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Vatican

Knights' praised in papal message

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VATICAN CITY -- The Knights of Columbus "have worked tirelessly" to help U.S. Catholics recognize and oppose efforts to "redefine and restrict the exercise of the right to religious freedom," said a message signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

The theme chosen for the Knights' Aug. 7-9 convention in Anaheim, Calif., "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land," is a reminder not only of "the great biblical ideals of freedom and justice which shaped the founding of the United States of America, but also the responsibility of each new generation to preserve, defend and advance those great ideals in its own day," the cardinal wrote.

The message, conveying Pope Benedict XVI's prayers for the Knights' annual gathering and his thanks to the fraternal organization, was published at the Vatican Aug. 2.

Writing on behalf of the pope, Cardinal Bertone thanked the Knights for helping Catholics "recognize and respond to the unprecedented gravity of these new threats to the church's liberty and public moral witness."

Papal book completed, new encyclical possible

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has finished the third volume of his opus, "Jesus of Nazareth," and perhaps also will publish an encyclical letter during the upcoming Year of Faith, said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

The cardinal, Pope Benedict's top collaborator, told reporters Aug. 1 that the pope had finished his manuscript on Jesus' infancy and childhood.

"It is a great gift for the Year of Faith," the cardinal told reporters in Les Combes di Introd, a village in Italy's northwestern Alps where Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict have vacationed in the past.

The first volume of "Jesus of Nazareth," covering the period from Jesus' baptism to his Transfiguration, was published in 2007. The second volume, looking at his passion and death, came out in 2011.

In a statement Aug. 2, the Vatican press office said the book is being translated into a variety of languages from the German original. "It is hoped that the book will be published simultaneously in the most widely spoken languages; this will require a certain amount of time to ensure the accurate translations of a text that is important and long-awaited."

Verdict on Vatican transparency offers criticism, praise

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Given the Vatican's traditional obsession with secrecy and autonomy, the report of the first independent, secular evaluation of the Vatican on financial transparency made news less for how the Vatican scored than the fact that it took the test in the first place.

Results of the highly anticipated evaluation were released July 18 by Moneyval, the Council of Europe's anti-money-laundering agency.

New Vatican doctrinal chief talks about SSPX, LCWR discussions

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VATICAN CITY -- Asked about how he would handle the most controversial cases he inherited, the new head of the Vatican's doctrinal office said, "For the future of the church, it's important to overcome ideological conflicts from whatever side they come."

German Archbishop Gerhard L. Muller, named prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in early July, told the Vatican newspaper that the congregation's discussions with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X and with the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious would focus on the fact that being Catholic means believing what the church teaches.

Although he has been a member of the congregation for five years, Muller told L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, that it would take him some time to get up to speed on all of the details of the congregation's work.

Papal butler's lawyers say client acted out of love for church, pope

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VATICAN CITY -- Everything Paolo Gabriele did, he did for love of the church and the pope, said the lawyers for the personal assistant to Pope Benedict XVI accused of leaking private documents.

However, Carlo Fusco and Cristiana Arru, the defense lawyers, said whether or not anything Gabriele did was a crime will be up to Vatican magistrates or a Vatican court to determine.

The lawyers spoke to reporters Saturday after Gabriele was allowed to leave a Vatican cell and return to his Vatican apartment to be with his wife and three children. He had been in custody for 60 days.

Vatican magistrates said they had finished their interrogation of the 46-year-old papal valet and were putting him under house arrest. The magistrates are still drafting their formal decision on whether or not they believe they have enough evidence to put Gabriele on trial for his alleged part in the "VatiLeaks" scandal.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said he expected the decision to be published at the end of July or beginning of August.

Vatican passes first test against money laundering, finance crimes

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VATICAN CITY -- As the Vatican continues working to comply with international standards against money laundering and financing terrorism, it still needs to beef up internal inspection and supervisory powers, said a long-awaited report by European finance experts.

Overall, the Vatican met nine out of 16 "key and core" recommendations, thereby passing its first major test in an effort to become more financially transparent and compliant with international norms.

Psychologist: Bishops' lashing out at sisters is a distraction

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Viewpoint

Since the Vatican's public release April 18 of the results of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, many American Catholics have been confused and angry. These women, who work tirelessly with the poor and marginalized, whom many of us see as embodying Christ's love, are being accused of doing grave harm to the church. In conversation after conversation, I have heard, "Why so much anger directed at women religious?", "What is this about?" and "It just seems ... abusive." As I pondered this last observation, I recognized a familiar dynamic.

For nearly eight years I worked as a psychologist at a treatment center for priests and religious. During that time I worked with a number of men who had committed sexual abuse. An essential part of the therapeutic work was for these men to understand the deep pain they had caused, to accept responsibility for it, and to move forward with a commitment not to let it happen again, which included accepting restrictions and consequences. Often the largest obstacle to healing was the first task: accepting and understanding the amount of pain they had caused.

Pope shuffles Vatican's deck with two key appointments

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With two key personnel decisions in late June and early July, Pope Benedict XVI effectively shuffled the Vatican's deck regarding a pair of its most contentious relationships, one with American nuns and the other with the church's traditionalist wing.

With the moves, Benedict also promoted one American while saying goodbye to another, leaving perceptions of a gathering "American moment" in key Vatican roles basically unaltered.

Father of VatiLeaks suspect hopes son's testimony will help reform

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VATICAN CITY -- The father of the pope's personal assistant, who is under arrest in connection with the so-called "VatiLeaks" scandal, described his son as an honest, faithful Catholic and said he hoped his son's "sacrifice" would help the church rid itself of corruption.

Paolo Gabriele, the pope's personal assistant, is a person of "absolute honesty ... great generosity and moral integrity," who is deeply devoted to the church and the pope, Andrea Gabriele said in a letter sent to the Italian television station Tgcom 24.

The letter was published on the broadcaster's website July 15.

Paolo Gabriele was arrested May 23 after confidential letters and documents addressed to the pope and others within the Vatican administration were allegedly found in his Vatican apartment.

Similar documents had been published in Italian media over the past several months warning of corruption, abuse of power and a lack of financial transparency at the Vatican.

Vatican says disgraced Legion of Christ needs a new identity

VATICAN CITY -- The disgraced Legion of Christ religious order needs to rethink its identity before going forward with its internal reform, the papal envoy in charge of the group's overhaul told priests and lay members in a letter published Wednesday.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis was appointed in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI to oversee the order's reform after revelations that its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, had lived a double life, abusing children and fathering a son.

Macial had enjoyed iconic status in the Legion, with strong suspicions that its leaders had been at least partly aware of his actions.

De Paolis writes that the troubled groups' various branches, which include priests, religious and laypeople, need "a common platform" to "regulate reciprocal relations ... according to the identity proper to each group."

This "joint reflection on the identity and mission" of the order, said Fr. Andreas Schoeggl, a Legion spokesman, needs to precede the final revision of the order's internal rules, which has been ongoing for the last two years and was the main goal of the pope's taking over of the order.

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April 11-24, 2014

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