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Vatican

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.

Head of Vatican court describes 'VatiLeaks' as 'most grave crimes'

CORK, Ireland -- The head of the Vatican's highest court described the spate of leaks of confidential Vatican documents as "most grave crimes" and warned that those responsible must be discovered and "appropriately sanctioned."

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, said the confidentiality of Pope Benedict XVI's communications must be respected in order for the pope to carry out his work in service of the church.

The Vatican blames market decline for $20 million deficit

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican posted a record loss of $19 million (15 million euros) in 2011, its worst deficit in more than a decade.

Vatican officials blamed the loss on the "negative trend of global financial markets, which made it impossible to achieve the goals laid down in the budget," in an announcement Thursday.

The Holy See's budget benefited from a $61 million (49 million euros) contribution from the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican Bank. But this was offset by growing expenses, especially for personnel and for the Vatican media network, which includes Vatican Radio and the semiofficial newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Vatican media operations registered a loss of $22 million.

Despite the Holy See's negative results, the Vatican City State, which is a separate administration, posted a $27 million surplus last year. The budget of the world's smallest state was boosted by booming revenues at the Vatican Museums, which jumped to $112 million last year from $101 million in 2010. In total, more than five million people visited the Sistine Chapel and the museums' other masterpieces in 2011.

Vatican budget shows major loss despite rise in donations

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VATICAN CITY -- The Holy See sustained its largest budget deficit of the past decade in 2011 as a result of global financial trends, the Vatican said Thursday. But Vatican City State, which includes the income-generating Vatican Museums and Vatican post office, ended 2011 with a surplus of 21.8 million euros ($27 million).

Former Detroit seminary rector named bishop of Steubenville

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Jeffrey M. Monforton, rector-president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for the past six years, as bishop of Steubenville, Ohio.

The appointment was announced Tuesday at the Vatican.

Monforton, 49, succeeds Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, 63, who was named in May 2011 as bishop of Joliet, Ill.

The new bishop also served from 1998 to 2005 as priest-secretary to now-retired Cardinal Adam J. Maida, who was then archbishop of Detroit, and had most recently been pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Rochester, the Detroit Archdiocese's largest parish.

No date has been set for his episcopal ordination and installation as bishop of Steubenville.

"I am very grateful and deeply humbled for our Holy Father to entrust me with the faithful of the Steubenville Diocese," Monforton said in a statement.

Famed American Archbishop Fulton Sheen moves closer to sainthood

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday recognized Archbishop Fulton Sheen's "heroic virtues," moving the popular radio and TV evangelist one step closer to sainthood.

Sheen is now "venerable" in the Roman Catholic Church and, if the Vatican recognizes that a miracle has been operated through his intercession, he would be declared "blessed," the last step before sainthood.

The acknowledgment of Sheen came in a decree signed by Benedict after a meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican office that oversees sainthood causes. The decree recognizes that the fiercely anti-Nazi and anti-Communist bishop practiced virtue to a "heroic" degree.

Sheen's canonization cause was started in 2002 in his native Peoria, Ill., and his file had been under examination in Rome since 2009.

Sheen hosted radio and TV programs for almost 40 years. His Emmy Award-winning TV program, "Life is Worth Living," ran from 1951 to 1957 and reached up to 30 million viewers. He was made an auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951, later moving to Rochester, N.Y., and retiring in 1969.

Pope names US archbishop to new post to aid talks with traditionalists

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VATICAN CITY -- In an effort to aid reconciliation attempts with traditionalist Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia to fill a newly created post of vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

"The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father's pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter," the Vatican said in a written statement Tuesday.

The statement, released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees "Ecclesia Dei," said the New York-born Dominican is a respected theologian who has devoted much time and attention to the doctrinal issues under review in current talks with the breakaway traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, led by Bishop Bernard Fellay. The society rejects some of the teachings of Vatican II as well as the modernizing reforms, especially to the liturgy, that followed in its wake.

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