My Catholic Source.com News & Opinion Page (4/10 Archive)
Keywords: Catholic News, Catholic News Links, Catholic News Headlines, News Affecting Catholics, News From a Catholic Perspective, Catholic Opinions
The following are some recent news highlights involving Catholic schools...
* A loaded gun was confiscated from a locker at a Catholic high school in McKeesport, PA after students reported the weapon to the school's principal. The student suspected of carrying the gun was "removed by police", suspended, and faces criminal charges & possible expulsion. A diocesan official said the incident involved a student enrolled in a "special needs" program
* A science teacher who taught at a Catholic school in the U.K. was recently cleared of attempted murder over his attack of a teenager. The student ("described as a 'leading light' when it came to causing trouble") reportedly wrestled with and cursed the teacher before the incident. The teacher (who apparently "suffered years of abuse by students") was described as "previously a man of 'impeccable character'", although he had recently suffered from stress-related problems & was reportedly "in a fragile state of health" at the time of the incident. Reportedly, the teacher "cracked after provocation" by students and struck a male student with a weight while shouting "die". The student suffered a fractured skull, and the teacher admitted to causing him "grievous bodily harm" (although he claims it was without intent). The teacher spent months in jail after the incident and now awaits sentencing. The case has caused some teachers to speak out against students' bad behavior at school - which they say has "become worse" over recent years - claiming that situations may be "incredibly damaging" for staff and can "easily spiral out of control"
* A lesbian teacher at a Catholic school in Canada was informed that she "could not return to her job" after she applied for "parental leave" to be with her "partner" and her "partner's" new baby. Although the lesbian violated the "Catholicity" clause she signed (in which she promised to "demonstrate a respectful and sympathetic sensitivity to the aims and nature of the school and to the Catholic beliefs and practices of the school"), she will reportedly continue to receive pay from the school until the end of June. The case has sparked freedom of religion debates [Also See: Defending the Indefensible | Catholic education begins at home]
The following are some recent news highlights...
* The Washington Post has published the "astounding - and completely unsupported - claim" (CatholicCulture.org) that Archbishop Burke was "'kicked upstairs' because of improper handling" of abuse allegations. The "reliably faithful prelate" - appreciated by many Catholics for his orthodox, conservative views - is presently serving as head of the Church's 'Supreme Court' and is widely expected to be made a Cardinal
* Lawmakers in Oklahoma have overridden their Governor's veto of two pro-life bills that are expected to reduce abortions. One of the new laws requires that women be given a chance to see an ultrasound before having an abortion, the other law prohibits "wrongful life" lawsuits from being brought against doctors for not suggesting abortion [Related: Catholic teaching against abortion]
* Caution: The Catholic news agency Zenit appears to be having trouble with their website. At present, it is being flagged as potentially dangerous by both search giant Google & the Firefox web browser. Readers may be advised to avoid this site (including any links that may appear herein) until the problem is resolved
* The Knights of Columbus have donated more than 1,000 wheelchairs to earthquake victims in Haiti
* Under fire over a same sex 'marriage' course to be led by a professor with connections to homosexual activist groups, Seton Hall University has issued a statement saying that they "fully anticipate that the Catholic position" regarding same-sex 'marriage' will be "robustly explored" in the course. [They "anticipate" that the "Catholic position" will be "explored"? How about promising that the (truthful!) teachings of the Catholic Church will be taught and defended?] Supposedly, the archdiocese was "unaware" of the course offering and finds it "troubling." [So stop it!]
* The Gingrich's new film on Pope John Paul II will be released next week. The film covers the late pope's visit to Poland in 1979
* No surprise here: Various U.S. bishops have condemned Arizona's anti-illegal immigration legislation, calling the new law "harmful", "mean spirited", "draconian", "inhumane", "un-American", etc. While certain bishops have forcefully condemned the legislation's possible negative effects on illegal immigrants, similar concern for U.S. citizens suffering due to illegal immigration - e.g. those suffering from violent crime, property damage, job loss, increased tax burden, closure of emergency rooms, etc. - was "almost absent." Also "noticeably missing" was mention of Mexico's significantly harsher anti-illegal immigrant policies, the duty of persons to obey lawful authority, concern for national sovereignty, safety concerns for U.S. citizens, etc. [Related: Civics 101: Breaking the law is not okay]
* Cardinal Bertone's comments that priestly celibacy is not "untouchable" have (rightly) raised many eyebrows. However, the prelate was not speaking of any planned change in the Church's discipline, a discipline called "one of the purest glories of the Catholic priesthood" (Pope Pius XI), "a brilliant jewel" (Pope Paul VI), and "a spiritual treasure" (Pope John Paul II). While the Church has occasionally permitted some exceptions to priestly celibacy, she has "from time immemorial" strongly praised & defended "this the purest and noblest glories of her priesthood" (Pope John XXIII), a discipline that is recommended in Holy Scripture [Note: For reasons for priestly celibacy, click here]
* Some abuse victims who previously met with Pope Benedict are hoping that thousands of other abuse victims will join them at St. Peter's Square on October 31 - the unfortunate anniversary day marking the beginning of Martin Luther's revolt - for a "healing moment"
The following are some highlights from the new edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church (covering 2000-2008)...
