Archive for June 2010
After weeks of being on tenterhooks about the new president of the Congregation of Bishops the Pope has announced that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Archbishop of Quebec will take up the post. Cardinal George Pell was one of the people whose name was originally being bandied about but a smear campaign and poor health made him turn down the appointment, according to Vatican watchers.
In this Curial turn-around–which places a Canadian at the top of a curial department dominated by Italians–other important posts have also been filled and people shifted across departments.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, a controversial figure who headed the Pontifical Council for Life as well as being the rector of the Lateran University has been moved to the Pope’s new department the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, while Don Enrico dal Covolo, S.D.B takes over as Rector at the Lateran and Mgr Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life, is taking over as head.
Mgr Carrasco de Paula is a medical doctor as well as a prominent moral theologian and bioethicist. He is a member of the Opus Dei, which reminds me of this John Allen Jr article from 2001 about the Opus Dei in the Vatican.
This morning B16 said that the greatest danger for the Church does not come from the outside but from the inside.
Alluding to the crisis of clerical abuse and to the persecution the Church has faced during its history, Benedict said (NB this is my very rough translation from Italian): “If we think of the two millenia of the history of the Church, we can see that, as the Lord Jesus had foreseen, there were not missing for the Christians the tests which in some periods and places took on the character of real and actual persecution.
“This, however, despite the suffering which provoke us, does not constitute the most grave danger for the Church. The greatest damage in fact, it suffers from those who pollute the faith and the Christian life of its members and community, attacking the integrity of the mystical Body, harming it in its capacity of prophecy and testimony and dulling the beauty of its face.”
The Vatican Information Service has just released an unusually detailed communique relating to a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn and Cardinal Angelo Sodano in which the Austrian cardinal was made to explain public criticism he had levelled against Sodano.
After Cardinal Sodano made a surprise speech at Easter criticising the media’s reports about abuse as “idle gossip”, Cardinal Schoenborn publicly accused the former Secretary of State of having deliberately obstructed an investigation into accusations of child abuse against Cardinal Herman Groer of Vienna. In today’s meeting, Pope Benedict seems to have done several things: he has reminded Cardinal Schoenborn that the disciplining of members of the hierarchy is the responsibility of the Pope, he has clarified Sodano’s controversial comments about “idle gossip” and has brought the two men together. Interesting.
The Catholic Herald this week carries an incredibly moving piece by a young mother responding to the death of her unborn child. Here is an excerpt, but it is simple, sad and beautiful so really worth reading in full.
My 20-week scan found that the baby’s heart was not beating. We decided to induce the delivery. The next day, at 1pm, we went to the clinic. They gave me pills that would start the contractions.
I decided not to take painkillers, as I realised that this was going to be the only effort, the only sacrifice, one of the only physical interactions, that I would have with the baby, although he was dead.
Pope Benedict today named a new bishop to fill the shoes of the disgraced BishopRoger Vangheluwe who resigned after confessing to abusing a boy, in Bruges, Belgium. The news comes after a wide-reaching raid of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels connected to the abuse of children by priests. The new Bishop of Bruges is Bishop Jozef De Kesel, an auxiliary of the diocese of Mechelen-Brussels, who had been a favourite for the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels which is now led by Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard.
Files and a computer were seized from the house of the former Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, linked to clerical abuse of children, after a morning raid yesterday. Four-hundred-and-seventy-five files about Belgian abuse cases were also confiscated from the commission which investigates child abuse in the Church. According to the Flemish press, Cardinal Danneels’ name was mentioned 50 times in the confiscated dossiers which could possibly link him to coverup efforts. His spokesman has said that he is happy to collaborate with the secular investigators. In Flemish, reports here and here. Both Rocco Palmo over on Whispers and Andrew Brown at the Guardian have more.
Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Birmingham Oratory during his trip to Britain, it emerged today. While he is there he will visit Cardinal John Henry Newman’s rooms.
There had been some doubt about whether the Pope would visit the Oratory because of controversies within the Birmingham Oratory community, but it is an obvious stop for the Pontiff because Newman lived there in his final years. It holds his library as well as the relics that were found when grave was opened in 2008.
A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that the visit’s organisers had asked Birmingham City Council for the use of Cofton Park for Newman’s beatification on September 19. He said that, while the details still had to be worked out with the City of Birmingham, they hoped that at least 80,000 people would be able to attend. The site is near Rednal, where Newman’s Oratorians had a house and where the Fathers of the Oratory were later buried. Cardinal Newman’s grave is there.
The spokesman said: “Cofton Park will have more historical resonance, because it is next to Rednal. The Oratorians used to take their recreation in Cofton Park. What is important is that it enables a visit to the Birmingham Oratory. If it all works out, the Pope will make a private visit to Newman’s rooms.
A spokesman for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has quashed rumours that the organisation had a hand in funding the Catholic Voicesproject . He said that the foundation has not donated money to the project. (To see the TBFF’s donations, click here). The rumour surfaced amidst speculations about the identity of a major donor to the project dedicated to training up lay Catholics to be media-savvy ahead of the Pope’s visit to Britain in September. Catholic Voices is under the auspices of the Catholic Union.
Bishop Edwin Barnes, the emeritus Anglican bishop of Richborough, has written a piece on the Anglo-Catholic blog about the increasingly reticent sounds coming from Britain about the possibility of joining an Ordinariate. Entitled ‘Cold Feet’, the article gives a sense of the mood in England and Wales towards taking up the offer of an ordinariate among Catholic members of the Church of England.