Pope Francis Names Cardinals on the Margins

The Pope named 15 new Cardinals today most from countries that have not had representation recently. No Americans as Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia would be options for red hats but there’s usually a wait for the former Cardinals of those Archdioceses to pass the voting age of 80.

The Pope is preferring Bishops from the global south and moderates including as John Allen reports at Crux

Archbishop John Atcherley Dew from New Zealand, for instance, argued for allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion at a 2005 Vatican synod of bishops. Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez is president of the Spanish bishops’ conference and generally seen as a moderate opposed to the harder line of former Madrid Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela.

The other newly named Cardinals are:

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal)

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)

Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy)

Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Văn Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêt Nam)

Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico)

Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon (Myanmar)

Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand)

Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy)

Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., of Montevideo (Uruguay)

Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, O.A.R., of David (Panamá)

Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde)

Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga)

In addition honorary Cardinals beyond the age of 80 were named:

José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales

Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus

Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio

Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán

Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai

Pray for the new red hats who will be officially given their red hats in February.

Got Media Problems…Turn to Fox News to Fix ’em

Yeah…that’s the ticket!

From Deacon Greg’s Blog

The Vatican has brought in the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with years of communications blunders and one of its most serious scandals in decades, The Associated Press learned Saturday.Greg Burke, 52, will leave Fox to become a senior communications adviser in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, the Vatican and Burke told the AP.

I shudder to think what press releases this guy will come up with.

A bit more on his Catholic background:

Burke, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement. Pope John Paul II’s longtime spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, was also a member of Opus Dei.

Good luck, Burke. You’re gonna need it. Here’s hoping that the Vatican will be a bit more “fair and balanced” than his last employer claims that they are.

Vatican’s New Internet Evangelization Office Can’t Get the Hook Up

Classic fail: Archbishop of the Vatican’s New Internet Evangelization Outreach presently does not have internet access. So says Britain’s Catholic Herald.

The head of the new pontifical council charged with evangelising cyberspace has said that his new office does not have an internet connection.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelisation, made the startling admission at a press conference unveiling the new council.

A Motu Proprio issued on Tuesday established the responsibilities of the council, which include “studying modern means of communications”.

But Archbishop Fisichella said: “Right now, I’m just hoping to get a computer in my office so I can get on the internet myself.”

Well…that’s one way to get those IT guys to work faster. Embarrass them and the rest of the vatican in the media by letting us know that little tidbit. It’s amazing how the Vatican continues to shoot themselves in the foot in the media–even when they do something smart like set up this kind of evangelization outreach to begin with.

Shamelessly Stealing Deacon Greg’s Headline: E.T. Phone Rome

The Vatican is close to admitting that life may indeed be present on other planets/galaxies.

Catholic News Service has the scoop. I dare the NY Times to run this on page one without being condescending. I double dog dare Sean Hannity to talk about it on Fox.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Dozens of scientists gathered at a Vatican-sponsored meeting to fit together emerging pieces of a puzzle still waiting to be solved: whether there is life on other planets.

If finding extraterrestrial life is like “a detective chase, a crime to be solved, we’re getting very close to the answer,” said Chris Impey, head of the Steward Observatory and the University of Arizona’s department of astronomy in Tucson, Ariz.

Impey was one of 30 high-level scientists attending a Nov. 6-10 study week on astrobiology sponsored by the Vatican Observatory and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He and others spoke at a Vatican press conference Nov. 10.

The astronomer said it is widely believed that life needs three basic ingredients: carbon-based material, energy provided by stars, and water, “which is one of the most common molecules in the universe.”

“These three elements have already been found in a lot of places in galaxies,” he said.

“The universe, if it’s like a table, the table is set for dinner. Everything is there, all the ingredients are there” to welcome and support life, Impey added.

Until 1995, no one knew whether there were planets circling some of the billions of stars in the universe.

Advancements in planet detection have since led scientists to discover more than 400 planets outside of the solar system and dozens more are found each year, he said.

Jonathan Lunine, professor of planetary science and physics at the University of Arizona, said three or four worlds within the solar system also have conditions where life may be found.

More research into how the Earth and earthly life evolved is helpful in understanding what habitable worlds may look like, he said.

Read more here but scientists need to rejoice today because here is a clear example where the Church is stating that science and faith are not mutually exclusive.

