Feb 6, 2009

Catholics: Sponsored by the Word Transparency

John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter cites three big stories all surrounding the word transparency in Catholic life today. As always, nicely done.

Here are the three stories in brief, two of which we've covered ad nauseum here followed by my take on each one.

A rare Vatican review, technically known as an "apostolic visitation," of women's religious communities in the United States was announced last Friday. The news came as a surprise to most leaders in religious life.

The sisters are nervous. The Vatican claims that the reason for the review is a "positive effort to support (women's) congregations." But obviously people will get skittish any time a Vatican review is put forth. Perhaps there is a lack of transparency on the part of the Vatican as to the purpose of these visits but those in charge have started a website--so who knows? The site claims the goals are threefold:

1) To look into the quality of apostolic life in the United States.
Read: How well are things really going? Are we keeping with the church's vision here.

2) To learn more about the ways in which women religious contribute to the welfare of the church and society.
Read: Wow! We hear that women are doing all sorts of things. We need to publicize the good stuff and clamp down on anything that may not be in line with our vision of ministry.

3) To assist the Church to strengthen, enhance and support the growth of the more than 400 congregations to which the approximately 59,000 women religious in the United States belong.

Read: How will we get more vocations?

Fallout from Benedict XVI's decision to lift the excommunication of four traditionalist bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier, continued to spread, reaching an apex on Tuesday when German Chancellor Angela Merkel rebuked the pope. The next day, the Vatican issued a statement demanding that Bishop Richard Williamson recant his views "in absolutely unequivocal and public fashion."

Obviously we've covered this at length here. Just look at the posts to the right on the SSPX. The problem here is one of transparency as well.

The Legionaries of Christ have acknowledged conduct by their founder, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, which was "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest." Reportedly, that conduct included fathering a child out of wedlock.

This was a major story which we touched on here. Jeff Guhin wrote about this on the BustedBlog recently and has a take on this.

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