The Papacy 2018 –

Written by  //  November 16, 2018  //  X-cutting Issues  //  No comments

Open letter to the US Catholic bishops: It’s over
(National Catholic Reporter) Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,
We address you as you approach this year’s national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.
It’s over.
All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate — all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.
As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you’ve not done very well taking stock of yourselves.
We have no special insight into why this moment — the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the downfall of Theodore McCarrick — has so captured the public imagination and pushed the church to this outer limit of exposure and vulnerability. There are theories, not least of which is that the opportunists among us are attempting to use this moment to bring down the only pope who has actually dethroned bishops and a cardinal for their crimes and indiscretions.(9 November 2018)

16 November
Bishops continue to define response to sex abuse despite Vatican call for delay
(NCR) As the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Baltimore ends Nov. 15, the most newsworthy happening is still Monday’s last-minute instruction from the Vatican to delay any vote on new procedures to sanction or otherwise deal with bishops who had either abused children or failed to remove abusive priests from ministry.
From any vantage, the Vatican intervention was extremely disappointing. It contradicts everything Francis has said about empowering bishops’ conferences and decentralizing decision-making in the church. It was also a public-relations disaster for the pope, who is already losing the confidence of Catholics on the abuse issue, according to a September poll from the Pew Research Center: Only 31 percent of Catholics thought the pope was doing a good or excellent job handling the sex abuse scandal, down from 55 percent three years ago.
Though DiNardo didn’t release the Vatican’s letter, he and others explained that the Vatican worried that any procedures American bishops agreed on could pre-empt discussions at a meeting of the world’s top bishops called by the pope for February. If the American procedures for dealing with bad bishops became a de facto template for the rest of the world, the congregation also sees the proposed actions as an infringement on its authority, arguing the conference has no authority over bishops.
The day was saved by Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, who suggested that the bishops continue discussing the proposals and treat them as recommendations that DiNardo, as USCCB president, could take to the February meeting.

12 November
Bishops’ meeting bombshell: Vatican says no voting on abuse crisis
(NCR) The plenary meeting of the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops opened with a bombshell. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the conference, announced that the Holy See had insisted the U.S. bishops not vote on any concrete action items regarding the clergy sex abuse crisis, pending the February meeting of the presidents of all episcopal conferences that Pope Francis has announced. DiNardo said he only learned last night of the Vatican’s decision.
People were whispering that the pope should not have intervened, certainly not at such a late date. Is this a case of Rome not grasping the situation in the U.S. or, more worrisome, that Rome still doesn’t grasp the enormity of the sex abuse mess? Obviously, the surprise evidenced by DiNardo shows the lack of healthy and regular communication between the leadership of the conference and the pope. Was Cupich trying to put lipstick on a pig? What is really at work here?
We do not know for sure. … But, the obvious place to start finding an answer came in the address delivered by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio, immediately following the announcement. He did something too few bishops and other commentators have done, or even sought to do, this year: He placed the sex abuse crisis in the broader ecclesiological context.

27-30 August
Conservative media move to front line of battle to undermine Pope Francis
(Reuters) The full extent of journalists’ involvement in the statement – from conception and editing to translation and publication – emerges from a series of Reuters interviews that reveal a union of conservative clergy and media aimed at what papal defenders say is a campaign to weaken the reformist Francis’s pontificate.
Since his election in 2013, conservatives have sharply criticized Francis, saying he has left many faithful confused by pronouncements that the Church should be more welcoming to homosexuals and divorced Catholics and not be obsessed by “culture war” issues such as abortion.
Francis’ supporters say the statement contains holes and contradictions and note that Vigano prepared it with help from two journalists who have been critical of Francis, citing this as evidence that it forms part of an ideological anti-Francis strategy. The journalists deny this.

The Man Who Took On the Pope: The Story Behind the Viganò Letter
While Archbishop Viganò, who was once criticized by church traditionalists as overly pragmatic, has aligned himself with a small but influential group of church traditionalists who have spent years seeking to stop Francis, many of his critics think his personal grudges are central to his motivations.

The ‘coup’ against Pope Francis
(CNN)Even before Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano called for Pope Francis to resign on Sunday, the two men had a history, and it wasn’t good.
Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, angered some church officials in 2015 by arranging a meeting at the Vatican’s embassy in Washington between the Pope and Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign same-sex marriage certificates.
During his trip to the United States, the Pope had tried to stay above the country’s culture wars. Vigano foisted Francis right into the fray. The Vatican, which tried to distance the Pope from Davis, was displeased. Two years later, Francis quietly accepted Vigano’s resignation.
On Sunday, Vigano struck back.
Pope Francis, the Accusations and the Back Story

The Sex-Abuse Scandal Has Come for Pope Francis
A letter calling for his resignation shows how serious his crisis of credibility has become.
(The Atlantic) Pope Francis’s credibility has taken a major hit as the crisis over clergy sex abuse continues to roil the Catholic Church. Following weeks of horrifying revelations about the Church’s long-standing mismanagement of allegations against priests, the pope visited Ireland this weekend, asking forgiveness for a long list of “abuses” and “exploitation.” Reporters observed that crowds were nowhere near as large for Francis as they were for John Paul II, the last pope to visit Ireland. Protesters also called for more extensive apologies.

