Drawing the Line on Scandals in the Church

07/19/2010 Comments (11)

Hardly a week has gone by this year without the Holy Father having to deal with some crisis or scandal. He has had the clerical sex abuse scandals of course, but also ongoing corruption allegations involving a few Vatican officials, some very senior.

And we are told more revelations are to come.

As a Catholic journalist, it’s made me wonder how much scandal, particularly in the Vatican, do we need to know? To what extent is disclosing them beneficial to the Church and the building up of each person’s faith? And how much should scandalous revelations be shared outside the family of the Church?

The danger of reporting on the sins of those within the Church is, of course, that not only...READ MORE

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Vatican Releases Revised Norms on Clerical Sex Abuse

07/15/2010 Comment

The Vatican today published revised canonical norms that deal with the crimes of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy.

Many of the innovations had already been made known through various unofficial Vatican sources, but some unexpected revisions were revealed today, all of which are aimed at speeding up legal processes and making them more efficient.

These include making it easier to laicize priests found guilty of such crimes, admitting lay people onto tribunal staff and extending the statute of limitations from 10 to 20 years (and possibly longer). The document also introduces paedophile pornography as a delicta graviora, and it establishes parity between the abuse of...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, clerical sex abuse, congregation for the doctrine of the faith, sexual abuse crisis

Cardinal Bergoglio Hits Out at Same-Sex Marriage

07/08/2010 Comments (24)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

A Jesuit cardinal has become the latest Church leader to speak out forcefully against a government’s push towards same-sex marriage, and has called on his nation’s contemplatives to pray fervently to prevent such laws.

According to an article in tomorrow’s L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, has said that if a proposed bill giving same-sex couples the opportunity to marry and adopt children should be approved, it will “seriously damage the family.”

He made the statement in a letter addressed to each of the four monasteries in Argentina, asking the contemplatives to pray “fervently” that legislators be...READ MORE

Filed under argentina, cardinal jorge mario bergoglio, carmelites, civil unions, same-sex marriage

Benedict XVI's Crucial Words of Guidance

07/07/2010 Comments (8)

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in an open car to bless a statue of St. Annibale Di Francia before his general audience at the Vatican July 7. The 18-foot statue is in a niche on an exterior wall of St. Peter's Basilica. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has said that the Holy Father’s words and deeds in recent days have been “exceptionally intense and crucial” for the life of the Church.

He stressed Benedict XVI’s attempts to heal tensions and misunderstandings and preserve unity during these difficult times. And he singled out this quotation from a papal statement as particularly significant, given after a meeting with the Bishop Emeritus of Augsburg, Walter Mixa:

“In a time of contrasts and insecurity, the world expects Christians to show harmonious witness on the basis of their encounter with the Risen Lord, with which they help one another and the whole of society to find the right path to...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, pastoral guidance, sexual abuse crisis

Cardinal Ouellet Surprised but Grateful over Nomination

06/30/2010 Comments (7)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, pictured in March (Archdiocese of Quebec)

Cardinal Marc Ouellet has given his first press conference after the Pope nominated him today to become the next prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Speaking from his archdiocesan headquarters in Quebec City, the cardinal said he was “surprised” by the appointment but welcomed it with “gratitude but also with a sense of fear”. He said of the appointment of bishops: “There’s a long tradition I will follow, the tradition of the Church, and look for the best bishops possible.” The cardinal said he will probably take up his position at the end of August or beginning of September.

After a day of major Curial appointments, another one is expected tomorrow. Vatican spokesman Father...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal marc ouellet, congregation for bishops

Cardinal Ouellet to Bishops; Archbishop Migliore to Poland

06/30/2010 Comment

Cardinal Marc Ouellet speaks at a gathering to mark the end of the Year for Priests at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict XVI has today made some significant and long awaited appointments to the Roman Curia:

• Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 66, until now Archbishop of Québec, becomes the new prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, replacing Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, 76.
• Msgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has been appointed president of the Academy, replacing Archbishop Rino Fisichella.
• Archbishop Fisichella moves to become president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, a new dicastery announced by the Holy Father on Monday.
• Fr. Enrico dal Covolo S.D.B.,...READ MORE

Filed under appointments, congregation for bishops, pontifical academy for life, pontifical council for the new evangelization, roman curia, united nations

German Catholics to Rally for Benedict

06/24/2010 Comments (1)

Pilgrims hold a sign of support for Pope Benedict XVI prior to the start of the pontiff's general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican June 23. The sign in Spanish says: "Dear Pope: Don't fear the wolves! Our Mother is with you." (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Rallies and meetings to show solidarity with the Holy Father appear to be catching on, not least in Benedict XVI’s native Germany.

According to an article in today’s Die Tagespost, a group called “Germany for the Pope” has organized two rallies in Cologne and Munich on Sunday July 11 – the Feast of St. Benedict.

The idea came from Sabine Beschmann who watched on YouTube the large rally held in St. Peter’s Square last month in support of the Pope following the sexual abuse crisis. An estimated 200,000 faithful travelled from all over Italy to join him in the Angelus prayer.

Beschmann, who developed a stronger bond with the Church and the Successor of Peter following participation in...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, germany, rally, sexual abuse crisis

The Changing Faiths of the Persian Gulf

06/21/2010 Comments (3)

Pope Benedict XVI accepts the credentials of Hissa Abdulla Ahmed al-Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates' first ambassador to the Vatican, May 20 at the Vatican. The Vatican and the United Arab Emirates, a federal union made up of seven states, established full diplomatic relations in 2007. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Catholic Press Photo)

Although Christian emigration from the Holy Land continues to be a serious concern, it’s perhaps less well known that other parts of the Middle East - namely the Arabian peninsular - have seen a phenomenal rate of Christian immigration, mostly from the Asian sub-continent.

It’s the subject of an interesting essay by my colleague Giuseppe Caffulli, the editor-in-chief of Terrasanta.net, and highlighted today by the veteran Vaticanista Sandro Magister.

Caffulli writes: “The land which gave birth to Islam and the Prophet is top on the chart of areas in the world where Christianity is increasing the most” and he goes on to list some remarkable population statistics:

• The United Arab...READ MORE

Filed under arabian peninsula, emigration, holy land, holy see, middle east, persian gulf, religious freedom

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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