provide a blueprint for other dioceses in how it deals with accusations of sexual abuse and in providing support for victims. And though she worries about internal resistance and his advanced age, she has great hope that Pope Francis supports change. Which is good, she said, because it’s ultimately up to him. If the commission’s recommendations are “approved by the pope,” she said, “it will make a dramatic difference. It will show people that real change can happen.”
Apr 21 15 1:56 AM
Elio Toaff, Spiritual Leader of Italian Jews, Dies at 99
Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of Rome for half a century, who as a leader of Italian Jewry during its revival after World War II helped forge more amicable relations between Jews and the Vatican, died on Sunday in Rome. He was 99.
The death was reported by numerous news outlets in Europe and Israel. In a radio interview in Rome, the prime minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, called Rabbi Toaff “a great Italian and a symbol of the Jewish community.”
Born on April 30, 1915, in the Tuscan port city of Livorno, Elio Toaff (pronounced TOE-ahf) was the son of the chief rabbi of Livorno, Alfredo Sabato Toaff, who discouraged his son from following him into the rabbinate. He rebelled against that advice, however, studying law and theology and succeeding as a scholar.
By the age of 26 he was leader of the Jewish community in Ancona, a port city on the Adriatic. A fighter in the Italian resistance during World War II, he helped hide Jews after the Germans occupied northern and central Italy in 1943 and began mass deportations to concentration camps.
Rabbi Toaff was at one point captured by the Nazis and sentenced to die by firing squad — he was reportedly forced to dig his own grave — but he managed to escape. After the war he served as chief rabbi of Venice, and he was chosen as spiritual leader of the Jews of Rome in 1951, at a time when the community, perhaps the oldest in Europe, was severely diminished in numbers and vitality.
“The Italian Jewry was devastated and severely traumatized in the wake of the war,” David I. Kertzer, a professor of Italian studies at Brown whose book “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe” was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on Monday, said in an interview. “Not just by the Holocaust. Preceding that, the Italian Fascist regime enacted racial laws, aimed principally at Jews, and unlike the Jews of Germany, the Italian Jews thought of themselves as quintessentially Italian. They had been there for 2,000 years. All this came as a shock, so it was a double blow.
“Rabbi Toaff lived through all this,” Professor Kertzer added. “So even before becoming chief of Rome in ’51, he was a heroic figure, associated with resistance, and with rebuilding.”
By his own reckoning, Rabbi Toaff, who retired in 2002, focused the greatest part of his effort on rebuilding Jewish schools and fortifying Jewish education in Rome. But he is perhaps best known for the invitation he extended to Pope John Paul II to pray with him in Rome’s central synagogue, an act that cemented his international legacy.
The pope accepted, and subsequently made the first recorded papal visit to a synagogue. The event, on April 13, 1986, came more than two decades after the publication of “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Times”), the document produced by the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 that rejected the longstanding belief among many Roman Catholics that the Jews were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, and it was widely seen as a profound step toward the healing of almost two millenniums of enmity between the faiths.
“I see the visit of the pope as the crowning achievement of the church’s policy over the last 20 years,” Rabbi Toaff said shortly before the event in an interview with The New York Times.
Greeted by Rabbi Toaff with an embrace on the steps of the synagogue, John Paul addressed a congregation of 1,000 people, almost all of them Italian Jews, referring to the Jews as “our dearly beloved brothers” and condemning anti-Semitism.
“The heart opens itself,” Rabbi Toaff said, “to the hope that the misfortunes of the past will be replaced by fruitful dialogue.”
In 1994, Rabbi Toaff and Pope John Paul II officiated (along with the president of Italy, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro) a concert at the Vatican commemorating the Holocaust. The performance featured the Royal Philharmonic of London and included works by Schubert, Beethoven and Leonard Bernstein, whose third symphony, known as “Kaddish,” included narration by the actor Richard Dreyfuss.
In his last will and testament, John Paul, who died in 2005, wrote, “How can I fail to remember the rabbi of Rome?”
A list of Rabbi Toaff’s survivors was unavailable; it includes a son, Ariel Toaff, a historian who lives in Israel, and whose controversial 2007 book, “Blood Passover: The Jews of Europe and Ritual Murder,” suggested the possibility of a historical basis for the charge against medieval Jews of blood libel, the idea that Jews murdered Christian children for use in religious rituals. His father was among those who condemned the book.
Apr 21 15 2:13 AM
Does the Successor of Peter need “theological structuring”?
The Bishop of Rome “has everything it takes “to announce” the faith of the Church”. The Roman Curia plays an “instrumental and vicarious” role in relation to the Pope’s ministry. As Pope, the Pope does not belong to any particular theological “School of thought”. Fr. Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole, OP, Professor of dogmatic theology at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), goes over some essential distinctions which the Catholic Church recognises and maintains regarding the relationship between theology, doctrine and magisterium
In a recent interview with La Croix, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, acting as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, mentioned that one of the duties of his office is the mission to “theologically structure” Pope Francis’ pontificate given that the current Successor of Peter is not a theologian by profession. In reference to the considerations expressed by the Prefect of the former Holy Office, Vatican Insider addressed a series of questions to Fr. Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole, OP regarding the tasks of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and what Church Tradition teaches about the relationship between theology, doctrine and magisterium. In his answers, the Dominican professor runs through, in a simple and clear manner, some “fundamental” facts which sometimes seem to be obscured by the endless speculations of numerous individuals throughout the blogosphere who play at being “agents of Orthodoxy”.
Fr. Benoît-Dominique de La Soujeole, OP is a Dominican of the Province of Toulouse, France (where he was born in 1955). Since 1992 he has been a member of the editorial board of authoritative journal La Revue thomiste de philosophie e de théologie. Since 1999 he has held the title of Professor of dogmatic theology (Church and sacraments) at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), where he is also Prior of the Dominican monastery of St. Albertus Magnus.
Does providing a “theological structure” to the pontificate feature among the tasks of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith?
First of all we must clarify these words. The Congregation in which Cardinal Müller performs the role of Prefect, is the Congregation De doctrina fidei. According to article 48 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of 26 June 1988, its duty is “to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world”. Doctrine (from the Latin docere, which means to teach) is the intelligence that the Church has of its faith, which the Episcopal College along with its head - the Bishop of Rome guarantees thanks to a specific assistance from the Holy Spirit. Theology is, in itself, the intelligence that a person (the theologian) or a group of people (a “school of thought”) has of the faith of the Church. Theology does not receive special assistance from the Holy Spirit, but presents opinions that are freely discussed by theologians. The only requirement in terms of the relationship between theology and doctrine is that theology must not contradict doctrine. So, in answer to your question, it seems to be that the term “theological” which the cardinal used in his expression “theological structure” is taken in a very broad sense and could refer to doctrine instead. What the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus says in general about the Roman Curia in points 7 and 8 of its introduction, could then help one to understand the cardinal’s expression: The nature of the Curia is ministerial and in some way instrumental (n° 7), assisting the Roman Pope in a vicarious manner in his personal duty as pastor of the entire Church and in his relationship with the bishops (n° 8 ). As such, the Congregation De doctrina fidei assists the Pope in the responsibility he has as guarantor of the faith of the Church, providing him with the adequate “instruments” listed in article 51 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.
Cardinal Müller’s words make it seem like if a Pope is not a “theologian by profession” then his pontificate may require the tutelage of a class of theologians that work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Do you consider this way of defining the relationship between the pontifical Magisterium and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to be plausible?
Every Pope, due to the very fact that he is Pope, possesses the charisma of Peter, which means he has the task of strengthening his brothers in the faith (Luke 22:32) with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It is a role of judging (in the sense of telling the truth) which Peter and his successors have. With regard to this role, the Congregation De doctrina fidei provides assistance through preliminary work dou one prior to the Pope carrying out his role and through the work of implementation, after the Pope has carried out his role. The extent to which the Pope may turn to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, depends on the extent to which the Pope is in a position to do all of the preparatory work by himself.
Does it still make sense to make even an implicit dialectic distinction between “theologian” Popes and “pastor” Popes?
The distinction between “theology” (or doctrine too) and “pastoral care” is a distinction, it does not mean the two are separate. Pastoral care is doctrine put into practice. All parts of the doctrine have a pastoral purpose. All Popes are both doctors of the faith and pastors of the Church. A “dialectic” relationship, in the sense of a Hegelian-type dialectics of opposition makes no sense whatsoever.
