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Posts tagged ‘Holy See’

UN Panel Says Vatican Enables Sex Predators to Repeat Crimes.


A United Nations committee decried the Vatican’s response to sexual abuse of children by its clergy, saying the Holy See has allowed alleged predators to strike again because it was more concerned about itself than the victims.

“In dealing with child victims of different forms of abuse, the Holy See has systematically placed preservation of the reputation of the church and the alleged offender over the protection of child victims,” the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said in a report released today. The Vatican in response reiterated “its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child” according to church teaching.

The committee’s report increases expectations on Pope Francis, who has won praise in his first 11 months in office for encouraging dialogue on social issues. The Roman Catholic leader was urged to break what the panel characterized as church practice of harboring sex offenders, retaliating against witnesses and condoning ritualized beatings.

“The committee notes as positive the willingness expressed by the delegation of the Holy See to change attitudes and practices,” the panel said. It “looks forward to the adoption of prompt and firm measures for the concrete implementation of its commitments.”

Benedict XVI

The findings take into account a Vatican report presented to the panel in January 2013, when the church was led by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis, 77, has been hailed as a potential reformer after the final years of Benedict’s reign, which ended a year ago with his resignation. The Argentine pontiff has taken on money laundering at the Vatican bank, signaled an easing of the church’s traditional stance against homosexuality and repeatedly spoken up about the injustice of income inequality.

The church’s decades-long struggle with child molestation, which the UN panel said has claimed tens of thousands of victims worldwide, may be the biggest problem inherited by Francis. The Vatican, while saying it would submit the UN panel’s report to “thorough study,” signaled it will contest at least some of the findings.

‘Gravely Concerned’

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed,” the UN panel said. The church “has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators,” it said.

A “code of silence” has been imposed on clergy in cases of child sex abuse, and nuns and priests have been demoted and let go for stepping out of line, the committee said. It called for transparency and cooperation with law enforcement and victims organizations.

The UN panel called for the Holy See to provide family planning information to minors and make HIV and AIDS a mandatory part of Catholic school curriculum, the panel said. Corporal punishment, which it said has “reached endemic levels in certain countries,” must be banned.

Vatican Response

The Holy See does “regret to see in some points of the concluding observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom,” the Vatican said in its e- mailed response. It didn’t specify which points it objected to.

Mothers who bear the children of priests should no longer be required to sign confidentiality agreements in exchange for financial support, the UN panel said.

The church may be moving in the right direction as it reviews withdrawing references to “illegitimate children” from its law, the panel said. Francis was also recognized for his “progressive statement” in July, when the pontiff addressed the issue of homosexuality.

Still, the committee said past church comments on homosexuality contribute to stigmatization and violence against gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents.

The panel recommended the Vatican “promptly abolish the discriminatory classification of children born out of wedlock as illegitimate children,” it said. “The committee also urges the Holy See to make full use of its moral authority to condemn all forms of harassment, discrimination or violence against children based on their sexual orientation.”

Catholic Voices

Catholic Voices, a U.K.-based blog that comments on media coverage of the church, criticized the report and said dozens of incarcerated priests and millions of dollars in compensation paid to victims undermine the findings. It also argued that the decentralized nature of the church renders the systematic training recommended by the committee impracticable.

“The committee has shown itself to be a kangaroo court,” according to the blog. The findings were produced “by adopting the mythical framework peddled by victims’ advocacy groups and lawyers, and ignoring the evidence put to it by the Holy See.”

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 

Vatican: Syria’s Assad Sends Private Message to Pope Francis.


VATICAN CITY — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sent Pope Francis a private message, the Vatican said Saturday, without disclosing its contents.

It was the first known time Assad has sent a direct message to the pontiff since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011. Pope Francis has made numerous appeals for an end to the conflict, the latest on Christmas Day.

Vatican sources said the message likely included the Syrian government‘s position ahead of peace talks due to start on Jan. 22 under U.N. auspices in Geneva.

The Vatican, which has permanent observer status at the United Nations, also has a representative to U.N. organisations in Geneva.

