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Vatican

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.

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.

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September 26-October 9, 2014

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