Cardinal: Delay in vote on abuse response proposals a ‘bump in the road’

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, listens to a question Nov. 12 during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. Also pictured is Msgr. J. Brian Bransfield, general secretary. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Dennis Sadowski 
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) — A Vatican-requested delay in adopting practices that are expected to boost accountability among U.S. bishops in their response to clergy sex abuse is a “bump in the road,” said the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston told reporters Nov. 12 that the Congregation for Bishops at the Vatican requested that no vote be taken on the proposals during the bishops’ fall general assembly.

The proposals include standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

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Posted in U.S., Vatican

Vatican asks USCCB to delay vote on sex abuse response proposals

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, delivers the presidential address Nov. 12 during the fall general assembly of the USCCB in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

By Dennis Sadowski 
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) — At the urging of the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will not vote on two proposals they were to discuss at their Baltimore meeting regarding their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB president, informed the bishops as they opened their fall general assembly Nov. 12 that the Vatican wanted the bishops to delay any vote until after a February meeting with the pope and presidents of the bishops’ conferences around the world that will focus on addressing clergy abuse.

Affected are proposed standards of episcopal conduct and the formation of a special commission for review of complaints against bishops for violations of the standards.

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Posted in Vatican

Bishops must be blameless servants, not princes, pope says

Priests receive Communion as Pope Francis celebrates morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican Nov. 12. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Carol Glatz 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A bishop must be “blameless” and at the service of God, not of cliques, assets and power, especially if he is ever to “set right” what needs to be done for the church, Pope Francis said.

A bishop must always “correct himself and ask himself, ‘Am I a steward of God or a businessman?'” the pope said in his homily during Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae Nov. 12, the feast of St. Josaphat, 17th-century bishop and martyr.

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Posted in Vatican

‘Ugly cancer of racism’ infects U.S., bishops say in proposed pastoral

A protester is seen near the Capitol in Washington May 21 during a demonstration to demand elected officials take immediate steps to confront systemic racism. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — “Despite many promising strides made in our country, the ugly cancer of racism still infects our nation,” the U.S. bishops say in a proposed pastoral letter on racism.

The proposed statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love — A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” is expected to be considered for approval during the bishops’ Nov. 12-14 fall general assembly in Baltimore. However, the agenda for the meeting has not been finalized.

“Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love,” the proposed pastoral letter says.

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Posted in U.S.

Bishops to consider endorsing sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman

The U.S. bishops will consider endorsing the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman, pictured in an undated photo, during their Nov. 12-14 fall assembly in Baltimore. The granddaughter of slaves, she was the only African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and she transcended racism to leave a lasting mark on U.S. Catholic life in the late 20th century. (CNS photo/Beatrice Njemanze, Mississippi Catholic)

By Mark Pattison 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The U.S. bishops will consider endorsing the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman, a descendant of slaves and the only African-American member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who transcended racism to leave a lasting mark on Catholic life in the United States in the late 20th century.

The request from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, Mississippi — where Sister Bowman grew up and also where she ministered in her last years while taking care of her aging parents while subsequently fighting cancer herself — will be considered during the bishops’ Nov. 12-14 fall general meeting in Baltimore.

In ecclesiological terms, Bishop Kopacz is asking whether it is advisable to initiate the sainthood cause at the local level, which is required by a 2007 instruction from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Sister Bowman has been declared a “servant of God.”

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Posted in U.S.

Religious groups made effort to drive their flocks to midterm voting

Franciscan Brother Sam Nasada, a member of his order’s Province of St. Barbara, is seen in mid-September in Douglas, Ariz., holding a sign inviting citizens to vote in the Nov. 6 midterms. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

By Rhina Guidos 
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Just before the polls opened on Election Day on the West Coast, the Franciscan friars of the Province of St. Barbara in California tweeted a photo of Brother Sam Nasada in a brown habit holding a sign, imploring others to vote, using a quote from Pope Francis: “Indifference is dangerous.”

Religious groups such as the Franciscans in California were not the only ones urging voters to the polls during this year’s Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Months before the election, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas used social media to encourage Americans to register to vote and on Nov. 6 provided polling information for different states online while encouraging those casting ballots to “Vote with Mercy.”

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Posted in U.S.

Is China’s targeting of Catholics pushback from low-level party officials?

Chinese Catholics pray during Mass in late January inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing. Although China and the Vatican signed a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in September, persecution of Chinese Catholics continues. (CNS photo/Roman Pilipey, EPA)

Backgrounder.

By Michael Sainsbury 
Catholic News Service

BANGKOK (CNS) — Although China and the Vatican signed a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in September, persecution of Chinese Catholics continues.

Some believe there is considerable pushback against the Vatican-China deal from inside China’s United Front Work Department, the Communist Party-controlled religious bureaucracy, especially at a more localized level.

“Many officials at a local level feel they need to change in their old ways to deal with religions. This means a more difficult job and less power,” said Francesco Sisci, a longtime Italian media correspondent in Beijing and now a senior researcher at Beijing’s Renmin University.

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Posted in Vatican, World