http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,787325,00.html"...Küng: After his election to be pope, he invited me to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, where we had a four-hour friendly conversation. At the time, I hoped it would mark the beginning of a new era of openness. But that hope has not been fulfilled. We correspond with each other once in a while. The sanctions against me -- the withdrawal of my permission to teach -- still exist. (Ed's note: The Vatican revoked Küng's permission to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he publicly rejected the dogma of papal infallibility.)
SPIEGEL: When was the last time Benedict wrote to you?
Küng: Through his private secretary (Georg) Gänswein, he thanked me for sending him my latest book and sent me his best wishes.
SPIEGEL: In your polemic book "Ist die Kirche noch zu retten?" ("Can the Church Still Be Saved?"), which was published earlier this year, you harshly criticized the pope for his anti-reformist policy.
Küng: I find it very gratifying that he hasn't ended the personal relationship despite my criticism.
SPIEGEL: Many Catholics feel that the Church is in a rather desolate state. The cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by priests has driven believers away from the Church in droves. What's going wrong?
Küng: If you put it that simply, I'll give you a simple answer. Ratzinger's predecessor, John Paul II, launched a program of ecclesiastical and political restoration, which went against the intentions of the Second Vatican Council. He wanted a re-Christianization of Europe. And Ratzinger was his most loyal assistant, even at an early juncture. One could call it a period of restoration of the pre-council Roman regime.
SPIEGEL: Why are these problems suddenly emerging, 50 years after Vatican II, which took place between 1962 and 1965?
Küng: The problems have been bubbling up in the Church for some time, as the decades-long cover-up of the sexual abuse scandals reveals. At some point, the global abuse problem could no longer be denied. But that isn't the only cover-up by the Catholic hierarchy. The cover-up of the dire condition of the Church is just as bad.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?
Küng: Namely that church life at the parish level has largely disintegrated in many countries. In 2010, for the first time, there were more people leaving the Church than being baptized in Germany. Since the Council, we have lost tens of thousands of priests. Hundreds of rectories are without pastors, and male and female orders are dying out because they can no longer recruit new blood. The number of people attending church services is steadily declining. But the Church hierarchy has not had the courage to admit, honestly and frankly, what the situation is really like. I wonder how this is supposed to continue...."
Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds (Diocese of Phoenix) http://www.diocesephoenix.org/uploads/docs/COMMUNION-NEWS-RELEASE-092111.pdf Questions and Answers: Norms for Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Forms (Diocese of Phoenix http://www.diocesephoenix.org/uploads/docs/COMMUNION-Q-AND-A-092111.pdfSeptember 22, 2011
"The Diocese of Phoenix has announced that it will issue norms specifying the conditions under which Holy Communion may be distributed under both species.
“The new norms will promote unity in the celebration of the Eucharist all around the world, and come from the revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd Edition, together with the final edition of The Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America,” the diocese stated in a press release.
“In the Roman Missal (1975), 14 instances were provided when the chalice could be offered to the laity,” the diocese noted. “From 1975 on, the United States, United Kingdom and Oceania were given experimental privileges for the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds. These privileges expired in 2005 and were not renewed by the Holy See. The new norms issued in June 2011 are what guide the liturgical practice today and in the future...”
The ritual books state that Holy Communion may be offered at the Chrism Mass and feast of Corpus Christi. Additionally, it may be offered to a Catholic couple at their wedding Mass, to first communicants and their family members, confirmation candidates and their sponsors, as well as deacons, non-concelebrating priests, servers and seminarians at any Mass, as well as community members at a conventual Mass or those on a retreat or at a spiritual gathering. In addition, a priest may select other important solemnities in which it may be offered, e.g., parish patronal feast days or the celebration of the dedication of the church building, provided the conditions are met.
“In normal circumstances, only priests and deacons are to distribute Holy Communion,” the diocese added; “when both forms of Communion are used frequently, ‘extraordinary’ ministers of Holy Communion are disproportionately multiplied.”Bridget Mary's Reflection:Another step backward on the long, steady march to a more clerical, male-dominated, church.The Vatican's new/old norms are a return to the Middle Ages. What we need is a more people-empowered church, not a more clerical church. It is obvious that these liturgical changes set the clock back to the Tridentine era. What ever happened to Vatican II? Catholics in the pews need to make their voices heard. They should put their money in escrow until the hierarchy "gets it"--- that the church is the people of God, not the clergy, hierarchy or Vatican alone!The good news is that the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is offering new Inclusive Worship Aids with Vatican II style liturgies and inclusive language. We will have it ready for Advent, the new liturgical year!Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWPAssociation of Roman Catholic Women Priests
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- "How are prisoners on Florida’s death row and unwanted dogs and cats in a city pound alike? They are put to death using the same medication. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court ruled pentobarbital -- a barbiturate used most regularly to euthanize unwanted animals -- can be part of the lethal cocktail used to execute inmates.
