Rome -- With the Dec. 2 death of retired Cardinal Michele Giordano of Naples -- the highest-ranking prelate ever to face criminal prosecution in Italy -- the Catholic world has lost not only a prince of the church, but perhaps its best example of the “cultural gap” between the Vatican and Main Street USA when it comes to the vexed matter of accountability for bishops.
Rome -- Since its creation by Pope Paul VI in 1969, the International Theological Commission, composed of 30 theologians from around the world who advise the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, often has functioned as a sort of early warning system for the Vatican’s doctrinal concerns. When the commission kicks around a topic, it can be a hint of things to come – an encyclical, a doctrinal instruction, or something else with real teeth.
The acquittal of five Catholic Workers for a disarmament action at Ireland’s Shannon Airport in 2003 was discussed in a secret U.S. cable, the latest release of documents from the international organization WikiLeaks shows.
As I watch the news these days, I am reminded of the Religious Right and their frequent allies, the Catholic Bishops. Their usual list of important “moral issues” includes abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc. When there is any chance that politicians will initiate policies in disagreement with their positions, the pulpits are mounted and sirens are sounded nationwide.
But today, they are strangely silent. Yet, we face a true moral crisis -- not on sexual issues -- but on economic issues.
On Politico.com today:
As I reflect on my Nov. 9-14, trip to El Salvador with a delegation from Loyola Marymount University, I take away an expanded understanding of solidarity and accompaniment.
I had understood solidarity as what I do and how I live my life influenced by the least among us. My encounters last month with women in El Salvador reveal that solidarity includes a willingness to be known by those we would accompany.
It has been rare, when writing about the priest sex abuse scandal, to find a member of the clergy who will publicly cut against the instincts of the clergy culture with a call for greater transparency and disclosure. Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle would head the list, so would retired Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit. Fr. Donald Cozzens has spoken and written with great insight about the flaws of the culture that lead to such wide deception. Msgr. Kenneth Lasch in New Jersey has long been a strong and outspoken advocate for victims.
From The Seattle Times:
Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, who runs the Vatican City state, said Wednesday that the pope would certainly prefer an electric popemobile to a traditional one. But he says one has to be offered.
His comments came during a presentation of a book on the Vatican's use of solar energy. The Vatican in 2008 installed photovoltaic cells on the roof of its main auditorium and a year later installed a solar cooling unit for its main cafeteria.
The technology has won awards and garnered Benedict a reputation as the "green pope."