Individual Pope figures aside, can the Successor of Peter’s ministry be considered theologically “lacking” and in need of a certain “theological structuring” by individuals other than the Pope?
Certainly not! The Pope has everything it takes to announce the faith of the Church. The Congregation De doctrina fidei helps the Pope in the preparation and implementation phases but the “crux” consists in announcing the faith of the Church and this is the Pope’s very own and personal ministry. By “structuring”, Cardinal Müller may have meant this, above all preparatory, work.
In the Apostolic structure of the Church, which the Catholic Church believes is according to the will of God himself, who is the custodian of the depositum fidei? Is it the Pope with the bishops or the Roman Curia with its Congregations and bodies, including the Doctrinal dicastery?
It is the Pope himself. The Roman Curia has a merely instrumental and vicarious role: it does not exist or operate by its own right but within its own essential dependence on the Pontiff. When the See of Peter is vacant, all the work of the Congregations is suspended (except from day-to-day business).
Does the Pope have to have a “theological line of thought” of his own, an original, recognised and characteristic theological profile of his own?
The Pope, by virtue of being Pope, does not belong to any specific theological “School of thought”. He announces the faith of the Church (doctrine) in keeping with the Tradition which he currently represents. He is not “theologian” but “doctor”. He may as an individual have his own preferences, his own background, his own personal intellectual formation, but these elements are not criteria for interpreting his magisterial teaching. The principal criterion of interpretation, as Benedict XVI recalled in his speech to the Curia in 2005, is that of substantial continuity with Tradition.
Do the Vatican Congregations or the Pope’s collaborators partake in some way in the charisma of infallibility which the Pope in certain cases possesses?
Infallibility is a strictly personal charisma that the Pope has; the Congregations do not share in it. The decisions taken by the Congregations “in forma communi” (not in specific form), are decisions taken by the Congregations in their function as vicarious instruments of the Pope; their authority is real but they do not carry the personal authority of the Pope at the same level as decisions approved by him in specific form.
Certain expressions and slogans of journalistic language claim that in the years in which Wojtyla was Pope, there was a sort of “diarchy” in existence, with Pope John Paul II almost sharing his ministry with Joseph Ratzinger, entrusting him with managing doctrine. Is this a legitimate interpretation of the reality of the time or is it misleading, from the point of view of the nature and structure of the Catholic Church?
From the point of view of the dogmatic nature of the Church, this interpretation is not a legitimate one. The papal office is strictly personal. This does not mean a Pope may not be particularly close to the Prefect of a Congregation and in specific cases to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as was the case with John Paul II and cardinal Ratzinger. But there is no doubt that dogmatically, the doctrinal responsibility lay with the Pope on the basis of his personal charisma.
Does the idea of a papacy that is “lacking” in “theological structure” terms echo the old medieval theories about the possibility of a “heretical Pope”?
I don’t think so. The theological structuring Cardinal Müller speaks of - as far as my understanding of the expression goes – is an active collaboration in the Pope’s personal ministry and certainly not an office of oversight that prevents the risk of papal deviation!
What can we learn, in terms of the relationship between theology and the magisterium, from the theological experience of St. Thomas Aquinas (bearing in mind, for example, the evolution of his thinking regarding the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception)?
If one accepts the distinction between doctrine and theology, one must think that theology prepares the insights (the doctrine) that will come from the Church (from the Council and from the Pope). When a theological opinion is adopted in the magisterium, it ceases to be theological and become doctrinal. St. Thomas Aquinas was given the title Doctor communis because he is the doctor whose views were adopted the most by the magisterium. This said, some of St. Thomas’ opinions were not adopted but were in fact contradicted (for example those on the Immaculate Conception). The theology-doctrine distinction also applies to St. Thomas.
People have reflected on the relationship between theology and the magisterium for years. Is theology an instrument of the magisterium and/or of the Holy See or does it have its own legitimate autonomy beyond the scope of the magisterium?
Theology is the intelligence of the faith. It is therefore based on the faith in its current state of intelligence (=doctrine) and seeks to “go further”. Theology is not therefore autonomous in the strict sense, as it is rooted in what the Church believes according to its current intelligence. Within this dependence, it is “free” to develop the intelligence of the faith, and the conclusions it reaches are verified by the magisterium, whether it rejects these, adopts them or remains silent, until the question is not sufficiently clarified.
In the post-Conciliar years, there was often talk of certain theological circles wanting to exercise a “parallel magisterium”. Could this temptation arise again, perhaps in new guises, among “bishop-theologians” who have been given positions of responsibility within the Church?
The “parallel magisterium” of theologians is nonsensical. There is only one magisterium and its basis is sacramental (episcopal ordination, with the unique office that is due to the Bishop of Rome). Some theologians have in fact exercised a very strong and negative influence thanks to certain media. This “parallel magisterium” is the denial of the distinction between doctrine and theology. If a bishop is also a theologian, when he adopts a position, it is his duty always to clearly distinguish between his role as doctor of the Church (=doctrine) and his competence as a theologian. When it seems that a doctrinal point requires further study in order to respond to the questions of our time, those who are the magisterium (bishops and the Pope) must examine the sensus fidei of the ecclesial community (not just the theologians but also spiritual men and women and the saints…) in order to try to discern what it is the Holy Spirit may be trying to say and express it in the most appropriate terms, as is written in point 12 of the conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium. Today’s media culture tends to eliminate the distinction between doctrine and theology when a bishop expresses himself, and this is deplorable and can create confusion in the spirit of the faithful.
Apr 21 15 2:38 AM
Zenit - The Holy See has announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansa City –St. Joseph. According to a communique by the Holy See Press Office, Bishop Finn presented his resignation and was accepted by the Holy Father "in conformity with can. 401 § 2." The above-mentioned canon states that a "diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office." Bishop Finn made headlines when he was convicted of failing to report child abuse when a computer technician found hundreds of obscene photos of underage minors on a priest's laptop. The incident was not reported to authorities. The American prelate chose to send him to therapy and ordered him to not be near children. The former priest, however, continued contact, prompting the diocese to finally report him to the authorities. Calls had been made for the bishop's removal, some who failed to understand why he remained as leader of the diocese despite the conviction. Others rushed to the prelate's defense, saying that Bishop Finn did the best that he could with a very delicate situation, given reports of the priest's mental state. In an interview with CBS News, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, member of the Council of Cardinals and head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also spoke on the matter, saying that it is "a question that the Holy See needs to address urgently."
Apr 21 15 2:56 AM
KC bishop convicted of failure to report child abuse resigns
ROME — In what is likely to be hailed as major step toward accountability for Catholic bishops who mishandle sexual abuse allegations, the Vatican has announced the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
The announcement came Tuesday in a brief statement in the Vatican’s daily news bulletin, released at noon Rome time. Finn, whose resignation is effective immediately, will remain a bishop, but no longer lead a diocese. It is up to Pope Francis to name his successor.
Finn, 62, is the lone American bishop ever to be found guilty of a criminal charge for failure to report an accusation of child abuse. His September 2012 conviction on a misdemeanor charge stemmed from Finn waiting several months before telling police that explicit images of young girls had been discovered on the computer of the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, one of his priests.
Finn was sentenced to two years of probation, and the diocese received a fine of $1.1 million when an arbitrator ruled that it had violated the terms of an earlier settlement.
The fact that Finn has remained in office for almost three years after the outcome has been a central bone of contention for critics who regard the Catholic Church’s official “zero tolerance” policy on abuse as inadequate as long as there aren’t consequences for managers who fail to implement it.
The case for Finn’s ouster was considered especially strong by many Church-watchers because unlike complaints against other bishops for how they handled abuse cases decades ago, his situation came after the US bishops had adopted a strong anti-abuse protocol in 2002.
Calls for his removal have come from a wide range of quarters, including some of the closest advisors to Pope Francis on anti-abuse efforts.
In a November interview with “60 Minutes,” Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston agreed that under the zero tolerance policy, he wouldn’t let Finn even teach Sunday school in Boston, let alone head a diocese.
In a Crux interview over the weekend, Irish laywoman and abuse survivor Marie Collins, a member of a papal anti-abuse commission headed by O’Malley, echoed that sentiment.