Manuel Valle, 61 years old and a 33-year resident of Florida’s death row, is next in line to be put to death using pentobarbital.
Anti-death-penalty activists had hoped to stop Valle’s execution because they claim the use of pentobarbital is “cruel and unusual punishment” when used in lethal injections. They say that pentobarbital is unsafe and unreliable and that using the drug as the first part of a three-drug combination would risk needless pain and suffering for the condemned.
Valle was convicted of killing a Miami police officer in 1978. Florida’s new attorney general, Pam Bondi, is determined to see his sentence carried out. Valle’s death warrant was the first signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott when he took office in January.
Valle has had several stays of execution since August. His latest execution date is set for Sept. 28..."
Troy Davis clemency denied
, Sept. 20As inmate faces execution Wednesday, questions of guilt remain
left to right:(Judy Lee, Diane Dougherty, Patricia Fresen,Bridget Mary Meehan, Miriam Picconi, Wanda Russell,Visit with ARCWP in April 2011)
Ex-Dominican sister, now 'bishop', visiting Australia
http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=28371"Patricia Fresen says she was ordained by a male bishop in the sacrament passed down by laying on hands from the first apostles. The Church says that by that act she ceased to be a Catholic and has excommunicated her.
Bishop Fresen - now a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests church - rejects the excommunication...
The former South African says apartheid taught her about unjust laws. ''We learnt through people like [Nelson] Mandela and [Archbishop Desmond] Tutu that if you have tried and tried to change unjust laws the only way, in the end, is to break them. An unjust law must not be obeyed but broken.''
Now based in Germany, Fresen predicts a time of massive change.
The authoritarian structure based on the Pope and Vatican bureaucracy is collapsing, she says, and soon the Bishop of Rome will be just another Italian bishop.
But the church will survive, and she will be a part. ''I am still a Roman Catholic, very much on the edges. They don't want me, but I'm not going. As [theologian] Hans Kung says, 'Less Pope, more Jesus.' ''http://www.theage.com.au/national/exnun-a-cardinal-sinner-in-the-mind-of-the-church-20110921-1kl8n.html#ixzz1Yk1OCeip"PATRICIA Fresen prefers being quietly subversive to openly confrontational, but the 70-year-old former Dominican nun is like a purple rag to a bull to the Vatican. She says she is a Catholic woman bishop, properly ordained by a male bishop in the sacrament passed down by laying on hands from the first apostles. The official church says that by that act she ceased to be a Catholic and it has excommunicated her (banned her from the church).
...She also suggests that she is in plentiful company because, according to church law, vast numbers of Catholics are automatically excommunicated - if they use artificial contraception, if they divorce and remarry without church approval, if they are gay and sexually active.
Roman Catholic WomenPriests was launched in 2002 ...Now the group has nearly 200 women priests in North America and Europe, with a toehold in Colombia, plus three male priests. Bishop Fresen suspects they may soon be joined by some Australian women.
Usually, a woman who becomes a priest in her group is already supported by a community. ''I recently travelled down the east coast of the US. When I first saw the communities they were little groups of five, six, or eight; now there are in the hundreds,'' Bishop Fresen says.
''Nearly all are people on the fringes of the church, who want to be Catholic but are very critical of some aspects. They are forming churches with much more communitarian structures, much more accountability on the part of the leaders.''
Now based in Germany, Bishop Fresen predicts a time of massive change.
''Benedict, a German Pope, is very unpopular in Germany. He's become a figure of fun. I think he's bringing the papacy to a quick end, and I don't think there will be many more popes elected this way,'' she says..."
http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/europe/pope-returns-home-to-a-disenchanted-germanyBERLIN // "Pope Benedict XVI arrived in his home country yesterday for a visit rich on pomp and ceremony but overshadowed by his rigid conservatism, his handling of a child-abuse scandal and his rehabilitation of a controversial British bishop.
Germany has fallen out of love with Benedict in the six years since he was elected in April 2005 as the first German pope in almost 500 years. ...
