Archive for the ‘bishops’ Category

Catholic Bishops Will Challenge Obama, Lawmakers, Nation on Abortion

November 12, 2008

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.

Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary, Ind., front left, and Archbishop ...
Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary, Ind., front left, and Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, right, pray during the semi-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 in Baltimore. The bishops discussed today Catholic politicians and abortion rights.(AP Photo/ Steve Ruark)

In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.

And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.

“I cannot have a vice president-elect coming to Scranton to say he’s learned his values there when those values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Martino said. The Obama-Biden press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Diocese of Kansas City in Kansas said politicians “can’t check your principles at the door of the legislature.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081112/ap_
on_re_us/rel_catholic_bishops;_ylt=AiMp4
0sZ19EOx_DLM21Ud2MGw_IE

Due To Sex Scandal; Future Candidates for Catholic Priest Must Meet These Psychological Screening Guidelines

October 31, 2008

The Vatican issued new psychological screening guidelines for seminarians Thursday — the latest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to be more selective about its priesthood candidates following a series of sex abuse scandals.

The church said it issued the new guidelines to help church leaders weed out candidates with “psychopathic disturbances.” The scandals have rocked the church in recent years, triggering lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

Three priests cross St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, in this ... 
Three priests cross St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, in this
Oct. 18, 2002 file photo.
(AP Photo/Luciano Del Castillo)

“(The guidelines) became ever more urgent because of the sexual scandals,” Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues told reporters. He stressed, however, that psychological testing was used in some seminaries as far back as the 1960s — or at least a decade before the sexual abuse scandals exploded in public.

“In all too many cases, psychological defects, sometimes of a pathological kind, reveal themselves only after ordination to the priesthood,” the guidelines said. “Detecting defects earlier would help avoid many tragic experiences.”

The guidelines said problems like “confused or not yet well-defined” sexual identities need to be addressed.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the Vatican needs to go beyond screening seminarians to end what the group calls the church’s “virtually unchanged culture of secrecy and unchecked power in the hierarchy” that left dangerous priests in parishes.

“Every barrel will always have some bad apples,” the Survivors Network said. “Real change requires effectively reforming the barrel and those who oversee it.”

Vatican officials conducted an evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal. The evaluation was completed in July of 2006, but the results have not been made public.

The bishops and seminary staff who conducted the onsite reviews gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. The Vatican also directed the evaluators to look for “evidence of homosexuality” in the schools.

Studies commissioned by the bishops’ conference have found that the majority of known victims of abuse by priests in the last 50 years were adolescent boys. In response, some Catholics have blamed gay clergy for the scandal; experts on sex offenders contend homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081031/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
vatican_screening_priests_12

Vietnamese Demand Return of Seized property

January 6, 2008
by Frank Zeller

HANOI (AFP) – Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholic Christians held prayer vigils in the capital at the weekend, the latest in a series asking for the return of church land seized by the communists half a century ago.

Vietnamese Catholic Christians sing and pray for the return ...
Vietnamese Catholics sing and pray for the return of church land in Hanoi, taken by communist authorities half a century ago, in the latest of a string of such meetings, on January 5.(AFP/Frank Zeller)

Priests and Catholic followers lit candles, placed flowers and sang at the iron fence around a property near Hanoi‘s central St Joseph’s Cathedral after Saturday prayers and Sunday masses.

They say the large French-colonial villa and the 1.1 hectares (2.7 acre) it sits on are the former office of the Vatican‘s delegate to Hanoi, confiscated by the state when he was expelled in the late 1950s.

Hanoi authorities have kept the building intact but used it as a sometime discotheque while local officials have also used the garden area, shaded by an enormous banyan tree, as a motorcycle carpark, the Christians say.

“It’s the land and the property of the church. We have the certificate of ownership of the property since 1933,” one priest from the Hanoi archdiocese told AFP, speaking on condition he not be named.

Catholics are now hopeful the dispute will be resolved after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet during a prayer meeting with thousands of followers in late December, pledging to consider the issue.

Vietnam, a former French colony and a unified, communist country since the war ended in 1975, has Southeast Asia’s largest Catholic community after the Philippines — about six million out of a population of 84 million.

Its officially atheist communist rulers have long worried that religious groups, both Christian and Buddhist, could undermine their authority, but conditions have improved, especially for Catholics, in recent years.

While all religious activity remains under state control, the government started a dialogue with Catholics in the 1990s which led to a milestone visit to the Vatican almost a year ago by Prime Minister Dung.

Hanoi had tense relations with pope John Paul II, deemed a contributor to the defeat of Soviet communism, but congratulated his successor Benedict XVI soon after he became pontiff in 2005, saying it wanted closer relations.

Christian festivals such as Christmas have become popular, with thousands of followers and curious now crowding Vietnam’s cathedrals and churches.

Still, religious issues remain sensitive, and the state-controlled media has refrained from covering the mass prayer meetings.

Undercover police have milled in the crowds, taking video and photographs, the priest said.

“Some Catholic followers were questioned by security officials, and some say they were pressured not to attend the prayers,” said the priest, who stressed he was not speaking on behalf of the Catholic church.

Asked how he rated religious freedom in Vietnam, the priest said Catholics still cannot study to become diplomats or police officers, and that the church remains barred from operating its own newspapers, schools and hospitals.