“I cannot understand how Bishop Finn is still in position, when anyone else with a conviction that he has could not run a Sunday school in a parish,” Collins said. “He wouldn’t pass a background check.”
“I don’t know how anybody like that could be left in charge of a diocese,” Collins said.
In September 2014, Pope Francis commissioned Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, Canada, to lead an official Vatican investigation of the situation surrounding Finn. About two dozen people in Kansas City were interviewed, and Prendergast eventually submitted a report to the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops.
Though the content of the report was never released, a source familiar with the case told Crux on background in February 2015 that Prendergast delivered a mixed assessment that did not directly recommend removing Finn from office.
The source said Pope Francis requested an additional assessment of the report from other officials. (And I'm willing to bet that those "other officials" - thankfully - provided more categorical opinions on the matter.)
A Missouri native, Finn is a member of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, a group founded by the Catholic organization Opus Dei. He became the co-adjutor bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph in 2004, a term in Church law that means he would automatically succeed to the top post. He took over the diocese from ailing Bishop Raymond Bolan in 2005.
Even before the Rattigan case erupted, Finn was a controversial figure. Under Bolan, Kansas City-St. Joseph had a national reputation for empowering lay leadership in Catholicism, but within a week of his succession, Finn fired both the chancellor and vice-chancellor, canceled its lay formation program, and slashed the budget of its Center for Pastoral Life and Ministry.
Finn also imposed new controls on diocesan media and ordered its newspaper to stop carrying a column by the Rev. Richard McBrien, a popular liberal commentator.
While those moves stirred political controversy, the Rattigan case made Finn synonymous with the Church’s broader sexual abuse scandals.
Complaints against Ratigan began to surface in 2009, as parents became concerned he was spending too much time with children and taking too many photos of the youths while they played and participated in Church events.
In May 2010, a principal at a Catholic school where Ratigan served wrote a detailed five-page memo to diocesan officials outlining concerns about the priest’s conduct, though she did not report a concrete charge of abuse.
Finn’s top deputy received the letter and spoke with Ratigan about setting boundaries with children, then gave a summary to the bishop. Finn later acknowledged that he had been briefed on the memo, but said he didn’t read it until a year later.
In December 2010, a computer technician working on Ratigan’s laptop discovered images of girls aged 3 to 12 and reported the finding to diocesan officials. Those officials contacted a police officer and the diocesan attorney the next day, both of whom said that the images did not constitute child pornography and thus there was no crime to report either to a diocesan review board or to the police.
After learning that his images had been discovered, Ratigan attempted suicide. After his recovery, Finn sent Ratigan for psychiatric evaluation, then placed various restrictions on his ministry including staying away from children.
Finn eventually reported Ratigan to the police when he violated those conditions, leading to his arrest in May 2011. He was charged with producing, or trying to produce, child pornography, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2013.
The diocese issued a statement on Finn’s behalf after Ratigan’s sentencing, apologizing for the priest’s actions and saying many steps had been taken to protect children since his arrest.
“To victims of abuse, their families and the community at large, I renew my heartfelt apology and firm pledge to make our Catholic institutions second to none in the protection of children and the vulnerable,” Finn said in the statement.
Finn was indicted for failure to report in October 2011, and after a one-day bench trial, he was found guilty by a judge on one misdemeanor charge. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict on another.
There was no immediate word on Tuesday concerning what Finn might do after his resignation.
Apr 21 15 7:10 AM
5 lessons from the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn(RNS) When Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Missouri Bishop Robert Finn, who was convicted three years ago for failing to report a priest suspected of child abuse, he sent a powerful message to the Catholic Church.
Here are five takeaways from the news, which the Vatican announced on Tuesday (April 21).
1. This is a big deal
During the past decade, the most intense years of the Catholic Church’s long-running clergy sex abuse scandal, thousands of priests have been punished or defrocked for abusing children, and a few bishops found guilty of molestation have also quit.
But until Finn, no American bishop had ever been forced from office (despite the terse Vatican announcement that he “resigned”) for covering up for a predator priest.
That sets a precedent in an institution where many have regarded the hierarchy as a privileged caste that should not be held to the same standards as others in the church. Some feared that if a bishop were pushed out for failing to do his job, it would create a domino effect that could topple the entire superstructure.
“We all know there are other U.S. bishops wondering ‘who is the next?’” tweeted church historian Massimo Faggioli.
But Francis seems to be betting this sort of accountability at the top will strengthen the church, and even help restore the credibility of the bishops.
2. Finn was an easy case
Finn is the only U.S. bishop ever convicted in court of failing to report a suspected abuser, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who was later sentenced to 50 years on federal child pornography charges.
Ratigan had hundreds of lewd pictures of children from local parishes on his computer, and he attempted suicide when the diocese learned of them in 2010. But Finn waited six months to report Ratigan to authorities.
Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2012 and was sentenced to two years’ probation after a legal battle that cost the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph millions of dollars.
In short, Finn was low-hanging fruit.
3. Francis had to take action
Locally, the diocese was a mess. Kansas City-St. Joseph had lost one-quarter of its members since Finn took over in 2005, and the past few years of scandal and financial outlays related to the abuse case had left Catholics deeply disillusioned.
Moreover, Francis’ credibility was on the line. While his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, had taken steps to address abusive priests, Benedict hadn’t done much to hold bishops accountable. After a slow start in addressing the scandal following his March 2013 election, Francis eventually sent strong signals that bishops would no longer be protected.
Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a top adviser to Francis and the American churchman with the greatest credibility on the abuse issue, also made it clear in recent months that accountability for bishops is a priority. He even took the step of publicly criticizing another bishop when he told “60 Minutes” last fall that the Finn case needed to be addressed “urgently.”
The day before Finn’s resignation was announced, Marie Collins, an abuse victim from Ireland who is a member of the panel Francis established to address the abuse crisis, wondered “how anybody like that (Finn) could be left in charge of a diocese.”
Francis was also facing strong criticism on his appointment of a bishop in Chile who allegedly knew about the predations of one of that country’s most notorious abusers.
Finally, Francis will be making his first visit to the U.S. in September, a highly anticipated trip to a key church in his global flock, and a place where Catholics have welcomed his new style as rapturously as anywhere. But it’s also a church whose members have been traumatized by the abuse scandal, which they see as a priority for the pope.
4. It’s all about the system, not the bishop
“Who’s next?” is the question many are asking. But a better question may be, “What’s next?”
Some believe Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt, another unpopular figure with a dodgy record on abuse and a tangle of legal and personal questions, could be forced to resign at some point. But picking off bishops one by one isn’t the point.
For one thing, there are few bishops in office today who have shielded predators the way bishops did in the past. That older generation has largely retired, and today’s bishops are quick to report suspected cases, which are much fewer in number. Also, the statute of limitations in most states has expired on the vast majority of cases, so it’s unlikely there would be many bishops subject to criminal charges like Finn was.
The key is setting up a system for investigating and disciplining bishops that would work for prelates around the world, not just in the U.S.; it can’t be a matter of targeting one bishop or another.
Following up on his “60 Minutes” interview, O’Malley also stressed that the Catholic Church needs a system of due process that holds all bishops accountable and must “avoid crowd-based condemnations.”
A process will be more effective, and credible, than one-off firings. “Things are moving slowly as I have said many times but they are moving in the right direction!” as Marie Collins tweeted Tuesday (April 21) after hearing news of Finn’s resignation.
Collins said this week a plan for hierarchical accountability is on Francis’ desk now.
5. It’s another hit for U.S. conservatives
Finn’s resignation is yet another hit for Catholic conservatives who have been reeling since Francis was elected and began reorienting the Catholic Church away from a few hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
Finn had been hailed as a strong conservative who would help turn the church away from any liberal tendencies, and the steps he took to do that alienated many Catholics in his diocese. Even after his conviction, conservative apologists such as William Donohue of the Catholic League forcefully defended Finn and argued that the bishop was being targeted because he was so traditional. (One wonders what Donohue will say now.)
That theory isn’t operative any longer. Finn is 62 and could have served until he was 75. He had been a favorite of former Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali and former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke.
But both Rigali and Burke have been sidelined, and now Finn is out — he remains a bishop but there is no word what he will do now. And Francis is promoting men like Archbishop Blase Cupich, a hero to moderate and progressive Catholics who last fall succeeded Chicago Cardinal Francis George.
