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Der Spiegel publishes highly critical Benedict XVI portrait


The pain of the clergy sexual abuse has been especially acute in Germany these past two months and with this pain has come some very critical assessments of the handling of the crisis by the Germany born pope, Benedict XVI. None, however, has been as dark as the one published this week in Der Spiegel .

Der Spiegel is one of Germany's leading news publications. The piece is entitled "The failed papacy of Benedict XVI."

Whether one agrees with it or not, this, being a home front portrayal, it is likely to have special influence in shaping public opinion

All Eyes Turn to Cardinal Sodano


Many of those who have defended Pope Benedict’s handling of sex abuse charges argue that as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was zealous in urging the Curia to help root out the cancer. Earlier, I noted that Cardinal Schoenborn of Vienna cited Raztinger’s disappointment when the Secretariat of State succeeded in persuading Pope John Paul II not to order an investigation into Schoenborn’s predecessor, Cardinal Groer.

Today, here at NCR, Jason Berry documents the charge against Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and others, that he protected Father Maciel in exchange for thinly concealed bribes.

Over at Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk focused on Sodano, noting his ties to Pinochet and the unseemly and illegal activities of his nephew, whose real estate frauds landed him in prison.

Come on down!


There are lots of things Catholic parishes can learn from evangelical mega-churches, but this is not one of them: bribing people to come to Easter services with big-screen TVs, cars and other prizes. That's exactly what a Texas megachurch did this Sunday.

"They're coming for the loot and they're going to leave with Jesus," the pastor said, admitting that the "creative" incentive had drawn criticism from a number of other Christians.

I'm all for making services attractive to newcomers, but this is ridiculous. Next they'll have the Passion play with Mary Magdalene choosing a new car from behind tomb door #3!

The Silence of the Protesting Anglicans Packing for Rome


Is it just me, or have those Anglicans in exodus to the Catholic church been awfully quiet lately?

This is the band of wanderers who declared their principled indignation at the ordination of women and gays and the presence of gay bishops in the Episcopal church and set sail for Rome. Their appeals were heard by Rome and the harbor was opened with the straight faced assurance that this wasn't done to wreck ecumenism but to show compassion for the morally distressed.

The mechanisms are in place for the union of these righteous ones with the Catholic church. The immigration rules are mostly in place and if all things were equal you'd expect tears of gratitude for imminent arrival in the promised land.

But suddenly it seems the promised land hasn't done a very good job keeping its promises.

That's not fantasy; it's fact.


History professor Jonathan Zimmerman adds some prespective to the recent charges of media bias and anti-Catholicism that some in the church heierarchy have leveled at the media and critics of how the church has handled cases of sexual abuse by clergy:

As the church's defenders note, America has a long, hideous history of anti-Catholic bigotry. But whereas earlier attacks on Catholics were based on fantasy, the abuse scandal is altogether real. By ignoring the difference, church apologists end up diminishing the real discrimination that Catholics suffered in the past.

Read Zimmerman's full piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Anti-Catholic bias irrelevant to scandal.

LA and Latino Catholics


Here is what the U.S. bishops' communications office has to say about the appointment of Archbishop Jose Gomez as coadjutor to Los Angeles archdiocese:

"... the LA appointment is historic in its significance for Latino Catholics in the United States. It's hard to think of a more high-profile acknowledgment of this growing segment of the U.S. Church than having a Latino made bishop of our largest diocese."

Read the full blog entry for some stats on Latino Catholics in the USA: LA and Latino Catholics.


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