It is his third visit to Germany as pope, and will be his most difficult because it has stirred controversy about the direction of the Catholic Church that critics say has grown more inward-looking and removed from the realities of the modern world under his leadership.
Some 100 MPs from the opposition Social Democrats, Greens and Left parties boycotted his speech to the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, and some 15,000 people demonstrated in Berlin against what organisers called his "inhuman gender and sexual policy", a reference to the Catholic Church's refusal to allow women priests, its ostracism of homosexuals and its opposition to artificial contraception.
Klaus Wowereit, the Berlin mayor, who is openly gay, said he could understand why people were protesting. "In its teaching, the church represents theories that belong to past millennia but not to the modern age," he said..."
http://iglesiadescalza.blogspot.com/2011/09/vatican-ii-lost-and-betrayed.htmlGiovanni Franzoni, a former Benedictine abbot, Catholic theologian, and eyewitness to Vatican II, offered these reflections at the 31st Congress of the Asociación de Teólogos y Teólogas Juan XXIII in Madrid earlier this month. They were reproduced in Spanish on Religión Digital. ..."Later, in 1967, Pope Montini published the encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus in which he rejected any theory of change in the existing law. But everyone knows that since then and throughout these fifty years, the question of celibacy has caused endless debate, much discomfort, much suffering.I'll tell you a personal experience. When we learned of the pope's decision to reserve the decision on priestly celibacy to himself, a Colombian conciliar father who was very close to me, said to me in Italian: "Father Abbot, I have only eight diocesan priests, all with domestic partners. What should I do? Put them all out on the street and remain without any priests? I came to the Council for this reason alone .. " I, a "moderate", tried to calm him down, saying that I hoped the Holy Father would do his part ... If the pope had left full freedom to the Council, perhaps a breach would have been opened towards reform. But the pope decided, and the conciliar fathers didn't have the courage to insist, to maintain the freedom to discuss that thorny subject.""Also on Gaudium et Spes, the Pope made an authoritarian intervention that had serious consequences. When the morally legitimate methods of birth control were being discussed, many fathers -- Suenens and Maximos IV, among others -- argued that spouses should be granted freedom of conscience, a thesis that was contradicted by fewer but more militant fathers. Determined to reaffirm Casti Connubii, the encyclical in which Pius XI in 1930 declared that impeding the normal process of procreation of a single conjugal act is a grave sin, the "conservative" fathers opposed through every means the announced openings and new developments. The "progressives" upheld -- "the pill" had been discovered shortly before -- that it wasn't wise to oppose science and issue judgments in such debatable fields. It seemed clear that the vast majority of the Council was in favor of the "open" thesis. Then Paul VI intervened, reserving to himself the determination of morally licit means to regulate fertility. He did it with the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which we will discuss later..".
Jason Berry hs written worsk on clerical sexual abuse. His most recent book is "Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church". http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today"As Berry has traveled the country for book readins this month, the church has been pressed to relive its anguish anew; barely a week ago victims of clergy sex abuse asked the International Criminal Court a the Hague to prosecute Pope Benedict XVI for crimes against humanity for allegedly shielding abusive priests.... He accuses the Vatican of siphoning charitable donations from its special "peer's Pence" collection to plug its budget deficit and a high-ranking cardinal of collecting bribes in return for access to Pope John Paul II. He puts forth that another high-ranking cardinal facilitated a profiteering scheme to make his nephew rich by selling American churches, and he asserts that dioceses throughout the United States have been shuttering financilly successful churches to seize control of their assets and then refusing to properly disclose their finances to the same parishoners responsible for making donations that keep the church afloat... Catholics," he writes, "historically function in a culture of passivity, a mentality of pay, pray, obey that assumes that donations and decisions entrusted to ecclesial officials are executed for 'the good of the church.'"
