A new statement from a Vatican commission created by Pope Francis himself says that bishops must report any incidents of sexual abuse they are aware of to law enforcement. The new statement, which calls the reporting of abuse a “moral and ethical responsibility” of the church, actually counters a previous recommendation by French Monsignor Tony Anatrella last fall that said it was the families’ role to report abuse to police, not church officials’. However, the commission—which was created as part of an effort by Pope Francis to fight sexual abuse within the Catholic Church—said in a statement,
As Pope Francis has so clearly stated, ‘The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must not be kept secret for any longer. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.’ We, the president and the members of the commission, wish to affirm that our obligations under civil law must certainly be followed, but even beyond these civil requirements, we all have a moral and ethical responsibility to report suspected abuse to the civil authorities who are charged with protecting our society.
The Vatican has released a statement attempting to clarify some of the details behind Pope Francis’ meeting with Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis during his recent U.S. visit. Davis rose to national attention when she was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Though she was release, she has since been accused of altering licenses issued by her deputies.
A Church spokesman said that Pope Francis met with “several dozen” people while at the Vatican’s embassy and Washington, adding, “The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.” Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich told CBS News, “Meeting with someone is not an endorsement of that person’s position.” Davis’ lawyers seem to contradict other reports that the pope was surprised and even “exploited” by the meeting, claiming it was arranged by the Vatican weeks ago. Discuss
Pope Francis is continuing his personal outreach to the homeless around Vatican City. The pontiff ordered a new, 30-bed homeless shelter to be built in the Vatican. As The Washington Post notes, it’s just the first in a series of actions to care for the homeless he’s undertaken since becoming pope: He’s installed free showers in Vatican City; paid for homeless individuals to visit the Shroud of Turin; arranged private museum tours; and even provided free shaves and haircuts ... Discuss
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moo spoke at a conference at the Vatican today that is being attended by leaders of different faiths, heads of state, scientists and thinkers. The participants in the conference released a statement saying that nature “is a precious gift entrusted to our common care, making it our moral duty to respect rather than ravage the garden that is our home." The meeting comes ahead of Pope Francis’ encyclical (a letter sent out to bishops) this summer, which is expected to directly address climate change and the Church. World leaders will soon meet again in Paris to discuss climate change and how it will continue to be addressed globally ... Discuss
Pope Francis’ chief alms-giver has announced new plans to install free showers in the public restrooms in Vatican City as a service to the homeless. Monsignor Konrad Krajewski explained that the new facilities in St. Peter’s Square were inspired by an encounter with a homeless man. The homeless gentleman declined Krajewski’s invitation to a fancy dinner on his 50th birthday because he said that he smelled bad, and there was no place for homeless individuals like him to wash. According to some reports, the facility will also provide members of the homeless community with fresh towels and clean undergarments ... Discuss
Just weeks after a group of Cardinals ended a contentious gathering to discuss the Catholic Church’s views on family issues like divorce, co-habitation and same-sex relationships, the Vatican will host another marriage-themed summit. Leaders from across the religious spectrum—including pastor Rick Warren, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore, a senior leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the former chief rabbi of Great Britain, the Muslim president of the Tawasul Cultural Center in Egypt, World Sikh Council’s Manmohan Singh, Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright and about two dozen others—will meet for two days later this month at the “International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman.”
According to RNS, the idea is for the Vatican to “seek common ground with religious leaders” on the issues that have caused some division among Catholic officials. The meetings organizers say their goal is to "examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society” ... Discuss