Saunders’s departure from abuse commission helps resolve body’s identity crisis

Expert insight and analysis…

Catholic Voices Comment

Peter Saunders, a British advocate for survivors, talks during an interview with the Associated Press in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Pope Francis’ sex abuse advisory committee voted Saturday to temporarily sideline one of its members, a high-profile abuse survivor who had clashed with the commission over its mandate and mission. During a meeting of the commission Saturday, "it was decided that Mr. Peter Saunders would take a leave of absence from his membership to consider how he might best support the commission's work," the Vatican said in a statement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

[Austen Ivereigh in Bogotá] The Vatican’s announcement yesterday that a British abuse survivor and activist will be leaving Pope Francis’s child protection commission is, of course, sad news. But it was also inevitable, the fruit of tensions over the commission’s identity that have been present within it since its inception.

According to a brief Vatican statement, the 17 expert members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors took a unanimous decision (with one abstention) that that Peter Saunders should take a “leave of absence”.

Saunders was invited to join the body in December 2014 after meeting Pope Francis earlier that year (see CV Comment here).The Commission, which meets twice a year in Rome, includes psychiatrists and therapists and experts of various kinds, and is presided by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston.

Its brief, which was never well defined at first, is to assist the Vatican in developing guidelines…

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In message for Lent, Francis urges world to learn meaning of ‘mercy, not sacrifice’

Catholic Voices Comment

epiphanyPope Francis’s message for Lent 2016, a meditation on Jesus’s words “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13), invites the world to “overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy”, above all in concrete acts. He also warns against the blindness to sin induced by power and wealth, which leads to a “diabolic” closing of the human heart to the plight of the poor. The antidote lies in both the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, as well as an “attentive listening” to the Word of God.

The text follows.


1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized

In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and…

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An Israeli leader’s war on Christianity, calls Christian missionaries “blood-sucking vampires” | Council for the National Interest

Source: An Israeli leader’s war on Christianity, calls Christian missionaries “blood-sucking vampires” | Council for the National Interest

A powerful Israeli leader with a charismatic message that resonates deeply with tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis writes: “Christmas has no place in this our holy land.  Evangelicals must not gain a footing here.  Expel the vampires from our land before they once again suck our blood.” Accused of murdering a Palestinian couple, he has never been charged…


Sowing the seeds of mercy into your life

In Misericordiae Vultus, (The Face of Mercy,) the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from Pope Francis, he has given us new seeds, a bright and verdant diagram, a vision of joy, a plan of hope for the renewal of the “oasis of mercy” that is the church, and of the living sanctuaries of mercy each of us can become in Christ.

Source: Sowing the seeds of mercy into your life

Pope restores an older tradition: Easter feet-washing to include women


Catholic Voices Comment

Pope-Francis-Holy-Thursday-foot-washing[Austen Ivereigh] Pope Francis has changed the rubrics of the Roman Missal to make clear that the traditional foot-washing ritual by priests at the start of Easter can include women and girls, not just men and boys.

The Church around the world has long assumed in practice that when priests at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper wash the feet of people taken from the congregation, that they can be male or female. In the United States, for example, the bishops’ conference made clear back in 1987 that the Latin phrase viri selecti in the Roman Missal meant either men or women. This has been the norm in practice in parishes across the western world — including in Buenos Aires, where the then Cardinal Bergoglio always used to perform the foot-washing ritual away from the cathedral, in prisons, hospitals and the like.

But Pope Francis was intensely criticized in some quarters…

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Marching for Life, Mother Teresa, and Mrs. Clinton – Crisis Magazine

“Why do you think we haven’t had a woman as president yet?” First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton asked her guest over their lunch at the White House. The little woman sitting at table with Mrs. Clinton did not hesitate in her reply. “Because she has probably been aborted,” said Mother Teresa. ¤   ¤   ¤ This …

Source: Marching for Life, Mother Teresa, and Mrs. Clinton – Crisis Magazine

MLK, Moral Outrage, and the National Discourse

The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood

Dear friends, this week we celebrated the life and legacy of a man who was, arguably, the greatest American of the 20th century, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I have always loved and admired Dr. King, for as long as I can remember. For his refusal to disengage from the conversation of justice that constitutes us a people, even and especially in the face of hateful attempts to exclude him from it, he was and he remains a hero of America.

To say he was no stranger to violence would be gross understatement, and yet he constantly refused to give in to the temptation to violent revenge or even the use of physical force to vindicate his and his fellows’ rights. He was well aware of the danger to America, should we not choose to address the grievous wrongs done and the hideous injustice regularly perpetrated against black citizens:


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A note on the eligibility of Sen. Cruz

The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood

After a week filled with much banter about Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility for the office of President of the United States – banter that ranged in tone and content from the conspicuously erudite to the hifalutin’ and nonsensical – I decided to offer my $0.02 on the matter. I’ve also linked to a SoundCloud audio file here, in which I have a little fun playing the professor and hamming it up a little with my delivery.


Alright, folks, I’m only going to say this once: Sen. Cruz meets the Constitutional requirement of natural citizenship for the same reason President Obama meets the same requirement: both have their US citizenship from birth, through their respective mothers.

It does not matter where they came out of their mothers’ bodies (though I do believe the State of Hawaii when it tells me the President was born there).

Here is where you’re going…

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