Apr 21 15 7:56 AM
The Resignation of Bishop Finn
The terseness of the official statement was in direct proportion to its gravity. This morning, as I do every morning, I went to the Vatican website, clicked on the daily bulletin, then clicked on Rinunce e Nomine and found this:
Il Santo Padre Francesco ha accettato la rinuncia al governo pastorale della diocesi di Kansas City-Saint Joseph (U.S.A.), presentata da S.E. Mons. Robert W. Finn, in conformità al can. 401 § 2 del Codice di Diritto Canonico.
There it was. The long nightmare that has engulfed the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph is over. The people of that diocese, whose numbers have shrunk by one quarter since Bishop Finn took the reins of the diocese in 2005, can now begin healing the wounds his leadership caused and, by the grace of God, rebuilding the once vibrant local church.
This is no time for popping champagne. Everything about the situation – from Bishop Finn’s authoritarian manner to his conviction for failing to report child sex abuse to the years of inaction by the Holy See – all of it is the stuff of tragedy. But, it is tragedy of a specific kind. We say that a hurricane or a tornado, a force of nature or act of God that causes great harm and suffering, is a tragedy. But, this is more of a Shakespearean tragedy in which the central character has a fatal flaw that, as the plot unfolds, brings about his ruin. In this case, the fatal flaw was hubris.
As my colleagues Joshua McElwee, Brian Roewe and Dennis Coday report, when Finn took the reins in Kansas City, he began sacking long-time staff, shut down offices he did not like, and he vowed to increase vocations. As is typical of many Midwestern dioceses, Kansas City had a long tradition of lay involvement in the workings of the diocese, dating back long before the Second Vatican Council and its emphasis on the priesthood of the baptized. That tradition was ignored. Lines were drawn between the culture of the Church and the ambient culture. One wonders if +Finn was so isolated and insulated, he even knew how damaging his “bull in a china shop” methods were. Certainly, they did not build up the unity of the local Church which must rank high on any bishops’ list of priorities. But, he did not reverse course. He did not begin consultations. He sought and received the advice of people who already agreed with him. (One of the worst errors that any top executive can make: to listen only to the "yes" men. A sure-fire, A-one, fail-safe recipe for -- disaster.) The isolation grew. The disaffection increased. Any loss in energy or numbers could be blamed on the forces of the ambient secular culture, the lack of catechesis in the previous generation, the lack of forceful leadership by previous bishops.
This unwillingness to cultivate relationships with those whose views differed, and consequent alienation from a large swath of his flock left Bishop Finn in a bad place to withstand the charges that emerged in the case of Father Shawn Ratigan. +Finn’s mishandling of that situation led to his conviction in civil court of failing to report child sex abuse. He was the first bishop in the United States to be convicted of a crime related to his handling of a sex abuse charge. It must be said, however, that even if he had been the most popular bishop in the land, he could not have withstood the charges resulting from the Ratigan case. The people of God have concluded, rightly, that sexually abusing children is horrific, and if those in authority do not react with horror, they forfeit their right to lead the Church.
Many bishops mishandled clergy sex abuse charges in previous years, but in 2002, the bishops of the United States adopted a set of procedures and protocols, known as the Dallas Charter, that they promised would prevent future cover-ups. Whatever had happened in the past, they promised they had turned the page and such crimes, while not entirely preventable, would no longer be hidden by chancery officials, but turned over to civil authorities. A zero tolerance for the crime of sexually abusing children was adopted, and policies on child protection put in place. But, +Finn ignored the zero tolerance mandate in the Ratigan case. He was above the law. Furthermore, one of the policies adopted at Dallas requires all Church employees and volunteers who work with children to go through a criminal background check to guarantee that they had no prior conviction on child sex abuse charges. When +Finn was convicted in 2012, he could no longer have been allowed to teach Sunday school in his own diocese because he would have failed the required background check.
The situation was untenable. Everyone knew it. Everyone, that is, except Bishop Finn who had two powerful patrons in Rome on the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinals Justin Rigali and Raymond Burke. It was Cardinal Rigali who promoted Finn up the ranks of the chancery in St. Louis and it was Cardinal Burke who consecrated him a bishop. They shared the narrative that all the criticisms of Bishop Finn were simply the complainings of lax Catholics who resented having an orthodox bishop. They failed to recognize that the credibility of the entire U.S. hierarchy was on the line. They had collectively pledged that cover-ups would no longer be tolerated. A cover-up had happened. Where was the accountability?
Enter Pope Francis and Cardinal Sean O’Malley. It is true that both as cardinal and later as pope, Pope Benedict XVI began to address the issue of child sex abuse by clergy with appropriate fervor, in stark contrast to the way the issue had been handled by Pope John Paul II. But, he did not cross the bridge of episcopal accountability. That remained a bridge too far. Cardinal O’Malley, who has been the cavalry for the Church on this issue since 1992 when he was sent to Fall River to clean up the mess left by the Porter case, argued forcefully for the creation of a separate Commission on Child Sex Abuse at the Vatican. He had seen, in three dioceses, the ecclesial calvary child sex abuse causes. He understood that the credibility of the entire U.S. hierarchy was on the line. And, through his counsel, Pope Francis came to see it too. And, for Francis, episcopal accountability was not a bridge too far. This morning, he crossed that bridge.
This morning, it is important to isolate the crime of child sex abuse as uniquely horrific in the life of the Church in recent decades. But, there are many ways to misgovern a diocese. In addition to the Commission in Rome, what is most needed is a conversion of heart among bishops. The days when “never contradict a bishop” was taught to Vatican diplomats-in-training must be consigned to the past. The days when bishops think of themselves as accountable to no one but the pope must be consigned to the past. The days when aloofness could hide behind sloppy talk about liberal Catholics with bad catechesis must be consigned to the past. Bishops are sent to serve their people and in selecting bishops, the Vatican must look for men who understand that service is the only type of leadership that can possess the credibility of Him who came not to be served but to serve.
A great sense of relief dawns. The page can be turned on a tragic episode. But, there are lessons to be drawn from this morning’s announcement, important lessons that will take time to process. But, let the first lesson be this: Hubris is not governance or leadership. That Bishop Finn could not see this is the real cause of his resignation. The shockwaves will be intense. Many will claim that the Vatican caved. But, in removing a bishop for his failure to abide by the rules the hierarchy set for themselves, Pope Francis has made a bold statement: We are all accountable to each other for the welfare of the Church. And that lesson can, and will, extend beyond cases of clergy sex abuse.
