'We Are Church' Founder Excommunicated

05/22/2014 Comments (12)
Wir Sind Kirche

Martha Heizer

– Wir Sind Kirche

Pope Francis has allowed the excommunication of the co-founder of the dissenting group 'We are Church', Austrian media has reported.

Martha Heizer, 67, and her husband, Gert, were excommunicated for “simulating the Mass”, according to the website Kath.net. 

The Heizers reportedly often took part in “private Eucharistic celebrations” at their home with no priest present. The Church considers the simulation of the Mass a delictum gravius, or a grave delict, on a par with sexual abuse and violation of the confessional.

Heizer chairs 'We are Church', which she co-founded in 1995 in Austria, Germany and South Tyrol. The group seeks liberal reforms within the Catholic Church and has long...READ MORE

Filed under dissent, excommunication, pope francis, we are church

SSPX Confirms Bishop Fellay-Pope Francis 'Meeting'

05/12/2014 Comments (135)

The breakaway Society of St. Pius X has confirmed reports that its Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay, met Pope Francis at his St. Martha residence, but said the encounter was unplanned and the exchange was brief, lasting "a few seconds".

“On 13 December 2013 Bishop Fellay and his assistants went to Rome at the request of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, for an informal meeting,” said a May 12 statement in French.

Following this meeting, the statement said Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Commission, "invited his counterparts to lunch in the dining room of St. Martha House where they were joined by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, adjunct-secretary of the Congregation [for the...READ MORE

Filed under bishop fellay, pope francis, sspx, tradition

Cardinal Baldisseri's Comments in Context

05/10/2014 Comments (20)

As I reported earlier this week, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, recently gave an interview in which he said he wanted to bring the Church's teaching on marriage up to date. The interview was with the Belgian Christian weekly, Tertio.

I have now obtained the full translation of his remarks from the interview which I attach below. We are only allowed to reprint exerpts, but these are in any case the most relevant.

The content of the original report on the interview still stands: Cardinal Baldisseri says he wants to "update" St. John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on the meaning of marriage and the family, Familiaris Consortio, noting that it's...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal baldisseri, divorce, family, marriage, synod

Pope Calls on U.N. Leaders to Resist Culture of Death

05/09/2014 Comments (6)

Aware of the U.N.'s contrary positions on many life issues, Pope Francis today challenged 29 heads of U.N. agencies to resist the "throwaway culture" and the "culture of death" which, he said, "nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted." 

It is one of the few times - if not the first - that Francis has used the term "culture of death" which was first coined by St. John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae. John Paul defined the term as the "war of the powerful against the weak", characterized by a society that lacks solidarity, and fostered by "powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency." He...READ MORE

Filed under culture of death, life issues, pope francis, united nations

Synod Secretary General Wants Change in Church's Teaching on Marriage

05/07/2014 Comments (165)
Edward Pentin

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri

– Edward Pentin

In a development likely to cause more unease about the upcoming synod on the family, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops has given an interview in which he says he wants a change in Church teaching on marriage.

According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri says it is time to update Church marriage doctrine, for example in connection with divorce, the situation of divorcees and people who are in civil partnerships. His comments will appear in an exclusive interview with the Christian weekly magazine Tertio, published on Wednesday.

"The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history and the Gospel must be known and experienced...READ MORE

Filed under family, marriage, synod

U.N. Committee's Unjust Grilling of the Holy See

05/05/2014 Comments (11)

The Holy See was grilled by the U.N. committee on torture today and, as expected, it came in for some harsh and extrinsic criticism for the Church's handling of clerical sex abuse cases. 

In the two-hour hearing in Geneva, the Committee Against Torture launched a barrage of questions to the Vatican delegation, asking about past policy decisions, the juridical distinction between the Holy See and Vatican City, and information on specific cases, according to Reuters. 

But many of the questions went beyond the boundaries of the U.N. Convention against Torture. The Holy See also signed up to the Convention on grounds that it would apply only to the territory of Vatican City, not the wider...READ MORE

Filed under clerical sex abuse, committee against torture, holy see, united nations

Pope Francis' Homily at Canonization Mass - Full Text

04/26/2014 Comment

At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which Saint John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But, as we have heard, Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Thomas was also present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds....READ MORE

Filed under canonization, john paul ii, john xxiii, pope francis

Vatican Statement on Pope's Phone Call to Divorced/Remarried Woman

04/24/2014 Comments (24)

Vatican Press Office Director Father Federico Lombardi issued the following statement this morning concerning Pope Francis' recent telephone call to an Argentine woman who some press reports said was divorced and remarried. The reports alleged that the Pope told her she could receive Holy Communion.

Statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office

Several telephone calls have taken place in the context of Pope Francis’ personal pastoral relationships.

Since they do not in any way form part of the Pope's public activities, no information or comments are to be expected from the Holy See Press Office.

That which has been communicated in relation to this matter, outside the scope...READ MORE

Filed under divorce, pope francis, remarriage

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About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin