Vol. 14 No. 20
September 27 - October 10, 2010
Vietnam remembersCardinal Van Thuân
w w w . a r n e w d e . c o m w w w . p r e s s . g e o r g e t o w n . e d u w w w . d o m i n i c - c o o r a y . b l o g s p o t . c o m
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Sept. 24, 2010—A
lawsuit led by a man sexually abused
decades ago by a Wisconsin priest hasnamed Pope Benedict XVI as a de-fendant. However, two authors haveclaimed the latest charges against thePope repeat “widely debunked” inac-curacies.The suit has been brought by 60-year-old deaf abuse victim Terry Kohut, whosays he was abused by Fr. Lawrence C.Murphy while he was a priest and prin-cipal at St. John’s School for the Deaf inMilwaukee, Wisconsin.According to CNN, Kohut saidthrough an interpreter that the abusefirst took place in the priest’s officewhen he was in his early teens. Theabuse continued for years.About 200 former students have saidthey were molested by Fr. Murphy,sometimes even in the confessional.Victims reported abuses to the civil au-thorities in the mid-1970s, but authori-ties dropped the investigation.The case came to prominence earlierthis year, with media outlets such asthe Associated Press claiming that Fr.Murphy was “spared a defrocking”ROME, Sept. 23, 2010—A gathering of some2,000 faithful at a Mass in Ho Chi MinhCity marked the eighth anniversary of thedeath of Cardinal François Xavier Nguyenvan Thuân, the prelate who became knownworldwide for his holiness in the face of
Cardinal Van Thuân died Sept. 16, 2002,in Rome.During his episcopal ministry in Vietnam,he spent more than 13 years in a Communist“re-education” camp, nine of those in soli-
BOGOTA, Colombia, Sept. 27, 2010—Arch-bishop Ruben Salazar of Bogota stressed lastweek that if the root causes of teen pregnancyare not addressed, the problem will neverbe solved.“The truth is that if the root causes arenot attacked, we will never prevent teenpregnancies from happening, no matter howmany contraceptives are distributed,” thearchbishop said.The archbishop warned that sex-edprograms must not be focused on promot-ing contraception. “As long as there is noauthentic education on the relationshipbetween sex and love, on the meaning ofmarriage and the family, and while chil-dren are not taught values that encourageresponsible sexuality, we will always havethis problem,” he added.For his part, the secretary of the Colombianbishops, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, reject-
ed proposals by one local ofcial to provide
Colombian archbishop calls for authentic sexed to prevent teen pregnancy
Sex abuse lawsuit involving Wisconsinpriest names Pope Benedict as defendant
because he was allegedly “protected”by the Congregation for the Doctrineof the Faith (CDF) headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now PopeBenedict XVI.Clergyman such as current CDF headCardinal William Levada and former judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Mil-waukee Fr. Thomas Brundage have saidthe CDF only suspended canonical pro-ceedings against Fr. Murphy becausehe was dying. A lack of records in thearchdiocesan archives also impeded thecanonical case, which was opened in themid-1990s after advocacy by Murphy’svictims.Until 2001, the CDF had limited juris-diction over sex abuse cases. Generallyit was only involved in cases concerningallegations of abuse which took place inthe confessional and possibly involvedviolations of the Sacrament of Penance.Prior to that year, most cases werehandled in the Roman Rota.In its March reports on the case, theNew York Times relied on documentsprovided by lawyers Jeff Anderson andMike Finnegan, some of which werepoorly translated from Italian. Ander-Years later, after his forced exile fromVietnam, he was appointed president of the
Pontical Council for Justice and Peace. He
preached spiritual exercises to Pope JohnPaul II and the Roman Curia in 2000 and thenext year, was made a cardinal.
His cause of beatication was opened on Sept.16, 2007, on the fth anniversary of his death.
This Saturday in Italy, there will be a sym-posium marking the eighth anniversary ofhis death at the Verona-based InternationalObservatory Cardinal Van Thuân On theSocial Doctrine of the Church.