Association of Roman Catholic Women (ARCWP)Priests ordain 3 women, including Adele Jones, newly ordained, from Texas who isoldest woman priest in U.S. - holding book in photo.The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement has grown from 7 courageous women who were ordained priests on the Danube River in 2002 to approximately 120 worldwide, now in 27 states in the U.S. in 9 countries, including Europe, North America and South American. But, the real story is how could so few women cause the Vatican so much trouble, yet find so much support among ordinary Catholics who now "google" us to find where we are celebrating liturgies? Talking about Shakeup!First the Vatican ignored us, when that did not work, they excommunicated us, when that did not work, they put us in the same category of serious "crimes" as pedophiles. Why? I think it is because we are reshaping and reforming our church in grassroots communities. We are not a protest movement, we are an action movement. We found a way forward. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop with apostolic succession. Now our bishops perform valid ordinations. We believe that justice and equality for women in our church is the vision of Jesus in the Gospels. Women rights are human rights and the issue of human rights and democracy is now sweeping our world with major changes like the so-called "Arab Spring". While women priests are a "holy shakeup", a threat to the Vatican power structure, we are a welcome change toward inclusivity, partnership and equality for a growing number of Catholics including male priests and even bishops in Europe, U.S. Canada, South America. Women priests are not leaving our church, we are leading our church into its future now! Many people ask us how we deal with excommunication. Roman Catholic Women Priests reject Vatican excommunication. Like Mother Theodore Guerin and Mother Mary McKillop, both excommunicated nuns who were later canonized saints by the church, we love our Catholic tradition and one day, hope that our institutional church will view our work for justice and equality as a blessing. Since Pope Benedict canonized both excommunicated nuns as saints, one could say that our pope made excommunication a potential fast track to sainthood! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWPAssociation of Roman Catholic Women Priestshttp://www.associationoformancatholicwomenpriests.org/
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/462-million-people-across-us-poverty-2010http://ncronline.org/blogs/where-i-stand/why-our-country-just-not-functioning"Otherwise we will go on playing Russian roulette with our national future instead of putting our hope in those great old three-legged races we once staged at every county fair.
You remember those: Opposite types -- tall/small, old/young, male/female -- are organized into pairs who must run the course together. The problem is that to win the race you have to cooperate with your partner, however unlike you both may be, because one of your legs and one of theirs is tied together.
The model of the limping, halting, awkward three-legged race couldn’t possibly be any worse for the country than the dangerous game we’re playing right now. "[Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister is a longtime contributor to NCR.]Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Sr. Joan, I think your analogy not only challenges politicans, but all of us to get it together. Yes, differences can be worked through and compromise is possible. We can come up with creative and better solutions for the common good of our country and the world. Yes, it is uncomfortable, yes we will fail, but we can cross the finish line by pulling together in the same direction. Let us unite to end poverty and work together as a people for justice and compassion for all! Let's communicate this message to our nation's leaders.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
The visit by Pope Benedict to Germany (22nd-25th September 2011)Press Release Berlin / Erfurt / Freiburg / Munich, 18th September 2011“God’s crisis and the Church crisis must not be played off against each other!” is the demand by the Church People’s Movement Wir sind Kirche (“We are Church”) on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s journey to Germany from the 22nd to the 25th September 2011, when he makes his first official visit to his home country. The motto “Where God is, there is the future” places the question of God at the centre. But the pressing problems and defects of the Church cannot and must not be cut out of the picture like this. For it is the structures of the Church themselves that more and more block the way into the Church for people who are looking for God, and who want to practise their faith within the fellowship of the Church.This visit to Germany by Pope Benedict XVI takes place during the greatest worldwide crisis of the Roman Catholic Church since the Reformation. As the statistics for the year 2010, only recently presented by the Bishops’ Conference, show: Never before in the history of the German Federal Republic has the number of Catholic women and men fallen so fast – even though this Pope comes from Germany and places the emphasis of his pontificate in Europe.In view of pastoral problems that are becoming more and more acute. not only in Germany but throughout the world, the Roman Catholic Church cannot and must not afford to deny itself reforms that are long overdue, declares the Catholic reform movement Wir sind Kirche, which is networked all over the world. The journey to constructive dialogue about the future of the Church must now begin at last, in the way that the Second Vatican Council, now almost 50 years in the past, pointed out and decided.The Papal visit to Germany does not meet with approval everywhere. Above all his speech to the German Bundestag (parliament) and the meeting with the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court at the Freiburg Seminary bring up the question of the legal position of the Papacy and its right to power in its three politically and religiously essential roles: as representative of the “Holy See”, as Head of State of the mini-state of the Vatican City, and as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Wir sind Kirche has challenged the political representatives of the German people to bring up human rights in the Church in their meetings with Pope Benedict XVI – as for example the German Chancellor did in China. It is a continuing scandal that the “Holy See” or Vatican City is among the very few entities in international law that have still not signed up to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.