The Vatican said a delegation headed by Joseph Sweid, a Syrian minister of state, held talks in the Vatican with the pope’s secretary of state, Archbishop Pietro Parolin and his foreign minister, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

“The delegation brought a message from President Assad for the Holy Father and illustrated the position of the Syrian government,” a statement said.

Syria’s civil war between forces loyal to Assad and mostly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to topple him has killed more than 100,000 people since March 2011.

The Vatican is also keen to have information on the fate of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest who supported the rebels and disappeared in July in eastern Syria.

Francis has taken a personal interest in the Syrian conflict.

In September he led a worldwide day of prayer for peace in the country and sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was hosting the G20 summit, telling world powers that any military solution in Syria would be a “futile pursuit”.

Putin was opposed to U.S. President Barack Obama‘s plan to use air strikes to punish Assad for a chemical weapons attack which the West blamed on the Syrian government.

Assad’s government denied it was responsible and the air strikes never took place following Syria’s agreement to dismantle it chemical weapons.

 

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Former Ambassadors: Vatican Embassy Closure ‘Shameful’.


Two former ambassadors to the Holy See believe it will be a “colossal mistake” for the Obama administration to follow through with its plan to close the United States Vatican embassy in 2015.

The United States and the Holy See have built a strong relationship through the embassy, which was opened under President Ronald Reagan in 1984, write Ray Flynn, who served under President Bill Clinton, and Jim Nicholson, ambassador, under President George W. Bush in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Reagan opened the embassy with bipartisan support, joining more than 150 other countries in maintaining the diplomatic mission inside the Vatican, a decision that proved crucial, say Flynn and Nicholson.

“President Reagan and Pope John Paul II worked along parallel tracks to accelerate the revolutions of 1989 and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union,” the former ambassadors write. “The U.S. and the Holy See have since built a strong relationship that has had a demonstrable impact on the defense and advance of human rights throughout the world.”

President Barack Obama has called to close the embassy and move its functions into a separate building within the grounds of U.S. Embassy to Italy in Rome, three miles from the Vatican, in late 2014 or early 2015. The move is being made as part of new measures to increase security for U.S. diplomatic facilities worldwide following the terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Libya last year.

“This would be a colossal mistake,” say Nicholson and Flynn, noting that the move has been seen as a “deliberate slap at the Catholic Church and the pope; some may even detect veiled anti-Catholicism.”

The ambassadors said that no matter what the administration’s motivation may be, moving the embassy away from the Vatican is not in the best interest of the United States.

Further, said Flynn and Nicholson, the State Department has been planning for the past 10 years to close the Vatican posting for budgetary reasons, ever since the State Department bought an office building next to the embassy in Rome.

But now, the Obama administration has added the post-Benghazi security concerns to the “penny-wise/pound-foolish approach” for closing the Mission to the Holy See, the ambassadors write.

“As former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See, we respectfully suggest that any such security concerns be met by stronger executive leadership in the White House and State Department,” say Flynn and Nicholson. “The attempt to use such concerns as an excuse for downgrading the Embassy to the Holy See is shameful.”

They note that the Holy See is the embodiment in international law of the Pope’s mission, and was founded before modern Italy was born.

“The Holy See plays a unique and often crucial role in world affairs, from John Paul II’s pivotal role in the collapse of European communism, to the important achievements of the Holy See in standing up for human dignity and human rights,” the ambassadors write. It also plays a part in the “Vatican’s ‘honest broker’ role in international conflicts and in disasters requiring significant and rapid humanitarian aid.”

The ambassadors point out that the Holy See plays a role as a diplomatic hub where 175 countries are represented, and moving the embassy will “signal a lack of U.S. governmental respect for such papal influence, and it will not go unnoticed by other countries.”

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Related stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Pope and Pope Emeritus Benedict Pray Together in Christmas Meeting.


VATICAN CITYPope Francis made a Christmas visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict on Monday and said he found his 86-year-old predecessor looking well, according to television footage released by the Vatican.

