Francis Takes Action to Rein in Vatican Bankers — Will Pedophile-Enabling Bishops Be Next?

By: Saturday June 7, 2014 10:01 am

On the way home from his trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis gave a press conference that hinted about some big future shakeups. The first came out on Thursday, as Francis has put the old guard of Italians who ran the Vatican’s financial operations out and brought in folks with considerable financial expertise who understand — and support — international financial transparency rules. At the same time, Timothy Dolan, the Bishop of Wall Street, tried to dial back some of Francis’ pointed comments about exploitative capitalism (with some help from Larry Kudlow), but experts in Catholic ethics and social teachings took Dolan’s work apart in short order.

Could action on that other scandal be next? Let us pray . . .

 

Your Moral Arbiters

By: Thursday August 1, 2013 1:30 am

Thanks to Republican appointee Judge Rudolph Randa: Free touches!

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Admits That the Catholic Church’s Opposition to Same-Sex Civil Marriage Is Anti-Gay

By: Sunday March 31, 2013 9:00 am

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, made a surprising admission during an interview this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the church doesn’t know how to pursue it’s policy of opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples without being anti-gay.

A Humble Suggestion for the College of Cardinals

By: Saturday February 23, 2013 9:00 am

Father James Martin, SJ, humbly proposed to the college of cardinals that they look beyond their own ranks for a new pope, and offered himself as an obvious choice. (Gotta love those Jesuits and their fine sense of humor!). But I think the good father didn’t go far enough.

Things are in a real tough place for the Roman Catholic church, from the scandal of bishops protecting priests who sexually abused children from the law to the non-transparency of the Vatican Bank that is putting their relationship with major EU banks in jeopardy to liturgical translation battles and other worship wars to . . . well, you get the idea. What is needed is something — someone — really outside the box. Someone that will capture the attention of the world. Someone whose selection will be so out-of-the-blue that it could only be seen as a miracle, an act of God. Someone like . . .

Pope Benedict’s Resignation May be a Surprise, But It’s Not a Shock

By: Monday February 11, 2013 7:05 am

Benedict XVI has announced his resignation, which has garnered shock from many quarters. “But but but . . . popes serve for life! No one could have anticipated this!”

Sorry to burst some bubbles, but it has happened before, canon law explicitly allows for it, John Paul II wrote two letters of resignation as his health declined, and Benedict himself spoke about the possibility — indeed, the necessity — of a pope resigning under certain circumstances. I applaud Benedict for not thinking that he is irreplaceable and therefore must stay in office until he dies.

So now speculation will turn to his successor, and rumors will be flying. Enjoy the retrospectives, the speculation, and the rumors, but take them all with very large grains of salt.

Does Anyone in DC Remember *All* of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural?

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 9:05 am

On the eve of President Obama’s second inaugural address, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s, delivered on the eve of both the end of the Civil War and his own assassination. Lincoln packed more into four paragraphs than others can deliver in forty pages, and every president since him dreams of trying to get even close to his eloquence. The last paragraph of that speech gets enormous attention — as it should — but if one doesn’t see what Lincoln does in the first three, that last immortal paragraph is robbed of its full power, and the powerful vision of the future he paints remains just that: a vision of the future.

The Problem Was Messaging, Not the Message, Say Catholic Bishops

By: Saturday November 17, 2012 9:06 am

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops held their annual November meeting this past week, and coming a week after the elections, it had to have been rough. The bishops lost four out of four state votes on marriage equality, and the prospects for rolling back the Affordable Care Act and advancing their other policy prescriptions dimmed greatly with Obama’s reelection and the failure of the GOP to take control of the Senate. It was not a good week for the bishops, and like all people in politics who came out on the short end of things, a little stock taking was in order. What went wrong, and how can we do better next time?

Their answer: bad messaging. “If only we were better at explaining things . . .” Right. And Todd Akin lost not because he was a man firmly on a mission to return us to the 18th century, but because he was inarticulate.

News flash for the USCCB: It’s not that the voters don’t understand you; it’s that they don’t agree with you.

The Difference Between Boy Scout Executives and Catholic Bishops

By: Saturday October 20, 2012 9:00 am

With the release of the “perversion files” compiled by the Boy Scouts of America, one of the talking points of the Catholic hierarchy and their defenders has gained more support. “See, child sexual abuse isn’t just a Catholic problem.” As Archbishop Timothy Dolan correctly noted last year, abusers are found in the ranks of not only priests but also teachers, coaches, family members, and yes, boy scout troop leaders. But the release of the Boy Scout files also undercuts those same talking points, too. As Archbishop Dolan incorrectly noted, the attention — and the lawsuits — aren’t restricted to the Catholic church.

Both organizations were clearly worried about institutional reputation, and the records in both the church and the scouts show how they worked to cover up, hide, and otherwise keep things out of the media and the courtroom. Both groups need to be, and increasingly are being, held accountable for this failure. But there is a significant difference between the two groups. One tried to weed these abusers out of their leadership; the other shifted these abusers around.

Meet the (formerly) Rev. William Cramer . . .

New SF Archbishop Cordileone Gets Off to a Stunningly Brazen Start

By: Saturday October 6, 2012 8:58 am

When Pope Benedict announced he was appointing Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone to be the new archbishop of San Francisco, it generated a lot of reaction in both the religious and secular media. RC churchwatcher Rocco Palma said the appointment was “either the most the most courageously bold — or stunningly brazen — American appointment in the seven-year reign of Pope Benedict XVI.”

After what happened Thursday at Cordileone’s installation, put me down for “stunningly brazen.”

Marc Andrus, the Episcopal bishop whose territory covers the Bay Area, was left standing in the basement instead of being escorted with other ecumenical guests into Cordileone’s installation service. Why? Maybe because Andrus had the temerity to publicly repeat his objections to Cordileone’s efforts to pass Proposition 8 three days before the installation.

It was a stunningly brazen, juvenile snub, from one of the most prominent political actors in the religious sphere that is pushing against LGBT equality, both inside and outside the Catholic church.

After Sowing the Wind, Cardinal Dolan Is Reaping the Whirlwind

By: Saturday August 18, 2012 9:00 am

After the invitation went out to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to speak at the annual “Al Smith Dinner” — a huge Roman Catholic charitable fundraiser in New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has been getting slammed by the Catholic right wing. Given how the USCCB has been ratcheting up the rhetoric against Democrats (especially Roman Catholic Democrats) for years, no one should be surprised at this reaction. As the prophet said, those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.

I hope Cardinal Dolan likes the breeze.

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