Apr 21 15 3:05 PM
Pope Francis would have enjoyed Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, when he moved out of the bishop’s mansion, when he drove his sprawling diocese in an old VW bug, and when he preached a guileless Gospel. The problem for Hunthausen came in that he embodied the reformist Second Vatican Council at a time (the 1980′s) when icy, careerist authoritarians were reasserting top-down control of the Roman Catholic Church. Former Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen testifies at the King County Courthouse testifies May 17, 2009 during a civil trial against the Seattle Archdiocese over child sex abuse by a priest in the 1970s. Hunthausen was accused of ignoring child sexual abuse in the diocese and protecting abusive priests.In John McCoy’s excellent new book, “A Still and Quiet Conscience: The Archbishop Who Challenged a Pope, a President and a Church” (Orbis Books, $26), clashing views of Catholicism are captured in conversation. McCoy was ideally situated to watch Hunthausen’s intended humiliation. The author served as religion reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and later communications director for the Seattle archdiocese. Authoritarian Cardinal Josef Ratzinger rebukes Hunthausen for allowing the gay Catholic group Dignity to use St. James Cathedral. The Seattle archbishop replies by evoking John 8:11 in which the Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery and demand that she be stoned to death. Fireworks follow: “Hunthausen was recounting the Gospel story when Ratzinger, his voice full of wrath, interrupted him. ‘Are you presuming to lecture me?’” he demanded. “The archbishop paused, caught his breath and quietly continued. In regard to Dignity, he explained, ‘I tried to do what I thought Jesus would do. Jesus didn’t wait until people changed before he talked to them. He began a dialogue and I think that’s what they church ought to do with the gay community.’ “Infuriated, Ratzinger silenced him again. ‘Don’t preach to me,’” he said. Pope Benedict XVI: “Don’t preach to me,” then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger told Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen.Ratzinger would go on to be Pope Benedict XVI, but the future Holy Father comes across as a nasty piece of work. The Vatican, under Ratzinger and Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, sought to roll back the collegial church, with its national bishops conferences, lay church councils and inquiring theologians that had emerged from Vatican II. “The Christian fabric must be remade,” John Paul said in his first encyclical. In McCoy’s words, “The two prelates remade that fabric by exercising their authority through an unprecedented campaign of condemnations, interventions, banishments, silencings and excommunications that some commentators compared to the Inquisition.” Theologians were a top target. In the New World, however, U.S. bishops needed to be brought to heel. As well, the Vatican had made a backstage alliance with the Reagan Administration to bring down Communism in Eastern Europe. “The pope and the future pope figures that making an example of one U.S. bishop … would bring the others in line,” McCoy wrote. “Investigate, embarrass and punish one bishop, and others will mend their ways.” The author marshals an abundance of evidence in support of his thesis. Hunthausen was picked because he delegated authority, reached out to those condemned by Rome … and because he was a pacifist, active in protests against the Trident nuclear sub, who had infuriated the Reagan administration. “The Vatican would accomplish its purpose,” McCoy adds. “Bring the U.S. bishops to heel without a great deal of fuss and consternation. Hunthausen was perfect. Or so Rome thought.” The Holy See committed a massive clerical error. Successor archbishops, J. Peter Sartain (l) and Alexander Brunett (r) have restored more orthodox leadership to the Archdiocese of Seattle, notably scaling back ecumenical cooperation.Hunthausen was a Montana priest and college teacher. He had never studied in Rome, never been exposed to the Curia’s cutthroat culture. He was not well connected. His diocese was in an “unchurched” corner of America. He was a loyalist who could be expected to fall in line. The Holy See put Hunthausen through a modern version of the thumbscrews and hot tar. The inquisition was called a “visitation”, conducted by a “formal, austere” archbishop who was an influential church insider. The visitation produced a critical report which Hunthausen was not allowed to see. He was stripped of pastoral authority in five he areas. The authority was given over to an auxiliary bishop, trained in Rome and marked for advancement. What Rome did not recognize was the backbone of “Dutch” Hunthausen. Nor did political careerists in purple and red hats appreciate his powers of conscience. McCoy reports on the uncomfortable arrival of the Vatican’s minder, Bishop Donald Wuerl, in informal, inclusive Seattle. Wuerl was, writes McCoy, a product of the “prescribed, closed, subservient Catholic culture he knew from Pittsburgh and Rome. ” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, once Hunthausen’s “minder” in Seattle, returned for the installation of Archbishop Sartain. He is on the left, partially obscured. (Photo by Joshua Trujillo, SeattlePI.com) Then, at Pentecost, he and Hunthausen were to concelebrate a mass in the gymnasium of Kennedy High School.First, Wuerl had to be dissuaded from occupying posh digs downtown in the Watermark Tower. Then at Pentecost, he and Hunthausen were slated to concelebrate a mass in the gymnasium of Kennedy High School. Wuerl called a priest into his room “to reveal a stunningly gorgeous miter embroidered with gold images of saints,” writes McCoy. “It must have cost $1,000. ‘I’m going to wear this for the first time today,’ said Wuerl, beaming with pleasure.” Quietly, the priest told Wuerl that he best wear “the plain white one” because that is what Hunthausen would be wearing. Hunthausen refused to buckle. He refused to sign off on “errors” in ministry. At key times, he insisted that Vatican letters be made public. The Vatican learned, as news of its crackdown spread, that American Catholics are neither disciplined nor docile. Diocesan priests, women religious, lay people and the National Federation of Priests Councils rallied to Hunthausen’s defense. A Rome-trained priest (and Wuerl seminary classmate), Father Michael Ryan, sacrificed his future in the episcopate to coordinate defense of a holy innocent. Great figures in American Catholicism buttressed Hunthausen. “You are my ideal of the best kind of archbishop, courageous, idealistic, dedicated, fearless and most of all, unambitious,” wrote Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame. What were the problems with Hunthausen? He was accused of such “errors” as letting kids receive communion without a priest hearing their first confession. He was condemned for allowing former priests and spouses back into the lives of their parishes. He was blamed for instances of intercommunion with Protestants. In the Vatican’s eyes, that was a “scandal.” How monumentally absurd it seems, when conservative hierarchs (e.g. Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston) were transferring “problem” abuser priests from parish to parish. The Vatican was eventually forced to back off, but not back down. Wuerl was sent back to Pittsburgh, soon to become the city’s bishop. He is today the cardinal-archbishop of Washington, D.C. As a more amenable match, affable Montana Bishop Thomas Murphy was brought in to share power with Hunthausen. The cohabitation was uneasy. One man was orthodox on internal church matters. The other wanted an inclusive church. Hunthausen chose to retire on August 21, 1991, his 70th birthday. The normal mandatory retirement age for bishops is seventy-five. Why care of such events? Hunthausen was an early model for Francis’ ministry. We now have a pope who, when asked about gay priests, replied: “Who am I to judge?” Francis has washed the feet of women prisoners on Holy Thursday. He drives an old Renault sedan. He is readying an encyclical on climate change. “Francis is doing the things I tried to do,” Hunthausen, now in his 90′s and retired back home in Montana, tells McCoy. The laity, even many non-Catholics, have rallied to the Gospel-living pope. McCoy’s book has one shortcoming, likely with diplomatic roots. He should have delved more into Hunthausen’s lasting legacy among Catholics here. They have refused to knuckle under to his remote, often discipline-driven successors. In 2012, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain asked parishes to serve and collection and distribution points for petitions for a referendum to roll back same-sex marriage. Several parishes, including St. James Cathedral, refused. The pastor at St. Joseph Church warned of division and hurt. A crowd of 500 “Catholics for Marriage Equality” rallied at St. James Cathedral just before election day. Successor archbishops have curbed formal ecumenical cooperation. So what. Catholic pastors and lay people were a big part of the faith coalition that pushed and passed a gun background check coalition. The Vatican put Sartain in charge of an “apostolic visitation” with the task of cracking down on America’s nuns. Hundreds marched and rallied at the cathedral bearing signs and buttons saying, “I Stand with the Sisters.” Hunthausen remains a prophet without honor in the Catholic hierarchy. Bishops and chancery insiders were conspicuously absent when he was honoured by the Washington Association of Churches. He was almost written out of a Catholic Northwest Progress issue marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. The picture in the pews is different. St/ James Cathedral unveiled a statue of Pope (now Saint) John XXIII (who called the Vatican Council) a couple years back, with Hunthausen and his priest-brother Jack in attendance. The cathedral was packed with more than 1,200 worshipers. When Ryan, pastor at St. James, introduced Hunthausen, the standing ovation went on for minutes. Afterward, as old friends greeted him, Hunthausen had precise, often funny memories of times spent together. The message of his ministry: The Church needs fewer icy careerists and more guileless preachers of the Gospels … even if they afflict the comfortable.
