Saturday, January 22, 2011

German Catholic Politicians Call for Married Priests

German Catholic politicians call for married priests
BERLIN Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:46am IST
(Reuters) - "Several prominent Roman Catholic politicians have urged German bishops to lobby their countryman Pope Benedict for a change in Church policy to ordain married men in response to a worsening shortage of priests."
"The group, including the speaker of parliament and a cabinet member, backed up its call by quoting a 1970 essay by the present pope where he predicts the Church "will know new forms of ministry and ordain upstanding (lay) Christians as priests."
"The German bishops estimate that two-thirds of all Catholic parishes in the country will not have their own priest by 2020. .."

"German Catholicism was shaken by the sexual abuse scandals that swept through Europe last year. Some critics blame clerical abuse of minors on celibacy, a link the Church denies."
"In the wake of the scandals, polls have found that about a quarter of German Catholics are considering leaving the Church."

Are Catholic Bishops Losing Authority or Have Catholics Evolved in Moral Decisions?

NCR: Are strong declarations of doctrine the right answer to contemporary culture?

"What does it mean, then, when a bishop (or bishops) draws a line in the sand, only to have it washed away beneath a tide of Catholic expert analysis or the consciences of faithful Catholics or other recognized Catholic leaders who come to different conclusions?"

“Once upon a time nuns, no matter what they thought of their bishops, would probably be willing to go along” with pronouncements even if they disagreed with them, said Margaret Steinfels, codirector of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University in New York. At least, she said, “they would not go public on these matters. And now, they’re willing to.”

Keehan, on the health care debate, “is absolutely right, and I suspect she has a vast number of Catholics agreeing with her,” Steinfels told NCR in an interview.

Different kinds of authority
That debate and the one surrounding the hospital controversy in Phoenix demonstrate “the fact that there are many different kinds of authority or credibility,” she said. “If the bishop is merely asserting a juridical authority here, claiming that church teaching has been violated, Sr. McBride has all sorts of other kinds of authority” validating her view, said Steinfels. “She has the opinion of the medical professionals who say this was necessary to save the life of the mother.”

The pregnant mother of four who was dying also brought an authority to the situation, she said. “A lot of people,” said Steinfels, “think that bishops haven’t the foggiest idea of what it means to be pregnant, or to be pregnant and sick, or to be pregnant and dying. I’m not opposed to juridical authority. After all, we depend on it in many ways, either in the state or in the church.” But, she said, people today weigh against juridical authority “many other types of authority or ideas about what should have happened, and the bishop’s authority has been found wanting.”

Such open debates and disagreements, she said, might signal a crisis of authority, “but I think what we’re seeing is the evolution of an adult church.”

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Yes, I do believe that Margaret Steinfels has it right. Nuns, like Sister Carol Keehan of Catholic Health Care West, speak up for patient's rights, including pregnant women's rights to life in situations when that life is threatened and can be saved. Nuns are no longer afraid of incurring the wrath of the bishops or the Vatican for that matter. (Read about the backfire of Vatican's investigations of nuns. Hint, U.S. Catholics supported the good Sisters and stopped writing checks.)

As the article states bishops have no idea what it means to be pregnant and sick or pregnant and dying. Neither does anyone who has not been pregnant. In the Phoenix case where a pregnant woman was facing death, the ethics board made a decision to save her life. The Bishop of Phoenix excommunicated Sr. McBride, the nun who was on this ethics board, for participating in this decision . Later, he removed St. Joseph's official status as a "Catholic" hospital. In the battle of "authorities", the bishop represents one authority, but there are other authorities that must be heard- in this case the medical professionals and the pregnant woman. I agree that we are witnessing a transformation of consciousness that points to adults making moral decisions according to the principles of the Gospel and the wisdom of the lived experience of their faith. It appears that the majority of Catholics agreed with the ethics board and not the Bishop of Phoenix in this tragic case. St. Joseph's Hospital continues to receive public support from the people for their decision not to cede to the authority of the bishop. The irony is that now St. Joseph's Hospital, although no longer officially recognized as a "Catholic" hospital has become truly "catholic" because the community of faith has affirmed its compassionate care and courageous stance to speak truth to power and protect life, including pregnant women's lives. This is a victory for the common sense branch of the Roman Catholic Church-- the people of God, who make ethical decisions all the time that reflect Jesus' vision in the Gospels in their daily lives. (See link to article below)

"Earth to male Roman Catholic bishops", listen to the voice of God speaking through the people of God including women! We are witnessing the full equality of women in our times and it is about time!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vatican: 1997 Irish Abuse Letter 'Misunderstood'/ Will Irish Bishops Push Vatican Toward Reform?

Vatican: 1997 Irish abuse letter 'misunderstood'
By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) --" In a new round of damage control, the Vatican insisted Wednesday that a 1997 letter warning Irish bishops against reporting priests suspected of sex abuse to police had been "deeply misunderstood."
"The Associated Press on Tuesday reported the contents of the letter, in which the Vatican's top diplomat in Ireland told bishops that their policy of mandatory reporting such cases to police "gives rise to serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature."

