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Bishops reaffirm zero tolerance

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The U.S. bishops' conference Administrative Committee met in Washington March 22-23. NCR was told that they discussed the recent scandal in Philadelphia, where a grand jury found that 37 priests remained in ministry despite "substantial" allegations of sexual abuse.

We were told that the bishops pulled back from specifically addressing the Philadelphia situation in a public statement. Instead, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, as president of the conference, issued a statement confirming the bishops' commitment to zero tolerance.

“We remain especially firm in our commitment to remove permanently from public ministry any priest who committed such an intolerable offense,” Dolan said.

NCR senior correspondent John L. Allen Jr. is working on a story, so stay tuned.

The press release from the bishops' media office and the full text of Dolan's statement follows.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESIDENT OF USCCB REITERATES BISHOPS’ RESOLVE TO DEAL FIRMLY WITH CLERICS WHO ABUSE CHILDREN

Clerics who sexually abuse minors are forbidden from ministry
Backs April Child Abuse Prevention Month for protection of children

Marking Romero's day

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Today is Oscar Romero's day.

31 years ago this day the popular Salvadoran archbishop was murdered while celebrating Mass.

As we went about editing and posting reflections from Scott Wright and Jesuit Fr. Dean Brackley to mark the day, I couldn't help but hear the words from the archbishop's last speech over and over in my mind.

A day before his brutal death, Romero made a vocal outcry over the bloody U.S.-backed civil war in his country, calling upon Christians in the army to stop the bloodshed.

Cleveland diocese, city council in stained glass windows 'stand-off'

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Stained glass windows in landmark Catholic churches in Cleveland now closed or expected to close are at the center of a dispute about the process of removing them from the buildings.

Should the diocese be required to go through the standard procedure of getting prior permission from the Landmarks Commission or can the diocese side-step the city's rules pursuant to a special one-off deal with the mayor?

All the usual elements are at play: freedom of religion, special treatment for the diocese, threats of litigation, possible political payback by city council members who are angry with the diocese for its massive church closings in Cleveland and abandoning poor neighborhoods, and of course, money.

Cleveland's WYKC Channel 3 reports on the story.

April may be cruel month for relations with traditionalists

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For anyone hoping that longstanding ruptures between Rome and the traditionalist wing of the Catholic church are on the brink of swift resolution, it may turn out that April is indeed the cruelest month.

tSometime in early April, two developments are set to come down the pike, each with implications for relations between the Vatican and so-called “traditionalists”, meaning Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass and who harbor deep reservations about the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

tFirst, the Vatican’s “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, responsible for relations with the traditionalists, will bring out an instruction concerning implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 document Summorum Pontificum, which installed the older Mass as an “extraordinary form” of the Latin rite.

tSecond, what could be the final round of talks will take place between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X, the traditionalist body founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, which broke with Rome in 1988.

Connecticut diocese settles abuse claim

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From the Connecticut Post:

BRIDGEPORT -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport has agreed to pay $200,000 to the family of a man who claimed he was abused as a child by first a gardener and then a priest at St. Theresa's Church in Trumbull in the 1970s.

Michael Powel died in October 2008 after an eight-year battle with cancer, but his wife and two adult children continued his lawsuit against the diocese. The agreement would end the family's claims against the diocese.

"It has been a long road, and it's really unfortunate Mike couldn't be here to see the end of it," said the family's lawyer, Michael Reck.

Diocesan spokesman Brian Wallace said the church does not believe it committed any wrongdoing. "But its just too expensive to continue to defend against this frivolous lawsuit brought by out-of-state lawyers who are practicing a pattern of trolling for lawsuits across the country," he said. "The diocese remains committed to zero tolerance to abuse and a safe environment."

Curious Timing and Tough Cases on Immigration

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Federal officials announced the arrest yesterday of about 130 immigrants in Northern Virginia, half of whom are in the US legally, the Washington Post reports today.

The announcement was made as President Obama returned from his trip to Latin America, including a last stop in El Salvador, home to many of the immigrants who migrate to the Washington suburbs looking for work.

“About half of those arrested — 64 — were in the country legally, and the rest were not, officials said,” the Post reported. “But even those with legal status, such as work permits or ‘green cards,’ can be deported if they commit crimes of ‘moral turpitude’ or receive sentences of a year or more,” the paper said.

Florida judge orders use of Islamic Law

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Last month I blogged about an effort in South Carolina to ban the use of Sharia law, the internal law of the Muslim faith.

Yet, I pointed out that it has been common practice in the U.S. for decades to allow Roman Catholic corporations (e.g., dioceses and parishes) to use the church's own internal law, the Code of Canon law. In Connecticut, for example, specific religions are identified in the state's religious corporation act.

Now a Florida judge is permitting the use of Islamic law (a more moderate interpretation of the Koran than Sharia law, according to the story) in his courtroom, as the trustees of a mosque are suing the mosque.

According to WOFL Fox 35:

A Florida judge says, "I will follow Islamic Law," in a controversial case.

Father Corapi's fans

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Because I am Facebook friends with Deacon Greg Kandra, who among other things is a prolific Catholic blogger, I have been following last weekend's news and reaction to a rather famous priest accused of sexual impropriety by a former female employee.

Except that I had never heard of the priest. OK, that's not entirely true. Once I read that he had a show on EWTN, the name rang a bell, but only because I see it while scrolling through my cable channels.

Apparently, I am in good company. In this blog entry, Kandra writes about two New York monsignors who have the same reaction ("Father Who?") to what some are calling "The Most Important Story of the Catholic Universe."

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February 12-25, 2016

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