National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Accountability

New bishop: abuse scandal made church look in mirror

 | 

DUBLIN -- In the wake of a series of clerical child abuse scandals, the country's newest prelate, Bishop Liam S. MacDaid of Clogher, called on the people of his diocese to join him in "a repentant return to the well of salvation."

Speaking at his consecration at St. Macartan's Cathedral, Monaghan, July 25, Bishop MacDaid said: "Society has forced us in the Irish church to look into the mirror, and what we saw were weakness and failure, victims and abuse. The surgeon's knife has been painful but necessary. A lot of evil and poison has been excised. There comes a time when the surgeon's knife has done what it can, is put away and a regime of rehabilitation for the patient is put in place.

Papal delegate given broad powers over Legion

 | 

ROME -- Pope Benedict XVI has given his new papal delegate broad powers of authority over the Legionaries of Christ as part of a major Vatican-led reform of the order.

The delegate, Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, has authority over the order's current superiors and can even override the order's constitutions. He will have a say in all areas of the order including its governance, decisions involving personnel, education and ordination, as well as how assets are spent.

In a letter to Archbishop De Paolis announcing him as papal delegate, the pope said the archbishop was to be in charge of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and all its members "for as long as it takes to carry out the path of renewal and lead it to the celebration of an extraordinary general chapter, whose main purpose will be to bring completion to the revision of the constitutions."

Beneath the child abuse scandal

 | 

Examining the Crisis

Many people, including bishops, date and label the "Crisis in the Catholic Church" to Jan. 6, 2002 when The Boston Globe began publishing its series about sexual abuse of minors by priests and revealing the conspiracy of bishops in covering up crimes. That was the flash point of a worldwide scandal. The crisis it epitomizes is more profound.

The uncontrollable public exposure and sharp focus on clergy sex abuse shocked everyone, but the fact of a church and priesthood in crisis did not come as a surprise to the United States hierarchy. "It is clear that we are in some kind of a crisis of priestly ministry. The nature of the crisis is not at all that clear." Those were the words Daniel Pilarczyk archbishop of Cincinnati directed at his fellow bishops on June 14, 1986. He went on to provide a checklist of possibilities: "Is it a crisis of image? Is it a crisis of numbers? Is it a crisis of celibacy? -- change? -- lay ministries? -- prayer? -- secularism? -- confidence? It is probably all of these and perhaps other things as well. And we have to respond to the crisis."(1)

Vatican canon lawyer to head Legionaries

 | 

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI named Italian Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, an expert in church law who specializes in religious institutes, to be his personal delegate with authority over the Legionaries of Christ.

The 74-year-old canon lawyer will act as an interim leader while the Vatican investigation of the Legionaries proceeds.

The Vatican announced the appointment July 9 but provided no specifics of Archbishop De Paolis' role. The Legion said it expected the practical details on how the archbishop will fulfill his duties would be defined in the coming weeks.

Ouellet asked to remove Law from Vatican post

 | 

QUEBEC, CANADA — The promotion of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet to head the powerful Vatican Congregation for Bishops (Triumph of theologians over diplomats in Vatican) has not been well received by advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse.

In his new job, Ouellet will be appointing bishops worldwide, and this is a particularly sensitive time, as the clergy sex abuse scandal calls into question the actions of bishops around the world and within the Vatican itself.

Outraged over police raid on church offices? Wait for what is revealed

 | 

Commentary

The police raid last week on Catholic offices in Belgium wasn't exactly received with open arms by church officials. All nine of the nation's bishops were detained for nine hours. Their cell phones and the phones of other diocesan personnel were held.

It was "not pleasant," one church staffer said. Another called it "not very agreeable." A third accused law enforcement of "paranoia" and a fourth claimed police showed "excessive zeal."

I was not sympathetic to their plight. Six years ago, I watched closely as another law enforcement raid of a diocesan headquarters took place in my home town of Toledo. The deception it uncovered was stunning. And the evidence it obtained was later used in a trial to convict a murderer.

Belgium a 'perfect storm' on sex abuse crisis

 | 

Analysis

As a remarkable war of words between the Vatican and Belgium heated up over the weekend, one thing has become crystal clear: While there’s no good place for the Catholic church to experience a sexual abuse crisis, few places on earth are quite as combustible as Belgium.

The June 3 raid, which reportedly included drilling holes into the tombs of two deceased archbishops of Brussels to see if any documents lurked inside, illustrates that when it comes to the sexual abuse crisis, Belgium represents a “perfect storm.”

Pages

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

July 4-17, 2014

07-04-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.