Category: 2014
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We Have a Problem
Robert Schutzius, Ph.D.                                           July 2014
An article in the July 4-17, 2014  issue of the NCRVatican publishes reflection on Sensus Fidei, gives a clear idea of what the International Theological Commission thinks about this idea of Sensus Fidei.  

If there is a problem with the faithful not accepting a teaching of the Vatican, it is because:


"While the validity and importance of different church teachings cannot be the subject of a popular vote, the degree to which they are or are not accepted by most Catholics is important," the commission members wrote.


"When the reception of magisterial teaching by the faithful meets with difficulty and resistance," the document said, "appropriate action on both sides is required."

Catholics "must reflect on the teaching that has been given, making every effort to understand and accept it," the document said. "Resistance, as a matter of principle, to the teaching of the magisterium is incompatible with the authentic sensus fidei."


At the same time, the theologians said, "the magisterium must likewise reflect on the teaching that has been given and consider whether it needs clarification or reformulation in order to communicate more effectively the essential message."

The answer is "We have a Communication Problem".  It is not that the faithful might be right, it lies in the fact that they are too dense to really understand the teaching.  So to solve the problem, the teaching must be more clearly taught and the people must study it more. The possibility that the teaching might be clearly understood and still found unacceptable to the whole Church, the People of God, does not enter the picture at all.  It is too bad that their view of communication seems to be a one-way street.  We are to learn from them, with no possibility of them learning from us.


We can only conclude that no matter how much we study and understand a teaching of the Vatican, if we still do not accept it, it is because we are too ignorant to figure it out, and not because we believe the message of Jesus that he is still with us building His Church in us, His people, keeping us from error. 

Bob Schutzius is an ARCC presidential advisor, former board member, secretary and office manager of ARCC.
Some things we have been reading  
Pope: Bishops Will Be Accountable for Sex Abuse
Frances D'Emilio     Jul.7, 2014

Pope Francis promised to hold bishops accountable for the protection of minors and begged forgiveness Monday from the victims of clergy sex abuse as he held his first meeting with several abuse survivors.


The pope celebrated a Mass with six survivors at his Vatican hotel Monday, but in his homily he didn't spell out whether that accountability would include firing bishops and other prelates who systematically shuffled pedophile priests from parish to parish to avoid bringing shame upon the Catholic Church.

. . . .

Francis himself has been criticized by survivor advocates for how he handled abuse cases when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, specifically for not meeting with victims and denying that he had handled the case of an abusive priest, said Anne Barrett Doyle, a director of the advocacy group


Even while the pope spent his morning with the three men and three women, listening to their stories one by one, several victims' groups blasted the meetings as being "a PR event."

. . . . 

"I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves," the pope said Monday. "This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk."  

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Pope meets with six victims of sexual abuse for over three hours at the Vatican
Pope meets with six victims of sexual abuse for over three hours at the Vatican
Vatican concedes many Catholics ignore core teaching on sex and contraception 
Nicole Winfield       Jun.26, 2014

 The Vatican conceded Thursday that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant and officials pledged not to "close our eyes to anything" when it opens a two-year debate on some of the thorniest issues facing the church.

Core church doctrine on the nature of marriage, sexuality, abortion and divorce isn't expected to change as a result of the debate that opens in October. But Pope Francis is well aware that the church has lost much of its relevance and credibility in today's secular world and he is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a "new language" that is welcoming and responds to their needs.


The Vatican on Thursday issued the working document for the synod discussions, which in itself marked a sharp change from past practice: The Vatican sent out a 39-point questionnaire seeking input from ordinary Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church's teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce.

. . . .

The document itself, though, acknowledged that the church had a credibility problem.

"Responses from almost every part of the world frequently refer to the sexual scandals within the church (pedophilia in particular) and in general, to a negative experience with the clergy and other persons," it said. "Sex scandals significantly weaken the church's moral credibility."