Apr 21 15 3:27 PM
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, 66, is troubled by the negative campaign that has been waged against him. Ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II in 1995, the respected expert in canon law was called to Rome by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura before being appointed cardinal in 2010. In recent months, critics have described him as an “ultraconservative fanatic,” “anti-Conciliar,” “in conspiracy against the Pope” and even ready for a schism should the upcoming family synod open up unwelcome changes. (Pretty accurate descriptions in my opinion)The criticism has been so defamatory that in Italy several bishops have even refused to host his lectures in their dioceses. (Why is going around giving so many lectures?) Where he has been allowed to give a conference — as recently in some cities in the north of Italy — there are invariably priests who oppose him and accuse him of spreading propaganda against the Pope. (Sensible men)“It’s total nonsense, I don’t understand this attitude. I have never said a single word against the Pope; I strive only to serve the truth, a task that we all have. I have always seen my talks and my activities as a support to the Petrine ministry. (Burke's "vision" is evidently severely impaired) The people who know me well can witness to the fact I am not anti-papal. On the contrary, I have always been extremely loyal and wanted to serve the Holy Father, as I am doing now.” (Which Holy Father is he referring to?)Indeed, meeting him in his apartment, a stone’s throw from St. Peter’s Square, (A mistake. Francis should have sent him away from Rome) with his friendly manner and spontaneity, Cardinal Burke bears no resemblance to that hard defender of “cold doctrine” as he is described by mainstream media outlets. Cardinal Burke, in the debate that preceded and followed the first synod on the family, some of your statements did sound like criticisms of the Pope, or at least that is how they were interpreted. For example, quite a stir was caused by your recent remark, “I will resist; I’ll resist,” as a response to a possible decision of the Pope to grant Communion to the divorced and remarried. That comment was misrepresented, and there was no reference to Pope Francis. I believe that because I have always spoken very clearly on the issue of marriage and the family, there are people who want to undermine what I say by depicting me as an enemy of the Pope or even ready for a schism by using that answer I gave in an interview with a French television channel. How should we interpret that answer? Quite simply. The journalist asked me what I would do if, hypothetically, not referring to Pope Francis, a pontiff were to make decisions contrary to the Church’s doctrine and practice. I replied I should resist, because we are all in the service of the truth, starting with the Pope. (So which theoretical pope did he have in mind?) The Church is not a political body, in the sense of power. The power is Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Therefore, I replied I would resist, and it would not be the first time that this has happened in the Church. There have been several moments in history where someone had to stand up to the pope, beginning with St. Paul against St. Peter, in the matter of Judaizers who wanted to impose circumcision on the converted Greeks. In my case, I am not resisting Pope Francis at all because he hasn’t done anything against the doctrine. (That is a sentence full of menace) Nor do I see myself in a fight against the Pope, as they try to depict me. I’m not pursuing the interests of a group or party. I am simply trying, as a cardinal, to be a teacher of the faith. (Leave it to the Pope)Another criticism made against you is your alleged passion for “lace,” a comment used in a demeaning way to criticize your preferred clerical and liturgical vestments as something that the Pope cannot endure. The Pope has never made me aware that he disapproves of the way I dress, which, anyway, has always been within norms of the Church. (The Capa Magna is no longer worn. wearing it is, in my opinion, a "political statement) I celebrate the liturgy also in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, and there are vestments for this which do not exist for the celebration of the ordinary form, but I always wear what is required for the rite that I am celebrating. I am not making a political statement against the Pope’s way of dressing. It has to be said that every pope has his own style, but he does not impose this on all the other bishops. So I don’t understand why this should be a cause for controversy. But newspapers often use a photo of you wearing a hat clearly out of date. Yes, I know, but it’s just incredible. I can explain: That photo was spread around after Il Foglio published it alongside the interview I did at the time of the synod. The interview had been done well, but, unfortunately, they chose a photo that had nothing to do with it, which I regret, because, in this way, they gave the mistaken impression of a person who lives in the past. The truth is that, after being named cardinal, I was invited to a diocese in the south of Italy for a conference on the liturgy. For the occasion, the organizer decided to give me as a gift an old-fashioned cardinal’s hat. I have no idea where he got it from. I held it in my hand and obviously had no intention of wearing it regularly, but he asked me to put it on to take at least one photo. This was the only time I put that hat on my head, but, unfortunately, that picture has been published all over the world, and some use it to give the impression that I go around like that. But I’ve never worn it, not even for a ceremony. You have also been named as the inspiration if not the promoter of the “Petition to Pope Francis for the Family,” which has been circulated to collect signatures by a number of traditionalist websites. I did sign that petition, but it is not my initiative or my idea. Nor did I write or collaborate in drafting the text. Anyone who says otherwise is affirming something false. As far as I know, it is an initiative by laypeople. I was shown the text, and I signed it, as have many other cardinals. Another of the charges against you is that you are against the Second Vatican Council. These labels are easy to apply, but there is no basis in reality. All my theological education in the major seminary was based on the documents of Vatican II, and I am still trying to study these documents more deeply. I’m not at all opposed to the Council, and if one reads my writings, he will find that I quote the documents of Vatican II many times. What I don’t agree with is the so-called “spirit of the Council,” which is not faithful to the Council texts but purports to create something totally new, a new church that has nothing to do with all the so-called aberrations of the past. On this matter, I wholeheartedly follow Pope Benedict XVI’s enlightening presentation to the Roman Curia for Christmas 2005: It is the famous discourse in which he explains the correct hermeneutic, which is that of reform in continuity, as opposed to the hermeneutic of rupture in discontinuity that many sectors promote. Pope Benedict XVI’s presentation is brilliant and explains everything. Many things that happened after the Council and are attributed to the Council have nothing to do with the Council. This is the plain truth. Did Pope Francis “punish” you by removing you from the Apostolic Signatura and entrusting you with the patronage of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta? In an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nacion, the Pope already answered this question by explaining the reasons for his decision. This already says everything, and it is not up to me to comment. I can only say, without revealing any confidential information, that the Pope has never told me or given me the impression that there was anything he wanted to punish me for. Perhaps your “reputation” has to do with what Cardinal Walter Kasper called the “synod battle,” which also seems to grow in intensity as we get closer to the ordinary synod this coming October. At what stage are we now? I would say that there is now a much more extensive discussion on the topics covered by the synod, and this is a good thing. There is a greater number of cardinals, bishops and laypeople who are intervening, and this is very positive. Therefore, I don’t understand all the fuss last year made over the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, to which I contributed, along with four other cardinals and four specialists on marriage. That was when the theory of a conspiracy against the Pope was born, a view echoed recently by the well-known Italian historian Alberto Melloni, co-author of a famous history of the Vatican Council II that pushes for a progressive interpretation of the Council. Melloni wrote an article for the most popular Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, blaming the five cardinals of a conspiracy against the Pope. It is simply absurd. How can you possibly accuse of plotting against the Pope those who uphold what the Church has always taught and practiced on marriage and Communion? The book was certainly written as an aid for the synod to answer Cardinal Kasper’s thesis. But it is not polemical, it is a presentation completely faithful to the Tradition, and it is also of the highest scholarly quality possible. I am absolutely disposed to receive criticism on the content, but to say we conspired against the Pope is unacceptable. Who is behind this witch hunt? I do not have any direct information, but there is definitely a group that wants to impose on the Church not only Kasper’s thesis on Communion for the divorced and remarried, or for those in irregular situations, but also other positions related to the themes of the synod. I think, for instance, of the idea of identifying the positive aspects of extramarital or homosexual relationships. It is evident there are forces pushing in this direction, and this is the reason why they want to discredit those of us who are trying to defend the Church’s teaching. I have nothing personal against Cardinal Kasper; for me, the question is only to proclaim the Church’s teaching, which in this case is tied to words spoken by the Lord. Looking at some of the themes that emerged strongly in the synod, there is talk again about a “gay lobby.” I can’t precisely identify it, but I see more and more that there is a force moving in this direction. I can see people either consciously or subconsciously driving a homosexual agenda. How it’s organized, I don’t know, but it is evident there is a force of this nature. At the synod, we said that homosexuality had nothing to do with the family; rather, a synod should be convoked on the subject if we wanted to speak about this theme. And, instead, we found in the relatio post disceptationem this theme which had not been discussed by the fathers. One of the theological arguments that is frequently repeated to justify Cardinal Kasper is that of the “development of doctrine.” It isn’t change, but a deeper understanding, which can lead to new practice. Here, there is a big misunderstanding. The development of doctrine, as, for example, Blessed Cardinal [John Henry] Newman put it or other good theologians, means a deepening in appreciation in the knowledge of a doctrine, not the change of doctrine. Development in no case leads to change. An example of this is Pope Benedict’s post-synodal exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis, where he presents the development of the knowledge of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, also expressed in Eucharistic adoration. There have in fact been some who were contrary to Eucharistic adoration, because the Eucharist is to be received within us. But Benedict XVI explained — also citing St. Augustine — that if it is true that the Lord gives us himself in the Eucharist to be consumed, it is also true that you cannot recognize this reality of Jesus’ presence under the Eucharistic species without worshipping these species. This is an example of the development of doctrine, but it is not the case that the doctrine on the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist changed. One of the recurring themes in the controversy on the synod is the alleged opposition between doctrine and practice, doctrine and mercy. The Pope often insists on the pharisaic attitude of those who use doctrine to keep out love. I think you have to distinguish between what the Pope says on certain occasions and those who affirm an opposition between doctrine and practice. The Church can never allow a contrast between doctrine and practice, because we live the truth that Christ communicates to us in his holy Church, and the truth is never something cold. It is the truth that opens to us a space for love; to love, really, you have to respect the truth of the person and of the person in the particular situations in which you find him or her. Thus, creating a kind of contrast between doctrine and practice does not reflect the reality of our faith. One who supports the thesis of Cardinal Kasper — a change of discipline that does not touch doctrine — should explain how this is possible. If the Church allows Communion for a person who is bound by marriage but who is living with another person in a matrimonial relationship, that is in a state of adultery: How can the Church allow this and maintain at the same time that marriage is indissoluble? The contrast between doctrine and practice is a false contrast that we must reject. But it is also true that you can use doctrine without love. Absolutely, and this is what the Pope is condemning, the use of doctrine or law to promote a personal agenda in order to dominate people. But this does not mean there is a problem with the doctrine and discipline; only there are people of ill will who commit abuses, for instance by interpreting the law in a way that harms people. Or they apply the law without love, insisting on the truth of a situation of a person but without love. Even when someone is in a state of grievous sin, we have to love that person and help him or her like Our Lord did with the adulteress and the Samaritan woman. He was very clear in announcing the state of their sin, but at the same time, he showed great love by inviting them to come out of this situation. This is not what the Pharisees did; instead, they showed cruel legalism: denouncing the violation of the law without offering any help to the person on how to turn away from sin so as to find peace again. Riccardo Cascioli is editor of the popular Italian Catholic website Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, where this interview originally appeared in Italian. Translated for the Register by Patricia Gooding Williams.