* The number of Catholics worldwide has increased 11.54% to 1,166 million in 2008, with a large increase in Africa (33%) and Asia (15.61%)
* Catholics as a percentage of the total population in Europe declined from 26.8% in 2000 to 24.31% in 2008, "remained stable" in America and Oceania, and "increased slightly" in Asia
* The total number of priests "increased slightly" (less than 1%), with the number of diocesan priests increasing by 3.1% and the number of regular priests declining by over 3%
* The number of non-ordained religious declined from 55,057 in 2000 to 54,641 in 2008
* The number of female religious declined from 800,000 in 2000 to 740,000 in 2008
Source: Vatican Information Service
A leaked internal memo of the U.K. Foreign Office has been "withdrawn" after causing an uproar. The memo - resulting from a "brainstorming session" - contained various offensive suggestions for Pope Benedict's September visit, including that the Holy Father preside at the opening of an abortion facility and bless a homosexual 'marriage'. There has since been an apology and the memo's writer was "transferred to other duties" after his "serious error of judgment." The memo's author was reportedly "completely contrite" and supposedly had "absolutely no intention to offend." The Bishop of Nottingham called the memo "appalling", and said that "You don't invite someone to your country and then disrespect them in this way." As Cardinal Martino stated, "To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics, not just in Britain but across the world, is very offensive indeed." A Vatican spokesman has stated that the incident will not affect the Pope's upcoming visit.
The following 'quotable quote' is from Bishop Slattery's sermon at Saturday's historic TLM...
"Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come. Do not be dismayed that there are many in the Church who have not yet grasped this point, and fewer yet still in the world will even dare to consider it. But you - you know this to be true - and it is enough. For ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie. If, then, someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke only of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came here to Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery. And if someone asks what I said to the present situation, tell them only that we must - all of us - become saints through what we suffer."
Related: Suffering & Death
Catholics may be interested in two medical links being reported on pro-life sites which (no surprise) vindicate Church teachings, namely...
* LifeSiteNews.com is reporting on a link between use of the contraceptive pill and HIV/AIDS. They indicate that "More than 50 medical studies, to date, have investigated the association of hormonal contraceptive use and HIV/AIDS infection. The studies show that hormonal contraceptives - the oral pill and Depo-Provera - increase almost all known risk factors for HIV, from upping a woman's risk of infection, to increasing the replication of the HIV virus, to speeding the debilitating and deadly progression of the disease." [Related: Catholic teaching against contraception]
* LifeNews.com reports that "A new study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency shows a correlation between the use of cells from babies in abortions in vaccines to an increase in autism rates." [Related: Catholic teaching against abortion]
"The Catholic Church is the key to a happy life. Those who follow her precepts are deeply happy and fulfilled, those who don't suffer many avoidable tragedies. Society is proof!" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")
A federal judge in Phoenix has ruled that the city cannot enforce its noise ordinance to prohibit bell ringing ("sound generated in the course of religious expression"). The noise ordinance that had prevented churches from ringing bells was determined to violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The Paulus Institute has announced that the April 24 Mass at the high altar of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (coinciding with Pope Benedict's five year inauguration anniversary) will go forward. However, they are seeking another bishop to celebrate the historic TLM. The announcement came after abuse victims expressed concern over the presence of the originally scheduled celebrant, Cardinal Hoyos, in light of recent controversy. A Paulus Institute press release indicates that "This action will help maintain the solemnity, reverence and beauty of the Mass."
The following are some recent news highlights...
* A Reuters photo appears to show Pope Benedict falling asleep during Mass in Malta. The Holy Father has since returned to the Vatican and was reportedly "resting" in Rome after his "brief, but intense" trip to the island country. Various reports indicate that Holy Father appeared "tired" during his trip.
* A forthcoming report in a German news magazine is expected to allege that a former aide was put under "heavy" pressure to take the blame for an abuse scandal in Pope Benedict's former archdiocese. Supposedly, the prelate was "begged" to take the blame in a series of phone calls he received from (apparently unnamed) "church officials" in order to clear Pope Benedict of responsibility.
* Recent media reports are claiming that Pope John Paul II approved of Cardinal Hoyos' shocking 2001 letter which praised a French bishop's cover-up of an abuse case. Reportedly, Cardinal Hoyos himself alleges that Pope John Paul authorized him to "send the letter to all the bishops in the world and publish it on the internet." The Cardinal further claimed that the bishop in the case did not "denounce" the priest because the priest had told of his sins in the confessional.
* A survey of new seminarians to be ordained in 2010 has revealed that 31% are foreign-born and 10% are converts. The survey also indicated that 37% have a relative who is a priest or religious and that 50% were "discouraged by parents or other family members from considering the seminary." Nearly 80% were encouraged to consider the priesthood by a priest and at least half had participated in some form of "parish ministry."
* Parishioners from "ethnic" parishes have appealed to Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, to "help them save their churches" which they claim have been "unfairly targeted for closure". They claim that "certain American bishops...are engaged in a massive program of unjust suppression against parishes with strong ethnic traditions" and have referred to the closures as a "deliberate campaign of parish ethnic cleansing spreading across America." One representative claims the "ethnic bias in parish closings in America is clearly in evidence."
The controversial Chicago priest who 'apologized' for his dissenting remarks and claimed that he "respect[s] and follow[s] the Catholic Church teachings" has said on a Facebook page that he was "told" that he had to apologize, even though he continues to publicly disagree with Church teachings. [Earlier story here]
Considering the wording of his earlier statement, however, most intelligent people probably already figured out that he was "forced" to apologize. The big question is how long will this dissenting priest who undermines Catholic teachings be allowed to continue as pastor. Then again, persons who are familiar with such cases probably already know the answer to that question. Let us pray, though, that we may be pleasantly surprised.
The following are a couple of updates to previous news briefs...