The document doesn't recommend changing church teaching on key hot-button issues like its opposition to gay marriage.


But citing Francis' frequent call for the church to be more merciful and less judgmental, it recommends new pastoral guidelines to confront the increasing reality of legal recognition for same-sex unions, stressing that gays must be treated with dignity, respect and spared discrimination. 

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Supreme Court: Some companies exempt from contraceptive coverage
Joshua J. McElwee       Jun.30, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some private corporations should be afforded religious exemptions from one mandate in the Affordable Care Act of 2010, finding that some private companies should be given the same accommodations to the mandate as religious nonprofits like churches and charities.


The 5-4 ruling by the court was made regarding the private corporations Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which filed suit against a Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring coverage of contraceptive services in health care plans, saying it conflicted with their religious views.


In a contentious decision, written by associate Justice Samuel Alito but opposed by all three women serving on the court, the justices ruled for the first time that certain businesses can hold religious views, effectively requiring the Obama administration to find another way to provide contraceptive services to women employed by those companies.


The businesses, the court said, are afforded such protection by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a 1993 law aimed at preventing legislation that infringes on a person's free exercise of religion. 

Read more

More articles 




Media exaggerated horror tale at Irish orphanage
Shawn Pogatchnik    Jun.24, 2014

Revelations this month that nuns had buried nearly 800 infants and young children in unmarked graves at an Irish orphanage during the last century caused stark headlines and stirred strong emotions and calls for investigation.


Since then, however, a more sober picture has emerged that exposes how many of those headlines were wrong.


The case of the Tuam "mother and baby home" offers a study in how exaggeration can multiply in the news media, embellishing occurrences that should have been gripping enough on their own.


The key fact is that a researcher, Catherine Corless, spent years seeking records of all the children who died in the orphanage in County Galway during its years of operation from 1925 to 1961. She found 797 death records - and only one record that one of the youngsters had been buried alongside relatives in a Catholic cemetery.
. . . . 

When Corless published her findings on a Facebook campaign page, and Irish media noticed, she speculated to reporters that the resting place of most, if not all, could be inside a disused septic tank on the site. By the time Irish and British tabloids went to print in early June, that speculation had become a certainty, the word "disused" had disappeared, and U.S. newspapers picked up the report, inserting more errors, including one that claimed the researcher had found all 796 remains in a septic tank.


The Associated Press was among the media organizations that covered Corless and her findings, repeating incorrect Irish news reports that suggested the babies who died had never been baptized and that Catholic Church teaching guided priests not to baptize the babies of unwed mothers or give to them Christian burials.


The reports of denial of baptism later were contradicted by the Tuam Archdiocese, which found a registry showing that the home had baptized more than 2,000 babies. The AP issued a corrective story on Friday after discovering its errors.


Brendan O'Neill, editor of the London-based online magazineSpiked, said journalists worldwide "got a whiff of Corless's findings and turned them into the stuff of nightmares." He noted that several top newspapers in the United States stated that 800 baby skeletons had been found in a septic tank, and that commentators fueled by a "Twitter mob" mentality compared the deaths to Nazi-era genocide.  

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Quinn to priest group: Church poised at a moment of far-reaching consequences
Thomas C. Fox      Jul.7, 2014

"I've read your book and am hoping it will be implemented," Emeritus Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco said Pope Francis told him just days before his election as pope after the two men ran into each other outside a coffee shop in Rome.


Quinn related the story June 25 to some 225 priests at a gathering of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in St. Louis, where the prelate was honored with the group's Pope John XXIII Award.


Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was referring to a 1999 Quinn treatise, The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity. That book was Quinn's response to Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, a meditation on ecumenism and the role of the office of the pope as sign of church unity.


Quinn said he took up John Paul's offer, contained in the encyclical, to further discussion. Quinn examined papal structural history and the centralization of the office that has occurred over the centuries. He makes the point in his book that decentralization of Vatican authority is a prerequisite for any serious consideration of union between the Roman Catholic church and other Christian church bodies. The book called for a review of monarchal governing structures and a return to serious collegiality among bishops and local churches, including allowing them to select or elect their own bishops.


