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Vatican

Archbishop Burke will help shape world's episcopate

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI's naming of U.S. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke to the Congregation for Bishops was a small but significant appointment that could have an impact on the wider church for many years to come.

The congregation's members generally meet every two weeks to review candidates for vacant dioceses and make their recommendations to the pope -- recommendations that carry a lot of weight. Precisely for that reason, the Congregation for Bishops is known as one of the most important Roman Curia agencies.

Vatican welcomes Anglicans: React story No. 2

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Subdued reflection seemed to be the most common reaction from Catholics and Anglicans to the Vatican's plans to more easily welcome Anglicans into the Roman Catholic fold.

Seeming to welcome the announcement was Msgr. William H. Stetson, an Opus Dei priest from the Washington, D.C., area, who since the 1980s has personally supervised the conversion of approximately 100 Episcopal priests.

He told Religion News Service, "There's no structure like it in the modern history of the Catholic church. This is a historic moment."

Vatican welcomes Anglicans: React story No. 1

WASHINGTON -- Parishioners at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, the largest Anglican-use Catholic parish in the U.S., have plenty to talk about these days.

"Everyone is excited, but they have lots of questions," said the pastor, Father Christopher Phillips, about the Vatican's Oct. 20 announcement of a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.

Celibacy a deal-breaker for some Anglicans

VATICAN CITY -- While Pope Benedict XVI hopes to encourage conversions by allowing disaffected Anglicans to continue to use traditional forms of worship, the Catholic tradition of celibate clergy may be an insurmountable obstacle for some potential converts.

The Vatican announced Tuesday (Oct. 20) that it will create new national dioceses tailored to Anglicans upset with their church's growing acceptance of homosexuality and female clergy. The dioceses will feature not only distinctively Anglican music and prayers, but also the trait that till now has most conspicuously distinguished Anglicanism from Roman Catholicism: married priests.

Vatican reveals plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans

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Married priests to be part of the deal in new 'personal ordinariates'

In a move with potentially sweeping implications for relations between the Catholic church and some 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the Vatican has announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests.

Those structures would be open to members of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the main American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. American Episcopalians are said to number some 2.2 million.

The announcement came this morning in Rome in a news conference with two Americans: Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Benedict's 'affirmative orthodoxy a model of engagement

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During Pope Benedict XVI’s Sept. 26-28 trip to the Czech Republic, a spider that crawled across the pope’s garments probably got more play in the American press than anything the pope actually said or did. That’s a pity, because Benedict’s relentlessly positive tone on the trip set an important example for how the church can successfully engage cultures, and political leaders, with which it has serious disagreements.

A roundup of this week's events in Rome

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A Synod of Bishops is styled as an event of the universal church, so even when it focuses on a specific region, as with the Oct. 4-25 Synod for Africa, it's still directed at the whole Catholic world. From an American point of view, therefore, there's nothing wrong with looking at the synod, now two-thirds complete, and asking: What does it mean for us?

It's actually a terrific question, for two reasons.

Vatican announces start of dialogue with traditionalists

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VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican announced the start of a long-awaited dialogue aimed at repairing a 21-year break with a group of traditionalist Catholics.

The first encounter between the leaders of the Society of St. Pius X and Vatican experts will take place Oct. 26 at the Vatican, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Oct. 15.

Ghanaian archbishop says church has failed Africa

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Rome

Here's an exercise to try sometime: Find any random cross-section of twenty people who know something about Catholicism in Africa, and ask them to tick off five names of the most impressive African bishops they know. The odds are fairly good that the name of Archbishop Charles ("Call me Charlie") Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, will surface with some frequency.

Palmer-Buckle, 59, is taking part in the Synod for Africa as a papal appointment. A leader in peace efforts in Ghana and a veteran of the international Catholic scene through his work with groups such as Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services, Palmer-Buckle is widely considered to be among the heavyweights of his generation in the African hierarchy.

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