Pope names new camerlengo
VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Francis named Kevin Cardinal Farrell, the 71-year-old prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, to serve as the camerlengo or chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, the Vatican announced on February 14.
Cardinal Farrell, born in Ireland, was incardinated in the Archdiocese of Washington and served as bishop of Dallas from 2007 to 2016; as camerlengo, he fills the post left vacant by the death in July 2018 Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran of France.
While the pope is alive, the job is basically just a title. But when a pope dies or resigns, the chamberlain is charged with sealing the papal apartments, chairing consultations about the papal funeral, making the practical preparations for the conclave to elect the next pope and chairing a committee of cardinals taking care of the ordinary affairs of the Church until a new pope is elected.
Mexican priests removed for abusing minors
MEXICO CITY (CNS): The Mexican Bishops’ Conference has confirmed that 152 priests have been removed from ministry for sexually abusing minors.
In a February 12 statement, the episcopal conference published the preliminary figure, while promising, “We will continue with the effort to have a complete diagnosis of cases of child sexual abuse in Mexico.”
The statement followed comments from Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera Lopez of Monterrey, the conference president, who told reporters on February 10, “one hundred and fifty-two priests have been removed from ministry. Some, for the size of their crime, have had to go to prison.”
The bishops’ conference promised “zero tolerance” on the issue of child sexual abuse by clergy and said it released the figures in the interest of transparency.
Past cases of sexual abuse committed by clergy have scandalised Mexico, but also brought accusations of covering up crimes and an unwillingness to acknowledge the problem.
German theologians say restrictions threaten credibility
OXFORD (CNS): Germany’s assembly of Catholic Theology Faculties accused the Church of restricting its freedom and warned that theology’s “scientific credibility” could be damaged by reinforced rules and procedures.
The assembly said in a statement that theology’s credibility depended on promoting “gospel interaction with contemporary issues” in dialogue with other philosophies, as well as on scientific freedom, which “should not be perceived as a danger.”
The theologians said they felt Pope Francis had encouraged them in the six-point foreword to the January 2018 apostolic constitution, Veritatis Gaudium, which took effect in the 2018 to 2019 academic year, updating previous 1979 guidelines.
They said the text reaffirmed the importance of ecclesiastical faculties and universities in “these demanding and exciting times,” and called for “ways of presenting the Christian religion capable of a profound engagement with different cultural systems.”
The foreword was followed by 94 articles of general and special norms for theology and a further 70 norms for applying Veritatis Gaudium in practice, and it is these that the theologians found restrictive.
“These norms present the outdated picture of a lawful, strictly controlled theology, based solely on a culture of obedience through a close-knit approach of rules and regulations,” the theologians said.
Caritas in Latin America look for ways to build on Laudato Si’
VALLE DE ANGELES (CNS): Participants at the 19th congress of Caritas in Latin America and the Caribbean, defining work for the next four years, looked for ways to build on the foundations of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, so it is taken into account by all nations.
The representatives of Caritas also discussed how the Church can recover and transfer the wisdom of indigenous peoples to other societies. Laudato Si’ was “the maturation of (Caritas’) experiences” in working toward integral human development, Heydi Campos, executive secretary of Caritas Bolivia, explained.
The congress took place in early February in Valle de Angeles, Honduras. Participants exchanged ideas on how to achieve Pope Francis’ vision of the common good and integral ecology and included discussions on gender equality, forced migration, corruption, violence and new economies.
Participants also expressed solidarity with the peoples of Venezuela and Nicaragua, whose countries are embroiled in a political, social and economic crisis.