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Vatican lawyer's statement on Indian priest


tIn the latest case to raise questions about the Vatican’s handling of the sex abuse crisis, attorneys today released church correspondence involving Fr. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, an Indian priest charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a Minnesota parish in 2004.

tWhen those accusations first emerged in 2005, Jeyapaul returned to India, where he is still serving as a priest in a bureaucratic role for his local bishop. Informed of the case by Bishop Victor Balke of the Crookston, Minn., diocese, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent a letter instructing Jeyapaul’s bishop in India to look into it in early 2006.

tThe lawyers representing the young woman are demanding that Jeyapaul be returned to the United States for prosecution.

tThis afternoon, an attorney who represents the Vatican in American litigation, Jeffrey Lena, released a statement about the Jeyapaul case. In effect, Lena makes two points:

•tThe Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommended expelling Jeyapaul from the priesthood, but his bishop in India decided simply to restrict his ministry following a church trial.

What to do about sex abuse?


The trail that the U.S. bishops have trudged since the Dallas Charter in 2002, are a good model for the rest of the Catholic world, says Nicholas Cafardi in this story from Agence-Presse France: Child abuse scandal cost US Catholic church $3 bln

The solutions sought by US bishops are a good model for how the church at large should handle the crisis, said Nicholas Cafardi, a respected canonical law professor and author of "Before Dallas," a history of the clergy child sex abuse crisis.

"We're still in a trust rebuilding process," Cafardi told AFP. "But the only thing that turned that around was the very drastic action the bishops took in 2002."

After years of inaction, the United States Conference of Bishops developed a charter governing how the church would protect children that included a zero tolerance policy, background checks and prevention training.

It also established a National Review Board led by lay people to monitor progress and granted access to church files for researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Reformation Day?


The victims of clergy sexual abuse do not owe anyone an explanation for how or why they choose to respond, protest or otherwise remonstrate with the Catholic Church. They are the victims, not the hierarchs, and it must be unbelievably painful for them to see bishops acting like they are the injured party. If anything is clear, it is clear that the Church’s traumas were self-inflicted and that the wounds of the survivors of sexual abuse were not.

Still, it is beyond unfortunate that they have chosen “Reformation Day” for their planned protest at the Vatican. Indeed, it is one of the things that should most cause the Vatican and the hierarchy to be concerned that the large majority of objections to their handling of pedophile clergy are objections that come from Catholics who deeply love their Church. These are not attacks from anti-clericals. The concern for change within the Church is not the work of Communists or others who aimed to destroy the Church. It is the loud and resonant voice of loyal Catholics, of those who love the Church, that has been raised to cry, “No, the Church of Christ should not behave in this way.”

Is there a Gorbachev in the Catholic church?


On Easter Sunday, I had dinner with two friends with whom I share a great love of heated, newsy topics. Although they are not Catholic, the recent revelations of sex abuse and its cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church came up.

I mentioned that Tom Roberts of NCR offered had analyzed the problem (in an interview for Interfaith Voices) as rooted in the “clerical culture” of the church, which includes secrecy and protection of the institution above all else.

Fact-checking health reform debate


I found this article from Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news organization committed to in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics, helpful will discussing health care reform legislation with my extended family over the Easter holiday. True or False: Seven Concerns About The New Health Law

Kaiser Health News is funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation. A bit more info about the news service from its Web site:

KHN’s mission is to provide high-quality coverage of health policy issues and developments at the federal and state levels. In addition, KHN covers trends in the delivery of health care and in the marketplace.

Among our goals: provide new opportunities for health care journalists to produce in-depth work and a new vehicle to distribute it through collaborations with major news organizations and on this Web site. This Web site also features daily summaries of major health care news from across the nation, as well as original videos and a broad range of commentary from contributing writers and issues.

Easter Vigil: Know when to hold 'em


Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

On this Holy Saturday we enter the dark interval between death and promise. I am running out of words, a good sign, for we are approaching a threshold where logic ends and mystery begins. The Holy Week story was always there, written long before the events we will review in the grand sweep of salvation history recorded in the lectionary readings for tonight's solemn Easter Vigil.

Know when to fold 'em


Holy Week: Accompanying El Salvador

The real question for Good Friday is why Jesus, with victory over evil within his grasp and backed by absolute power, chose to be struck down in apparent defeat?

To our modern sensibilities, schooled by violent sports and the permanent war on terror to accept the axiom that "winning isn't everything -- It's the only thing," Jesus' death on Good Friday was a disaster.

Holy bubble! Churches struck down by foreclosures


Eastertime generates a number of interesting stories about the state of religion and congregations in the U.S. Reuters has a story describing the financial turmoil affecting Protestant churches.

Foreclosure proceedings against U.S. churches have nearly tripled since December 2007.

A growing number of U.S. churches, which are defaulting on loans, facing foreclosure and even declaring bankruptcy at an unprecedented pace.

"It's happening to virtually every church," said the Rev. Grainger Browning, senior pastor of Ebenezer. "At a recent meeting with the 100 top pastors in the country, it was amazing how all of us were facing some sort of challenge with the banks."

Long considered among the safest of borrowers, churches gambled on real estate at a time when credit copiously flowed and lenders were startlingly lax.


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January 29-February 11, 2016


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