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Vatican

Vatican presses Caritas on 'Catholic identity'

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VATICAN CITY -- The general assembly of Caritas Internationalis in late May is shaping up as a defining moment for the confederation of 165 national Catholic charities, at a time when the Vatican is insisting on greater control over Caritas operations.

The agenda of the May 22-27 meeting reflects the Vatican's moves toward closer collaboration and supervision: On the assembly's first full working day, four Vatican officials will speak on the crucial topics of Catholic identity and the juridical status of Caritas Internationalis in the universal church.

Bishop's firing makes pope's priorities clear

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An NCR editorial

The Australian Catholic diocese of Toowoomba, encompassing more than 300,000 square miles, has just a relative handful of healthy priests to serve the church’s 35 parishes. So it came as no surprise to Toowoomba’s Catholics when the area’s bishop, William M. Morris, addressed the priest shortage in a candid but still cautious Advent 2006 pastoral letter.

Support for ousted Australian bishop widens

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The forced retirement of an Australian bishop who raised the possibility of ordaining women as a solution to that country's severe priest shortage was "inappropriate and unjust" according to a statement on the Web site of the Vincentian order in Australia.

The statement in support of Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese, just west of Brisbane, was signed by Vincentian Fr. Tim Williams and is the latest in a show of strong support from fellow clergy.

The Australia Broadcasting Corporation program "PM" reported that several hundred people gathered May 3 "in the wet weather near St Patrick's, Toowoomba's Catholic cathedral, to show their support for the sacked bishop, Bill Morris."

Australian priests offer support for deposed bishop

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A national organization of priests in Australia issued a statement May 3 supporting Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba diocese, while also decrying the influence of those who maintain a “restorationist ideology” and apparently agitated for the bishop’s removal.

According to a letter Morris wrote that was read at all Masses in the diocese May 1, Pope Benedict XVI forced him to retire following complaints by a group of dissidents in his diocese who took issue with a 2006 pastoral letter that dealt with a severe priest shortage facing the Australian church.

Catholic bloggers meet at the Vatican

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VATICAN CITY

The Catholic Church needs active members who blog, but Catholic bloggers also need the church, especially to remind them of the virtue of charity needed in their writing, said participants at a Vatican meeting.

The meeting May 2 was sponsored by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications.

The councils accepted requests to attend, then drew the names of the 150 participants once the requests were divided according to geography, language and whether the blog was personal or institutional.

Benedict proclaims John Paul II a blessed

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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2011 (VIS) - At 10:00am this morning, the Second Sunday of Easter of Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI presided over the Eucharistic celebration during which Servant of God John Paul II, Pope (1920-2005) was proclaimed a Blessed, and whose feastday will be celebrated 22 October every year from now on.

Eighty-seven delegations from various countries, among which were 5 royal houses, 16 heads of state - including the presidents of Poland and Italy - and 7 prime ministers, attended the ceremony.

Beatification stirs ferment over John Paulís legacy

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ROME -- As historical figures, saints are complex people. Their legacies, however, often can be expressed in a fairly simple idea: St. Francis of Assisi as a lover of the earth and all its creatures; Mother Teresa as the servant of the poor; St. John Vianney as the patron of priests and parish life.

tNow that Pope Benedict XVI has beatified John Paul II, and canonization seems a foregone conclusion, the question becomes: What will be the simple idea, or ideas, associated with John Paul II, which define how he’s recalled by future generations?

That’s more than idle curiosity, since in Catholicism memory packs a punch. Nor should it be taken for granted that the dominant images of John Paul II in his own time will be what history recalls, just as perspectives on earlier popes, not to mention ecumenical councils and other milestones, have shifted over the years.

The miracle John Paul II has yet to accomplish

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COMMENTARY

Official history, Camus once observed, is written by those who make history, not those who suffer from it.

Almost 20 years ago, A group of some 30 survivors of childhood sexual molestation by priests and I wrote to Pope John Paul II in painstakingly and excruciating detail of our harrowing experiences of being raped and sexually assaulted as youngsters while attending a boarding school for boys operated by the Capuchin Franciscan religious order in rural Wisconsin. The school, St. Lawrence Seminary, was one of a vast network of such Catholic seminaries across the United States. John Paul was keen to see a massive resurgence of places like St. Lawrence, in which priests raised children to become priests like themselves. Time magazine at the time dubbed our story "The Sins of Saint Lawrence." It's hard to imagine anymore when this kind of headline was novel, but it was. We delivered our letter, along with newspaper clippings, supporting legal documents, and videotaped depositions to the papal nuncio in Washington.

What we were hoping for from Pope John Paul II was justice.

In death as in life, John Paul a sign of contradiction

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ROME -- Pope John Paul II reigned for almost 27 years, and during that time he was often a sign of contradiction -- a charismatic and beloved figure around the world who also stirred strong opposition in several different camps, including church reformers, social progressives, and Catholic traditionalists.

The May 1 beatification of the late pope seems to be generating a similar range of reactions. While critics object to both the speed of the beatification and what some see as the political agenda underlying it, Rome is preparing for a tidal wave of devotees, a host of books and TV programs are celebrating the life and legacy of John Paul II, and new polling suggests that the late pontiff, six years after his death, remains remarkably popular at the grassroots.

Many of those objecting to the beatification tend to put special emphasis on a perceived failure by the Vatican under John Paul II to respond adequately to the Catholic sexual abuse crisis. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd yesterday put the argument in typically blunt fashion: “How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?”

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