And since this is a far cry from what the church used to regard as valid scientific theory, I thought I’d pull out one of my old favorites from the Indigo Girls:

Vatican Paper: Obama invites us to work in common effort

David Gibson quotes L’Osservatore Romano today:

The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said the president also confirmed that pushing for a more liberal abortion law would not be a priority of his administration. The comments came in a L’Osservatore report May 18, the day after Obama spoke at the university in Indiana.

“The search for a common ground: This seems to be the path chosen by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in facing the delicate question of abortion,” the newspaper said.

It said Obama had set aside the “strident tone” of the 2008 political campaign on the abortion issue.

“Yesterday Obama confirmed what he expressed at his 100-day press conference at the White House, when he said that enacting a new law on abortion was not a priority of his administration,” it said.

The newspaper, which was reporting on the Notre Dame commencement for the first time, acknowledged the controversy caused by the president’s appearance at what it called “the most prestigious Catholic university in the United States.”

“Yesterday, too, as could have been predicted, there were protests. But from the podium set up in the basketball arena, the president invited Americans of every faith and ideological conviction to ‘work in common effort’ to reduce the number of abortions,” it said.

I guess the Pope’s paper is run by a bunch of heretics too? Would anyone dare to say that they are a bunch of people who are “killing our children?”

More moderate voices are arising. Thank God for that. After all, if President Obama is suggesting that we stop women from aborting by offering them viable alternatives than I think it’s time we took him up on the help he’s offered–as opposed to stating that he’s trying to hoodwink us.

100 Days of Obama – And the Church still stands

From CNS – the Church claims President Obama’s first 100 days have not been as bad as they may have feared.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican newspaper said President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have not confirmed the Catholic Church’s worst fears about radical policy changes in ethical areas.

The comments came in a front-page article April 29 in L’Osservatore Romano, under the headline, “The 100 days that did not shake the world.” It said the new president has operated with more caution than predicted in most areas, including economics and international relations.

“On ethical questions, too — which from the time of the electoral campaign have been the subject of strong worries by the Catholic bishops — Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed,” it said.

It said the new draft guidelines for stem-cell research, for example, did not constitute the major change in policy that was foreseen a few months ago.

“(The guidelines) do not allow the creation of new embryos for research or therapeutic purposes, for cloning or for reproductive ends, and federal funds may be used only for experimentation with excess embryos,” it said.

Read the rest here

A hat tip to Deacon Greg and Rocco who also adds a bit more including this snippet that we all should read:

A certain surprise has otherwise come about in these days through a bill designed by the Democratic party: the Pregnant Women Support Act would move to limit the number of abortions in the United States through initiatives of aid for distressed women. It’s not a negation of the doctrine until now expressed by Obama on matters of the interruption of pregnancy, but the legislative project could represent a rebalancing in support of motherhood.

If it’s good enough for the Vatican paper…

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Pope’s Gift to Prince Charles…Or Not?

This in today with hat tips to The Times of London and Catholic News Service

Upon Prince Charles’ visit to the Vatican the Times of London reported the Pope was going to issue a luxury facsimile of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. This seems somewhat cheeky (as the Brits would say) since Charles is married to divorcee Camilia Bowles.

One problem: The Vatican says it’s not true.

Could it be the Vatican is getting fed up with inaccurate reporting?

The Times story said that when Prince Charles comes to the Vatican next week, Pope Benedict planned to present him with ”a gift that may strike an unwelcome chord”: a facsimile of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

As everyone knows, Pope Clement refused that appeal, King Henry married his mistress anyway and renounced Roman Catholicism, establishing the Church of England.

As the Times put it, the pope’s gift appeared to be either “an unfortunate accident or a piece of mischievous theater.” That was no doubt enough to set people off at the Vatican.

One part of the story did appear to be true: The Italian company Scrinium is in fact producing a limited-edition facsimile of the famous letter of Henry VIII, in collaboration with the Vatican Secret Archives, which holds the document in its underground vaults.

This is getting ridiculous. Are media outlets taking advantage of the obvious weakness of the Vatican press office by trying to put out plausible but untrue stories and turning Vatican News into a sideshow? Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ (pictured above) must be going insane today.

Vatican Ambassador Possibilities

After getting several Facebook messages and emails from people asking me what I thought about Caroline Kennedy being rejected as a choice for Vatican Ambassador.

