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Irish TV looks into abuse by Dublin clergy

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Ireland is still reeling, trying to cope with the disclosures of the Ryan Commission's 2,600-page report detailing a government investigation into the physical and sexual abuse of children in church-run schools and orphanages.

Yet to come this summer is a report on investigation into sexual abuse of minors by clergy of the Dublin archdiocese. Details are slowly coming out: 60,000 documents reviewed, hundreds of children abused, 152 priests accused but only a small friction were ever prosecuted.

Ireland's TV 3 aired an hour-long program Tuesday night into the investigation. The program, Abuse of Trust: The Sins of Our Fathers," can be viewed on line along with several extended interviews of victims and religious superiors.

Hat tip for this to Kathy Shaw, who keeps the Abuse Tracker up to date over at www.bishop-accountability.org.

Bishops on Obama: Strong views, no consensus

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At the bishops’ spring meeting in San Antonio today, I also spoke with Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry of Los Angeles about the Notre Dame’s controversial decision to invite President Barack Obama to commencement. Curry is chair of the bishops’ Committee on Education, and thus likely to be a key player in discussions about the Notre Dame case and in future discussions with Catholic university presidents. I asked him:

You say there will be discussion of the Notre Dame case, but do you think there will be a decision of some sort?

Curry:It would be wonderful if we could have a decision that everyone would agree on, but I would doubt very much that everybody is going to come to a consensus at the moment. I would see it as a continuing discussion and exchange of views, and some of the views are very strong and passionate.

Read the full interview here: ‘No consensus’ on follow-up to Notre Dame flap

Read also my interveiw with bishops' conference vice president Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson: No push to punish Notre Dame for Obama invite.

'No punishment for Notre Dame,' says bishops' conference vice-president

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I sat down with Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona yesterday and asked him about the fallout from the debate over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to award an honorary doctorate to President Barack Obama, and to invite him to deliver the university’s annual commencement address May 17.

Catholic bishops and the California crisis

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California faces a looming budget deficit somewhere in the $20 billion to $25 billion range (the exact figures seems to change every day), but Democrats and Republicans can only seem to agree on one way out of the mess: drastic cuts in programs to help the poor, the infirm, and children.

It's an ugly stalemate and odd in Sacramento, a debate that only seems to be about just how terrible tears in the social fabric should be: Republicans and Governor Schwarzenegger insist they want all-cuts to close the gap, not a penny in new taxes. Democrats are pushing for some new taxes and fee hikes -- but even that would still require heavy cuts that would fall mostly on the disadvantaged.

In this quagmire now steps the California Catholic Bishops Conference. As columnist Tim Rutten writes in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times, the bishops last week called for both sides to give top priority to the needs of children, the poor, and disabled.

Why can't we be sane about the death penalty?

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Eighty-eight percent of the country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a deterrent to homicide, according to a new study published this week in Northwestern University School of Law’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. The study was authored by Professor Michael Radelet, Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Traci Lacock, an attorney and Sociology graduate student in Boulder.

Laws of life

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"Whoever sows bountifully will reap bountifully." 2 Cor 9:6

Summer has come to Kansas City. Even at 7 a.m. the air is sultry. But what is hard on people is a boon to nature. Hot weather on top of recent rains has lawns and gardens exploding with new growth. Carrots and radishes, though small, are enough reward for Quinn and Emme, the children next door who planted a garden in our yard with my wife's supervision and encouragement. Stuff really does come out of the ground, and if you wash it you can eat it.

Bishops welcome American's move to key Vatican liturgy post

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tLiturgy dominates the formal agenda of the U.S. bishops during their spring meeting in San Antonio, and before the bishops even arrived in the Lone Star state they got a piece of what many regard as good liturgical news: Pope Benedict XVI’s appointment of Dominican theologian Augustine Di Noia, an American and former staffer for the U.S. bishops, as the new secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

tBy virtue of the appointment, Di Noia, 65, becomes an archbishop. As secretary, he will become the number two official in the Vatican’s office for liturgical policy. Since 2002, Di Noia has been the under-secretary, or number three official, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger prior to his election to the papacy in 2005.

tBefore moving to the Vatican in 2002, Di Noia had served as executive director for the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and taught theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

Vatican calls traditionalist ordinations 'completely illegitimate'

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When Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of four traditionalist Catholic bishops last January, it was intended as a gesture of reconciliation toward the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway movement founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. (The move generated global tumult when it turned out that one of those prelates, Bishop Richard Williamson, is a Holocaust denier.) The prospect of reconciliation may have taken a setback, however, with a recent announcement by the society that it intends to ordain new priests at the end of June, without papal permission, in three locations: its seminary at Zaitzkofen in Bavaria; its headquarters in Econe, Switzerland; and at another seminary in Winona, Minnesota.

Today the Vatican released a statement calling those ordinations “completely illegitimate.” The following is the full text of the Vatican statement, in an NCR translation from Italian.

COMMUNICATION OF THE PRESS OFFICE OF THE HOLY SEE REGARDING THE ORDINATIONS ANNOUNCED BY THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X

Catholic publisher 'redefining strategy'

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Another Catholic publishing house has announced changes in its business in response to the economic crisis, which has hit many already-struggling religious publishers especially hard. Earlier this month, NCR reported that Our Sunday Visitor had acquired Harcourt Religion Publishers. Now St. Anthony Messenger Press has announced that it is "redefining its strategy" and reducing staffing, including closing its Cincinnati telemarketing center, offering early retirement to some employees and abandoning its independent sales force. At least 40 positions, many of them part-time, will be eliminated.

"Across the country, we have witnessed the decline of secular and religious newspapers and the diversification of traditional publishers,'' Franciscan Father Dan Kroger, CEO and publisher, said in a statement. The traditional Catholic audience and subscriber base is shrinking, and younger readers are moving from print to electronic sources of information, he added.

Kroger said three factors are driving the changes:

  • changes in religious affiliation and commitment among American Catholics,

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