Category: Catholic Church

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.

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.”

Catholic priests ‘filmed at gay clubs and having casual sex’

The Catholic Church in Italy was embroiled in a fresh scandal on Friday when photographs apparently showing homosexual priests attending gay nightclubs and engaging in casual sex were published in a magazine.

A journalist from Panorama, a conservative weekly news magazine owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, used a hidden camera to film interviews with three gay priests, who introduced the journalist to the gay clubs they apparently frequent, and allowed the journalist to film their sexual encounters with strangers, including one in a church building.

The Catholic Church insists on celibacy for priests and sees homosexuality as a sin. In 2008 the Vatican issued guidelines which said that any would-be trainees should not join if they had “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

Panorama editor Giorgio Mule said: “This was a two week investigation and was not aimed at creating a scandal but showing that a certain section of the clergy behaves very differently.”