* The controversial, dissenting priest shown in online videos rejecting Church teachings and violating "many" liturgical norms, has at the same time both 'apologized' and reaffirmed his position against priestly celibacy & the all-male priesthood. Fr. Pfleger's short, incongruous statement - which contained at least one error of logic (e.g. that women should be ordained simply because they stood at the foot of the cross) - failed to address his violations of liturgical norms or reasons for the Church's position regarding priestly celibacy (click here) and the all-male priesthood [e.g. that it is impossible for the Church to ordain women (click here)]. His contradictory statement appeared on the diocesan website, apparently unchallenged.
* Update on stabbing at Phoenix parish: The daughter of the parish employee who was stabbed has indicated that her mother is expected to be released within a week. She also indicated her gratitude to the heroes who helped, including the priest who risked his safety to protect the woman. Both victims were reportedly in stable condition. According to police, the attacker had demanded his baptismal records.
The following are highlights from Pope Benedict's recent remarks concerning the Holy Eucharist & the liturgy...
* The Eucharist constitutes "the centre and permanent source of the Petrine ministry, the heart of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church's mission of evangelization. You can thus understand the concern of the Successor of Peter for all that can obfuscate this most essential point of the Catholic faith: that today, Jesus Christ continues alive and truly present in the consecrated host and the chalice."
* "Paying less attention at times to the rite of the Most Holy Sacrament constitutes a sign and a cause of the darkening of the Christian sense of mystery, such as when Jesus is not the centre of the Mass, but rather a community preoccupied with other things instead of being taken up and drawn to the only one necessary: their Lord."
* Catholics' "primary attitude" during Mass "is not doing, but listening, opening up, receiving.."
* "[I]f the figure of Christ does not emerge from the liturgy...it is not a Christian liturgy"
"The mystery of the most Holy Eucharist which Christ, the High Priest instituted, and which He commands to be continually renewed in the Church by His ministers, is the culmination and center, as it were, of the Christian religion." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)
The following are some recent news highlights...
* 'Religion of peace' at it again: A Philippine bishop (Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela, Basilan) says he "seriously fears" for his life and the lives of the faithful after Muslims attacked the city & destroyed his cathedral. Although the country is predominately Catholic, the Bishops' territory is mostly Muslim
* Dissenting clergy at it again: Videos of the controversial priest who was recently awarded a 'lifetime achievement award' have been circulating online which show the priest rejecting Church teachings and violating "many" liturgical norms. At the awards ceremony, Cardinal George admitted the "controversialist" priest, Fr. Michael Pfleger, has "spoken in anger, sometimes unjustly or uncharitably", but claimed that "like all good priests and pastors, he acts out of love." [A good priest speaking unjustly or uncharitably out of 'love'?]
* A church employee in Phoenix was stabbed as she unlocked a parish gate. A priest who came to her aid was also stabbed. Both victims were taken to the hospital in serious condition. Three nearby students who heard screams chased the suspect and detained him until police arrived. The motive for the assault was initially unknown, but the suspect was reportedly familiar to parish employees
* In the wake of an recent expose concerning the disgraced founder of the Legionaries, there is speculation that the revelations may force Cardinal Sodano to resign. The Cardinal, who was a "chief supporter" of the Legionaries' founder, formerly served as the Vatican Secretary of State and is presently Dean of the College of Cardinals
* Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has revealed that he has not spoken with Pope Benedict directly about the abuse scandals. Fr. Lombardi indicated that he gets his directions from the Vatican's Secretariat of State ("It is the Secretariat of State that decides the line, and I try to communicate that as best I can")
* A new Brazilian Archbishop has scandalized pro-lifers by his failure to condemn abortion in the case of a young girl who was abused
* A joint statement by the Thomas More Legal Centre and the Catholic Union says media accounts regarding the effort to arrest Pope Benedict during his U.K. trip "seem to have completely misrepresented the law." The groups indicate that the Pope enjoys sovereign immunity and that U.K. law "does not hold the Pope legally liable for the actions of Catholic institutions in the country." "There is not a single criminal offence under British law which could conceivably be alleged against Pope Benedict," they note
* Controversial TOB promoter Christopher West will take a 6 month sabbatical to spend more time with his family and to "reflect more deeply on fraternal and spiritual guidance" that he has received. West has been criticized for an approach that Alice Von Hildebrand said "totally lacks reverence" and which "shocked and horrified" her. Von Hildebrand also remarked that West was "derailed and is doing a lot of harm"
* Another organ donation scandal: The organ donor registry in the U.K. has reportedly "misrecorded" preferences of as many as 800K persons in that country. The Health Secretary has admitted that errors "began appearing over ten years ago." More than 20 cases have been confirmed "in which organs may have been taken from donors without their prior consent." [Note: Click here for free flier & wallet card: 'Organ Donation: Act of Charity or License to Kill?]
* Fr. James Scahill, a MA priest "praised by dissenters", has made waves by calling for Pope Benedict's resignation. He also accused the Pope of lying about his involvement in abuse scandals. Commentary: Perhaps a priest who publicly accuses the Supreme Pontiff of lying, despite the fact that he has been repeatedly exonerated and despite the fact that the priest apparently has no solid evidence to support his claim, should be reminded of the 8th Commandment.
* More dissent: Dissident Swiss theologian Hans Kung is reportedly "urging" bishops to disobey Pope Benedict. The notorious dissenter also says bishops should call for a new synod to discuss "reforms"
* An Indianapolis Catholic school being converted to a "public charter school" run by a Catholic archdiocese is raising eyebrows of non-Catholics who fear that "religion may enter the classroom" and also by Catholics angered at the removal of religious icons and the ending of prayers & religious instruction at the school. The unfortunate arrangement makes the school eligible for state funding. "To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from public life, from making laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and pernicious error." (Pope Leo XIII) [More Education Reflections]
Despite calls for Pope Benedict's arrest for "crimes against humanity" over abuse scandals, the Holy Father's planned trip to the U.K. will reportedly still proceed. The campaign to arrest Pope Benedict - "led by British atheists" - appears to be "merely a stunt to get public attention", according to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi. The spokesman also said, "The Pope's visit is a visit of state, and so it would be very strange if during a state visit the person who is invited to make a state visit is arrested." The trip is scheduled to occur in September.
