Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

Voice of the Faithful Focus, Dec. 2, 2016

Highlighting issues we face working together
                          to Keep the Faith, Change the Church

TOP STORIES

Fall of an archbishop; Byrnes set to arrive, steps in for Apuron
“When Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes arrives today (Nov. 28), he will step into a fractured community of the faith. Officially, he is coming to assist Archbishop Anthony Apuron in running the Archdiocese of Agana … Apuron faces what an archdiocese spokesman described as ‘credible accusations of child sexual abuse against him,’ and a canonical trial is being prepared in Rome.” By Haidee V. Eugenio and Dana M. Williams, Pacific Daily News

Pope Francis’ race against time to reshape the Church
“Francis is trying to build a Roman Catholic Church that emphasizes inclusion and mercy, and focuses on serving poor and marginalized people. Can the 79-year-old pontiff appoint enough like-minded cardinals to ensure that his vision of the church will endure after he dies?” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
 -- Pope Francis names 17 new cardinal of Roman Catholic Church, By BBC

Vatican judge says cardinal-critics of pope could lose red hats
“According to a senior Vatican judge, four cardinals, including American Raymond Burke, who recently published a letter in which they asked Pope Francis to clarify his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, could lose their red hats over what he termed the ‘very grave scandal’ they’ve caused … ‘What they [the cardinals] have done is a very grave scandal, which could even lead the Holy Father to take away their red hats, as it’s happened already in some other times in the Church,’ (Fr. Pio ) Vito Pinto said.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
 -- Dean of Rota warns Pope could strip Card. Burke & others of cardinalate, By EWTN.co.uk

Pope Francis dismisses critics of his teachings
Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that ‘they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.’ The pontiff’s lengthy interview in ‘Avvenire,’ the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday (Nov. 18) and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.” By David Gibson, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter
 -- Four cardinals challenge Francis over ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Archbishop Chaput answers criticisms on view of ‘Amoris Laetitia’ (Philly archdiocese releases full text of Archbishop Chaput’s interview with CNS), By Catholic News Service
 -- New Vatican family czar questions Chaput’s guidelines on ‘Amoris,’ By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service on Cruxnow.com

Why does Connecticut lead the nation in disaffected Catholics?
“Now Connecticut can add another number one to its list: it is tops, according to a 2015 Pew study, in the percentage of baptized Catholics who no longer consider themselves Catholics … Nationwide, over a seven-year period from 2007 to 2014, self-identifying Catholics in the U.S. population fell from 23 to 20 percent. Connecticut leads with a 10 percent drop.” By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter

CARDINALS

Three take-aways from today’s global crop of new cardinal
“‘Preach always, and, when necessary, use words,’ is a line frequently (though likely apocryphally) attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. The papal version of the same idea might be formulated as, ‘Govern always, and, when necessary, issue decrees.’ That is to say, pretty much everything a pope does exercises leadership and shapes culture in the Church, whether or not it comes wrapped in a binding magisterial declaration. Today (Nov. 19) is an excellent illustration of the point, as Pope Francis created 17 new cardinals in an event called a ‘consistory,’ 13 of whom will be eligible to elect his successor.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Everything you need to know about a consistory for new cardinals
“On Saturday (Nov. 19), the eve of the closing of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis will create 17 new cardinals, 13 of whom could eventually be among the choosers - and perhaps the chosen - to replace history’s first pope from the global south. When a pope dies, or resigns, all the members of the church’s most exclusive club, technically named ‘College of Cardinals,’ gather in Rome to choose among themselves who will be the new leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.” By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com
 -- Pope Francis, the ultimate headhunter, By David Gibson, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com

POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis holds firm against conservative pushback
Pope Francis has a fight on his hands -- and it's coming from within his own Church. Four senior Catholic cardinals went public this month with a private letter they sent him earlier, asking him to state plainly whether he is liberalizing Church practice on divorced, remarried Catholics. The letter, called a dubia, is an official request for a Yes or No answer from the Pope. Francis refused to respond and so on November 14, the cardinals published their letter on various Catholic news sites.” By Delia Gallagher, CNN

Pope Francis shaping a College of Cardinals that is less European
“Unless his reign is short, a Roman Catholic pontiff will appoint most of the men who choose his successor. But Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 also have served another purpose–tilting the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward the global south." By Jeff Diamant, PewResearch.org

“AMORIS LAETITIA”

Are some bishops in the Amoris debate still fighting the last war?
“Granted, not everything in life is about politics, and especially in the Catholic Church, people generally aspire to transcend a strictly Machiavellian perspective and see things through a more evangelical or spiritual lens. If we’re to look at today’s debate in the Church over Pope Francis’s document Amoris Laetitia in purely political terms, however, a curious fact emerges: Both conservatives and liberals in the argument seem to be embracing strategies not necessarily conducive to their success.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

