When the Vatican released documents in mid-August related to the case of Fr. Andrew Ronan, a Servite priest who was laicized in 1966 and died in 1992 and who now figures in a sex abuse lawsuit in Oregon, it amounted to a historic turn: the first time the Vatican has opened up its files in response to a court order.
In a move some theologians say undermines the credibility of the leading English-language Catholic theological journal, the Vatican has pressured it to publish a scholarly essay on marriage, unedited and without undergoing normal peer review.
The essay, which appeared in the June 2011 issue of the quarterly Theological Studies, published in Milwaukee under the auspices of the Jesuits, upholds the indissolubility of marriage. It was a reply to a September 2004 article in which two theologians argued for a change in church teachings on divorce and remarriage.
The Vatican has been pressuring the editors at Theological Studies since not long after the publication of the 2004 essay, according to theologians not connected to the journal or to the Jesuit order. The Vatican aim is to weed out dissenting voices and force the journal to stick more closely to official church teachings.
VATICAN CITY -- The head of a group of traditionalist Catholics will meet with the Vatican Sept. 14 to continue a series of doctrinal discussions.
The Vatican confirmed Aug. 23 that Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, will travel to Rome in mid-September to meet with U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A paradox was alive in the streets of Madrid as hundreds of thousands of World Youth Day pilgrims shared the sidewalks with local protesters frustrated over Spain's hosting -- and, some believed, funding -- of the weeklong event in a time of economic turmoil.
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO MADRID (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI described the World Youth Day celebrations as a "waterfall of light" that refreshes, nourishes and strengthens young Catholics and, therefore, can bring hope to the world.
Responding to four questions during the flight from Rome to Madrid Aug. 18, the pope told reporters that Blessed John Paul II was inspired when he instituted World Youth Day, and the celebration has brought much good to the church and the world, even if the results aren't always evident immediately.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In the final stage of the apostolic visitation of U.S. women's religious communities, the Vatican congregation overseeing the study not only is facing mountains of paper, but must try to rebuild a relationship of trust with the women, said the congregation's secretary.
U.S.-born Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said, "I believe a visitation has to have a dialogical aspect, but the way this was structured at the beginning didn't really favor that."
Hidden among the paving stones of St. Peter's Square there is a simple clock and calendar. All you need is a sunny day.
The 83-foot stone obelisk in the middle of the square acts as a sundial that can accurately indicate midday and the two solstices thanks to a granite meridian and marble markers embedded in the square.
BALTIMORE -- Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, died late July 27 at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore after a hospitalization that began with lung surgery. He was 73.
On July 22, the apostolic nunciature in Washington announced that the archbishop had been "placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function" two weeks after undergoing "a delicate lung surgery."
A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Sambi was appointed as U.S. nuncio, or ambassador, in December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to the U.S. appointment, he had been nuncio to Israel and Cyprus; he was the second Vatican ambassador to Israel, after the Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1994.
Of late, a cycle of hand-wringing over Germany has sprouted in wonkish foreign affairs journals. Germany’s waffling on aid to embattled Euro-zone economies, its abstention from a Security Council vote on Libya, and a $2.5 billion deal to sell crowd-control tanks to Saudi Arabia despite widespread revulsion over images of Saudi tanks crushing protests in Bahrain have all set off alarms.
At bottom, the fear is that after a half-century of moving in concert with other Western powers, Germany may be reverting to historical form -- putting its own strategic and commercial interests first, however destabilizing for the rest of the world.
As it happens, it’s not just the foreign policy establishment fretting.
VATICAN CITY -- Two Vatican officials said the newly formed International Catholics Organization of the Media is simply a new name for a group that lost its official recognition as a Catholic organization.
Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, issued a joint statement on the name change of the International Catholic Union of the Press.