Apr 22 15 4:38 AM
Apr 22 15 5:29 AM
Q. … quite a stir was caused by your recent remark, “I will resist; I’ll resist,” as a response to a possible decision of the Pope to grant Communion to the divorced and remarried.A. That comment was misrepresented, and there was no reference to Pope Francis.
I am not resisting Pope Francis at all because he hasn’t done anything against the doctrine.
I am simply trying, as a cardinal, to be a teacher of the faith.
The Pope has never made me aware that he disapproves of the way I dress, which, anyway, has always been within norms of the Church.
12. The cappa magna, always without ermine, is no longer obligatory; it can be used only outside of Rome, in circumstances of very special solemnity. (Underscoring, emphasis and italics provided. - Unicorn)
I was invited to a diocese in the south of Italy for a conference on the liturgy. For the occasion, the organizer decided to give me as a gift an old-fashioned cardinal’s hat. I have no idea where he got it from. I held it in my hand and obviously had no intention of wearing it regularly, but he asked me to put it on to take at least one photo. This was the only time I put that hat on my head, but, unfortunately, that picture has been published all over the world, and some use it to give the impression that I go around like that. But I’ve never worn it, not even for a ceremony. (Underscoring supplied. - Unicorn)
I did sign that petition, but it is not my initiative or my idea. Nor did I write or collaborate in drafting the text. Anyone who says otherwise is affirming something false. As far as I know, it is an initiative by laypeople. I was shown the text, and I signed it, as have many other cardinals.
All my theological education in the major seminary was based on the documents of Vatican II
… if one reads my writings, he will find that I quote the documents of Vatican II many times.
What I don’t agree with is the so-called “spirit of the Council,” which is not faithful to the Council texts but purports to create something totally new, a new church that has nothing to do with all the so-called aberrations of the past. On this matter, I wholeheartedly follow Pope Benedict XVI’s enlightening presentation to the Roman Curia for Christmas 2005.
I can only say, without revealing any confidential information, that the Pope has never told me or given me the impression that there was anything he wanted to punish me for.
There is a greater number of cardinals, bishops and laypeople who are intervening, and this is very positive.
I don’t understand all the fuss last year made over the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, to which I contributed, along with four other cardinals and four specialists on marriage.
The book was certainly written as an aid for the synod to answer Cardinal Kasper’s thesis. But it is not polemical, it is a presentation completely faithful to the Tradition, and it is also of the highest scholarly quality possible.
I am absolutely disposed to receive criticism on the content, but to say we conspired against the Pope is unacceptable.
I do not have any direct information, but there is definitely a group that wants to impose on the Church not only Kasper’s thesis on Communion for the divorced and remarried, or for those in irregular situations, but also other positions related to the themes of the synod.
It is evident there are forces pushing in this direction, and this is the reason why they want to discredit those of us who are trying to defend the Church’s teaching.
At the synod, we said that homosexuality had nothing to do with the family
Development in no case leads to change.
Even when someone is in a state of grievous sin, we have to love that person and help him or her like Our Lord did with the adulteress and the Samaritan woman. He was very clear in announcing the state of their sin, but at the same time, he showed great love by inviting them to come out of this situation. This is not what the Pharisees did; instead, they showed cruel legalism: denouncing the violation of the law without offering any help to the person on how to turn away from sin so as to find peace again.
Apr 22 15 4:01 PM
Reuters - Pope Francis has held a private meeting with France's nominee as ambassador to the Holy See, the French government said on Wednesday in the latest twist in a months-long stand-off over the Vatican's failure to confirm his posting. Paris nominated the government's head of protocol, Laurent Stefanini, for the post on Jan. 5 but has still not heard back from the Vatican - a delay that French and Italian media have said is due to his homosexuality. "There was a meeting between the Pope and Mr Stefanini," government spokesman Stephane Le Foll told a regular briefing, confirming a report by satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine but dismissing the newspaper's assertion that his candidacy had been finally rejected during the April 18 meeting. "Nothing has changed: France has proposed a candidate and for the time being we are waiting for the Vatican's reply after the usual discussions and review of his candidacy." Neither the nominee nor the French government have made an official statement on his sexuality, the Foreign Ministry saying only his private life should be respected. The Vatican has declined to comment on the matter, saying that an appointment is confirmed when the name is published in the official bulletin of the Holy See. It is extremely rare for the Pope to get directly involved the naming of ambassadors. Earlier this month the French Catholic daily La Croix cited an unnamed source as saying the Vatican considered it a "provocation" that France's Socialist government, which in 2013 legalized gay marriages, had proposed a homosexual for the post. Francis has maintained Church teaching on homosexuality but struck a more sympathetic personal tone toward gay people. He has said he could not judge gay people of good will who were seeking God, and met members of a Catholic gay rights group in the Vatican as recently as February. But he has given no sign of easing rules against gay unions or changing the Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, even if homosexuality itself is not.
Apr 23 15 2:45 AM
The news was revealed by Vatican correspondent Carlo Marroni in an article published in Italian finance daily Il Sole 24 Ore. Among the various plans for the refom of the Vatican’s finances, after the establishment of the Secretary for the Economy, the proposal to establish a Vatican Asset Management (VAM) body if being considered. VAM would take on the unified management of real estate and portfolios and ensure the autonomy of the Vatican’s various ministries overseen by the Curia, which have their own assets. According to the article, the plan would refer to the proposals made by Cardinals Attilio Nicora, Giuseppe Bertello and Domenico Calcagno regarding the grouping together certain real estate services offered by APSA and the Governorate and would also follow aspects of the initial proposal for VAM drawn up by the Council for the Economy and Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, to make services more efficient thanks to a carefully thought-out structure and autonomous in a way from the dicasteries themselves. According to the new proposal which is still only a draft, the body would have a section made up of lay specialists and experts and an oversight section led by the heads of dicasteries themselves. Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio apparently contributed to the preparation of the proposal. The aim is to “create a unified asset manager for the Holy See and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, first of all the real estate, and in the future also securities, or financial portfolios.” “Property and portfolios would still belong to the dicastery or organization that today have legal title to them,” Il Sole 24 Ore says. This would ensure the efficiency of services whilst maintaining the individual features of each dicastery, safeguarding their pastoral mission. They would still be overseen by the Secretariat for the Economy as all dicasteries are. The idea of VAM was announced in July 2014, but did not see the light. For the moment it seems the draft will remain as such and was not among the other material examined by the C9, the Council of Cardinals that is assisting the Pope with the reform of the Roman Curia.
Apr 23 15 4:17 AM
Parolin: “Europe needs to be more concrete, only peace prevents migrant deaths”
Vatican Insider interviews the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the Mediterranean migrant tragedy: “The network of traffickers needs to be broken up. Conditions in countries of origin need to change in order to put an end to this exodus.” And peace needs to be built through “more dialogue”
There needs to be a “more concrete” collaboration from Europe. "Conditions in countries of origin need to change in order to put an end to this exodus” and build peace through “more dialogue”. In this interview with Vatican Insider, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, talks about the tragic migrant situation in the Mediterranean, recalling that many are fleeing war-torn countries and insists that dialogue is the only way towards a lasting solution.
