Catholics for a Changing Church

"To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often" - Bl. John Henry Newman

Notes and News - #166

Vatican admits it does not Understand Youth; 01/02/13; UCA

The Vatican’s culture ministry warned on Thursday (Jan. 31) that the Catholic Church risks losing future generations if it doesn’t learn how to understand young people, their language and their culture.

The Pontifical Council for Culture invited sociologists, web experts and theologians to a three-day, closed-door event on Feb. 6-9 aimed at studying “emerging youth cultures.”

According to a working paper released ahead of the meeting, the church risks “offering answers to questions that are not there” if it doesn’t learn “the cultural reality of young people.”

Alessandro Speciale



Vatican Resists UN Move to Protect Women; 05/03/13;UCA

The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts by a UN conference, which started Monday, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children.

More than 6,000 non-government groups are registered at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women, one of the biggest events held at the UN headquarters, which regularly turns into a diplomatic battle.

This year's meeting has been made more emotive after an attack in October by the Taliban on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her attempts to promote girls' education in Pakistan and widely publicized gang rapes in India and South Africa.

Diplomats said the Holy See, Iran and Russia are leading attempts to wipe out language in a final statement that says religion, custom or tradition must not be used as an excuse to avoid a government's obligation to eliminate violence.

They also have opposed references to rape by a woman's husband or partner, diplomats said.

"Violence against women must be seen as a human rights issue and that has nothing to do with culture or religion," said Norway's Gender Equality Minister Inga Marte Thorkildsen.


Malala Goes Back to School; 20/03/13; Al Jazeera

"I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school. I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity." Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani who returned to school yesterday for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban in October.


Bergoglio criticises Church; 31/03/13; Associated Press.

  HAVANA — Pope Francis issued a strong critique of the church before the College of Cardinals just hours before it selected him as the new pontiff, according to comments published Tuesday by a Roman Catholic magazine in Cuba.

According to Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega, then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio urged the Vatican to eschew self-absorption and refocus its energies outward.

“The church is called on to emerge from itself and move toward the peripheries, not only geographic but also existential (ones): those of sin, suffering, injustice, ignorance and religious abstention, thought and all misery,” Bergoglio said.

Ortega said Bergoglio’s comments were made to cardinals as they gathered to select Benedict XVI’s replacement, and reflect his vision of the contemporary Catholic Church. He said Bergoglio later gave him a handwritten version and permission to divulge its contents.


Pope Takes Charge of a Sexophobic Church; 03/04/13; Gender Wire (IPS)

Pope Francis Takes Over Sexophobic Church

RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 29 2013 (IPS) - Jorge Bergoglio begins his papacy as Francis I facing the challenge of a Catholic Church caught up in a burdensome contradiction with modern society, because of its negative attitude to sexuality and women.

“There would be much more common sense, efficiency and tenderness in the church, rather than that immense wave of paedophilia and paederasty in the hierarchy and the Catholic schools” if the Catholic Church had incorporated women into the priesthood and the different leadership roles in the institution, said João Tavares, a married former priest living in São Luis, in northeastern Brazil.

The Catholic Church is characterised by androcentrism, excluding women from its decisions and the performance of its celebrations, although they are the majority of the faithful and the greatest “consumers of spiritual goods,” complained Regina Jurkewicz, one of the coordinators of Católicas pelo Direito de Decidir (CDD – a partner of the U.S.-based Catholics for Choice) in Brazil.


Pope Appoints Group of Cardinals to Consult on Church Government; 15/04/13; VIS

In a statement the Vatican said on Saturday: “The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations preceding the Conclave, has established a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'.

Source: VIS

Pope Francis: Vatican II “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit”; 17/04/13; The Tablet website.

Pope Francis has called the Second Vatican Council a "beautiful work of the Holy Spirit" from which only the foolish and those lacking belief would want to retreat.

"But there's even more - there are those who want to go back," he said. "This is called ‘being stiff-necked'; this is called wanting to ‘tame the Holy Spirit'; this is called becoming ‘fools and slow of heart'," he said in his unscripted remarks, which were part of a more general reflection on the temptation to resist the often unsettling promptings of the Holy Spirit

No Bonus for Vatican Bank Cardinals; 23/04/13; Catholic World News

Following an announcement last week that the Vatican would not pay the traditional bonus to employees at the start of a new pontificate, ANSA reports that the 5 cardinals on the board that oversees the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) will not receive the €25,000 (about $32,500) they had been paid each year on top of their regular salary. The moves have been ascribed to budgetary pressures and to the new Pope's desire for a Vatican more responsible to the poor.

Romero Canonization Cause Unblocked; 26/04/13; Religion News Service.

    David Gibson for Religion News Service

The news that Pope Francis, just six weeks on the job, has cleared the way for the long-stalled canonization of martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero is a stunner that sends another important signal about the new pope’s priorities. 

“Sainthood is often as much about politics and image as anything else,” said the Rev. Harvey Egan, a Jesuit priest and professor emeritus of theology at Boston College.

“It’s not surprising to me that this present pope being from South America, having the same inclinations as Romero, would unblock the process and say ‘Push his cause through,’ and I think rightly so.”

Priest Excommunicated for Views on Homosexuality; 03/04/13; UCA

The Catholic Church has excommunicated a Brazilian priest after he defended homosexuality, open marriage and other practices counter to Church teaching in online videos.

In a statement released late on Monday, the priest's diocese said Father Roberto Francisco Daniel, known to local parishioners as Padre Beto, had "in the name of 'freedom of expression' betrayed the promise of fealty to the Church."

The priest "injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality." The actions amount to "heresy and schism," the statement said, the penalty for which is excommunication, or expulsion from the Church.

In a telephone interview, Daniel said his statements "are personal reflections that should be considered and discussed in the dialogue of the church." The excommunication, he said, is "the sad act of a lukewarm and disengaged church that is out of touch with today's society."


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