"The letter confirms that the cover-up goes as far as the Vatican, that Vatican officials knew exactly what was going on, and that they proactively sought to deter Irish bishops from cooperating with civil authorities in Ireland," said Andrew Madden, a former Dublin altar boy who was raped repeatedly by a priest, Ivan Payne, in the 1980s.
"This letter also documents how the church remained of the view that it is a law unto itself, how its rules and regulations regarding the handling of a criminal offense take precedence over civil society's laws," said Madden, who in 1995" became the first victim in Ireland to go public with a lawsuit against the church.
..."Yet as a result of the 1997 letter, most Irish dioceses never implemented the 1996 commitment to report all suspected abuse cases to police, according to the conclusions of the government-mandated investigation into the Dublin Archdiocese published in 2009."
"This in fact never took place because of the response of Rome," the commission said in its report, although it quoted Dublin Archdiocese officials as saying it was implemented there."
"That eight-year inquiry interviewed two senior Dublin Archdiocese canon lawyers involved in handling abuse complaints. They were quoted as saying the letter discouraged bishops from pursuing their 1996 initiative for fear of being overruled by Rome, as had already happened in one notorious case of a serial pedophile."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
No amount of spin by the Vatican will justify their refusal to "defrock" serial pedophile priests who raped Catholic children. How could Vatican policy NOT demand mandatory reporting to civil officials of clergy crimes everywhere in the world? How could the Vatican return these pedophiles to ministry and risk more attacks on innocent children? In some instances, the Vatican explained,that the reason they did not defrock priests was to avoid scandal. What? The real scandal here is the crimes against thousands of children and youth, and the hierarchy's efforts to cover up such hideous acts. And now, this letter provides evidence, that the blame for the sexual abuse scandal belongs at the Vatican's doorsteps.

It was reported in the RTE Special television report that the bishops in Ireland and the United States appealed to the Vatican to get rid of serial pedophiles, and were rebuffed.

So now it appears the Vatican is denying that it is responsible.
I honestly hope that the Irish bishops challenge the Vatican and inform the Pope that they will not be part of a global cover-up any longer or take the blame for the Vatican's failure to tell the truth about its role in this tragic debacle! This summer the Pope refused to accept the resignation of two of these bishops involved in the sex abuse crisis in Ireland. Why? Did the Irish bishops complain about the lack of pastoral response on the part of the Vatican? Now the ball appears to be in the Irish bishops' court with the release of this letter. The question is will the Irish bishops have the courage to confront the Vatican and demand systemic change? Or will they close ranks and protect their own and keep the clerical system intact?

The Catholic Church is at a crossroads. Will we continue to support a corrupt hierarchical, clerical system, turn a blind eye to its failures that are tearing the Body of Christ apart or will the people of God, in genuine faithfulness to the Gospel, demand a reformation and renewal of our church?

Let us pray that the Catholc community in Ireland and around the world will move forward and support genuine structural reforms in our church. It is time for a renewed priestly ministry that will transform clericalism and will include women priests, and married priests in Spirit-led, Christ-centered, people empowered, inclusive grassroots communities of equals.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Judge Anne Burke Challenges Hierarchy to be Truth Tellers in Global Sex Abuse Scandal

Justice Anne M. Burke , Supreme Court Justice, State of Illinois ,was the second president of the National Review Board appointed by the US bishops. The following is a guest blog by Judge Burke published in from Father Lasch's Blog:

"Instead of ejecting women from the sanctuary, silencing discussion among the baptized, or blurring the lines between the earthly Vatican City-State and the Body of Christ, let’s tell the truth. Let’s focus on not fibbing for the sake of the Kingdom of God and not lying for the sake of the One who died and now is Risen. Let’s leave the clerical theocracy behind and trade it for the Kingdom of God; let the grace of our sacramental life carry us further than we can see. A good dose of dignity and truth would do us all good. "

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Irish Television Program Reveals Shocking Role of Vatican in Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal

January 17, 2011
The Pope has blamed Irish bishops for their mishandling of "unspeakable crimes" by priests, but reporter Mick Peelo reveals how not only did the Vatican secretly block the bishop's efforts to improve child protection and bring abuser priests to justice, but were every bit as inept in their own handling of abuse.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Excellent program by Irish Television revealing the Vatican's Policy of Protecting Abuser Priests When the Irish bishops tried to get the Vatican to remove priests abusers, the Vatican opposed them- citing it was not the role of the bishop to be a cop but a father to his priests.
If trust is to be restored and justice is to be done for the survivors of abuse, the Vatican must admit its role in this grave scandal. A major part of the problem is clericalism, the system of power and priviledge at the heart of this scandal that protected priests, and failed to protect the victims of abuser priests. As I have said many times, we need major reform in our church, and that reform must include systems of accountability, the empowerment of the community of faith and a renewed priestly ministry of women and men called by God and their communities to serve as sacramental ministers, spiritual leaders and prophetic witnesses to justice and equality for all our sisters and brothers.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vatican Edict n 1997: "A Mandate... to conceal the Reported Crimes of a Priest"/Irish Times/Time for Boycott of Vatican

by Patsy McGarry/Irish Times/RTE Special Report

Vatican edict in 1997 rejected calls to report priests who abused

A 1997 VATICAN directive rejected a recommendation by the Irish Catholic Church that priests who abused children should be reported tothe civil authorities, it has emerged.

