Church (ecclesiology): January 2011 Archives

Legion of Christ logo.jpgThe ongoing reforms for the Legion of Christ to make it more user- friendly continue to be rolled out. The efforts of the Legion's leadership which is overseen and directed by the papal delegate Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, CS, established a more transparent set of procedures by forming a commission to give objective results on legitimate concerns (see this link for detailed contact info) in dealing with Marciel Maciel's sordid past in a honest and charitable manner. The Cardinal also expanded the superior general's council (a set of advisors) from 4 to 6.

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan's letter to Members of the 112th Congress speaks for itself. As he notes, US Catholics are the largest religious body in the USA. 68 million, 22% of the US population. There are 195 archdioceses and dioceses with one apostolic exarchate. Other interesting statistics can be found here.

Dear Member of Congress,

Abp Timothy M.Dolan NY & USCCB Pres.jpg

As a new Congress begins, I write to congratulate you and to outline principles and priorities that guide the public policy efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). As President of the Bishops' Conference, I assure you of our prayers and hopes that this newly elected Congress will advance the common good and defend the life and dignity of all, especially vulnerable and poor persons whose needs are critical in this time of difficult economic and policy choices. We continue to seek ways to work constructively with the Administration and the new Congress and others of good will to pursue policies which respect the dignity of all human life and bring greater justice to our nation and peace to our world.

As bishops, of course we approach public policy not as politicians but as pastors and teachers. Our moral principles have always guided our everyday experience in caring for the hungry and homeless, offering health care and housing, educating children and reaching out to those in need. We lead the largest community of faith in the United States, one that serves every part of our nation and is present in almost every place on earth. From our experience and our tradition, we offer a distinctive, constructive and principled contribution to the national dialogue on how to defend human life and dignity, promote and protect marriage and family life, lift up those who experience economic turmoil and suffering, and promote peace in a world troubled by war and violence.

Neocatechumenal Way Bishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi SVD_CNA_World_Catholic_News_1_14_11.jpegProblems with the Neocatechumenal Way? There seems to be problems with the NeoCats with some of the bishops in Japan to the point that mediator is being appointed. You will recall that the Holy See asked the NeoCats to conform their liturgical ceremonies --Mass included-- to what the Church teaches and expects. They did an odd ceremonial for Mass and claimed some sort of historical precedence. In a church with 2000 years of history, there's precedent for everything. Plus, they've been accused of setting parallel church structures in the parishes where they have a following. I have to say, I think the Church ought to listen to the Japanese bishops. Some of the problems with the NeoCats sound similar to those with the Regnum Christi when talk like "cult like" sensibilities. Also, with lots in the high placed churchmen supporting the work and life of the NeoCats it will difficult to unravel some facts from fiction. This was also true of the Legionaries of Christ.

The story...
The eyes of many are looking for signs of renewal, restructuring, reform of the Legion of Christ following the very unsavory revelations of the founder's life as a priest and sexual and financial abuses. Father Marcial Maciel founded the Congregation of the Legion of Christ in 1941, died in 2008. There was a papal takeover in 2009 with Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, CS, as the Pope's delegate. In February, the Legion will be begin a several year series of community-wide conversations and the "revision process." The saga continues; wounds not yet healed; suffering not yet connected with the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Recent news of the Legion is here, here and here.
João Bráz de Aviz of Brasilia.jpgPope Benedict XVI named today João Bráz de Aviz, 63, Archbishop of Brasilia, as the new Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life  (AKA Congregation of Relgious), replacing Franc Cardinal Rode, CM.

Archbishop Bráz de Aviz's family is Portugese and German. He is not a religious (and to hold the job it is not a prerequisite to be a vowed religious) but he was educated at a PIME seminary and he's friendly with Focolare, even overseeing the beatification process for Focolare member Ginetta Calliari. At the service of the Pope at the Holy See, Bráz de Aviz is the second Latin American among the current leaders of one of the central offices.

Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz has been a bishop for nearly 17 years and has served as such in 4 dioceses, three of them as the Diocesan Ordinary.

Many consider Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz to be personable, reliable, discrete, relatively traditional and is not known to have a penchant for religious life (considered so because he's not one). In short, he's an outsider to much of the Vatican politics. What he's connected to are the lay ecclesial movements which is also something Pope Benedict --and John Paul before him-- is also very interested in.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Church (ecclesiology) category from January 2011.

Church (ecclesiology): December 2010 is the previous archive.

Church (ecclesiology): February 2011 is the next archive.

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