What is your initial reaction to what has happened?
“It is an enormous tragedy. The loss of every human being’s life is. There have been so many events of this kind over the past months and even years. But the scale of this latest one is chilling. How many people set out in search of safety, fleeing poverty and violence but instead found death at the bottom of the sea: it is terrifying. My reaction is one of great pain.”
What is the Holy See hoping for?
“This umpteenth tragedy is a call to everyone to take responsibility, we cannot remain indifferent to situations like this. We all need to act: the Pope reiterated this in his speech to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, last Saturday, in which he thanked Italy for all that it had done. He added, however, that there needs to be a more widespread involvement, particularly from Europe, in order to find solutions to these problems and prevent these tragedies from repeating themselves.”
Should the EU consider Italy’s coasts as its own?
“I believe that Europe needs to take charge of a problem that is not only Italian or is only an Italian problem initially because we are closest to the African coast in geographical terms, but the migration phenomenon regards all of us. No single country is able to come up with satisfactory solutions to these problems on its own.
Do you think Europe is conscious of this responsibility?
“I believe it is conscious. There has been progress in terms of collaboration between countries in relation to the past. But in the face of these events, collaboration needs to be more specific and much more concrete.”
What else needs to be done, beyond this emergency, to save the lives of those who risk drowning?
"Conditions in countries of origin need to change in order to allow people to stay and put an end to this exodus. And the network of traffickers needs to be broken up. This is one of the key points: unfortunately there are people who make money from speculating on the lives of so many innocent people.”
How can the Church help?
“Apart from all the social support it provides on the ground to improve the conditions I was talking about, I think the Church could do more in terms of persuasion, making people conscious of the serious risks these refugees face. I was struck by the interviews held with some of the survivors: some thought that the stretch of Mediterranean sea they would have to cross was just a river. Many do not know what they are up against or they are deceived.”
The fact remains that people are fleeing difficult situations…
“The answer is to create the conditions to stop this migrant flow. Then there is the big issue of peace. In many cases these people are fleeing areas of conflict. The migration problem is therefore linked to the efforts of international diplomacy to find peaceful solutions to conflicts.”
Some are accusing the Holy See of insisting too much on diplomatic solutions to situations that appear impossible to resolve. What do you say to this?
“What we always say is this: in these situations of conflict which are multiplying in many parts of the world, there is a need for more dialogue, not less dialogue. We are adamant about this. Naturally dialogue is not a magical solution, it involves certain conditions, it requires a willingness to engage in dialogue in order to find shared and peaceful solutions. Probably not everyone possesses this willingness, but we believe that there is no other way to solve the problems in our world. We all need to work in this direction.”
Are you surprised at the Pope’s insistent references to arms trafficking and the economic interests behind wars?
“It does not surprise me because it touches on a crucial point: there are too many material interests at play which often prevail. It seems to me that the Pope is being very realistic in remind everyone of their individual responsibilities.”
Apr 23 15 4:32 AM
Professor priest found dead in outskirts of Rome
Italian military police are investigating the death of a 60-year-old priest and theologian who taught at two pontifical universities in Rome. According to media reports, Fr. Lanfranco Rossi was found face-down in a pool of blood in the hazelnut grove near his community's retreat center in San Feliciano, just outside of Zagarolo, about 21 miles south of Italy's capital.
An autopsy found that the priest suffered several blows to the head with a blunt object and was strangled; there were no signs of a struggle. Police say the priest's death of asphyxiation was not immediate, though his assailant left him for dead. Theft has been excluded as a possible motive for the murder.
According to an April 20 report, published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the priest was found dead April 12 by members of his community, who did not see him at the center that morning; the murder is believed to have taken place during the night of April 11.
A resident of Rome, Rossi was on a weekend retreat at the center. He was known to suffer from insomnia and to go into the woods at night to meditate.
Rossi was a professor of spirituality at both the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He belonged to a new and very small community of priests, called the "Ricostruttori nella preghiera" (Rebuilders in Prayer), which promotes the deep meditative practice of hesychasm, which is a form of Eastern Christian ascetic spirituality.
In a message on the association's website April 19, the superior, Fr. Roberto Rondanina, says members are "united in grief" over Rossi's death and will follow the developments in the investigation "with great attention." In a previous message, the superior said Father Rossi was "appreciated and respected by colleagues and students" as a scholar, as well as by those for whom he was a "point of reference" on spiritual matters.
Founded by the late Jesuit Fr. Gian Vittorio Cappelletto in 1978, the association follows a strict ascetic life. Members live in radical poverty, sleep on the floor and follow a vegetarian diet. The association was approved by the diocese of La Spezia in 1989.
With Rossi's death, the association is comprised of 28 priests. Rossi's funeral was held April 18.
Apr 23 15 4:44 AM
German Catholics find Vatican family questionnaire ‘too fixated on ideal image of the family’
The German bishops’ conference has summarised and commented on the replies of German Catholics to the 46 questions of the second Vatican questionnaire on the family, in an 18-page report published on 20 April.
The main criticism, which applies to all parts of the questionnaire, the bishops point out, is that it proceeds from an idealised image of the family which does not adequately relate to the reality of life in German society. Many of those who replied said that idealising marriage and the family not only did not appeal to Catholics in Germany but, on the contrary, put them off sacramental church marriage. That is why many German Catholics would like to see definite steps taken before the October Synod to overcome the gulf between family life as it is really lived and church teaching.
The questionnaire had not found an “appreciative language for relationships which neither corresponded to the Church’s ideals nor were definitely orientated towards marriage and the family”, the report says. The German faithful were not satisfied with the Church’s present teaching concerning remarried divorcees, “mixed” marriages and register office marriages and expect concrete changes from the Church concerning all three. “A pastoral approach which only sees such relationships as sinful and calls for repentance is not helpful as it contradicts the positive experiences which such couples have”, the bishops’ conference report says. German Catholics above all want to see remarried divorcees allowed to receive the Sacraments under certain conditions. “The expectation that the Synod will open new pastoral possibilities is very high indeed”, the bishops say.
The fact that neither the question of homosexual partnerships nor that of the different methods of contraception, both of which had been addressed in the first questionnaire, had been omitted this time had been sharply criticised in the replies.
Those responsible in the Vatican for the coming Synod would be “well-advised to get down to a really committed, sound and communicative preparation” as the pressure of expectations had increased considerably, Bishop Heiner Koch of Dresden, who is responsible for family affairs in the German bishops’ conference and who will be accompanying Cardinal Reinhard Marx to the Synod, underlined.
Apr 23 15 12:14 PM
Thanks be to God!!
Sanks to Unicorn from ze Philipines, MANY sanks. Vielen dank.
Deutschland and Unser Martin Luther are both winning again!!
It is so gratifying zat also ze Fillipinos have now embraced ze Lutheran and American Episcopalian Spongian Wahrheit.
Yes, let it be heard for once and all, Germany will show the way.
Ze true and only Zeitgeist road of ze 21st Century Lord.
Ze German people speak! !
Zat is what Martin wanted from ze beginning? No??
So happy to see the East joining us. Time to purge ze Harlot of Babilon finally. Bring her to her knees, nicht wahr?
Apr 23 15 1:46 PM
Excuse me, mag6nideum, but are you on drugs!?
Because if you're not and you wrote this rant while being your
"normal" self then I have serious concerns for your state of
Just in case you think this is even remotely funny, I must disappoint
you - it is not. Your feeble attempt at sarcasm is an epic fail.
Go on, mock the German people, ridicule them, compare them all to Nazis
as much as you like, I can live with that, it says nothing about the German
people and everything about yourself.
However I do take exception to the fact that you presume the right to
attack Unicorn for merely posting a news article you don't agree with. There's
only one word for this: PATHETIC.
That's the problem with you ultra-trads: As soon as something or someone doesn't agree with your small-minded worldview, you have no other argument than to go into spittle-flecked nutty mode.
You better get used to reality (as in: German Catholics find Vatican family questionnaire 'too fixated on ideal image of the family') rather sooner than later.
And since you show yourself to be so proficient in German (someone who uses 'Sieg Heil' must have an excellent grasp of the language...) here's an old German saying just for you:
Was schert es die deutsche Eiche, wenn sich die Sau dran reibt?
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