Quinn has argued that the idea of a decentralized church is hardly novel and is based on governing models in place 1,500 years ago. Re-establishing a more collegial, less centralized church governance, Quinn says, was the intention of the world's bishops who gathered during the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The vision of a more collegial church, he states, is found in the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, "The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church." 

. . . .

Last year, Quinn wrote Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church, an elaboration of his earlier work. In the new book, the prelate says decentralization could be achieved by returning the Roman Catholic church to a model of governance found in Eastern Orthodox churches. He suggests the establishment of patriarchates, while allowing synods of bishops to have real decision-making power.


In such a reconfiguration, the appointment of bishops, the creation of dioceses, questions of liturgy and other matters of Catholic practice would be up the regional bishops' conferences, Quinn writes. He adds that the bishop of Rome should remain the sign of unity and love among the churches, and that a de-centralizing papacy would enhance church unity and strength.

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Archbishop Nienstedt under investigation
Grant Gallicho       Jul.1, 2014

Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being investigated for "multiple allegations" of inappropriate sexual conduct with seminarians, priests, and other men, according to the archbishop's former top canon lawyer, Jennifer Haselberger. The investigation is being conducted by a law firm hired by the archdiocese. Nienstedt denies the allegations.


The investigation was spurred by information the archdiocese received late last year, according to another person with knowledge of the investigation. (This inquiry is not related to a December 2013 accusation that Nienstedt touched a boy's buttocks during a confirmation photo shoot. The archbishop denied that allegation, and, following an investigation, the county prosecutor did not bring charges. Reportedly the case has been reopened.) Near the end of the year, it came to light that a former Twin Cities priest had accused Nienstedt of making unwanted sexual advances. 

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Archbishop Nienstedt released this statement..

Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché also released a statement.  

Holy See Press Office: Canonical Trial of Ex Nuncio Jozef Wesolowski
VIS       Jun.27, 2014

The first stage in the canonical trial against the former apostolic nuncio in the Dominican Republic, Josef Wesolowski, has been concluded with the laicisation of the prelate.


From this moment, the accused has two months in which to make an eventual appeal. The penal trial before the Vatican judicial authorities will continue as soon as the canonical sentence has been made definitive.
Finally, with reference to recent media reports, it is necessary to specify that until now Msgr. Wesolowski has been granted relative freedom of movement, as he awaits the verification by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of the basis of these accusations made against him. 

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Pope adds Secretary of State Pietro Parolin as member of Council of Cardinals
Rome Reports     Jul.3, 2014

Pope Francis and his nine cardinal advisers continue working relentlessly on redesigning the Vatican. The select group expanded to include Secretary of State Pietro Parolin. The move merely reflects reality, since Parolin has participated in all meetings, but with a lower profile, given that he was not a full member. 

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Pope and 'C9' reform group talks 'free, frank, friendly'
ANSA      Jul.4, 2014

Pope Francis has had "free, frank and friendly" discussions with the C9 group of cardinals charged with examining reforms, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Friday. The focus of the meetings this week, the fifth session since the start of the Argentinian's pontificate, has been threefold: a presentation on the situation in the Governorate and the Secretariat of State, an in-depth look at the re-shuffle of the Vatican departments and the Institute of Religious Works (IOR) or Vatican Bank, Fr. 
Lombardi said. 

The cardinals expressed their esteem Thursday for IOR President Ernst Von Freyberg, amid speculation that he plans to resign from the bank, which is trying to make the white list of credit institutions with top transparency credentials "An English-language cardinal spoke of the '3Fs' to describe the atmosphere in which the cardinals work with the pope," Lombardi said. 

