Pope Benedict XVI has chosen Bishop Gerhard Müller to succeed Cardinal Wm. Levada as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Whether having a German deal with the LCWR will be less intense than having an American at the helm remains to be seen. Müller is orthodox and conservative, and not without his detractors. But perhaps he just can’t be pigeonholed: he’s a friend of Liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, did his doctoral dissertation on Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and stated in a 2003 book that Mary’s virginity “shouldn’t be understood in a physiological sense” (Elizabeth Johnson, anyone?). Equally interesting as reading the analysis by NCR’s John Allen, is perusing the comments that follow. I liked the one that held out hope that Bishop Müller might undergo a conversion experience similar to Archbishop Romero’s. That hope seems to be in the air for more than Bishop Müller.
These are more nuanced versions of an earlier post about the recently hired Vatican news correspondent, Greg Burke, formerly of Fox News. As a “numerary” in Opus Dei, Burke is celibate and gives much of his income to that organization. He acknowledges that his new assignment will not be without difficulties. Read more….
Can things get more bizarre? The Vatican has hired a media adviser from Fox news to do damage control on its message and image. Greg Burke, 52, will be working in the Vatican’s secretariat of state. He has been covering the Vatican from Rome for a long time and has a degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
“I’m an old-fashioned Midwestern Catholic whose mother went to Mass every day,” Burke said. “Am I being hired because I’m in Opus Dei?” he asked. “It might come into play.”
Once again, Gene Kennedy hits the nail on the head. In another example of puzzling Vatican priorities, overtures of acceptance and inclusion are made to the 30-year schismatic Pius X Society founded by the late Archbishop Lefevbre, which rejects the teachings of Vatican II, while the LCWR is threatened with being kicked out if they don’t play ball. We’re scratching our heads with him as Kennedy asks, “Where is Casey Stengel when we need him?”
As more and more information comes out about the sick cult that Fr. Maciel created around him, we are given a very disturbing picture of the political machinations in Rome that have virtually nothing to do with the Gospel and everything to do with the cult of personality and power. The contrast between this culture and the work of American women religious is mind-blowing. Deception, cover-up, cunning, denial, and greed allowed the cancer to metastasize. After years of the pedophilia crisis, we doubted we could be shocked further. Not so. Read more….
“It’s as bad as we thought it could get. Maybe worse. In an interview with NCR shortly after meeting with the leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, confirmed our worst fears: that this Holy Office is hell-bent on bringing U.S. women religious to heel.” Read more...
“The Catholic Church has a leadership problem at the center of its baroque court. The leaked documents ultimately harm Benedict himself, and the scandal is also fundamentally detrimental to the papacy itself. With each additional day of speculation over the true masterminds behind the plot, there is a growing impression of a difficult papacy and a weakened pope who is no longer calling the shots.” This fascinating 3-part essay published in der Speigel sheds light on the underlying significance of the Vatileaks scandal. Read more here.
Don’t miss this interview with Joan Chittister! Christiane Amanpour presses her on the issues and she responds articulately.
Others reading this interview with Cardinal Levada may also be struck by his complete conviction in the rightness of his defense of Catholic doctrine at all costs. It is up to Archbishop Sartain to find a way to bring the wayward LCWR back into the proper doctrinal fold. According to Cardinal Levada, it is possible for that to happen. Read more…
The title of this post is aptly named. Neither side appears to be backing down. Strength to power!