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Fr. Lombardi: church commitment against child abuse

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VATICAN CITY, 27 MAR 2010 ( VIS ) - Given below is the text of a note released by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., entitled "Vigil of Holy Week".

"The question of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy has continued to receive wide coverage in the communications media of many countries, especially in Europe and North America , coverage which has continued over recent days following the publication of the Pope's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

"This is no surprise. The nature of the question is such as to attract the attention of the media, and the way in which the Church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility.

"The truth is that the cases that have come to public attention generally took place some time ago, even decades ago, although recognising them and making amends with the victims is the best way to restore justice and to achieve that 'purification of memory' which enables us to look to the future with renewed commitment, with humility and trust.

'Emergency bishops' synod' in the offing?

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According to a report in a British paper, Pope Benedict XVI is under mounting pressure to call an emergency synod of bishops from around the world. The purpose? To hammer out a new strategy to deal with the worsening child abuse scandal.

Writing in the Independent from Rome, John Phillips cites unnamed Vatican sources as saying that a number of Roman Catholic prelates have strongly urged the the Vatican that such an extraordinary synod be held "on the grounds that the German pontiff and the Vatican evidently cannot cope effectively on their own with the spiralling image crisis."

Women's ordination advocates bring message to Vatican embassy

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The Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. probably has other matters on its mind with the publication in The New York Times of articles drawing into greater question the pope's role in the handling of clergy sex abusing priests while he headed the Munich archdiocese and while he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Nevertheless, embassy staffers looking out the embassy window yesterday had to contend with some 20 supporters of the Women’s Ordination Conference who were there with signs to celebrate the 16th Annual World Day of Prayer for Women’s Ordination.

WOC members made the point that this year’s day of prayer coincides with the Vatican declared "Year of the Priest" - a year of honoring the priesthood that ends with a jubilee celebration at St. Peter's this June.

The elephant in the room at Catholic University

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I was honored to be present for the First Annual Dean Hoge Memorial Lecture at Catholic University on March 24. It was delivered by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., vice-president of the U.S. bishops' conference. Jerry Filteau’s account of that evening provides a good summary of what he said.

I want to talk about what he did not say. I knew Dean Hoge when he headed the Life Cycle Institute and discussed his ongoing research interests with him on occasion. He focused much of his work on Catholic priests, but one of his major concerns was mandatory celibacy for priests. Yet Bishop Kicanas omitted that issue in his address. It’s not hard to figure out why he omitted it. It’s a “hot button” issue, and the Vatican shows no sign of wanting to change the rules. Bishops like Kicanas probably don’t want to raise any eyebrows in the Vatican.

Waiting for Holy Week

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Forgive me reader, for I have sinned. I am tired of writing about abortion restrictions in the health care law. I am tired of reading documents from or to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith relating to the sexual abuse of minors. I am tired of reading about some rightwing nut job attacking a congressman’s office or his brother’s house or a religious sister with the courage to state her convictions. I am tired of writing only about serious topics – and the three just mentioned could scarcely be more serious.

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