..." an Irish bishop described the Vatican directive as “a mandate . . . to conceal the reported crimes of a priest”.

.... "at a 1998 meeting with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy (1996 until 2006), then archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell thumped a table in frustration as the cardinal insisted it was Vatican policy to defend the rights of an accused priest above all."
Last month, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that, in the past “most of the Irish bishops felt that dealing with the Congregation for Clergy was disastrous”.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
More proof that the Vatican behaved like a crime family in the sexual abuse crisis. Finally, an Irish bishop has told the sad tale of the Vatican's "mandate to conceal the reported crimes" of priests.

What other church would get away with hiding criminals? What other church would get away with promoting bishops to prestigious positions in the Vatican, like Cardinal Law, who was at the epic center of the U.S. scandal?
This occured under Pope John Paul II's watch, and now church authorities appear to be in a rush to canonize him in May. Something is wrong here!

Clericalism is at the heart of this terrible sexual abuse scandal that has devastated the lives of thousands of sexual abuse victims. When protecting the accused cleric, trumps the rights of the alleged sexual abuse victim to an open and fair investigation by civil authorities, the Vatican 1997 mandate smacks of clericalism run amock in the Catholic Church! It is unjust and unbecoming to a church, whose role model is Jesus Christ.

It is time for the people of God, the church, to demand that the Vatican to initiate reforms of the clericalism that is at the heart of this sexual abuse crisis in the church. How about a world-wide boycott of money to the Vatican until this happens! It is time to open up to a renewed priestly ministry that includes Roman Catholic Women Priests serving in a people-empowered, community of equals where all are accountable to the standards of the Gospel and all are equal.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Are Church:" Beatification of a Controversial, Contradictory Pope"

International Movement
We Are Church

Media Contact:Christian WeisnerTel.: +49-172 518 40 82
See below for U.S. media contacts and other international contacts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Rome / Lisbon, January 16, 2011

We Are Church: Beatification of a controversial, contradictory Pope

Pope John Paul II, whose beatification on 1 May 2011 was announced earlier this week, was a pope of great contradiction. His tragedy lies in the discrepancy between his commitment to reform and dialogue in the world and his return to authoritarianism within the church.

It was his penchant for spiritual authoritarianism that contributed to the greatest tragedy of his tenure as pope: the sexual abuse of thousands of children globally. By holding church hierarchy paramount above the needs of the people, John Paul II perpetuated a toxic environment in which priests were permitted, often repeatedly, to sexually abuse children as long as the criminal behaviour was kept secret, preserving the public image of untarnished leadership.

Perhaps one of the best reflections of this is seen in John Paul II's strong relationship with the Legion of Christ and its founder Marcial Maciel. Maciel is accused of decades of serious abuse against women and youth, much of which was allowed to percolate due in part to the 1983 bylaws John Paul II approved for Maciel's religious order that demanded secrecy and prohibited criticism of its founder.

It was John Paul II's same need for hierarchical control that also lead to the constriction of theology with scarring impact on people's lives. His attempt to discredit liberation theology left thousands working for liberation without the full theological and ecclesial support they deserved while suffering under brutal political regimes.

Spiritual authoritarianism was also seen in John Paul II's attempt to suppress discourse on gender equality which, in turn, deprived the Catholic world of the gifts women would bring to church leadership. His stance against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people places him in complicity with local churches and governments who continue to deny the civil and moral equality of LGBT persons. Additionally, his repeated denouncements of condom use complicated the moral choice of millions around the world attempting to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and promote sexual health.

The International Movement We Are Church believes that beatification and ultimately sainthood should not be measured by whether a "miracle" can be attributed to a particular person, but rather, whether someone's life truly embodies the values of Christ who sought, not power, but the well being of God's people.

Please contact / Póngase en contacto con / Contatti / Contacter /Kontakt/ Por favor entre em contato:
Hans Peter Hurka
+43-650-315 42 00
Edith Kuropatwa-Fèvre
Irene Cacais
+55-61 3223 4599
Jean Trudeau
Francesc Bragulat
Enrique Orellana
+56-696 4491
Kaare Rübner Jorgensen
+45-367 81 804
Giovanni Politi
Hubert Tournès
Christian Weisner
+49-172-518 40 82
Dr. Marcell Mártonffy
+36-1 2190621
Helen McCarthy
Vittorio Bellavite
Henk Baars
Aasmund Vik
Franz Wieser
Maria Joao Sande Lemos
+351-91 460 2336
South Africa:
Brian Robertson
Raquel Mallavibarrena
Krister Janzon
Brigitte Durrer
United Kingdom:
Valerie Stroud
+44-(0)7904 332201
United States:
Anthony Padovano
United States:
Nicole Sotelo
+1-773.404.0004 x285