National Catholic Reporter

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Pope's 'off the cuff' comments on celibacy


Throughout his five-year pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has made some of his most interesting comments off the cuff, often during question-and-answer sessions with priests.

His late-night meeting with 10,000 priests June 10 was a good example. Although questions were prepared in advance, the pope's responses were unfiltered and impromptu -- the kind of "organized spontaneity" for which his mind is apparently hard-wired.

In Cuba, Vatican envoy meets with Raul Castro


Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's foreign minister, concluded an official and pastoral visit to Cuba June 20 saying relations between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government are on a healthy course.

Just hours before his departure, the archbishop met with President Raul Castro, saying afterward that bilateral relations are "cordial, continuing and on the rise."

An official release to various Cuban state-run news media reported on the meeting and said the president and the Vatican diplomat also discussed subjects of common interest on the international agenda.

"The visit of (Archbishop) Mamberti also showed the favorable development of relations between the state and the Catholic Church in Cuba," the government's note said.

The Vatican diplomat spent several days on the island, marking 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Cuba and participating in a national conference on the church's social teachings.

Lawsuit filed against Legionaries of Christ


A lawsuit against the Legionaries of Christ and the estate of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado was filed today on behalf of Raul Gonzalez, Maciel’s son who claims he endured years of abuse by his father. The suit was filed by attorney Joel T. Faxon of Connecticut in Superior Court of New Haven, in association with attorney Jeff Anderson of Minnesota.

Anderson has scheduled a press conference to be web-streamed at his office in St. Paul, with the plaintiff Raul Gonzalez, later this morning.

The 12-count complaint, alleging negligence and sexual battery, seeks monetary and punitive damages "in excess of $15,000" -- a common legal term. When he died in 2008, "all of Father Maciel's assets were taken by the Legionaries of Christ as the Legionaries required Maciel to give all of his possessions to the Legionaries," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit makes no reference to where Maciel's will or estate is located. It says the religious order "knew or should have known that Maciel had a child, that he was using Legionaries’ funds to support Raul and his family, and that Maciel was misrepresenting himself to his son."

Macielís Son to Sue Legionaries: Details abuse, Tells NCR 'Dad promised $6 million'


Born in Mexico in 1980, Raul Gonzalez is a sturdy six-foot-one, with dark, close-cropped hair. He has a fair command of English, but faltered occasionally, searching for words, and at one point broke down and wept in describing the sexual abuse he endured, in childhood and adolescence, by his father, the late Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of an international religious order, the Legionaries of Christ.

Raul Gonzalez gave his account in a May 7 interview with NCR. A lawsuit scheduled to be filed today in Connecticut against the Legion of Christ alleges that the order facilitated Maciel's abuse of his son, adding a new chapter in a saga of deception and depravity, two years after the death of Maciel, who for decades wielded enormous influence in Vatican circles as a favorite of the late Pope John Paul II.

BREAKING NEWS: Maciel suit filed in New Haven, Conn. June 21.

The Popeís Bedevilment


It is hard to believe that someone as theologically sophisticated as Pope Benedict would resort to blaming the devil for the church’s present problems, but his allusion to “the enemy” in a speech given to a large group of priests last week (where he bemoaned and apologized again for the sins of some of the clergy) leaves one puzzled to say the least.

Media covered clergy abuse more than Tea Party


WASHINGTON -- Pope Benedict XVI figured in more than half of all of the stories published in print or carried by broadcast news earlier this year regarding the clergy sexual abuse scandal, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Unlike the 2002 spate of coverage on clergy sex abuse, which had its epicenter in the Archdiocese of Boston, coverage in the six weeks during March and April examined by the study was greater in Europe than in the United States, as newspaper and broadcast stories focused principally on incidents in Ireland and the pope's native Germany.

Pope: the Devil behind timing of sex abuse crisis


Since the Catholic sexual abuse crisis erupted a decade ago, there have been numerous attempts to explain its causes, from a lack of fidelity to an over-emphasis on celibacy and clerical privilege. This morning in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI pointed to a deeper unseen force lurking behind the crisis, especially its timing: the Devil.

It’s no accident, the pope implied, that precisely as the Catholic church was celebrating a “Year for Priests” in 2009-2010, the sexual abuse crisis once again took on massive global proportions.

Group plans ordination without Vatican's OK

BERLIN -- The controversial Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) has announced plans to consecrate three priests on June 26 in Germany, a move one Catholic official has called a “provocation” that could upend a tentative peace with the Vatican.

The conservative SSPX, which rejects many of the Catholic Church's modernizing reforms, has long had a difficult relationship with the Vatican. A decision to consecrate four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II in 1988 led to the excommunication of all bishops involved, though the excommunication of four bishops was lifted in 2009.

The Vatican was deeply embarrassed after one of the rehabilitated SSPX bishops, Richard Williamson, turned out to be a vocal denier of the Holocaust. The Vatican claimed it did not know of his views when Pope Benedict XVI lifted his excommunication in a bid to reconcile the group with Rome.

The ordination ceremony for three deacons from Sweden, the Czech Republic and Italy was revealed in a circular released by the SSPX on Monday (May 31).

Vatican, courts wrestle over who controls bishops

VATICAN CITY -- Is Pope Benedict XVI legally responsible for the actions of U.S. Catholic bishops who mishandled cases of pedophile priests, allowing them to sexually abuse more children?

Some plaintiffs' lawyers are arguing that victims of clerical sex abuse should be able to sue the Vatican itself for damages, in large part because they say bishops are effectively employees or officials of the Holy See. The pope appoints and disciplines bishops, they note, and he can force them to step down if he deems them unfit.

57-year-old Hanoi archbishop resigns


VATICAN CITY -- Less than a week after a coadjutor archbishop was installed to assist him, 57-year-old Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi resigned his post amid rumors that the Vietnamese government had told the Vatican the archbishop must go.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted Archbishop Ngo Quang Kiet's resignation May 13. Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, 72, who had been welcomed as the coadjutor archbishop of Hanoi May 7, automatically became head of the archdiocese.



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August 29-September 11, 2014


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