Vatican family czar says divorced/remarried not the heart of ‘Amoris’
“For Pope Francis, two of his biggest concerns since the beginning of his papacy have been the family and laity, which makes his personally appointed prelate running a new Vatican department dedicated to those issues a big fish indeed on the Roman scene. That’s Cardinal Kevin Farrell, now the prefect of the Vatican’s new Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life, and prior to that the bishop of Dallas, Texas, since 2007. Born in Dublin in 1947, Farrell is a naturalized American citizen and one of the most enthusiastic adoptive Americans you’ll ever meet.” By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com
 -- Tobin on Amoris: Bishops should ‘suck it up’ and work together, By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com

WOMEN DEACONS

Women deacons commission to meet in Rome for first time next week
“The new Vatican commission studying the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church will be meeting in Rome for the first time as a full group Nov. 25-26. The dates of the meeting, anticipated in recent months, was first reported Saturday (Nov. 19) by the U.S. newspaper Newsday, which spoke to commission member and NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano. Pope Francis' creation of the commission, formally known as the Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate, has been seen as signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the Catholic Church’s practice of an all-male clergy.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

We’ve all got it wrong about women in the Catholic Church
“When it comes to talking about women and their role in the Church, discussion tends to focus almost exclusively on getting ordained or being placed in high ranking, decision making positions. However, amid all the buzz, it's easy to get lost in the debate and miss the fact that the entire discussion is rotating around the wrong axis.” By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency

Will the Catholic church ever earn women’s forgiveness?
“It’s a measure of how out of step the leaders of the Catholic church are that what was perceived as an ‘act of mercy’ this week came across, to many, as a reassertion of its hard lines on social issues. When Pope Francis decided to enshrine, universally, that women who have had an abortion can seek forgiveness from a priest, there was an outcry from many people in the west who were outraged that abortion is perceived as sinful, never mind that the church deigns to allow women to seek forgiveness for it. There’s more than a morsel of irony in the fact that the church is declaring itself willing to forgive women, given how much women – now and historically – have to forgive …” By Joanna Moorhead, The Guardian

ACCOUNTABILITY

Catholic Church sets up new standards body
“An independent company will ‘name and shame’ Catholic Church entities that fail to adhere to new national standards to protect children and vulnerable adults. Catholic Professional Standards Ltd will hold the Catholic Church in Australia accountable as the church seeks to rebuild the trust destroyed by its handling of the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests and other clergy.” By Australian Associated Press on au.Yahoo.News.com

VOICES

San Diego bishop to priests: Embrace ‘LGBT families,’ give Communion to ‘remarried’
“San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is calling on his city's priests to embrace ‘LGBT families,’ and to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases. Following a much-hyped diocesan synod on the family last month, Bishop McElroy encouraged priests to publish a diocesan notice in their bulletins saying the Church will ‘assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist.’” By Claire Chretien, LifesiteNews.com

FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

Detroit synod devotes discussion to archdiocese’s mission, challenges
“It is difficult not to draw parallels between the ‘Motor City Makeover’ and the Detroit archdiocese's new evangelization initiative called ‘Unleash the Gospel’ … On an unseasonably warm November day, 400 members of the Detroit archdiocese's ‘Synod '16’ filed into St. Aloysius Catholic Church to discuss that effort. The majestic three-story church stands in stark contrast to the dilapidated, abandoned and run-down buildings that surround it.” By Kristen Whitney Daniels, National Catholic Reporter
 -- Rare Catholic synod in Detroit aimed at evangelization, By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press
 -- ‘Synod 16’ embarks on transforming the Catholic Church, By Oralandar Brand-Williams and Mark Hicks, The Detroit News
 -- Detroit synod claims to change archdiocese’s ‘DNA,’ By Kristen Whitney Daniels

Chicago’s cardinal and the future of the Catholic Church
“It’s official: You can call him Cardinal Blase Cupich. Pope Francis elevated Cupich and 16 other archbishops to the College of Cardinals on Saturday (Nov. 19). But that’s not the only news the pope made. He’s allowing all priests, not just bishops, the power to grant absolution for abortion.” By Alexander Silets, WTTW-TV

Study says more than half of young U.S. Catholics are Hispanic/Latino
“The Catholic Church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States and Catholic institutions and ministries need to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said a report presented to the country’s bishops Nov. 15. The report, by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church in 2013 to help identify the size and distribution of ethnic communities in the country.” By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service, on Cruxnow.com

CHURCH FINANCES

Church leaders reject claim of priests’ pension time bomb
“Irish bishops have rejected claims that clergy are facing into a retirement black hole due to falling parish collections. Fr Gerry O’Connor of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) told The Irish Catholic that ‘Dioceses which are experiencing a decline in revenue from collections are saying to elderly priests: ‘we may not be able to care for you in the future.’” By Greg Daly, The Irish Catholic

CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE

KENTUCKY

Jury finds priest guilty in molestation case
“After a two-day trial and two hours of deliberations, a Meade County jury found Louisville Catholic priest Joseph Hemmerle guilty Tuesday (Nov. 29) of one count related to sexually molesting a young boy in a summer camp in the 1970s. Hemmerle, 74, a former Trinity High School teacher, was convicted on one of two counts of immoral or indecent practices with a child following his 2014 indictment on charges of sex abuse and sodomy.” By Chris Kenning, Courier-Journal