Say basic methodology is unsound
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 23,2010—The U.S. bishops are caution-ing about a book that claims to teach“Catholic anthropology” but in factgoes against Church doctrine on hu-man sexuality.The United States Conference ofCatholic Bishops released a statementfrom its Committee on Doctrine,headed by Archbishop Donald Wuerlof Washington, regarding the book,“The Sexual Person: Toward a Re-newed Catholic Anthropology.”The statement noted that the book“does not offer minor revisions to afew points of Catholic sexual ethics,”but rather, “the authors insist thatthe moral theology of the Catholictradition dealing with sexual mattersis now as a whole obsolete and inad-equate and that it must be re-foundedon a different basis.”Consequently, it continued, theauthors, Creighton University pro-fessors Todd Salzman and MichaelLawler, “argue that the teaching of the
magisterium is based on this awed
‘traditional theology’ and must like-wise be substantially changed.”The doctrine committee issued thestatement in response to a requestfrom the archbishop of Omaha, Ne-braska, to review the book. CreightonUniversity is in Omaha.In 2007, Archbishop Elden Cur-tiss, then archbishop of Omaha, hadalready published a statement in thediocesan newspaper regarding vari-ous articles by these professors.In his statement, Archbishop Cur-tiss said: “In these articles, ProfessorsLawler and Salzman argue for themoral legitimacy of some homosex-ual acts. Their conclusion is in seri-ous error, and cannot be consideredauthentic Catholic teaching.”
Then, in 2008, when the book, “TheSexual Person,” was published, theprelate requested the aid of the doc-trine committee.In its statement, dated Sept. 15, thecommittee detailed some of the errorsof this book.It asserted, “The fact that the alter-native moral theology of ‘The SexualPerson’ leads to many positions
in clear conict with authoritative
Church teaching is itself considerableevidence that the basic methodologyof this moral theology is unsoundand incompatible with the Catholictradition.”“The Committee on Doctrinewishes to make it clear that neitherthe methodology of ‘The Sexual Per-son’ nor the conclusions that departfrom authoritative Church teachingconstitute authentic expressions ofCatholic theology,” it added.“Moreover,” the statement con-tinued, “such conclusions, clearly incontradiction to the authentic teach-ing of the Church, cannot providea true norm for moral action and infact are harmful to one’s moral andspiritual life.”
Rather, it afrmed, “In the Cat
-echism of the Catholic Church,
where we nd a genuine systematic
presentation of the faith, we look for
that wisdom that reects the words
of everlasting life.”
US bishops warn against book on sexuality
BEIJING, China, Sept. 27, 2010—A research-er at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences(CASS) said that the Chinese governmentshould review its religious policy towardsCatholics.In the study, she criticizes the current roleplayed by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic As-sociation (CPCA) and the Bishops’ Council.She also raises doubts about the NationalAssembly of Catholic Representatives,
the governing body if the ofcial Catholic
Church in China.In the CASS annual report on religions inChina that was released in mid-September,Wang Meixiu, a member of the Institute ofWorld Religions, a research unit at CASS,noted that Chinese Catholics have increasedtheir ties with the universal Church. A keenobserver of Catholic affairs in China, she saidthat China constitutes a unique case becauseof the existence of the National Assembly ofCatholic Representatives, whose “democrat-
ic” choices are imposed on ofcial bishops,
and the CPCA, which supervises the Bishops’Council, roughly the equivalent of a nationalbishops’ conference elsewhere in the world,but without Holy See recognition.In the report, Wang Meixiu suggests thatthe two organizations ought to specializeaccording to tasks. The Bishops’ Councilshould be left to run the Church, whilst theCPCA should act as a “bridge” betweenChurch and state.Currently the CPCA, whose secretaries areoften atheist, runs every aspect of Churchlife, from vocations and Episcopal appoint-
ments to nancial matters. For Ms Wang,clearing dening the responsibilities of each
organization should improve the govern-ment’s religious policy.As for the National Assembly of CatholicRepresentatives, she notes that it has failed tomeet since 2004 even though it is viewed as the
governing body of the ofcial Catholic Church.
The next meeting should elect the new presi-dents of the CPCA and the Bishops’ Council,both of which are vacant. Patriotic Bishop Mi-chael Fu Tieshan, elected CPCA president tin1998, died in 2007. Mgr Joseph Liu Yuanren,patriotic bishop of Nanking and president ofthe Bishops’ Council, passed away in 2005.For one reason or another, the meeting to electtheir replacements has been postponed, becauseof an earthquake and the Olympic Gamesin 2008, the 60th anniversary of the People’sRepublic in 2009 and the Shanghai Expo thisyear. Still, as Wang Meixiu points out, thegovernment is bound to convene the assemblyafter Expo, in late October, to avoid “criticism”,which is coming from various directions.With the CPCA pushing for the electionof unlawful Bishop Ma Yinglin (pictured),
ofcial bishops recognized by the Vatican
would face a major dilemma over whetherto participate or not. In March, the VaticanCommission for the Church in China issueda statement in which it called on bishopsaccepted by the Pope to avoid “actions(like sacramental ceremonies, Episcopalordinations and meetings) that contradictthe communion with the Holy Father.”