The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, has once again scandalized faithful Catholics by praising the Beatles rock group ("a musical genre which has been described by the Pope has the work of the Devil"). Even the rock band's former drummer has questioned the move...
"Didn't the Vatican say we were satanic?" "And they still forgive us?"
The Beatles' lead singer once boasted they were "more popular than Jesus", their former press officer once claimed "they're so anti-Christ they shock me", and various members of the group have been associated with drugs, the occult, debauchery...
Not exactly holy material for a Catholic newspaper, now is it?
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. (Col. 3:1-2)
Related: What's Next for L'Osservatore Romano - Praise for Satan himself? (7/09) | Vatican newspaper: Here we go again (10/09) | 'Rigid censors' or faithful Catholics? (12/09) | L'Osservatore Romano: Get Serious (2/10)
More recent news highlights...
* Pope Benedict has reportedly been "put on the shortlist for Classical Brit Awards" for the recently released album featuring his voice
* The plane crash which killed "much of [Poland's] political and military elite", including the country's president, also claimed the life of Bishop Tadeusz Ploski
* The Diocese of Sacramento has announced that it will stop publishing its diocesan newspaper due to financial reasons. The paper had been in operation for 102 years. The diocese plans to start publishing a bimonthly magazine and will "step up its online presence"
* Cardinal Bertone recently stated that "many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia" but says "there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia" [Related: Why Priestly Celibacy?]
* Heartbreaking: According to a new report commissioned by the Church in Germany, children were "sadistically tormented" and abused for decades at a Catholic monastery in Bavaria
* Pope Benedict is willing to meet more abuse victims, according to a Vatican spokesman. The Holy Father has previously met with abuse victims both at the Vatican and on trips
* Ridiculous: Notre Dame has issued a new "institutional pro-life statement" despite the fact that they refuse to drop the charges against the pro-lifers arrested for peacefully demonstrating last year on the Catholic campus. The pro-lifers still face jail time and financial penalties
* In a recent interview, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said that "Proven cases of mismanagement, underestimation of the facts, if not outright cover-up [of abuse cases], will have to be rigorously prosecuted within and outside the Church and, as has already happened in some cases, will have to result in the removal and dismissal of the people involved."
* European hotlines are apparently being "deluged" with calls reporting abuse by priests. The hotline set up by bishops in Germany reportedly received 2,700 calls in the first three days. Many, but not all, calls involve new abuse allegations. One psychotherapist who takes calls reports that victims "often" report feeling "relieved" after utilizing the church-sponsored hotline service
* Double standard: Although a woman has the supposed "legal right" to kill her unborn child via abortion, a California court has sentenced a man to 50 years in prison for killing his unborn child. Pro-lifers note that the mother could have "legally" paid an abortionist to kill the child and neither she nor the abortionist would suffer a penalty - yet the father (justly) must spend most of his life in prison for killing the same child [Related: Threats to Life: Abortion]
* Not good: Despite the many encouraging facts about the recently named future Archbishop of Los Angeles, Archbishop Jose Gomez, TIA reports that the future leader has (regrettably) previously assisted in a Jewish ceremony inside the Catholic Cathedral of San Fernando in commemoration of the Jewish feast of Hanukkah
* A letter written by a Canadian bishop demonstrates that a Canadian priest who was accused of abuse was promoted to secretary-general of the Vatican's Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the early 1990's. The letter also discusses "how to keep the scandal from becoming public." The accused priest - who is in prison & has since been defrocked - was a friend of Pope John Paul II. He was reportedly promoted even though Canadian Church officials already had knowledge of at least one abuse allegation
* Way to go: Bishop Tobin told the head of the CHA, Sr. Carol Keehan, that he was "very disappointed that the Catholic Health Association, under your leadership, publicly endorsed the recent health care legislation that was passed and signed into law" and said that the CHA leader's "enthusiastic support of the legislation, in contradiction to the position of the Bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and cause serious scandal for many members of the Church." He further requested that "St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association." Sister Carol Keehan was recently "awarded" one of the 21 pens used by President Obama to sign the abortion-expanding healthcare bill for her 'key role' in the legislation
The following are some recent news highlights...
* A youth association in Italy is organizing demonstrations ('sit-ins') throughout the country on April 18 in support of Pope Benedict, who has reportedly "suffered greatly" over the abuse scandals
* A Catholic college in Georgia run by the scandalized Legionaries of Christ has announced that it will close on April 15. The "abrupt closure" will occur a month before the spring semester ends. The students will reportedly receive "full credit" for the semester
* Great news: Bishop Daniel R. Jenky has ordered that the tabernacle be located "in the direct center at the back of the sanctuary" in all churches and chapels in the Diocese of Peoria (except those which receive a special dispensation). The bishop noted that "where we place the Tabernacle - and how we ritually reverence the Reserved Sacrament - is as important for the continuing Eucharistic catechesis as is all our preaching and teaching." Unfortunately, a long (five-year) compliance period has been granted for the directive. [Related: Tabernacle Reflections]
* More good news: A Mandeville, Louisiana parish will construct a new Gothic-style church after "parish committees rejected the idea of a church with a 'modern' design." It is estimated that it will take at least four years to complete the project. The parish reportedly has the largest congregation in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. [Related: Church Talk Reflections]
* Not good: A model for a new church in L'Aquila, Italy that "can only be described in terms such as 'awful' and 'hideous'" has been proposed. The so-called "power-blogger Fr. Z" has referred to the design as "perhaps the worst ever" and says "If they actually build this monstrosity...the Roj Mahal in Los Angeles will no longer be the [most] ugly church I have ever seen." The design "resembles a glob of white toothpaste."