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Another shake-up looms at troubled Vatican bank
John L. Allen Jr.      Juln.30, 2014

As a new Council for the Economy created by Pope Francis to oversee reform in Vatican finances prepares to meet this week, the troubled Vatican bank appears set for its second shake-up in two years with the imminent departure of its president, German businessman Ernst von Freyberg.


Officials confirmed the move to the Globe on Monday, but disagreed as to whether it's a routine part of restructuring efforts or if alleged irregularities are involved.


While struggling to avoid impressions of a crisis, Vatican officials also find themselves playing down accusations in the Italian press that a shadowy "Maltese lobby" led by economist Joseph F.X. Zahra of Malta, vice coordinator of the new council, is attempting to take control of Vatican assets.


Speaking on background, Vatican officials insist the reports are either false or exaggerated.

Officials not authorized to speak on the record said von Freyberg's exit could be finalized as early as this week.

. . . .

The leading candidate to take over at the bank, technically known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, is said to be French financier Jean-Baptise de Franssu, who served on a panel to study the Vatican's financial systems created by the pontiff in 2013 and who currently sits on the Council for the Economy.


If so, observers may read it as a gain for Cardinal George Pell, an Australian tapped by Francis in February as his finance czar, since Zahra and de Franssu are seen as Pell allies.

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Will Francis still be the media's darling after the Synod on the Family?
Ben Ryan       Jul.3, 2014

Francis has a real and instinctive gift for reaching out to people and it has been met with astonishing positivity by the Western media. His personal phone calls to people who have written to him cause a particular interest.  

. . . .

These separate incidents highlight a major potential problem for Francis in the coming months. A synod on the family will be held in Rome in October. Its working document known as the instrumentum laboris has already been published on the back of a consultation with Catholics around the world. The press coverage in papers like the Daily Telegraph has raised expectations that this could be what liberal commentators have been calling for - an end to "rigid teaching" on sex, contraception, marriage and homosexuality. Perhaps the Church will at last realise how few of its adherents follow its teachings and come to terms with the modern world.


They will be disappointed, however, as Francis must already know. To be unambiguously clear; there will be no reversal of the views of the Church on the central importance of marriage and the opposition to divorce, co-habitation, contraception or the recognition of homosexual marriages. What there will be discussion on is the pastoral role of education and mercy in reaching out to a society which does not necessarily share those positions.  

. . . .

This poses a different problem for Francis. The Church is right to consider how to educate people in its message on the family and right to reconsider the best ways of doing this in line with the issues facing people. But in doing so it is going to disappoint a great many commentators who are hoping for something more radical.  

. . . .  

Francis has recognised the importance of the media, his difficulty will be in keeping them on side when they react against the synod's proposals. 

Read more

Invited or not, here they come
Joan Chittister      Jul.3, 2014

. . . .

Whole bodies of people are moving forward while the bishops stay at rest. Most important of all, when the hierarchical church finally called for a response from the church at large about something important -- marriage, family, relationships -- material poured out of every lay group in the country. The data were clear: The laity was eager to respond. They wanted to be part of the conversation. They wanted to give back to the church the fruits of the sacrament the church has bestowed on them.


But not in one area alone or from one group alone.

For instance, the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has asked their bishop representatives to present three proposals to the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference with a view to forwarding them to Rome. Their proposals for official consideration include the acceptance of married priests, the ordination of women to the diaconate, and the recall of laicized priests to priestly ministry. 

. . . . 

Here, in our own case, an American-initiated global network of Catholics and Christians, Catholic Church Reform International, in collaboration with more than a hundred church organizations and individuals from 65 countries is calling for all Catholics to have an influential voice in the decision-making of the church.


They are taking the pope seriously. Pope Francis invited the church to prepare for the upcoming extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family by reporting to their bishops their own responses to the papal survey on the subject.


Catholic Church Reform International, in fact, is urging that all forms of family life be represented and invited to participate in the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family. They "want a voice in the church." Their document is clear: "Both knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by families need to be understood before meaningful resolutions can be reached."

. . . . 