Francis, who was elected in March, spent about 30 minutes with Benedict in an ex-convent on the Vatican grounds where the former Pope has been living in near isolation.

“It’s a pleasure to see you looking so well,” Francis told Benedict, who in February became the first Pope in 600 years to step down instead of ruling for life.

Television footage released by the Vatican — only the fourth time Benedict has been filmed since his resignation — showed him looking alert and in better health than on previous occasions.

He greeted Francis, 77, at the door of the residence, standing with an ivory-handled wooden cane. They walked to a chapel where they stood and prayed before speaking privately in another room.

When Francis left Benedict, he said, “Merry Christmas, pray for me.” Benedict responded, “Always, always, always.”

Benedict resigned on Feb. 28, saying he no longer had the physical and spiritual strength to lead the 1.2 billion member Roman Catholic Church.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Vatican’s Chief Justice Blasts Obamacare, Embassy Move.


Cardinal Raymond Burke, the Vatican’s Chief Justice, says that the Obamacare contraception mandate contradicts the founding principles of the country.

Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly all health insurance plans have to provide coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called the regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate” that violates religious freedom under the First Amendment.

In an interview with EWTN’s World Over program, the former St. Louis archbishop said, “The whole question, the idea that, yes, you can have freedom of religion but it’s reduced now to freedom of worship, you can do whatever you want in the four walls of your church but, beyond that, what you believe in the depth of your heart is of no importance to the government of the United States of America—which, by the way, is an absolute contradiction of the founding principles of this nation.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

“That the nation doesn’t care anymore, or the government, I should say, about this relationship [with the Vatican], I could believe it,” Burke added.

Asked whether the Obama administration’s relocation of the American Embassy to the Holy See sends the message that the U.S. does not think the Vatican is worthy of having a stand-alone embassy, Burke replied, “Well, it does give that impression, to be honest. But I have to say, given the way the present administration treats the Catholic Church in general, that wouldn’t surprise me too much.”

On Monday, Pope Francis announced changes at the Congregation for Bishops, the Vatican office that evaluates and nominates candidates for bishops around the world.

Some members of the congregation, including Cardinal Burke, were not reconfirmed.

See the interview below: 

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Pope Shares His Birthday Breakfast with Homeless.


Four homeless people have helped Pope Francis celebrate his 77th birthday at the Vatican.

They live nearby and were invited to attend the morning Mass which Francis celebrates daily at the Vatican hotel where he lives. One of the men held his dog as he was presented to Francis after Mass. The Vatican said Francis invited his household help to join him in a “family-like” atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

After Mass, all ate breakfast with Francis at the hotel.

Francis already blew out the candles on his birthday cake, presented to him on Saturday by children at the Vatican.

Another present awaits him. His favorite Argentine soccer team, San Lorenzo, will give him a replica of their championship trophy.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Francis Calls for Spreading the Wealth in First Peace Message as Pope.


Image: Francis Calls for Spreading the Wealth in First Peace Message as Pope

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses Thursday, saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality.

In his message for the Roman Catholic Church‘s World Day of Peace, marked by the Church around the world on Jan. 1, he also called for more sharing of wealth among people and nations to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.

“The grave financial and economic crises of the present time . . . have pushed man to seek satisfaction, happiness, and security in consumption and earnings out of all proportion to the principles of a sound economy,” he said. “The succession of economic crises should lead too a timely rethinking of our models of economic development and to a change in lifestyles.”

Editor’s Note: Who Is Pope Francis? New Biography Reveals the Man

Francis, who was named Time magazine‘s Person of the Year on Wednesday, has urged his own Church to be more fair, frugal, and less pompous and to be closer to the poor and suffering.

His message will be sent to national leaders, international organizations such as the United Nations, and nongovernmental organizations.

Titled “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace,” the message also attacked injustice, human trafficking, organized crime, and the weapons trade as obstacles to peace.

The new Pope’s style is characterized by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican‘s Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional pope’s Mercedes.

A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.

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© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

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