* The sister in Chicago who scandalized pro-lifers by claiming that "[President Obama] is not pro-abortion. The president is pro-choice. I think they are two very different things" has apologized for & renounced her comment. In her statement, which appears on the archdiocesan site, she says, "I am affirming my belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church and understand that there can be no distinction between pro-abortion and pro-choice because the choice at issue is the choice to kill a child." Her office has also recently been under criticism for giving an award to the controversial Fr. Michael Pfleger. [Earlier story here]
* A 'Vatican expert' has come to the defense of Pope Benedict, refuting six 'attacks' on the Holy Father. Regarding the matter of abuse scandals in the Church, he says that "Here too, the accusation is against the very man who has done more than anyone, in the Church hierarchy, to heal this scandal." His defender concludes that the reason why "this pope [is] so under attack, from outside of the Church but also from within, in spite of his clear innocence with respect to the accusations" is that "he is systematically attacked precisely for what he does, for what he says, for what he is."
* A "Jewish poet, novelist and essayist" has joined other papal defenders saying that "I am not Catholic, but even I am not blind to the immense moral stature of the current Pontiff in comparison to his present-day swarm of detractors, who are a bunch of harassers." He claims that certain persons in the media are "exploiting the scandal" in an "excuse to corner Benedict XVI", and charges that some media personnel have a greater "fascination with the idea of a hypothetical papal resignation, than with the very acts of pedophilia committed by priests"
* A "prominent African archbishop" has lamented that the Good News we announce "sounds so hollow, so devoid of any meaning when matched with our much publicized negative moral behavior" and complains that "Ironically, [certain] priests have become a stumbling block to the promotion of vocations." He also noted that the abuse scandals help to "weaken the authoritative voice of the Church" and says we must "ourselves turn a new leaf, by being beyond reproach" to rebuild confidence and respect.
After receiving a complaint from a visitor (e.g. about Cardinal Sodano's comments referring to "petty gossip"), we wanted to clarify our thoughts regarding the abuse scandals in the Church. To put it succinctly, our position is as follows...
We think those who are guilty of abusing children have no business being priests - they should be defrocked and subjected to appropriate criminal penalties.
Please note that this page covers 'newsworthy items'. We do NOT necessarily agree with everything that is reported here - if we reported only items we agreed with, we couldn't rightly call this a news page. The fact that we report something here only means we think it is newsworthy - not that we necessarily agree with it.
"News of any event, even if nothing but the bare fact is related, has yet an aspect of its own which concerns morality in some way. 'This aspect, affecting human morals, must never be neglected; for news of any kind provokes a mental judgment and influences the will. The news-reader who worthily fulfils his task, should crush no one by his words, but try rather to understand and explain as best he can, the disasters reported and the crimes committed. To explain is not necessarily to excuse; but it is to suggest the beginning of a remedy, and consequently, to perform a task at once positive and constructive'." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957)
According to a recent interview with the library director of a Benedictine abbey in Avellino, Fr. Cardin, the Shroud of Turin was secretly transferred there in 1939 for protection because Hitler was reportedly "obsessed" with the sacred relic and wanted to steal it. Fr. Cardin indicated that that transfer was "Officially...to protect it from possible bombing (in Turin). In reality, it was moved to hide it from Hitler who was apparently obsessed by it. When he visited Italy in 1938, top-ranking Nazi aides asked unusual and insistent questions about the Shroud."
He also indicates that German troops almost discovered the concealed relic, but were thwarted by monks "pretending to be in deep prayer before the altar, inside which the relic was hidden." The Shroud - believed to be Christ's actual burial cloth - has survived various perils in its long history and still defies scientific explanation. Starting this weekend, it will be on public display in Turin for 6 weeks. Pope Benedict is scheduled to view the sacred relic on 5/2/10.
The Italian newspaper Il Foglio has published an article criticizing the New York Times for relying on a "very rough" computer generated (Yahoo) translation in an attempt to implicate the Holy Father in the notorious Milwaukee abuse case. According to the Italian paper, the NY Times article relied on "a gross translation mistake" and, they charge, the Times "seems to be in need of some consultants." While the "very rough" translation - used by the American paper - may have appeared to support their allegations, "that same conclusion is not possible if a correct review of the sources is done, in other words, if (the story) is based in the official text written by the CDF in Italian", according to Il Foglio. Recently, the Judicial Vicar who presided over the canonical criminal case of the accused priest said that he found "that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts" and indicated that he was never contacted by reporters to verify details of the case.
Commentary: If nothing else, wouldn't one expect the legal department of a major newspaper such as the New York Times to insist that only proper translations be used as sources - especially in light of the serious nature of the allegations made? Isn't the Times' apparent negligence in this case especially ironic considering the piece essentially accuses the Holy Father of negligence?
Archbishop José Horacio Gómez has been named Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles. He will succeed Cardinal Roger Mahony as the head of the nation's largest diocese upon Cardinal Mahony's retirement in February 2011.
Some facts concerning Archbishop Gomez...
* He was born in 1951 and ordained as an Opus Dei priest in 1978
* He is a Mexican native who became an American citizen
* He is presently serving as Archbishop of San Antonio
* He is active in the Hispanic community, but Archbishop Chaput notes that "his impact and friendships [have gone] well beyond the Hispanic community" (Note: The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is estimated to be 70% Hispanic)
* He holds bachelor's degrees in "accounting, philosophy and theology"
* He has served as president of the National Association of Hispanic Priests
* He has been named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the U.S.
