Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI on twitter and other news

A few quick news updates....

More twitterers

Pope Benedict XVI has officially opened a twitter account, @pontifex. No tweets as yet however.

And Bishop Anthony Fisher of Parramatta has also joined the club, on the basis that 'if the Holy Father can do it, so can I'.

Bishops should make sure that Catholic charities actually are Catholic!

The Pope has also put out a new Motu Proprio on the role of bishops in supervising Catholic charities.  The basic message is that charities claiming to be Catholic must actually conform with Church teaching.

It is a response partly to 'Catholic' charities that directly or indirectly support abortion and contraception, as well as other secularist practices such as excessive salaries and a failure to maintain a genuinely catholic ethos.

The import of the Motu Proprio though, is rather broader, in as much as it clearly states that while the laity have the right to form associations for various purposes (such as charitable or apostolic works),  ecclesiastical authority has the right to regulate their activities.  It is a provision that has always been on the books of course - but is often treated as a dead letter.

St John's College, Sydney

Following the legislation rushed through in NSW to attempt to regain control over St John's College at Sydney university, Cardinal Pell has appointed a new Council.  A mix of academics, clerics and other eminent people, they surely have a tough task in front of them...

Puff pieces...

And on the subject of Cardinal Pell, someone sent me one of the more appalling puff pieces I have yet seen on him, this time in The Scotsman.

His sentiments on the abuse crisis - that it is a moral cancer of which every cell must be excised from the Church - are of course to be applauded.  In a massive understatement, he also admits that the Australian Church's handling of the issue has been less than fabulous:

"...Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, warned the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland that sex abuse was a “criminal moral cancer” and that the Catholic Church will not recover 
“until every cell is excised”.

He said: “Few, if any, people 50 years ago expected the dark stain of sexual abuse to have spread so widely across the church, while varying in extent even within countries. It does not need to be said that this is the most important and powerful barrier to the New Evangelisation.”

He also admitted the Catholic Church in Australia had not dealt properly with sexual abuse within the church.

“It is shameful and shocking that this abuse, with its tragic toll on those who were abused and on their families, was committed by Catholic priests and church workers,” he said during a speech at the Glasgow City Chambers.

“That church officials have sometimes failed to deal appropriately with those who have been abused, and with priests and church workers accused of abuse, is deeply disturbing.”

If only he had said something more like this before the Royal Commission had been announced, rather than suggesting it was all an anti-Catholic plot, perhaps we wouldn't have ended up with one (or indeed needed one, as 95% of Australians, including Catholics, believe in a rare moment of national consensus according to the polls).  Though perhaps the reference to Church failures as 'sometimes' having happened suggests that there is still some way to go...

The Cardinal also has some helpful things to say about the need to recover Catholic identity:

"Pell also talked about the need for the church to modernise while retaining its identity. “Instead of lamenting the help traditional 
Catholic life gave across the centuries in cities, towns 
and villages and somehow rejoicing in small numbers 
in our hostile world, we need to be working to rebuild our defences, to shore up Catholic identity and practice sociologically rather than insisting on the removal of those surviving props,” he said."

But oh dear, did the article really need to run George Weigel's over the top Pell for Pope campaign lines:

"THE man widely tipped to be the next Pope told an audience in Glasgow yesterday that the Catholic Church will not grow unless it deals with the sex abuse scandal that has rocked it in recent years.

...Pell, who has been a cardinal for almost a decade, is well regarded within the 
papal community for his skills with the media [this will be news to most Australians, not least given the Dawkins debacle and the recent unfortunate tone of his comments around the Royal Commission!] and gift for public speaking, and is believed to be under serious consideration in the Vatican for the future papacy."


R J said...

I think there might be a mistake here. When I clicked on the link for the Scotsman article, it turned out to be the Sydney Morning Herald article.

R J said...

I think there might be a mistake here. When I clicked on the link for the Scotsman article, it turned out to be the Sydney Morning Herald article.

Kate Edwards said...

Thanks for drawing my attention to that RJ, I've fixed the link.