For the record, she was not rejected at all. No names were floated or rejected according to the Vatican.

However, in today’s Washington Post, Eric Gorski does indeed float some possibilities and the inside track to how these decisions would be made.

One frequently mentioned name is Douglas Kmiec (pictured,right), a former dean of the Catholic University of America law school and Reagan administration lawyer who broke Republican ranks and endorsed Obama. Kmiec, who has a long record of opposing abortion, was lambasted by conservative Catholics and denied Communion by one priest.

Asked whether the administration had contacted him about the ambassadorship, Kmiec declined to comment.

Another possible candidate is Nicholas Cafardi, a professor at Duquesne University law school and the school’s former dean. Cafardi, who once considered the priesthood, is a canon lawyer and speaks Italian.

He was an original member and former chairman of the National Review Board, a panel of lay people formed by U.S. bishops in 2002 to help oversee the response to the clergy sex abuse crisis.

Cafardi opposes abortion rights and endorsed Obama. While not as visible as Kmiec, Cafardi did resign last year from the board of trustees at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a conservative Catholic school in Ohio, to head off any conflict over his support for Obama.

Cafardi told The Associated Press on Thursday that the administration has not asked his advice about the post or offered it to him. He said he would be honored to be considered.

Read the whole article here

A hat tip to David Gibson for pointing us in the right direction.

With reference to Kmiec, Catholic News Agency says he’s got no shot.

To Vatican Critics: Media Matters for You Too

I got annoyed at a few friends the other night and I think I shot the messenger. They mentioned that they were annoyed at Pope Benedict’s statements while he was in Africa about how condoms are not a solution to the AIDS crisis.

I asked them (probably in an angry NY tone) what they thought the Pope meant. One claimed that they weren’t sure and the other said that they thought the Pope was saying that condoms are not a way to prevent the spread of AIDS–that they don’t work–that scientifically condoms don’t really prevent the AIDS virus.


What the Pope was saying was that condoms are a quick fix. That they don’t stop the real systemic problem at hand which is an unhealthy and cheapened view of sexuality–which most people in the world actually subscribe to and which many men especially in Africa have taken to an extreme.

Women are regarded in Africa by many men in that culture as disposable. They are only there to serve the sexual needs of men. We shouldn’t single out Africa in this regard as this is a widespread phenomenon.

So the Pope’s suggestion is that condoms do not create a culture change and a shift in the sexual mindset of the world–especially on a continent where AIDS and HIV is a huge problem–is what is really needed.

But what happens now? His answer is taken out of context and blown up in the media as the Pope saying that we don’t need condoms in Africa to solve the AIDS crisis with no explanation at all and most people come away thinking that the Pope just made a stupid and perhaps even an out-of-touch statement.

He did not. But now we’ll never hear him go beyond this statement because the Vatican PR department won’t field anymore questions on the subject out of fear.

The good follow up question that I suspect the Pope may even have a brilliant idea about is this:

“While it may be true that a more systemic change is needed to really solve the problem of AIDS in the world, there are many people who may not share that opinion. While we realize that you need to set the bar high by calling people to a higher standard and uphold the teachings of the Catholic faith, can you also share any ideas you may have to keep people safe in the meantime, before this culture change hopefully takes hold on the culture–or even dare we say, if it doesn’t?”

Culture change doesn’t happen overnight. And while I agree with the Pope’s point, I’d sincerely like to hear what ideas he might promote of a practical nature that will protect, especially women who are often raped by men with the AIDS virus or are forced to have sex with their husbands who may be transmitting the virus as well.

While I’m not likely to get an answer from the Holy Father on this matter, I’m wondering what y’all think about two things:

1) Is the media as well as the general public shooting us in the foot by taking questions out of context?

2) What ideas might we have for both building a change in the culture and for keeping people safe in the meantime?

Let’s say that condoms are not an option just for kicks!

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Cardinal Egan adds to SSPX outrage

Rocco has the scoop:

“Yesterday, the Vatican condemned in the clearest terms a statement made by an illicitly consecrated Bishop by the name of Richard Williamson in which the evil of the Shoah was questioned or at least minimized. As Archbishop of New York, I add my voice to that of the Holy See and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in rejecting Williamson’s words as hurtful, baseless, and outrageous…”

Head over to Rocco for more.

It’s good to see the Bishops speaking with some unity on this albeit a few days late.

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