In an open letter to the Churches of the Reformation (PDF in German), Wir sind Kirche supports the proposal that they should finally be recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as Churches in the full sense. The declaration “Dominus Jesus” (for which Joseph Ratzinger was responsible in 2000 as the then Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, and which he confirmed in 2007 as Pope) must be revised. The issue of fellowship in the Lord’s Supper, above all for married couples who link different denominations, requires rapid clarification.
Wir sind Kirche also sees the Pope’s meeting with the Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court at the Freiburg Seminary as dubious. The Vatican, which is very dependent upon finance from the German Church, sees the German relationship between the state and the Church and the high privileges that it grants to Churches as endangered by general social changes, but particularly by secularising tendencies in German political parties and by some European Union countries.The “Messages to the Pope” collected by the Church People’s Movement will be handed over on Tuesday, 20th September 2011 (in a meeting not open to the Press) to the Apostolic Nuncio in Berlin.The central event of Church reform groups on Wednesday, 21st September in Berlin, with among others Karin Kortmann (Vice-President of the Central Committee of German Catholics) and Professor Dr Hermann Häring (theologian, co-worker with Dr Küng and papal expert) has the title: “We are (not) Pope! Critical questions on the visit by Benedict XVI.”Events and activities of Church reform groups in various German cities:> www.wir-sind-kirche.de/index.php?id=603#VERANSTALTUNGENBackground information on the Papal visit in various languages:englisch / español / française / italiano / polski> www.wir-sind-kirche.de/index.php?id=129&id_entry=3529Wir sind Kirche press conferences and press contacts on the Papal visit : > www.wir-sind-kirche.de/index.php?id=128&id_entry=3563Translation: RD
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/world/europe/ireland-recalibrates-ties-to-roman-catholic-church.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ei=5065&partner=MYWAYDUBLIN — "Even as it remains preoccupied with its struggling economy, Ireland is in the midst of a profound transformation, as rapid as it is revolutionary: it is recalibrating its relationship to the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that has permeated almost every aspect of life here for generations. This is still a country where abortion is against the law, where divorce became legal only in 1995, where the church runs more than 90 percent of the primary schools and where 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic. But the awe, respect and fear the Vatican once commanded have given way to something new — rage, disgust and defiance — after a long series of horrific revelations about decades of abuse of children entrusted to the church’s care by a reverential populace. While similar disclosures have tarnished the Vatican’s image in other countries, perhaps nowhere have they shaken a whole society so thoroughly or so intensely as in Ireland. And so when the normally mild-mannered prime minister, Enda Kenny, unexpectedly took the floor in Parliament this summer to criticize the church, he was giving voice not just to his own pent-up feelings, but to those of a nation. His remarks were a ringing declaration of the supremacy of state over church, in words of outrage and indignation that had never before been used publicly by an Irish leader. "
“For the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse exposed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago,” Mr. Kenny said, referring to the Cloyne Report, which detailed abuse and cover-ups by church officials in southern Ireland through 2009.
Reiterating the report’s claim that the church had encouraged bishops to ignore child-protection guidelines the bishops themselves had adopted, the prime minister attacked “the dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism” that he said “dominate the culture of the Vatican...” Bridget Mary's Reflection:Ireland has had enough of the Vatican's global sexual abuse cover-up. The Vatican instructed its bishops to ignore their own guidelines and violate Irish law. The Irish are "putting their foot down" as my mother Bridie often said when action was called for in a terrible situation. They are adopting major structural changes to protect children that may result in a loss of power and prestige for the institutional church in Irish society. Perhaps, the "good" that we see happening is a "wake up call" for Catholics who love their church everywhere. The Vatican's "dysfunction, disconnection and elitism" is apparent and now we must put our foot down and take action. In Ireland, the good news is that the state has decided to do so! Let us hope other nations follow Ireland's example and hold the Vatican accountable too. It is time for revolutionary change to renew and transform our beloved church. Women in decision making roles in the church as well as in a renewed priestly ministry is part of the change needed. Now in grassroots, inclusive communities, we must shape a more open, participatory, empowered community centered church that is no longer dominated by the hierarchy and the elitism of clericalism. Our first priority should be following Jesus in the Gospels, not the pope or Vatican, when their rules violate our consciences. The Ireland of the fifties, where our family lived, and where the crack of a crozier instilled fear in the hearts of the people, is long gone! Thanks be to God! It is a proud day that the Emerald Isle is leading the way to a renewed Catholic Church!Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWPAssociation of Roman Catholic Women Priests