* He has served as chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church
Archbishop Gomez said he is "deeply grateful" for the appointment to lead the Los Angeles archdiocese and indicated that he will entrust his ministry to Our Lady of Guadalupe. A Mass of Reception for Archbishop Gomez will be held on May 26. He will continue to work alongside Cardinal Mahony until the Cardinal's retirement. It is speculated that he will "guide the Los Angeles church along a more traditional - some would say conservative - path" than his notoriously liberal predecessor.
And for some final good news: Archbishop Gomez is credited with "allowing the Traditional Latin Mass into the mainstream of Catholic life" in San Antonio and "reversing some of the more liberal-leaning initiatives of his predecessor."
Welcome Archbishop Gomez!
Cardinal George will be presenting a 'lifetime achievement' award to the controversial Fr. Michael Pfleger for his "service in pursuit of dismantling racism, injustice and inequalities on behalf of African Americans and all people of color." The controversial priest has been criticized for a variety of past actions - including having Jeremiah Wright deliver a 'blessing' at his parish, allowing the pro-abort Al Sharpton to speak during Mass, threatening a gun shop owner, his association with Louis Farrakhan & Jesse Jackson, 'race baiting', etc.
The following 'quotable quote' is from the TIA website...
"Basic human dignity and human rights have their place, of course, in the Divine Plan, but they are at the service of the glory of God and the salvation of souls." (Rega)
* According to a CNA article, the Vatican never ruled out defrocking Fr. Murphy, the Milwaukee priest alleged to have abused as many as 200 deaf boys: "An expert translation of that document ['a memo recounting a key Vatican meeting' regarding the priest] provides evidence that appears to exonerate Vatican officials accused of wrongdoing in the case." According to the article, a "very rough" translation of the article may have "skewed media attempts to implicate Pope Benedict"
* A Wall Street Journal article has taken to the defense of the Pope against negative coverage in the New York Times. In part, the WSJ article states, "The man who is now pope reopened cases that had been closed; did more than anyone to process cases and hold abusers accountable; and became the first pope to meet with victims. Isn't the more reasonable interpretation of all these events that Cardinal Ratzinger's experience with cases like Murphy's helped lead him to promote reforms that gave the church more effective tools for handling priestly abuse?" The article also notes that documents posted by the Times were provided by plaintiffs' lawyers - and one of the lawyers "isn't just any old lawyer. When it comes to suing the church, he is America's leading plaintiffs attorney. Back in 2002, he told the Associated Press that he'd won more than $60 million in settlements from the church, and he once boasted to a Twin Cities weekly that he's 'suing the s--t out of them everywhere.' Nor did the Times report another salient fact about Mr. Anderson: He's now trying to sue the Vatican in U.S. federal court. None of this makes Mr. Anderson wrong or unworthy of quoting. It does make him a much bigger player than the story disclosed. In fact, it's hard to think of anyone with a greater financial interest in promoting the public narrative of a church that takes zero action against abuser priests, with Pope Benedict XVI personally culpable."
A man with a history of mental problems reportedly "charged the altar" and attacked Bishop Genn at Easter Mass at the cathedral in Munster with a broom handle. The bishop, who "defended himself with an incense bowl", was apparently unharmed. The assailant - who also "attacked the Easter candle" - was arrested after being subdued by parishioners.
Members of the Knights of Columbus are asking Catholics to join in a novena for Pope Benedict XVI from Sunday April 11 through Monday April 19. The novena appears below...
PRAYER FOR POPE BENEDICT XVI
Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.
V. Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
V. May your hand be upon your holy servant.
R. And upon your son, whom you have anointed.
Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be...
A group of about 20 Catholics have issued an open letter defending Bishop Mixa in the wake of accusations of physical abuse of children. The letter, signed by Catholics who knew the bishop when he was a parish priest in Schrobenhausen, indicates that "they never once knew Mixa to use force and could not imagine him as capable of hitting anyone." His defenders said they "always knew him as a person who consistently treated young people and children with a great deal of respect and esteem."
Pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Stevens has said that he "will surely" retire during Obama's presidency. It may be considered "all but certain" that he will be replaced by another pro-abort justice. News of Justice Stevens' decision is expected soon, perhaps this week.
Among several problematic (a charitable word choice) aspects of his recent sermon at the Vatican, Fr. Cantalamessa's comments taken from a Jewish friend's letter give special cause for concern. The letter read, in part... [emphasis added]
"I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism. Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood. Our Passover and yours undoubtedly have different elements, but we both live with Messianic hope that surely will reunite us in the love of our common Father."
Will someone at the Vatican (Pope Benedict?) please offer a public correction to the papal preacher? Jesus clearly taught that...
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (Jn. 14:6)
"[W]hoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Lk. 10:16)
Scripture clearly tells us that...
"There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Couldn't one argue that failure to instruct Jews on this essential matter is the 'worst form of anti-Semitism'?
Update: In the wake of "harsh criticism", Fr. Cantalamessa has apologized for offending Jews & abuse victims by quoting his Jewish friend which compared abuse scandals in the Church to anti-Semitism. No apology, however, was made for his failure to instruct Jews that they must convert for salvation. In fact, a recent story on a Jewish site complains (whines?) about a reference in a "traditionalist Good Friday prayer" that refers to "conversion the Jews". They claim the wording was "quite unexpectedly... changed to 'Let us Pray for the Conversion of the Jews'" instead of "Let us Pray for the Jews" and want the "error" corrected. They have reportedly received assurance from the Vatican that the "error" will be "rectified". Commentary: With all the talk of a 'new Pentecost', when will those who love souls finally revisit the true Pentecost in which St. Peter - upon receiving the Holy Spirit, and acting as Christ's representative - instructed the devout Jews of that time that they needed to repent and be baptized into Christ's Church for salvation (cf. Acts 2:38-41)? Avoiding missionary activity may feel more pleasant & 'friendly', but is it not entirely contrary to the Church's mission & the 'worst form of anti-Semitism'?
