Tag Archives: Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge, Cardinal William Levada’s address

Wm levada.jpg

Today, in Rome,
there is a Gregorian University sponsored Symposium entitled “Towards Healing
and Renewal.” It is a four day gathering of professionals and clergy-types who
have responsibility for working with victims and family members of sexual
abuse. While not personally in attendance, Pope Benedict XVI was present
through his personal message sent to participants and with the presence of
several cardinals and bishops, Including William Cardinal Levada, 76, Prefect of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Levada’s address,
Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge,”

The Pope’s message iterates in this context, as he has done in the
past, his hope and life’s work that “healing for abuse victims must be of
paramount concern in the Christian community,” with “a profound renewal of the
Church at every level.” Further, he “supports and encourages every effort to
respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and
vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and
spiritual growth” and he urges the participants in the Symposium “to continue
drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church
a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support.”

The Sexual
Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge Toward Healing and
Renewal” is the title given to this Symposium for Catholic Bishops and
Religious Superiors on the Sexual Abuse of Minors. For leaders in the Church
for whom this Symposium has been planned, the question is both delicate and
urgent. Just two years ago, in his reflections on the “Year for Priests” at the
annual Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in
direct and lengthy terms about priests who “twist the sacrament [of Holy
Orders] into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly
wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.”
chose this phrase to begin my remarks this evening because I think it important
not to lose sight of the gravity of these crimes as we deal with the multiple
aspects the Church’s response.

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The priority renewal of the faith

The full body of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Pope on Friday, 27 January, to discuss his conviction that no other work of the Church, particularly this congregation, takes precedence to the work of evangelization. Everyone ought to be committed “to bringing God back into this world and to opening to all men access to the faith.”

Benedict see now as the opportune moment “to point out to all the gift of faith in the Risen Christ, the clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council and the invaluable doctrinal synthesis offered by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” Recently, the Pope said that “we are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of religious meaning which constitutes the greatest challenge to the Church” (Message for World Mission Day).

Other things that concern us, the Pope noted were:

1. the unity among Christians:  maintaining “coherence in the ecumenical task with the Second Vatican Council and the whole of Tradition”;

2. warned of the dangers of “a shallow moralism”;

3. to promote “the logic” contained in the conciliar teaching: “the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamism animated by the Word of God”;

4. a need for a “discernment between Tradition with a capital letter and the traditions”: “There exists,” he said, “a spiritual wealth in the different Christian confessions, which is an expression of the one faith and gift to share” (reflecting the recent work done for the full communion of Anglicans).

The last concern of Benedict was that the entire Church speak with one voice with Peter.

Joseph Ratzinger’s “The pastoral approach to marriage should be founded on truth”

From a little known text by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published in 1998

The pastoral approach to marriage should be founded on truth

Concerning some objections to the Church’s teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful

In 1998 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, introduced the volume entitled “On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried,” published by the Libreria in the CDF’s series (“Documenti e Studi”, 17). Because of its current interest and breadth of perspective, we reproduce below the third part along with the addition of three notes. The text was published today by L’Osservatore Romano.

The Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of 14 September 1994 concerning the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful was met with a very lively response across wide sections of the Church. Along with many positive reactions, more than a few critical voices were also heard. The fundamental objections against the teaching and practice of the Church are outlined below in simplified form.

Several of the more significant objections – principally, the reference to the supposedly more flexible practice of the Church Fathers which would be the inspiration for the practice of the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, as well as the allusion to the traditional principles of epicheia and of aequitas canonica – were studied in-depth by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Articles by Professors Pelland, Marcuzzi and Rodriguez Luño 2, among others, were developed in the course of this study. The main conclusions of the research, which suggest the direction of an answer to the objections, will be briefly summarized here.

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Vatican cardinal meets SSPX superior general

Card Wm J Levada.jpgThe Vatican office organizing the “talks” between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X issued a press release going over some of the areas of concern between the two. William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met today for two hours with Bishop Bernard Fellay. Among the issues presented and discussed was the set of principles called the “Doctrinal Preamble” which is outlining the ecclesial solution of bringing the SSPX into full communion with the Catholic Church. Some are thinking that the pastoral solution might be akin to that of a personal prelature like what the Opus Dei is in the Church.

Bernard Fellay.jpeg

The Doctrinal Preamble gives canonical and ecclesiological guidance for life in the Church, including principles for interpreting Church teaching since the Second Vatican Council, namely ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, religious freedom and the sacred Liturgy. This is understood in the saying: thinking (feeling) with the Church” (sentire cum ecclesiae).
No deadline was given but it is understood that a period of a two to three months is given to understand and pray about the issues at hand. It has been 21 years since the SSPX broke with Catholic Church.
Read the Vatican Radio’s announcement about the meeting.
Cindy Wooden of CNS covered the story.

Vatican seeks Guidelines in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delivered a circular letter to the world’s bishops asking for help in working for the common good of the faithful –protecting children from abusive priests. The CDF wants each of the bishops’ conferences around the globe to develop the appropriate processes assist the diocesan bishops in helping victim, educating the ecclesial community, forming priests, and being clear agents of charity and justice.

Cardinal Levada’s letter to bishops.
The Circular Letter can be read here.
The explanatory letter from the Press Office

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]yahoo.com.
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