Vatican Weighs In On Cult-Like Group In Legion of Christ

Regnum Christi The Vatican has proposed giving hundreds of women who live like nuns within the troubled Legion of Christ order greater autonomy after a Holy See investigation found serious problems in their regimented communities.

In 2010, former consecrated women spoke of the cult-like conditions they lived in.

Scourge of America’s paedophile priests sets up shop in UK

Jeff Anderson, the US attorney who has spearheaded more than 1,500 lawsuits against the Catholic Church, has now established a law firm in the UK.

Austrians left Church in record numbers amid abuse scandal

A record number of Austrians turned their back on the Catholic Church in 2010, the Church said Tuesday, pointing to the abuse scandal as the main reason.

Hundreds injured in Philippines religious procession

At least 454 people were injured in the Philippines on Sunday as more than 1 million barefoot devotees joined an annual procession to honour a centuries-old statue of a suffering Jesus Christ, known as the Black Nazarene.

‘De-baptism’ in Belgium in wake of child abuse scandal

The child abuse scandals rocking Belgium’s powerful Catholic Church are also shaking the faith of followers, with more and more people asking to be struck off baptism registers — a global movement known as “de-baptism“.

Vatican says condoms acceptable only in ‘exceptional’ cases

In a series of interviews to appear in a book published this week, Pope Benedict XVI says for the first time that while the use of condoms should not be seen as a “moral solution”, it could be justified in stopping the spread of AIDS.

But the Vatican moved Sunday to counter campaigners’ claims of a U-turn in Church policy, emphasising in a statement that condom use was acceptable only in highly “exceptional” cases, AP reports.

Our take: If you don’t play the game, you don’t get to set the rules. What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is none of the Pope’s — or the Catholic Church’s — business.

Two Catholic Churches in Brooklyn Will Close

Facing a drop in attendance and a shortage of priests, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn plans to close two churches, fold six parishes into three and impose strict budget constraints on all 198 of its parishes.

The move, announced from pulpits on Sunday, was described by church officials as the first phase of a broad consolidation that will result in further closings or mergers over the next two years, eventually affecting every parish in the diocese, which serves an estimated 1.5 million Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens.

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally becomes a church

For decades tourists have visited the twisting spires of Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia church, but 128 years after construction began Catholic faithful worshipped there for the first time on Sunday.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass to give his official blessing to the church designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, whose sculptural masterpieces dot the city in the region of Catalonia.

While work is not scheduled to finish for many more years on the intricate and colourful Sagrada Familia, enough had been done to welcome the pontiff, including installing last minute stained-glass windows.

Pope’s Legionaries of Christ delegate warns of ‘shipwreck’

Marcial Maciel The papal official running the disgraced Legionaries of Christ has warned that the conservative order faces “certain shipwreck” unless its superiors and members work together to change course following revelations that their founder led a double life.

Swiss Catholics split over condom distribution

A Catholic church in the central Swiss city of Lucerne has sparked controversy among believers with an AIDS awareness campaign that involves distributing to teenagers condoms bearing the slogan “protect thy neighbor as thyself.”

Pope targets “de-Christianisation” with new Vatican office

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday formally announced the creation of a new Vatican office aimed at reviving the Catholic faith in Europe and other parts of the world that he claims are being ‘de-Christianised.’

In a decree, the pope said the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation would work with bishops in traditionally Christian but increasingly secular countries, to promote the church’s message.

Vatican taps investigator for Regnum Christi group tied to Legionaries of Christ

Regnum Christi The Vatican has named a Spanish archbishop to investigate Regnum Christi, a cult-like group affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative religious order disgraced by revelations its founder sexually abused seminarians and fathered three children.

In an investigative report over the weekend, The Associated Press exposed the cult-like conditions in which the women of Regnum Christi live.

How many Catholics are there?

There are many ways to count religious believers in Britain, but no one is counting Catholics by baptism.

Police seize $30M from Vatican bank, investigate officials

Just when the Catholic Church didn’t need another scandal, Italian authorities have seized 23 million euros ($30.2 million) from a Vatican bank account and begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money laundering probe.

Italian financial police seized the money as a precaution Tuesday and prosecutors placed the Vatican bank’s director general and its chairman — a man who speaks frequently about morality in financing — under investigation for alleged mistakes linked to violations of Italy’s anti-laundering laws, news reports said.

The is probe not the first time the bank — formally known as the Institute for Religious Works— has faced trouble. In the 1980s, it was involved in a major scandal that resulted in a banker being found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

In a statement, the Vatican said it had been working for some time to make its finances more transparent to comply with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations.

Bringing blasphemy back from the dead

Advertising is a free speech issue. To say ‘you can’t say that’ in an advert – to say that mocking Roman Catholicism, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, is not suitable advertising content – is as censorious as excluding a work of art from an exhibition.

‘If you ban our ad’, Antonio Federici’s spokesman told spiked, ‘you might as well ban any controversial story about the church – that’s the logical conclusion’.”

Pope under fire as half of paedophile priests still in clergy

More than half of Catholic priests convicted of sexually abusing children in the last decade are still listed as members of the clergy, it was reported.

A Channel 4 News investigation said that of 22 priests convicted and jailed for more than a year for child sex abuse since 2001, 14 were yet to be laicised or sacked from the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

Last night programme said some were still even receiving financial support from the Church and living in Church-owned property.

The revelations follow recommendations made in 2001 by senior Judge Lord Nolan, who suggested that any priest sentenced to a year or more in prison for sex offences against children should face “laicisation” – the stripping of their title, priesthood and privileges.

Catholic Church and UK colluded in Northern Ireland bomb cover-up: report

The British government and the Roman Catholic Church colluded to protect a priest suspected of involvement in a 1972 bombing in Northern Ireland that killed 9 people, an official report said on Tuesday.

The Police Ombudsman’s report revealed that an Irish cardinal was involved in transferring Father James Chesney out of British-ruled Northern Ireland, highlighting again the role of the Church hierarchy in protecting priests against allegations of criminal activity.

Justice must be served for nine people killed in NI bombings who were “failed” by a cover-up of a priest’s suspected role, victims’ relatives have said.

Bomb threat hits Lourdes pilgrims

Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims have been evacuated from Lourdes in south-west France after a bomb threat, officials are reported as saying.

The threat came as 30,000 worshippers were in the town to celebrate the annual Feast of the Assumption, the French news agency AFP said.

Lourdes is famous for what many Roman Catholics believe was a vision of the Virgin Mary by a local girl in 1858.

The Vatican’s Gay Priests

For residents of Rome, the sight of courting priests is hardly an anomaly. The phenomenon is a well-known secret here, and one that was largely ignored until last weekend, when the Italian weekly magazine Panorama published a shocking exposé called “Le Notti Brave Dei Preti Gay,” or “Good Nights Out for Gay Priests.”

Investigative journalist Carmelo Abbate spent 20 days undercover posing as the boyfriend of a man who ran in gay clerical circles, secretly videotaping the sexual escapades of three Rome-based priests.

Abbate caught the priests on hidden camera dirty dancing at private parties and engaging in sex acts with male escorts on church property. He also caught them emerging from dark bedrooms in time to celebrate mass. In one postcoital scene, “Father Carlo” parades around seminaked, wearing only his clerical vestments. Abbate’s “date” even had sex with one of the priests to corroborate the story.

This is not about homosexuality,” Abbate, who is not gay, told NEWSWEEK. “This is about private vices and public virtues. This is about serious hypocrisy in the Catholic Church.”
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