Most important of all, Catholic Church Reform International is issuing an open invitation to anyone who wishes to attend its "Forum on the Family -- Listening to the Faithful," to be held Oct. 2-3 at the Jesuit Oratory of S. Francesco Saverio del Caravita in Rome.


Just prior to the opening of the synod on the family itself, the summary report of regional responses developed there will be delivered to the synod office.


Clearly, as the physicists teach us, to every action, there is a reaction. And this reaction from the laity on "family" as it exists now is coming from the very heart of the people on whose lives the synod will pronounce.

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Korean 'comfort women' invited to papal Mass in Seoul
AFP        Jul.1, 2014

Korean women forced into sex slavery for Japanese troops during World War II have been invited to a mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis in Seoul in August, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.


The invitation comes at a time when relations between Japan and South Korea are at low ebb over Tokyo's recent allegations that there was no evidence to corroborate the testimony of so-called "comfort women" who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels.


"We've invited the victims to the mass for peace and reconciliation," said a spokeswoman for the committee organizing the visit, who did not wish to be named.


The pope will celebrate mass on August 18 at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul. 

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The wrong kind of papal 'ribbing'
Phyllis Zagano       Jul.2, 2014

I'm sure Pope Francis did not mean to insult half the human race the other day. In his first-ever interview with a woman journalist, he "joked" that women are taken from Adam's rib and that women have power as rectory housekeepers.


OK, so he's old, he's tired, and he's got a million things on his mind. But, hello, Holy Father -- the world is watching.

. . . .

Unfortunately, remarks like his are not all that unusual.


When you catch some priests or bishops making similar comments, they chuckle, "Oh, no, ha ha, just joking." Other clerics, the ones who buy their own groceries and cook their own chicken, may smile wanly and say nothing when such wisecracks fly past. Only a very few will man up to the fact that these words hurled in jest have insulted a woman, thereby all women, thereby half the body of Christ.

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TV Preachers Glowingly Describe Meeting with Pope to Tear Down 'Walls of Division'
 Garrett Haley       Jul.3, 2014

Two controversial TV preachers recently met Pope Francis in an effort to work toward tearing down the 'walls of division' between Catholics and Protestants.


Kenneth Copeland and James Robison are two religious leaders in northeast Texas known for drawing huge crowds to their services and events, and who were a part of leading the group identifying as a "delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders" in its meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff late last month.

. . . . 

Several other evangelicals, including Robison's wife, were present at the meeting, which was organized by an Episcopal bishop.


"This meeting was a miracle," Robison told Fort Worth's Star-Telegram after returning from Rome. "This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together." 

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Priest cleared in bizarre 911 call rejoins Quincy church
Rajah Maples       Jul.1, 2014

A priest who made headlines for unusual behavior last year has a new assignment at a Quincy [Illinois] Catholic church.


Monsignor Michael Kuse told KHQA Father Thomas Donovan began Tuesday as a parochial vicar at St. Peter's in Quincy.


Donovan returned to the ministry last fall after a bizarre 911 call in January 2013.

He dialed 911 after handcuffing himself inside a church rectory in Springfield.

Investigators say no crime took place. 

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Trial pushed back for Detroit priest charged with defrauding Archdiocese charity
David Muller       Jul.1, 2014

A trial for a priest and an alleged accomplice accused of scheming a charity for money has been pushed back to September.

. . . . 

Kane and Brewer are charged with conspiracy to operate a criminal enterprise, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison; using a computer to commit a crime, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison; uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony; conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing, a 14-year-felony; embezzlement between $1,000 and $20,000, a 10-year felony; and conspiracy to embezzle between $1,000 and $20,000, a 10-year felony.


Kane is the former associate pastor of St. Gregory the Great and Church of Madonna, both in Detroit; as well as St. Benedict in Highland Park. In February of 2012, Kane was reassigned as a Christian service contractor at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In July of 2013, he became the Parochial Vicar to St. Moses the Black Parish.