Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 24, 2010
World News in Brief
Huge crowd gathers to show support for Pope Benedict
An estimated 120,000 people converged on St. Peter's Square May 16 to express support for Pope Benedict in dealing with the clerical sexual abuse scandal.
The Italian National Consultation of Lay Groups, a Catholic organization, spearheaded the effort to bring Catholics to the square to join the pope and show their support.
A variety of Catholic organizations and movements, labour unions and political groups joined them, filling St. Peter's Square and spilling onto the adjacent streets.
Paola Dal Toso, secretary of the national consultation, told Vatican Radio that participants wanted to pray for the victims of sexual abuse, but also "to recall all the good that many priests do, which does not make the news."
In a rare exception, Vatican officials allowed the organizers to hang banners from the colonnade surrounding the square; many proclaimed, "Together with the pope."
"We young people are with you," "The people of Rome with the pope" and dozens of other signs, banners, balloons and flags expressed love for the pope.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, president of the Italian bishops' conference, led the crowd in prayer before the pope arrived to address the gathering.
Pope Benedict said that with trust in the Lord and a renewed commitment to following him, the Church can become holier by going through "the trials" it is facing.
Union-busting a mortal sin, say Catholic scholars
A group of Catholic scholars contends that management efforts to break labour unions are a grave breech of the Church's social doctrine and tantamount to committing mortal sin. A statement from Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice offers a detailed argument that actions to thwart union organizing campaigns, stifle contract talks, unilaterally roll back wages and benefits, and break existing labour agreements are a "grave violation of Catholic social doctrine on labour unions. This violation of Catholic doctrine constitutes material grounds for mortal sin because it stands in grave violation of both the letter and spirit of Catholic social doctrine," said the document. The scholars said efforts to deny workers the right to organize violate the First, Fifth and Seventh commandments regarding idolatry, scandal and theft, respectively. Joseph Fahey, chairman of the scholars group, told Catholic News Service May 14 that the statement analyzes the criteria for mortal sin much like a priest would during the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Diocese to sell offices, camp to settle lawsuits
The Diocese of Burlington, Vt., has settled 26 lawsuits involving clergy sex abuse for nearly US$18 million and put its administration building and a former Catholic summer camp up for sale to help cover the cost. Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington announced the settlements in a May 13 letter to Vermont Catholics. "I once again apologize most sincerely for the pain the victims have suffered," he said. "I ask that you join me in praying always for these wounded and hurt brothers and sisters."
U.S. bishops launch website to promote vocations
The Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the U.S. bishops' conference has launched a website to promote vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. The site, www.ForYourVocation.org, is meant to help people who are discerning a possible vocation and educate Catholics about the need to encourage others to consider a vocation. The site includes videos of priests and religious men and women talking about their vocations, as well as many other features. The site also has a link to YouTube vocation channel.
Media pedophilia 'panic' mars prevention - Jesuits
A lack of expert opinion in media coverage of the clerical sex abuse scandal has led to a climate of "moral panic," which does nothing to help people understand the tragedy of abuse or keep children safe, said an influential Jesuit journal. By presenting existing problems as being brand new and not providing accurate statistics, media outlets have helped create a sense of alarmism. The resulting "moral panic doesn't help anybody," said La Civilta Cattolica. The media "distort people's awareness of the problem and compromise the effectiveness of measures meant to solve it," the journal said. The May 15 article was a follow-up to a May 1 article examining the social and psychological characteristics of sex offenders. The article was written by Jesuit Fathers Giovanni Cucci, a professor of ethics, and Hans Zollner, a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist. The authors lamented what they called "a strange silence" in the media regarding expert commentary on the crisis.
Pope accepts resignation of Hanoi archbishop
Less than a week after a coadjutor archbishop was installed to assist him, 57-year-old Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi resigned his post amid rumours that the Vietnamese government had told the Vatican the archbishop must go. Pope Benedict accepted Ngo Quang Kiet's resignation May 13. Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon, 72, who had been welcomed as the coadjutor archbishop of Hanoi May 7, automatically became head of the archdiocese. In an interview published on the Vietnamese bishops' website in April, Ngo Quang Kiet denied rumours that he had been pressured to step down after he asked Catholics in 2007 to pray for the government to return the former apostolic nunciature to the Church. He also had criticized Hanoi city authorities for building a flower garden on the premises without local Church approval. The archbishop reportedly had been suffering from stress and insomnia.
Bishops now know the suffering of abuse victims
Bishops in the United States have learned that the injury to victims of priestly sexual abuse "is deeper than non-victims can imagine" said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. U.S. bishops also learned that Catholics have been hurt by the "moral failings of some priests" and have been hurt and angered "even more by bishops who failed to put children first" when reports of abuse surfaced, said Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, S.D. Writing in the May 17 issue of America magazine, Cupich said one of the first lessons for the bishops has been what the impact of abuse has been on minors. Bishops must continue to reach out to victims despite the "justified anger felt by victims toward the Church," he said.
Dublin prelate discouraged by lack of renewal
The lack of willingness in the Catholic Church to begin "a painful process of renewal" in the wake of the clerical abuse scandals has left Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin "disheartened and discouraged." In a talk on the future of the Church in Ireland, Martin said the most obvious source of his discouragement was "the drip-by-drip, never-ending revelation about child abuse and the disastrous way it was handled. There are still strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge," he said. "The truth will make us free, even when that truth is uncomfortable. There are signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred within the Church and how it was covered up. There are other signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened. There are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required."
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