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Vatican

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?”

John Paul beatification highlights dysfunctional monarchy

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Within a two-day period this week, contrasting monarchical spectacles will compete for billions of TV viewers. The first will involve a likely future king's wedding; the second, the beatification of a supreme pontiff.

Many will enjoy the glamour of Kate and Will's English royal wedding as a revolution that long ago replaced a once unaccountable British monarchy with a more benign parliamentary monarchy. By contrast, many have expressed deep reservations and concern about the second ceremony, a pageant aimed at brightening a dead pope's memory by adding spiritual acclaim.

Vatican may resist judge's order for documents

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A ruling on Thursday from a federal judge in Oregon marks the first time that an American court has ever issued an order requiring the Vatican to hand over documents in a sex abuse case.

Whether that actually happens, however, depends on how the Vatican responds, including whether it tries to persuade either the Oregon judge or an appeals court that it shouldn’t have to comply.

Holy Thursday collection for Japan disaster relief

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has decided the collection taken up at his Holy Thursday evening Mass will be used to help those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan.

The March 11 disaster left more than 13,000 people dead and another 13,700 unaccounted for. More than 150,000 were made homeless and many lost their jobs, especially in the fishing industry.

Vatican paper praises fertility ethics of films

VATICAN CITY -- The official Vatican newspaper has praised two recent Hollywood movies for showing the ethical downsides of sperm donation.

In the lead article in the Saturday edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Carlo Bellieni writes in “When Cinema Tells the Truth” that the movies, both released in 2010, reflect “many doubts and misgivings” about fertility treatments that use sperm or eggs from anyone outside a married couple seeking to conceive. Such techniques are forbidden by the church.

In “The Back-Up Plan,” Bellieni writes, Jennifer Lopez plays a woman who resorts to sperm donation “out of rage toward men,” but who, “ironically and with great embarrassment, immediately afterwards finds love with the right man.”

In “The Switch,” starring Jennifer Aniston, a male friend of an expectant mother secretly substitutes his own semen for that of her designated donor.

“The film shows this man’s regret for what he has done, not being able to tell the child that he is his father,” Bellieni writes, “while the little one sadly collects photos of strangers to imagine a parent he doesn’t have.”

Pope: End of bloodshed in Ivory Coast, Libya

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI appealed for an end to the bloodshed in Ivory Coast and Libya, saying hatred and violence never led to victory.

He called for all sides involved in the separate conflicts to end the fighting and start talks.

"I continue to follow with great apprehension the dramatic events the dear people of Ivory Coast and Libya are experiencing," he said at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square April 6.

The pope said his prayers are with all those affected by the conflicts.

"Violence and hatred are always a failure! For this reason I am making a new and urgent appeal to all sides involved to begin working for peace and dialogue and prevent further bloodshed," he said.

The pope also expressed his hopes that Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, would soon be able to enter Ivory Coast.

The pope had sent the Ghanaian cardinal as his personal envoy to show his solidarity with the people affected by the conflict and to offer support for efforts for peace and reconciliation.

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