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences calls for arethink of religious policy towards Catholics
Pope asks youth to learn from beatied teen
Benedict XVI urged the youth to emulate Blessed ChiaraBadano’s “example of Christian consistency,” because shewas certain of God’s love even as she was dying. “OnlyLove with a capital L gives true happiness,” and that’s whatBlessed Badano showed her family, her friends and her fel-low members of the Focolare Movement, he said Sept. 26during his midday Angelus address. In Rome on Sept. 25,Archbishop Angelo Amato of the Congregation for Saints’
Causes led the beatication of Badano who succumbed to
bone cancer just before her 19th birthday in 1990.
‘Non-nuclear weapon agenda must be based onhuman dignity’
Vatican’s delegate to an international conference on atomicenergy has stressed the value of human life as the centralissue in “every step” towards a nuclear weapon-free world.“Humanity,” he said in a speech, “deserves no less than fullco-operation” of the governments of the world in reachingagreements establishing peace and security. Among the1,400 participants in the recent 54th general conference ofthe International Atomic Energy Agency is Bishop EttoreBalestrero, the under-secretary for the Vatican Secretariatof State’s department for relations with states.
Forgiveness is foundation of real reform – pope
Forgiveness is the backbone of all true reform, both in the lifeof an individual Christian and in the life of the whole churchcommunity, Pope Benedict XVI said. The current spiritualcrisis, in fact, is rooted in “obscuring the grace of forgiveness,”the pope said Sept. 25 as he met with a group of bishops fromBrazil. The prelates were making their “ad limina” visits toRome to report on the status of their dioceses.
Catholics urged to reect on impact of work, free
time on family
The Holy Father has called on the world’s Catholics to use
2011 as a time to reect on the impact of their work andtheir free-time pursuits on their family life. The reection, he
said, should help the church prepare for the Seventh WorldMeeting of Families, which will be in Milan May 30-June 3,2012. The theme of the gathering will be: “The Family: Workand Celebration.”
Benedict XVI says West needs to see role of faith inpublic life
Pope Benedict XVI said his message in Great Britain aboutthe enduring importance of faith-based values in publiclife is valid for the entire Western world. He said one of hiskey messages was “the importance of evangelizing culture,especially in our age when pervasive relativism risks over-shadowing the unchanging truth about the nature of man”and about the importance of faith in the education of active,creative and responsible citizens.
Vatican aims for 2012 release of new marriagepreparation document
The Pontical Council for the Family is working to create a
document to guide marriage preparation efforts in diocesesthroughout the world. Through it, the council hopes to betterinform young couples of what they are asking of the Churchwhen they opt to receive the Sacrament of Marriage.
son is one of the leading attorneys insex abuse lawsuits and has claimed thatPope Benedict was “the mastermind,head, of an international conspiracyto cover up their own crimes and keepthem above the law.”According to CNN, Anderson is thelead lawyer in Kohut’s lawsuit. The suitalleges that through a policy of secrecythe Holy See “knowingly allowed, per-mitted and encouraged child sex abuseby its priests, including Murphy.”Gregory Erlandson and Dr. MatthewBunson, authors of the Our SundayVisitor book “Pope Benedict XVI andthe Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working forReform and Renewal,” have claimedthat the latest allegations concerning thePope’s involvement in the Fr. Murphycase rehash discredited charges.“While the Murphy case is a glaringexample of the poor oversight and in-
adequate communication that typied
many abuse cases in the U.S. diocesesin the past 50 years, it does not showCardinal Ratzinger in any way tolerantof, or insensitive to, the actions of abus-ers,” they said in a press release fromOur Sunday Visitor.
teenage girls with contraceptive implanta-tions in order to prevent pregnancies.“We are creating one problem to solveanother,” he said. “Our teenage girls are notanimals, like cows that we sterilize on a farm.They are human beings with dignity. We areturning them into objects by putting a devicein them so they can’t be mothers. I agree thata girl of that age should not become a motherbut that is not the way to do it,” the bishopsaid.
Cardinal Văn Thuận