[4/3, updated 4/5]
The following are some recent news highlights...
* Muslim tourists in a converted cathedral in Cordoba who refused to halt praying injured two security officers when they were asked to stop or leave the cathedral. Two men were arrested for the violence that was reportedly conducted in "an organized fashion", and an "anonymous local police source" indicated that one of the men arrested was carrying a knife. Muslim prayer is banned at the cathedral, a former mosque that was converted in the 13th century.
* A supposed 'leading Catholic conservative' has penned an article for the Wall Street Journal titled "The Catholic Church's Catastrophe." The piece agues that the Church should "thank" the media, claiming the press "has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on this issue [of the abuse scandals]. Let me repeat that: The press has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on the scandals." The author claims that the press "exposed the story and made the church face it." Commentary: Does the author also consider Judas a "best friend"? Our redemption is linked with his betrayal of Christ, yet the resulting good effects (for us) do not make the betrayer's treatment of Our Lord deserving of our praise - far from it. Of course, a comparison between the scandalous events in recent Church history and our sinless Lord is deficient, but nevertheless, who "thanks" and considers a "best friend" those who relentlessly attack the Church, especially when it is so often done out of hatred or ill will? A hostile enemy is not a best friend - even if we may sometimes better ourselves as a result of their criticism.
* Catholics in the Philippians have once again nailed themselves to crosses on Good Friday "to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death." The practice has been rejected by the Church, which has instead called the participants to engage in "repentance and self-renewal."
* At it again: A recent Catholic News Service article covering Pope Benedict included the (deliberately misleading?) comment that "the pope's removal of restrictions on use of the Tridentine rite, the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council, was a major concession to traditionalists and part of a push toward an agreement with the breakaway Society of St. Pius X." The bishops' news service has previously been criticized over error & bias. Commentary: How exactly does admitting the truth that the ancient Mass was never abrogated and removing illicit restrictions constitute "a major concession to traditionalists"? Truthfulness & justice are now "major concessions"? [Related: The Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass vs. the New (Novus Ordo) Mass]
* A RI man has been arraigned for larceny in connection with an alleged 'fundraising scam' involving a Catholic school in Worcester. The school reportedly paid the suspect, thought to be a professional fundraiser, $370K for efforts to raise funds to expand the school. The donor funds didn't materialize, leaving the school with heavy construction debts.
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date news brief was added to MCS news page
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Pope Benedict speaks on world 'economic crisis'; Says "economic life should properly be seen as an exercise of human responsibility, intrinsically oriented towards the promotion of the dignity of the person, the pursuit of the common good and the integral development - political, cultural and spiritual - of individuals, families and societies" [4/30]
Pro-lifers to hold conference addressing the "devastating" environmental effects of hormonal contraceptives; Group says the "powerful, steroid-based hormones are not metabolized but are excreted into the water supply" and says that a single contraceptive patch or ring can contaminate millions of gallons of water [Refresher: Catholic teaching against contraception] [4/29]
Priest murdered in India [4/29]
Pro-lifers respond to legal challenge against new OK law requiring that women have the opportunity to see an ultrasound before an abortion, saying the law is constitutional: "The state has a right to ensure that a woman receives sufficient information to give fully informed consent" before she takes the "irrevocable and lethal step of having her own child killed by abortion" [Refresher: Catholic teaching against abortion] [4/29]
Pope speaks regarding May 1, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, "guardian of the Holy Family and patron of all men who earn their living through their work", calling for the day to be "an opportunity for deeper reflection on the meaning of work and its proper place in family life" [4/28]
Explorers outside the "ark of the Church" believe they have discovered Noah's Ark [Refresher: "The Church is like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church)] [4/28]
Here we go again: Loyola Marymount University commencement speakers support abortion, homosexual 'marriage', despite university's mission to be at "The service of faith and the promotion of justice" [4/27]
New dicastery "dedicated to the evangelization of the West" is expected to be created; New dicastery will be "aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity" [4/26]
U.K. Foreign Office "very much regrets" internal memo containing "despicable, vile" proposals for the Pope's September visit (e.g. that the Holy Father preside over the opening of an abortion facility); Vatican spokesman says the incident won't affect the Pope's upcoming visit [4/26]
Images from historic TLM at Basilica of the Immaculate Conception [Note: Scroll down to view images] [4/24]
Holy See's U.S. attorney issues declaration regarding lawsuit in Milwaukee; Statement says the case "is completely without merit" and that "While legitimate lawsuits have been filed by abuse victims, this is not one of them" [4/23]
Investigation reveals that while peaceful pro-lifers still face fines & jail time for protesting at Notre Dame, anti-military and pro-gay demonstrators had their charges dropped; ND president Fr. Jenkins "has reportedly refused to discuss the disparate treatment" [4/23]
Pope Benedict reflects on meeting with abuse victims: "I shared in their suffering and, with emotion, I prayed with them, assuring action on behalf of the church"; Vatican statement says, "He prayed with them and assured them that the church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future" [4/21]
Cardinal Hoyos says the abuse cover-up referred to in his 2001 letter to a French bishop was based on the priest's admission of guilt obtained by the bishop in confession (and therefore protected by the confessional seal) [4/20]