24 August
New Catholic sex abuse allegations show how long justice can take in a 16-year scandal
Almost two decades after the Boston Globe’s reporting, secrecy and bureaucracy have delayed justice.
(Vox) The Catholic Church found itself at the heart of one of its most serious crises yet when a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report last week, detailing the extent of child sex abuse allegations by Catholic priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses. The report estimated more than 300 priests across the state abused at least 1,000 known victims, and it condemned the wider clerical culture that allowed senior priests to turn a blind eye to the abuses, often quietly shuffling offending priests into new dioceses, where they would have unfettered access to new victims.
The allegations pointed to a systemic culture of secrecy in the Catholic Church, and implicated a number of church officials — including Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC — in the cover-up.

22 August
Catholics Are Desperate for Tangible Reforms on Clergy Sex Abuse
Pope Francis says he supports a “zero-tolerance” policy, but some insist those words are not enough.
This week, Pope Francis convenes the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, a massive, triennial gathering of Catholics to celebrate “joy for the world.” The timing could not be more awkward. The event comes in the wake of a terrible period for Catholic families amid revelations about clergy sex abuse, including the release of a massive new report detailing years of misconduct and cover-up in Pennsylvania.
These new findings are the latest entry in a long list of scandals from around the world: reports that Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal in Washington, D.C., sexually harassed children and adults for decades; the mass resignation of Chilean bishops who mishandled sex-abuse allegations in their country; Cardinal George Pell’s return from Rome to his home in Australia, where he is standing trial on several charges of sexual abuse.
A decade and a half after the first major wave of sex-abuse scandals upended the global Church, clergy, theologians, and lay people are desperately calling on the Church to take concrete steps to prevent abuse or cover-ups from happening again. Some say the greatest problem lies in the hierarchical structure of the Church, and are advocating for more power for lay people and an overhauled seminary system.
In an unusually forthright letter “to the People of God” on Monday, Pope Francis himself seemed to agree that the Church’s structure presents a real problem. After calling for “a culture of care that says ‘never again’ to every form of abuse,” he identified what he sees as the major cause of the sex-abuse crisis: clericalism. It’s what you might call the “old-boys’ club” of the Church hierarchy—a system that gives the clergy immense influence over the laity, that exalts them with pomp and pageantry, and that some say has enabled many priests to abuse their power without accountability for too long.
“Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons … supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today,” Pope Francis wrote. “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.”
It’s a strong statement from a pope who has been denouncing clericalism for years. But some Catholics argue that this is not enough: New, concrete steps are now needed to reform the Church, an institution with an embedded culture of secrecy that won’t dismantle itself. For many years, the Church failed to report sex-abuse allegations to law enforcement, preferring instead to handle matters internally by shifting accused priests to different dioceses or having them quietly treated at psychiatric clinics, for example. Some Catholic leaders are concerned that the pope’s letter—and the Church itself—lack specific recommendations for preventing this from happening again.

15 August
Scathing report reveals 300 Pennsylvania Catholic priests sexually abused over 1,000 children
The report is a watershed moment in the Catholic child sex abuse crisis

29 July
A Catholic cardinal has weathered sex abuse allegations for years. Now they’re finally public.
Theodore McCarrick has resigned from the College of Cardinals after allegations of abusing both children and adults.
(Vox)  … this week, a former papal nuncio (a position similar to that of an ambassador) has accused Pope Francis of covering up McCarrick’s misdeeds. In an open letter published on a number of Catholic websites, Carlo Viganò, a longtime enemy of Francis’s, wrote that Francis had personally lifted sanctions against McCarrick imposed by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Viganò has since called for McCarrick’s resignation.

19 January
Pope’s Defense of Chilean Bishop in Sex Abuse Scandal Causes Outrage
(NYT) A number of Chilean Catholics reacted with disappointment and anger on Friday, a day after Pope Francis spoke in defense of a bishop who they say protected a pedophile priest. The remarks, made on Thursday just before Francis left Chile for Peru, upended his efforts to rehabilitate the Catholic Church’s reputation while visiting South America.

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm