Catholic Church

The Vatican department charged with overseeing Catholic education released an extensive document Monday decrying what it calls a "crisis" on whether gender can be an individual choice rather than being set by God or biology.

The document describes a culture-wide "disorientation" that serves to "cancel out" the natural difference between man and woman, as well as "destabilise the family as an institution."

Pope Francis has issued new rules obligating priests and nuns to report incidents of abuse or cover-ups to church authorities, saying, "The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful."

The sweeping new regulations are Francis' latest effort to combat sexual abuse involving the church, a long-running and painful issue that has cast a shadow on his papacy.

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Palm Beach Priest Defamation Case

Apr 22, 2019
Jeff Kubina / flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up an appeal by a priest who filed a defamation and libel lawsuit against the Diocese of Palm Beach in a case that involved allegations of another priest showing child pornography to a 14-year-old boy.

Justices, as is common, did not explain their reasons for declining to hear the appeal by priest John Gallagher, who said diocesan officials defamed him after he made public comments about an alleged cover-up of the incident involving the other priest.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has broken six years of relative silence with the release of an outspoken letter on the clergy sex abuse scandal. Benedict's analysis differs significantly from that of his successor, Pope Francis, and thus leaves the world's Catholics with contrasting papal perspectives on the greatest crisis facing Roman Catholicism today.

In February, Pope Francis acknowledged a longstanding dirty secret in the Roman Catholic Church — the sexual abuse of nuns by priests.

It's an issue that had long been kept under wraps, but in the #MeToo era, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and now sexual abuse is more widely discussed.

Lent is meant to be a time of reflection for Christians around the world. But once again this year, it comes at a time of deep disquiet within the faith. Sexual abuse and misconduct scandals have continued to rock the Catholic Church, leading many to question their religious institutions, or even their faith itself.

Wrapping up an unprecedented Vatican summit, Pope Francis denounced the abuse of minors and called for an end to the Catholic Church's long history of covering up the scandal.

In a Mass on Sunday, he made an appeal for an "all-out battle" on clergy sex abuse but offered few specifications, reflecting broader criticisms that the four-day meeting had not produced concrete actions to hold church leaders accountable.

Thursday at the Vatican, Pope Francis stood before some 200 participants in an unprecedented summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and said Catholics are seeking not simply "condemnations" but "concrete, effective measures."

But a crisis that has crossed borders and generations, lacerating the church and shaking the pope's credibility, is standing in the way as he seeks to forge a path ahead.

Never in the history of the Roman Catholic Church has a pope ordered bishops from around the world to come together and consider how many priests abuse children sexually and how many church officials cover for the abusers. The scandal of clergy sex abuse has deep roots in church history, but church leaders have been notoriously reluctant to acknowledge it and deal with the consequences.

Oscar Romero, the murdered archbishop of San Salvador who spoke up for the poor and oppressed, and Pope Paul VI, the former pontiff who declared birth control "intrinsically wrong," were declared saints on Sunday morning in a ceremony at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.

The ceremony featured seven new saints all told, including, as the Vatican put it, "five other lesser-known blessed."

Pope Francis has expelled two retired Chilean clerics from the priesthood. In a statement Saturday, the Vatican announced that the two men, Archbishop Emeritus Francisco José Cox Huneeus and Bishop Emeritus Marco Antonio Órdenes Fernández, were defrocked "as a consequence of manifest abuse of minors."

The Vatican said the move made Thursday by the pontiff cannot be appealed.

In March 1980, Patricia Morales Tijerino and her sister had just left a wedding in a little chapel in El Salvador's capital and were on their way to the reception.

"And then I spotted him," Morales Tijerino recalls. "He was in his white cassock."

Óscar Arnulfo Romero, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Salvador, was standing alone in a garden outside the church.

Pope Francis has defrocked notorious Chilean priest Fernando Karadima, making what the Vatican calls an "exceptional" decision based on his own conscience and concern for the good of the Catholic Church. Karadima has been the face of the church's sexual abuse scandal in Chile.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute recently released a survey conducted in early August asking for opinions on a wide range of topics regarding the Catholic Church and social issues.

One topic that stood out was how Pope Francis and the Catholic Church has handled cases of sexual abuse.

Pages