MINNESOTA

Minnesota archdiocese offers $132 million to settle sex abuse claims
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has offered to pay $132 million to settle hundreds of child sex abuse claims against its clergy under a revised bankruptcy reorganization plan filed in court on Tuesday (Nov. 15). The archdiocese, one of 15 U.S. Catholic districts and religious orders driven to seek Chapter 11 protection by the church's sex abuse scandal, said its plan would mark the second-largest such bankruptcy settlement of pedophile priest claims in America.” By Steve Gorman, Reuters

AUSTRALIA

Salesian College Sunbury to offer public apologies for sexual abuse of students
“Sunbury’s Salesian College will host a public apology to victims and loved ones affected by decades of historical sexual abuse there. Australia-Pacific Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco provincial Father Greg Chambers will present the apology on December 8 to victims and their families in gardens in front of the Rupertswood Mansion, where a plaque will be placed on a ‘sorry stone.’” By Sunbury Leader

Judge acquitted Catholic brother despite being ‘satisfied’ he had sexually abused schoolboy
“A judge said he was ‘well satisfied’ that a Catholic brother had sexually abused a boy at school - but then acquitted him of the abuse. The extraordinary case in the NSW District Court is being examined by the royal commission into child sex abuse but while the victim and the crown prosecutor Lou Lungo will be giving evidence, Judge David Frearson is not being called as a witness.” By Janet Fife Yeomans, The Daily Telegraph
 -- Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission: Judge’s decision to acquit Catholic brother under fire, By Dan Box, The Australian

Newcastle-Maitland Catholic Church sexual abuse case settles out of court
“The Catholic Church has reached a confidential settlement with two sisters who say they were sexually abused by a priest in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese in the 1970s and 80s. The sisters, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said they were abused by Father Dennis McAlinden, who died in a nursing home in 2005 without ever being charged.” By Mazoe Ford, ABC News Australia

Catholic Church doubles sex abuse compensation but suppresses independent report
“The Catholic Church has pledged to double potential compensation payments for child sex abuse survivors to $150,000 but has back-tracked on a promise to publicly release an independent review into its controversial Melbourne response victim compensation scheme. Archbishop Denis Hart has defended the decision to withhold the report, saying it was being done in the interest of victims.” By The Age

CANADA

Former Catholic priest and convicted sex offender granted bail
“A former Catholic priest facing eight counts of sexual assault has been granted bail. Provincial court Judge Cynthia Devine ruled Tuesday convicted sex offender Ronald Leger, 78, will be released to live at a halfway house while he awaits trial. He was released on his own recognizance of $1,000 and a $10,000 cash bond put up by the order of Catholic priests to which he belonged, the Clerics of St. Viator.” By Winnipeg Free Press

Former Ottawa priest charge in historical sexual assault case
“A retired Ottawa priest, who has admitted he suffered from a powerful attraction to adolescents as a young cleric, appeared in court Friday (Nov. 25) on historical sexual assault charges. Rev. Barry McGrory, 82, faces two counts of gross indecency and two counts of indecent assault in connection with offences alleged to have occurred in the late 1960s. The charges are based on the Criminal Code as it existed at that time.” By Andrew Duffy, Shoreline Beacon

France 24 pursues a church pedophilia case from Dakar to Quebec
“Following a series of pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church in recent years, FRANCE 24 reporters investigated the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic religious community that has been sending missionaries to Africa for nearly a century. In Senegal we met with an alleged victim of abuse before tracking down the accused in Quebec.” By The Global Herald

GUAM

Guam church vows to curb sex abuse
“Amid mounting lawsuits filed by former altar boys against the clergy, the Archdiocese of Agana vows to prevent the recurrence of sex abuse by men of the cloth under its new leadership. At the same time, the archdiocese urged all victims of clergy sexual abuse to seek counseling from a church-organized newly formed support group.” By Mar-Vic Cagurangan, Marianas Variety

Nine Guam priests with sex abuse allegations
“Another Guam law firm is reaching out to those who were sexually abused by clergy as children. Gov. Eddie Calvo recently signed a law, lifting the statute of limitations on civil suits against those accused of sexually abusing children, as well as the institutions that supported them.” By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
 -- Two new complaints, By Neil Pang, The Guam Daily Post
 -- 10th sex abuse lawsuit against priest, archdiocese, By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News
 -- 11th sex abuse suit filed against priest, church, By Haidee V. Eugenio, Pacific Daily News

URUGUAY

Uruguayan church hotline unearths dozens of abuse cases
“Four Uruguayan priests have been suspended for sexual abuse of minors following a Church-led investigation that has uncovered 44 accusations against 40 priests over 70 years. The probe was ordered earlier this year by Cardinal Daniel Sturla, the Archbishop of Montevideo, following a three-part Uruguayan TV documentary series that claimed to reveal a cover-up in the Church.” By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com