Archbishop Burke performs baptism according to traditional rite in St. Peter's Basilica [Note: On this site, it is necessary to scroll down to view the article] [4/19]
Pope Benedict celebrates his 83rd birthday at the Vatican; Holy Father will "spend some time resting" for his 'whirlwind' trip to Malta that concludes the day before his fifth anniversary; Media reports increased security for papal trip [4/16]
Good news: Hungarian bishop celebrates TLM [Note: On this site, it is necessary to scroll down to view the article] [4/15]
Pope Benedict speaks on the priesthood and the priest's role as teacher; Holy Father reminds that the priest "never acts in the name of someone who is absent, but in the very Person of the Risen Christ" [4/15]
Holy See spokesman says Cardinal Bertone's remark regarding homosexuals "refers to the problem of abuse by priests and not to statistics regarding the general population"; Statistics confirm heterosexual abuse cases are in the minority (30%) [4/14]
Pope Benedict says he's "spiritually close" to earthquake victims in China; Reminds that a priest's whole life must "testify to the truth of the message that he proclaims, in harmony with the apostolic tradition and often in opposition to the spirit of the dominant culture" [4/14]
Vatican announces first meeting of International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje; Communiqué lists members, says "the work of the Commission will be carried out with the utmost reserve. Its conclusions will be submitted to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for study" [Related Resource: Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?] [4/13]
Bishops in Connecticut decry legislative attempt to eliminate statute of limitations for abuse cases; Bishops note that the plan "does nothing to protect the state's children because it delays reporting" and warns that decades old allegations may be "impossible to adequately defend in court" due to missing records, unreliable memories; Bishops also warn that the "discriminatory" legislation could have "a devastating financial effect" and may "undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools and our Catholic Charities" [4/13]
Archbishop Burke says consecrated religious who openly dissent from the authority of Rome and the Church's teaching on life are "an absurdity of the most tragic kind" and should cease identifying themselves as Catholic [4/12]
Vatican publishes CDF guidelines for handling abuse cases; Guidelines state that "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed" and reminds that "the local bishop always retains power to protect children by restricting the activities of any priest in his diocese. This is part of his ordinary authority, which he is encouraged to exercise to whatever extent is necessary to assure that children do not come to harm, and this power can be exercised at the bishop's discretion before, during and after any canonical proceeding" [4/12]
"Gender identity disorder" is 'generally passed through' if not reinforced, according to research studies; Researchers say that "when parents or others allow or encourage a child to behave and be treated as the opposite sex, the confusion is reinforced and the child is conditioned for a life of unnecessary pain and suffering" [4/12]
Vatican officials refute claims involving Oakland case; Cardinal Ratzinger "was responding to the priest's own request for dispensation from the vow of celibacy, and at the time had no authority to impose dismissal from the priesthood as a penalty" for abuse; "Cardinal Ratzinger's letter had no bearing on protecting children from Kiesle, or protecting the church's reputation. The priest had already been convicted of...abuse in a well-publicized civil trial in 1978" [4/12]
NY Times columnist says Pope Benedict tougher on abusers than Pope John Paul II; Claims that Pope John Paul II was "a weak administrator, a poor delegator, and sometimes a dreadful judge of character" [4/12]
Poor children: Number of births to unwed mothers reaches record high according to government report; Number of births to fornicating couples increased by about 1% in 2008 to over 40% of all births [4/12]
Papal defender says journalists have "abandon[ed] standards to attack the Pope"; Says recent AP story "would never have seen the light of day if normal journalistic standards had been in place" [4/12]
Institute of Christ the King to offer Novena, present spiritual bouquet to Pope Benedict [Note: Link is to form where supporters can pledge prayers & other works] [4/12]
Holy See Press Office Director addresses abuse scandals and resulting "inner wounds", defends Pope Benedict; Says "Alongside concern for victims we must continue to implement, decisively and truthfully, the correct procedures for the canonical judgement of the guilty, and for collaborating with the civil authorities in matters concerning their judicial and penal competencies, taking the specific norms and situations of the various countries into account. Only in this way can we hope effectively to rebuild a climate of justice and complete trust in the ecclesiastical institution" [4/12]
[Note: There were no news updates on 4/9 & 4/10]
Medical society files suit against recently passed healthcare bill; Executive director of organization says that if the healthcare bill goes unchallenged "it spells the end of freedom in medicine as we know it" and warns that there will be "a dire shortage of physicians if the [healthcare bill] becomes effective and is not overturned by the courts" [4/8]
Catholic CPAC? [4/6]
The stories AP didn't cover [Warning: Article contains disturbing content] [4/6]
Cardinal Cipriani says best response to media attacks is prayer; Says "enemies of the Church [have acted] with unusual disrespect for the truth and an incredible display of cynicism. It is evident that harming the Church is what is behind this attack" [4/5]
Good Friday images from the Vatican [Note: Scroll down to view images] [4/2]
Meditation on the Twelfth Station by Archbishop of Dublin [Note: For traditional Way of the Cross, click here] [4/2]
Director of Holy See Press Office says recent "outburst of criticism" is a test for the Pope & for the Church; Fr. Lombardi says Holy Father is enduring the criticism with "humility and patience" [4/1]
Bishop of Brooklyn on NY Times articles: "Enough is enough! Two weeks of articles about a story from many decades ago, in the midst of the Most Holy Season of the Church year, is both callous and smacks of calumny"; Bishop asks faithful to "stand up with me and send a message loud and clear that the Pope, our Church, and our bishops and priests will no longer be the personal punching bag of The New York Times" [4/1]
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